Elephant Tales

The Book by Keith Okano

Order your copy of “Elephant Tales” on Amazon

Keith wrote his first book!

It’s titled “Elephant Tales – mostly true stories about Entrepreneurs.” Think of it as a cross between Aesop, Peter Drucker, and Calvin and Hobbes (but not as good).

Keith’s used some of these stories over the years with clients as a Houston Business Mentor and a Small Business Coach to to illustrate points in business, strategy or human nature.

Here’s a sample. 


The Elephant, having grown up in the days of the “Coke® vs. Pepsi®” wars, became enchanted by the brand impact and fierce loyalty engendered by mere “colored sugar water”. He decided he wanted to be part of that game and determined to develop the next great big drink.

So the Elephant spent countless days, weeks, and eventually months and years, creating different flavors and formulas, trying them out on his friends and anyone else who would taste them (sorry guys – the grass and bass drink was obviously a mistake).

One day, Eureka! The Elephant finally came up with his new drink. It had a sparkle in its appearance and a tinge to its taste. It tested well with pilot groups. His friends liked it. And he loved it.

He named it “Fresh.”

The Elephant wasted no time and spared no expense taking Fresh to market. His talented and experienced executive team quickly produced the large quantities needed to supply the many stores he expected would want Fresh on their shelves.
Finally Fresh was available.

The product launch began.

The Elephant waited for immortality.

But after the initial surge, demand quickly disappeared. Much of the remaining stock just remained on store shelves for weeks. Stores were calling demanding to return the inventory they had.

Fresh was a commercial flop.

The Elephant called his executive team together to brainstorm – to figure out what had happened, how to respond, and how to fix it. In a mad waving of his trunk, the Elephant accidentally knocked over an open bottle of Fresh and the drink spilled onto the surface of the conference table.

Then it happened.

Fresh rejuvenated the surface of the old conference table. Old scratches and water rings from countless abuse disappeared. The table gleamed with luster and beauty.

A few months later the tests had been done and the results in. A little Fresh simply applied with a cloth would completely restore wood surfaces, no matter how old, how severe, or how discolored. The entire executive team was ecstatic. The Elephant somewhat reluctantly went along.

The product was rebranded “Glow” and quickly repositioned as a miracle wood restorer. And the early reviews were spectacular. The executives were even able to get a meeting with Wally’s Market, the largest big box retailer in the world. They envisioned Glow on the shelf of every store in hundreds of countries.

The Elephant personally attended the meeting with his executives at Wally’s Market. The product demonstration was phenomenal, the price and supply questions were resolved quickly, and interest was high on both sides of the conference room table. The excitement of the Wally’s Market executives was only matched by that of the Elephant’s team. Visions of a breakout product, high units, and bigger profits were dancing in everyone’s head. Well, almost everyone.

As the meeting came to a close, with congratulations all around, the Elephant grabbed a bottle of Glow, opened it, took a deep drink, and said, “It tastes pretty good, too.”

Discussion Questions:

1. What is the reason the Elephant wants to develop the “next great big drink”?

2. Do you think the Elephant used the same executive teams for his core business and for Fresh? What would be the benefit? What would be the disadvantages?

3. Why is it important to the Elephant that Glow taste good?

4. Did the Elephant ultimately succeed in his goal? And what was the goal?

“The stories, imbedded in “ELEPHANT TALES “, depict in a humorous way realistic encounters between CEOs and their Organizations. “ELEPHANT TALES” is a required read for any CEO interested in improving his/her leadership by understanding the relationship between the Elephants, the Ants, and the Mahouts. There is much wisdom between the lines of each story. CEOs skilled in understanding what these stories reflect are better prepared and more able to discern and focus on the appropriate courses of their Corporate Decision Making.”

A. “Butch” Madrazo, President and CEO of MMM Enterprises and Silver Fox Advisor

To order Elephant Tales in print or e-book from Amazon®

Click Here!

(what a cheap way to see how his mind works).

