Lack of Clarity on Mission, Purpose, Priorities Can Hinder Chambers from Soaring to Success

In your opinion, what is the No. 1 thing that holds a chamber back from soaring to success?

Amanda Blackwood
Sacramento Metro (CA) Chamber

Success is the result of a disciplined focus on the one thing that you do better than anyone else. Chambers must identify that area of highest impact, align their operations to support it, and consistently look in the mirror to ensure that we are executing on that area at the highest level. A lack of focus can keep you at good instead of soaring to great!

Mark Turner
Gilroy (CA) Chamber

I believe there is more than one thing that holds chambers back. Chambers that have three key ingredients, however, have a greater opportunity of soaring to success. Those key ingredients are purpose, passion and people.

People and teams need purpose. They not only need to ask the question, but need to have an answer for “why do we exist?” An NFL team coming out of training camp and into the regular season lacking purpose will lack the passion and direction to reach the game of games, the Super Bowl. Studies show that people without purpose are vulnerable to boredom, anxiety and depression. When people have purpose, they have focus, direction, desire, aspiration, resolve, determination, tenacity and a will to achieve.

Passion is the fuel in the engine of purpose. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines passion as “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.”

When people are motivated by a compelling vision, there is no stopping great things from happening. It’s been said that teamwork makes the dream work. The power of people to accomplish goals and objectives can never be overlooked. Michael Jordan said, “Talent wins games. Teamwork and intelligence win championships.”

Shannon Buckmaster
Chehalem Valley (OR) Chamber

In my opinion and experience, the No. 1 thing that holds a chamber back from soaring to success is lack of clarity in that chamber’s particular mission or cultural priorities, and a failure to effectively market those priorities with the accompanying resources within the community that the chamber serves.

In other words, chambers are most successful by becoming specialized in offering the services that their communities most desire.

Mindy McCloughan
Loveland (CO) Chamber

A chamber is only as good as its staff and board. In my opinion, the No. 1 thing that holds a chamber back from soaring to success is the lack of leadership. I believe a successful leader follows two principles: 1) you only succeed when your team and board succeeds, and 2) people rise to the expectations you, as a leader, set.

We are fortunate to be in an industry that provides endless resources for information and training. Getting your staff trained and equipped with the necessary tools to succeed in your community is as easy as searching the W.A.C.E. resource library. Our team takes full advantage of the conferences, trainings, Academy, and other resources available through W.A.C.E., as well as the U.S. Chamber’s Institute and the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE).

Taking advantage of these resources will help you create an environment people want to be in, where they take pride in working in the local chamber and yield a greater return on investment for years to come.

Mark Stanton
Scottsdale Area (AZ) Chamber

In my opinion, a chamber that is not looking for innovation is holding itself from reaching new opportunities for success. A chamber that consistently looks to increase relevance, build value for members and explore new approaches, technology and challenging the status quo is on the right track.

Engaging the membership to join the effort for innovation in looking for new ideas is critical for chamber success. From evaluating existing programs, pricing and advocacy efforts to managing technology and understanding the needs of today’s membership, all are part of an ongoing effort a chamber should be considering.