Saturday, March 10, 2007

ED Leader Newsletter, Number 2

Dear Economic Development Leader:

Welcome to the second issue of the ED Leader Newsletter.

Don Iannone has created a new economic development blog focusing on the advancement of the role and impact of leadership in economic development. It is called the Economic Development Leader (ED Leader). You can find it on the Web at:

Note: ED Leader replaces ED Futures, which was published by Don Iannone over the past four years. Because of the huge need for leadership development in economic development, Don has decided to re-focus his attention and energy in this specific area.

Giving leadership to economic development efforts is no simple matter; just ask any economic development organization CEO or board member. In recognition of this challenge, Don Iannone, a longstanding consultant and advisor to urban and rural economic development organizations across America and internationally, has created this blog to spark a dialogue with economic development leaders about the key issues they face and how to address them.

Let's start with a definition of leadership. Leadership is defined primarily by what we do, not by the role we have been assigned. Good leadership starts with our inner intentions, it is guided by values, and it possesses clarity and vision about what is most important. Authentic leadership is important to me personally. Authentic leadership occurs when our intentions and actions are aligned and in service to the highest purpose possible in a given situation.

As many other leadership experts have said: "Who we are comes before what we do!" The economist Kenneth Boulding reminds us that: "the meaning of a message is the change which it produces in the image." This is an important point for us to bear in mind as we think about how leadership is applied to economic development at the local, regional and state levels. What change for the good have we produced in our exercise of leadership in economic development?

ED Leader will do two things. First, it will examine and discuss leadership issues encountered in economic development. Second, it will reach out into the larger field of leadership for the best ideas that can help advance economic development leadership. Hopefully by doing these two things, you will be motivated to jump into the conversation with your ideas. The dialogue is vital for all of us to give shape to ourselves as leaders in economic development.

One final point deserves clarification. When I use the term economic development leader, I am referring to those serving on economic development leadership bodies and boards, as well as the economic development professional. Both give vital leadership to economic development efforts.

I hope this new resource is valuable to you and helps you as an economic development leader. Please feel free to email me with your ideas, or better yet, post a comment to this blog.

Scroll down and you will find a number of new articles posted to the ED Leader blog. Drop by the blog and say hello. Leave us a comment so we will know you came by.

Best wishes,

Don Iannone

Friday, March 9, 2007

Charlotte Regional Partnership (CRP)

Founded in 1992, the Charlotte Regional Partnership is a nonprofit, private/public organization dedicated to the planned growth and prosperity of the Charlotte region. Roughly the size of the state of Massachusetts, the region includes 16 counties: 12 in North Carolina and 4 in South Carolina. Together the area is marketed as Charlotte USA.

The organization brings together government and local businesses to market and promote Charlotte USA as a highly competitive, vibrant region with an increasingly attractive quality of life.

Embracing the core belief that there is strength in unity, the community and business leaders of Charlotte USA continue to work together to reinforce the powerful concept of "regionalism."

Regionalism is an effective strategy for global "city-regions" like Charlotte and others to grow and prosper in the 21st century world economy. As a result, it has become the driving force behind everything we do.

The President and CEO of CRP is Ronnie Bryant, an accomplished veteran leader in the economic development field. Ronnie is the current Chairman of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

Learn more about CRP here.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Research Triangle Regional Partnership History

You can learn a lot from the history of the nation's key economic development organizations. Here is a summary history for the Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP).

RTRP began in 1990 as the Raleigh-Durham Association (RDA), which was created by the leadership from Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill who decided to market their communities together.

These leaders recognized that a regional approach to marketing could leverage their collective assets and strengthen their individual community initiatives. The goal of the RDA was to market the counties of Wake, Durham and Orange for the economic benefit of its communities. Chambers of commerce in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill and the Research Triangle Foundation funded the RDA.

In 1993, an executive director was hired to manage the association. Thanks to success of the RDA, its scope expanded to a six-county metropolitan statistical area (MSA) Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Johnston, Orange and Wake and its name changed to Raleigh-Durham Regional Association (RDRA).

At the same time, regional marketing organizations were operating in the Charlotte and Piedmont Triad ( Greensboro, Winston-Salem/High Point) regions of North Carolina. Based on those three successful models, the state decided the concept of regionalism would benefit all 100 counties of North Carolina.

In 1994, the N.C. General Assembly formed seven regions that would work collaboratively with the N.C. Department of Commerce to market their communities. RDRA expanded to 13 counties. Its name changed to the Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP) in November 1994.

RTRP now comprises Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Orange, Person, Vance, Wake and Warren counties.

Charles Hayes in the President and CEO or RTRP. Charles is a highly experienced and accomplished veteran of the economic development.

Learn more about RTRP here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Forum of Young Global Leaders

The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a newly formed, multi-stakeholder community of 1111 exceptional young leaders who share a commitment to shaping the global future. The World Economic Forum brings together young leaders who are currently internationally prominent and those who are destined for future greatness.