Or if you’re not sure, register here, and we’ll send you another sample from the book free!

"For the past few months I have been meeting with Keith and find our conversations to be the highlight of each month. I leave each meeting feeling like I have a heightened level of clarity, inspiration to continue challenging myself as a leader and motivation to think about things in a new way. Keith provides such a balance in his coaching: he gives advice, shares anecdotes from his extensive personal experience, asks the right questions, pushes me to think and act boldly and provides genuine encouragement.”
Amanda George
Consultant / Sterling Associates
“Keith's decision-making ability, confidence and continued support are key in helping get through difficult situations while continuing to contribute to the bottom line. His professional and very approachable leadership style streamlined many operations and promoted continued unity and morale within the organization.“
Lentz Ferrell
Director ISS (ret.), / Silverton Healthcare
“Keith has the ability to get an entire company focused in a positive direction while empowering managers to take responsibility of working as a single team. Keith is fair with outstanding business ethics.”
Brad Thompson,
President, Epex LLC
"(Elephant Tales is a) wonderful book. Very thought provoking. I can definitely see the value of presenting one of these stories to a leadership team for discussion and potential issue solving as the opportunity presents itself. As a professional who also works with Entrepreneurs and is one, these stories are on point and typical of what I see on a regular basis. Sometimes being too close to the problem is the problem. Stand back and look at it from an outsider perspective. Does it look the same? How many story related events have you experienced or caused? I definitely narrowed in on a few that I could relate to. Funny how much alike most business's are. It's those leaders that recognize it and do things differently who win."
Salty Thomason
President / LeaderShift, LLC
“I’ve known Keith since 2001. I have had the pleasure of working with him in a variety of settings, including as members of an executive round table where we collaborated on the challenges of building our respective businesses. First, he gets it: growing a business, leading an organization, managing diverse organization, managing diverse individuals, inspiring results, setting uncompromising high standards and ethics. Then, repeatedly, he delivers the results. Keith is someone I trust and rely on for counsel and feedback, and our relationship is one that I highly value.”
Stephen Sweeny
Chief Operating Officer / 3Coast
One thing I wish I had figured out a long time ago was the value of having a coach. Like him or no, Tom Brady, one of the best quarterbacks in football history, has a coach. I currently utilize about four coaches and one of the best I’ve seen is Keith Okano. Keith and I have been working together for about six months. He has a way of asking great questions that get my mind thinking in the right direction which then leads to me asking him great questions. He is not afraid to tell me when he disagrees with what I’m doing – which is what I need. I am proud to recommend Keith as a business coach. Let him inspire you the way he has me.
Darrell Haun
Chief Executive Officer / Solarcraft, Inc.
"Keith is a true motivator and leader. Keith obtains a great ability to break a complex business into simple, easy to understand, business strategy.”
Matthew Blake, MBA
CEO / Franklin Data
"Keith has been serving as my Business Coach for some time now. I have had a difficult time finding the right coach that blends experience, knowledge, mentoring skills and insight into my role as Vice President of Business Operations. I feel fortunate to have connected with Keith and have gained a lot of ideas and ways to rethink what I thought was obvious. Our discussions are always the highlight of my week."
Bob Heth
Vice President of Business Operations / Solarcraft, Inc.
"I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Keith over the last five years as an IT service partner and most recently as a client of Closing Strong. Keith’s intimate knowledge and understanding of the challenges of the legal technology and consulting industry has been invaluable and would be difficult to replicate. His perceptiveness and insight based on years of direct leadership experience has provided me with the guidance needed to make changes that positively impact the bottom line. One of the most important things my sessions with Keith provide, is the dedicated time to review my challenges and assess my decisions. Keith is quickly able to understand the situation, drill down on the actual issue and make me confront them. In the very short time we have worked together in this capacity, Keith has helped me to identify and focus on some of my biggest challenges towards developing a strategy for growing the firm without compromising our values. I have no hesitation in recommending Keith. I am confident I’ll continue to leverage his guidance as we advance to the next phase."
