What’s Under the Hood?

May 14, 2012

One of the best things about being an economic development professional is that we get to meet with hundreds of companies each year. Big, small, start-ups, foreign owned, public companies and private enterprises, companies led by consensus and those led by a charismatic founder. What a great way to gain insight about leadership and management. We are usually talking to them about the future of their business and their facility and talent needs.

Very quickly the discussion turns to the DNA of the company. What is driving your decisions about the business currently? What drives your company overall? In the best companies the answer comes quickly and is usually fairly simple. They are able to point to their core values and often they display an intense passion for developing the people that work for them. After many years of meeting with companies in this way, I can usually tell which companies have a clear direction and how we will be able to help them. Very quickly we can assess what’s under the hood, and how our team will be able to assist them in achieving their goals.

Turn this concept on its head. Our team also meets with community leaders from all over the Region. The process is much the same. What do you value? What is driving decisions in your community? What are the community’s core values? After many years of meeting with communities in this way, I can usually tell which have a clear direction, how decisions will be made, and how our team will be able to assist in these goals.

Let me say that I am usually very impressed with both the candor and the thoughtfulness by which both the company and community leaders answer these questions. I am often blown away by the creative ways in which they approach their business and their public duty. In seemingly mundane businesses and in small “places”, some of the most passionate leaders reside. As a business or civic leader – what’s under the hood of your organization?

One Columbus Update
Congrats to Columbus for securing the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference and Expo to the Columbus Region in 2013. Thanks to so many for their leadership – especially Derrick Clay, Chairman of MORPC. Our team will attend the 2012 event in Chicago in one week. The One Columbus team is back from the Northeast where another successful business mission was executed and more projects were identified. Deb Scherer, 2020’s director of International Business is off to Israel soon to attend the 2012 Bio-Med conference.

-Kenny McDonald