January 22, 2024


Execution is the ability to mesh strategy with reality, align people with goals, and achieve the promised results.” – Larry Bossidy

Building an economy that is both dynamic and durable requires an all-out, comprehensive effort. It requires local, even hyper-local, solutions married with the pursuit of investments and job creation that is at scale, particularly for metro regions seeking to move the dial.

Economic gardening can be a technical term, but for purposes of this note, let’s use it to refer to the support of focused local economic development efforts to build an economy from the ground up. Cultivating small business, fueling entrepreneurs, funding new business ventures, and supporting community development initiatives that fill gaps and stimulate small local investments are all examples of how this can come to life in your overall strategy. This gardening concept should also apply to efforts to replenish and build housing units to revive neighborhoods, as well as local, intimate efforts in the classroom to inspire young people to work locally or start their own businesses.

Economic farming requires a different mindset, but is equally important to success. Helping your major employers to become more competitive and encouraging them to expand within the market is critical. Diversifying your economic base, as well as your local revenue streams, through the attraction of new employers is a must for growing metro areas. Gone are the days when you can count on the same employer’s decade after decade, or even year to year. The world – and private equity – moves too fast! Encouraging housing policy changes that allow both multi-family and single-family units to be built at scale attracts people, and attracting people fuels the larger employers so we can build a growing market for small business formation.

Finally, it requires a disciplined mindset to pursue both gardening and farming at the same time. Too often these become opposing ideas, competing for resources and attention instead of serving as complementary components of a comprehensive plan. Both are important and MUST be done to build an authentic, dynamic, and durable regional economy.

Let’s have a great week, lift each other up, and move forward together!

Kenny McDonaldPresident and CEOColumbus Partnership