Getting Ready for Company

May 19, 2010

You know the sense of urgency you feel when company’s coming?

That urge to vacuum the carpet, straighten your closet, light scented candles and make sure everything in the house is “just right” before the guests arrive. For me, it seems to involve a peculiar mixture of anticipation and enthusiasm.

I’m beginning to have similar thoughts as we begin the process of our first-ever peer review of our economic development program. Peer review is a rather generic term that’s used to describe a process of evaluation involving qualified individuals within a specific profession. Its methods are employed to maintain standards, improve performance and provide credibility.

We’re fortunate that Jay Chesshir, president and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Jim Fram, senior vice president of economic development at the Tulsa Metro Chamber, have committed to be in the community in mid-June to measure and evaluate Springfield’s program to commonly-held national standards. It’s a two-phase process consisting of a documentation review (i.e. marketing materials, web site, demographics and various economic assessments) and an on-site visit. Both phases are designed to evaluate our structure, organization, funding, programs, local leadership and staff.

They’ll tell us what we’re doing well, what we’re perhaps not doing as well as we could, things we should be doing that we’re not and maybe even suggest certain programs and efforts we should abandon altogether.

Couple this project with the Target Cluster Analysis, Incentives Review and Strategic Marketing Plan being performed by Market Street Services and one gets the sense that we’ve opened ourselves up for assessment and improvements like never before! Reminds me of something one of the smartest guys I know - Jim Jura of Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. - often says, “You don’t have to be sick to get better.”

We’ll be better as a result of all this work, and I’m anxious to get the results of these various projects. But right now, it still feels a little bit like company’s coming over. I need to vacuum…….

~ Greg Williams, Senior Vice President, Economic Development

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Springfield Business Development Corporation

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Springfield, Missouri 65806