Don’t Forget the Basics: Four Key Elements to Success

Economic development today faces many challenges brought on by our fast-paced society and economy. The issues are complex and include an evolving workforce with millennial entrants and baby boomers retiring; disruptive technologies; social media’s influence of thought leadership; and the new wave of new entrepreneurs. These things and more all influence how planning, strategy and decisions are made.  Lost in the discussion sometimes are four key elements found in successful organizations:

1. Relationships with Stakeholders

Relationships are critical. It is not a matter of if you need them; rather, it is a matter of when. The economic development organization should own a vast diverse network of relationships to enhance its ongoing efforts. A culture that embraces collaboration to achieve results will maintain those relationships as individual professionals come and go.

2. Effective Team Management

Effective teams do not play the same players every day in every situation. The game changes and dictates different personnel for varying circumstances. Be a manager of the challenge and put the right players at the table to have more success in economic development

3. Mission Focus

You have a mission statement but does it define who you are? More importantly, does it define who you are not? The definition of economic development varies from person to person and leader to leader. Experience also tells us that the definition can be interrupted for funding, political, single purpose and self-serving reasons. With limited resources and windows of opportunity organizations must be laser focused on its key purpose to achieve success.

4. Risk Mitigation

The biggest deterrent to the deployment of capital is risk. New investment drives commerce, jobs and the economy of any community. Economic development leaders would be more successful if they understood ways to limit exposure to risk. For starters think about risks as it relates to finance, talent, speed to market and brand. Places that can identify their risks and mitigate the highest, will find new dollars being invested in the community.


Our team understands the value of these four core elements and how it relates to site selection and the organizational structure of economic development entities. We have enhanced competitiveness of organizations in a variety of ways from one-day trainings to full blown strategy. Let us know how we can put our experience to work for you.