Fear Prevents Chambers from Soaring; Innovation, Retooling Lead to Successes

What’s the No. 1 thing that holds a chamber back from soaring to success?

Angie Anderson, IOM
Glenwood Springs (CO) Chamber Resort Association

We should all listen to Frozen’s Queen Elsa more often and simply “let it go.” What holds chambers back from soaring to success is hanging on to programs, activities and events that no longer fit the mission of the organization.

It’s easy to continue doing things because we always have, but this can be a heavy burden that doesn’t allow forward movement.

By constantly evaluating what is relevant and what is not, chambers can refresh, retool and let go of distractions. This allows chambers to focus on the mission, which ultimately leads to success.

Scott Ashton
Oceanside (CA) Chamber

Fear is one of the biggest factors holding chambers back. Overcoming fear might mean finally parting with a program or event that no longer fits the mission of the chamber. It could mean moving your organization in a completely new direction.

For us, it meant putting aside the “what ifs” and deciding to move forward on endorsing candidates two years ago. It also meant stepping out of our financial comfort zone and creating a Workforce Development Department.

To position our organizations as “essential,” we must be willing to boldly explore new opportunities to meet the evolving needs of our business community.

Shane Etzwiler
Great Falls Area (MT) Chamber

I believe the answer lies in one of four ways chambers look at things when there is a need, a crisis, or a community issue that needs to be addressed.

• #1 Through Fear — which causes most to pull back and not do anything.

• #2 As an Obstacle or Barrier — then a chamber comes up with excuses as to why it can’t be tackled or overcome. They see the challenge as too large for their resources.

• #3 As a Challenge — only to overcome quickly and then move on.

These are three reasons chambers don’t soar to success.

The fourth way chambers can SOAR is looking at things as an OPPORTUNITY! How can we take this challenge or issue to make a positive impact and leverage it for the greater good for our community? That is how chambers begin to SOAR!

Lori Mattson, IOM
Tri-City (WA) Regional Chamber

I am reframing the question a bit and providing the No. 1 thing that sets our chamber up for success: an innovative mindset.

As CEOs, we need to spend less time being managers and more time being creators. One of the aspects that I enjoy the most about my profession is the flexibility to influence the trajectory of this organization. This makes for interesting and challenging work.

We use innovation to improve processes and efficiencies, develop new services to meet the ever-changing needs of members, and most importantly, to drive revenue. We are in the habit of continual improvement and pushing the envelope to take the chamber and the Tri-Cities to a better future.