IACCGH Shell Distinguisher Speaker Series Drayton McLane: “To Be a Great Leader, You Have to Have Great Vision”

Houston’s champion Drayton McLane made an inspirational speech in his encore appearance at the IACCGH Distinguished Speaker series. Photo by Bijay Dixit.

Houston’s champion Drayton McLane made an inspirational speech in his encore appearance at the IACCGH Distinguished Speaker series. Photo by Bijay Dixit.

HOUSTON: McLane Group Chair-man and former Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane, Jr was the keynote speaker at the IACCGH Distinguished Lecture on April 3rd at the Hess Club.  Mr McLane’s spoke on the topic of “Leadership and Business Acumen”.

This lecture was sponsored by Shell. IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia welcomed the attendees and President Pankaj Dhume introduced on of Houston’s great champions.

Mr. McLane explained that great leaders have great visions.  They see way beyond what is needed today to solve a problem. Here are excerpts from McLane’s encore presentation at the IACCGH.

In 1896, the largest city in Texas was Galveston. It was a port city and all European immigrants would pass through the city. In contrast, Houston had about 3,000 inhabitants and it wasn’t growing. Six of Houston’s largest landowners finally got together with the express purpose of growing their city, asking themselves, “What can we do to make Houston grow?”

One of the community leaders suggested building a ship channel leading to Houston. They approached Washington to fund the ship channel but the government only provided half of the needed funds—Houston leaders had to raise the remainder. The 47-mile channel was completed in nine years.

Today, the port of Houston is the second largest port in the United States and the fourth largest port in the world. When the Panama Canal is widened, even more shipments will pass through the channel and Houston will continue to grow. There was no reason to build the Houston ship channel in 1896. But were it not for the visionaries who were committed to growing their hometown, the city may never have reached the level of growth it has today.

Do you know what slows down vision? Success! Our success may impede our growth and development of a vision to drive growth!

Vision comes from individuals who are somewhat disenchanted, angry, mad and driven by a desire to change things. They want to become risk takers!

What is a crucial responsibility of visionaries, entrepreneurs, and other successful people? Philanthropy. Jessie Jones, a philanthropist in the 1920s, created the largest endowment fund in the southwest—Houston Endowment. The fund manages and donates several billion dollars to charitable causes.

Part of Houston’s success is not only it’s growth, but also that its successful residents give back.

This past year, Forbes rated Houston as the coolest place to live and work, based on its business environment, available opportunities, education, and recreation. When we see limitations, we don’t take the time to see the good things that we have here at home.

The Houston economy is reviving out of the recession of 2008-2009 and the rejuvenation of Houston is not complete.  This has led to the creation of “Opportunity Houston 2.0”.

“Opportunity Houston 2.0” is a six-year program commencing in 2014. The program will continue to act as an aggressive marketing initiative that will generate leads for economic development organizations.

The Distinguished lecture is one of the IACCGH signature events. The next event is a small business outreach on April 24 at the Katy Campus of Houston Community College. Visit www.iaccgh.com or contact info@iaccgh.com to learn about IACCGH membership.