Angelo Whitfield
President - Sophus Consulting - Public Sector Information Technology and Services Consultant / Sophus Consulting
"I've known Keith for years, and his ability to translate deep leadership lessons into easily-relatable messages has been part of his "special sauce" as long as I've known him. I'm so pleased he collected his messages into "Elephant Tales" -- it's an inspirational read, filled with practical, powerful leadership advice. My advice? Get a copy for yourself, and one for all the members of your team. Thanks, Keith!"
Bob Tipton
Chief Executive Officer / R S Tipton, Inc.
"Keith is a true leader; he’s got great, natural leadership skills. My experience as an officer in the military has confirmed that leadership can be taught – to a point, beyond which instinctive leadership traits emerge, but only from the exceptional leaders. That’s where Keith shines. Keith creates an inspiring vision for organizational goals. And then he knows how to inspire and motivate his team to achieve those goals. He takes teamwork to a whole new level. Keith’s team members routinely exceed their performance expectations.”
Chip Cooper
E-Commerce Attorney ✔SaaS Attorney ✔Custom FTC Compliance Programs ✔ Author ✔ Speaker
"Keith truly values individuals, with all their strengths and shortcomings, and enjoys lending his experience and long track record of success in support of others."
Mark Poag
Managing Director / FitzRandolph Gateway Ventures
“The stories, imbedded in “ELEPHANT TALES “, depict in a humorous way realistic encounters between CEOs and their Organizations. “ELEPHANT TALES” is a required read for any CEO interested in improving his/her leadership by understanding the relationship between the Elephants, the Ants, and the Mahouts. There is much wisdom between the lines of each story. CEOs skilled in understanding what these stories reflect are better prepared and more able to discern and focus on the appropriate courses of their Corporate Decision Making.”
A. "Butch" Madrazo
President and CEO / MMM Enterprises, Inc.
"Keith has the ability to learn new businesses and organizations quickly, and to adopt their missions as his own. However his true gifts lie in being able to become part of the team in developing the appropriate strategy and goals, and define the processes and KPIs needed to fulfill it with great efficiency."
Al Mueller
President/Owner / Excellence in Giving
"Keith Okano brings a clarity-of-thought to the executive team. He has a measured and seasoned approach to problem solving, a highly responsive, yet fair and even-handed style when dealing with crisis, and an overall intuitive sense of what it means to be a leader."
Mike Dalton
SVP Worldwide SaaS Software Engineering / BAE Systems
“Keith has proven over time to have the perspective, vision and patience in working with others to build teams and accomplish goals for the business he runs. He leads with passion, focus and determination.”
Ernie Rapp
President & PCCA Vice President of Business Development / PersonalMed
“Keith Okano has this unique and uncanny ability to make everyone feel comfortable, important, and as though their opinion is truly valued. He communicates as openly and effectively with a client or partner as he can with one of his own staff. He can easily discuss details at a technical level, business level, market level, or executive level. He is thoughtful, creative, thorough, and a visionary.”
Wayne Ford
SVP WW Commercial Sales / Kofax
Keith has done a great job in coaching. I get new ideas in every session we have together. It has made a huge difference in my leadership skills in running the day to day operations of the company.
Laura True
"I've had the pleasure of working with Keith for the past few months and it's been an incredibly valuable experience. Keith offers a lot of creativity and wisdom when tackling business issues. Keith inspires new ways of thinking and is easy to collaborate with which inspires the best possible outcome to complex business matters. I consider Keith's ideas and feedback instrumental in many of the positive changes we've made this year."
David Balzen
Chief Executive Officer / SalesStaff, LLC
Keith is like a breath of WISE fresh air. His business wisdom is a wealth of knowledge and has a way of delivering advise so it flows naturally. As a business owner, I like him on my side for that unbiased, to the point, next thing you know an hour has passed, type of consulting.
Blake Landry
President / Capital Inspectors