Embrace Skepticism

March 17, 2014

“On the road from the City of Skepticism, I had to pass through the Valley of Ambiguity.” -Adam Smith

Good critics are necessary to build a great strategy. In the world of economics and economic development, there is reason for healthy skepticism and heated debate about what works on national, state and local levels. What really moves the needle? Can the needle be moved at all or does the economy “just happen?” Where should resources be allocated?

Those charged with executing a plan are often inclined to act, regardless of criticism. Forging ahead is often exactly the right thing to do so that your community or company can break the paralysis of constant analysis and instead test and retest real world results.

But occasionally, it is healthy to take a deep breath and seek out critical views regarding your plan or the execution of your plan. Being open to and curious about legitimate criticism is difficult and it can be hard to not take it personally. It can also be difficult to get critics to meet directly with you for a frank discussion.

This week, seek out a critical view of your plan. Ask someone who is skeptical about your strategy to sit down and unpack their thoughts. If you are asked for your view on someone else’s plan, deliver thoughtful and useful criticism. I believe it will be worth it, and it will lead to a stronger strategy and a more trusting relationship with your stakeholders.

Kenny McDonald

One Columbus Update

  • This week, the One Columbus team will meet with companies and consultants in Los Angeles and Phoenix.
  • Back at home, our team will attend the Mid-Ohio Development Exchange (MODE) program at RAMTEC on Thursday. The superintendent of Tri-Rivers Career Center will speak about the partnership that created RAMTEC and lead a tour of the state-of-the-art industrial robotics and advanced manufacturing skill training facility.
  • Next week, our team will head to Washington, D.C. for IEDC’s 2014 Federal Economic Development Forum and to Chicago for Forbes 2014 Reinventing America Summit.