Each year the group identifies 200-300 exceptional individuals, drawn from every region in the world and many disciplines and sectors. Together, they form a powerful international community which can dramatically impact the global future.

Young Global Leaders:

- are under 40 years old
- have substantial leadership experience
- have already clearly demonstrated a commitment to serving society
- are willing to devote their energy and expertise for five years to tackle the most critical issues facing the world

In shaping the future, the Young Global Leaders will engage in the “2020 Initiative”. This is a comprehensive endeavour, aimed at establishing a framework for understanding the problems and risks we face in the coming decades and beyond.

The Young Global Leaders will focus their abilities on exploring what the world will be like in 2020, if current and projected trends continue. Their goal is to identify the dynamics and complexities of future industrial and social developments, so that a shared vision for a better world in 2020 can emerge. Equipped with a positive roadmap for the future, the Young Global Leaders will design global strategies to make this vision a reality. These strategies in turn will be translated into the concrete action to be taken today, if their vision for 2020 is to be realized.

Learn more here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Why Organizational Change Fails

John P. Kotter, professor of leadership at Harvard Business School says that organizational change efforts often fail, and for good reason.

Although the need for change is widely recognized and acknowledged, the reality of creating that change, and more importantly, making the change “stick” are extremely difficult. Kotter details eight common errors in organizational change efforts:

1. Allowing too much complacency
2. Failing to create a sufficiently powerful guiding coalition
3. Underestimating the power of vision
4. Undercommunicating the vision
5. Permitting obstacles to block the vision
6. Failing to create short term wins
7. Declaring victory too soon
8. Neglecting to anchor changes firmly in the corporate culture.

As economic developers, we need to guard against these factors, as they can hobble our change efforts in ED organizations.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Leader as Steward

My thinking about leadership has shifted dramatically as a result of my strategic planning work with communities and regions. Increasingly, I have been giving emphasis to leaders as stewards; a concept I initially learned from the noted organization and leadership guru, Peter Senge. Here is what Senge has to say on the leader as steward.

By stewardship. Senge means that someone (or perhaps some group) within the organization needs to accept responsibility for ensuring that everyone who works in the organization is clear about why it exists.

In economic development, that means engendering broad-based prosperity, innovation, and competitiveness in an area. All three are needed, and together they explain why we are here; that is why economic development exists as a field.

In the "learning" organization, Senge (1990) says everything we do is connected to learning. Learning enables organizations to become successful in achieving their goals. This is also true for ED organizations.

As stewards, it is important that the leaders of an ED organization, including the ED CEO, be charged with ensuring that the organization's vision is put into practice, and that the decisions that are made on a day-to-day basis are consistent with the vision.

The act of stewardship means being entrusted with the responsibility for something. ED leaders are entrusted with the invaluable economic assets of a community, region or state.


Senge, Peter, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. Doubleday, 1990.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Conscious Leadership: Thoughts by John Renesch

Here are some clips from an article by John Renesch on conscious leadership, a subject that is near and dear to my heart. He says it so well!

"For the first time in history, we humans have the opportunity to participate in our evolution. Never before has a species possessed the ability to choose whether it continues its evolution toward a higher form or becomes extinct. Those who take a stand for this new truth - before it becomes more commonly believed, before it becomes the consensus reality and the operative paradigm for humanity - will be the leaders who create the future we'd all prefer."

"The western, industrialized world has come to admire leaders who can mobilize people and evoke support for the specific cause they are advocating - be it a nation, an alliance, or a multinational company. Charisma, communication skill, influence, and vision have all played valuable roles in gaining this mass admiration. However, our world has become incredibly complex over the past few generations and, like Einstein stated half a century ago, our thinking or consciousness needs to change if we are to solve the problems we've created with our now-outmoded mindsets. Therefore, there is a new opportunity for a new breed of leader - one who embraces this new thinking that is better-suited to today's complex and interconnected society."

"This new thinking not only applies to the way we all think about reality, it also applies to the way people lead in this new age. As we transcend our obsolete and time-dated thinking - where only the visible and measurable outcomes are valued - we will become more "universally responsible" in all our endeavors. This will open the door to our being more aware, clearer about our intentions, and more responsible about the way we lead and the way we choose our leaders."
"A leader's consciousness has a vertical component as well as a horizontal one. Their consciousness can be raised by becoming more aware and more responsible for what they are aware - such as their country, their industry, or their marketplace. Likewise a leader's consciousness can be broadened so there is greater awareness about more things - matters less familiar to them."

"Conscious leadership includes a transcendent perspective on leading people, organizations and society. This may require the leader to learn about new aspects of reality and explore unfamiliar realms, such as the various ways we experience reality. Conscious leaders need to engage philosophical matters and wrestle with deeper questions like "What is real?"

As we ponder these thoughts, what do they say about how economic developers can become more conscious leaders?