Fox File #81: Best Practices Recap
The Fox Files is a weekly message from EDCUtah President & CEO Theresa Foxley.
I mentioned recently that Mike, Jay Francis (Larry H. Miller Companies) and I were on our way to do some benchmarking against high-performing state and regional non-profit economic development organizations. Jay said the visit reminded him of his days with the Jazz, when he would benchmark against other back offices as the team played on the road. Jay said it best, “you compete on the court, not in the office.” We were very grateful for our hosts’ hospitality and their willingness to share how they are structured and operate.
I’ve participated in various benchmarking activities before and I generally find them to be extremely helpful. In this case, I concluded the visits feeling energized. We learned so much from each of the groups we visited and gathered some really interesting ideas. I was also encouraged and excited that they were keen to learn more about our targeted outreach efforts and our community strategy toolkit.
A few high-level takeaways for me were:
Specific initiatives can drive value to the overall organization. One of the groups we visited had specific initiatives around industry sectors and talent that helped solve broader economic development issues.
There are many different business models for these organizations, but whatever the business model is, it must reflect the community the organization serves. In Utah, our model is reflective of our community values: private sector leadership, intergovernmental collaboration, public/private cooperation.
A passion for promoting the region/market is paramount. The team needs to be vested in the long-term dynamism of the market.
Understanding and leveraging competitive advantages is crucial in both relationship and industry marking.
Building enthusiasm with internal and external audiences is a constant but critical balance.
Successful organizations emphasize collaboration, communication, and transparency.
We are digesting the information that we gathered and as we continue to refine our internal strategy and our program we will be excited to incorporate some of what we learned.