Challenging Times Show Chambers Helping Their Communities with Vision, Courage

Dave Kilby

On a recent trip to San Francisco, as I looked around the city, the following quote by Charles Dickens from “A Tale of Two Cities” seemed appropriate — “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

While the quote could definitely apply to the city of San Francisco, I was struck by the fact that it COULD or MIGHT also apply to chambers of commerce and the world we’re living in.

Despite such things as inflation — the likes of which we haven’t seen for decades — supply chain issues, COVID surging with the omicron variant, smash-and-grab robberies, political polarization, the workforce shortage, the clash between the “get vaccinated” folks and the anti-vaxers, as you will see in this issue’s “Leader to Leader,” MANY chamber CEOs have a positive outlook.

VUCA Leadership

Back on December 2020, we did a podcast episode that essentially said that VUCA times called for VUCA leadership.

V-U-C-A stands for V- Volatility, U – Uncertainty, C – Complexity and A – Ambiguity.

That certainly sounds like the world we’re living in.

And my version of VUCA leadership — which (I’m proud to say) MANY chambers have wholeheartedly embraced – is V – Visionary, U – Understanding, C – Clarity & Courage, and A – Agility & Adaptability.

Yes…we’re continuing to live in a VUCA world — or, what for years I’ve referred to as “whitewater” times.

So…that said…2022 probably won’t be the BEST of times, but I sincerely hope it’s NOT the WORST of times.

Helping Communities

As Glenn Hamer, the president/CEO of the Texas Business Association, says: “Our work is more important than EVER.”

The new year WILL be a time full of opportunity for chambers to LEAD and be problem solvers helping BOTH their communities and businesses…not just being relevant, but also, hopefully, being essential.

My sincere wish is that we can ALL have a successful and healthy year.

Dave Kilby is president and CEO of W.A.C.E. and executive vice president of corporate affairs at the California Chamber.