“Think small. Don’t pretend you know the answers. Experiment; get feedback. These are all the premises of ‘Think Like a Freak,’ really.”
-Stephen J. Dubner
Our organization is nearing the end of a period of evaluation and economic development planning. During the process we had hundreds of stakeholder meetings and input sessions from all aspects of our region. The input can be really affirming and positive and it can also be challenging to hear of the areas where more work must be done.
The aggregate of all of the data and feedback can be a weight upon your shoulders some days. Corporate CEO’s may lament the headwinds of global competition and the war for talent, small businesses may be frustrated by the limitations of the local market, elected leaders face a cadre of government and political realities, and non-profit partners are sometimes overwhelmed by the complexity of the social issues they are solving for each and every day.
However, these direct, and so often indirect, inputs can also serve as wind beneath the wings of the economic development efforts. Feedback is golden. All of it. Few businesses have the level of stakeholders of those in the nonprofit and economic development industry. We should treasure it. We should use the encouraging words as oxygen and the challenges as fuel to motivate us to get better.
My encouragement this week is to not only invite input, but capture it, aggregate it, elevate it, and seek insight from it. It has never been easier to survey, to convene, and build culture and community in the process. Use it to lift your work up and to motivate your team and your leadership.
A final word of thanks to JP Nauseef, the newly appointed Chief Investment Officer of JobsOhio. His recent tour of the Columbus Region included meetings with local economic development organizations, board members, elected officials, and some of our clients. He listened, he observed, he had dialogue, and he committed to continue to do it over time. A personal thank you to JP for his time and his efforts to intentional listen and learn from those in the ground across Ohio.
Let’s have a great week!