Thursday, July 22, 2010

Insights from the New VP

By Michelle Merritt, VP Member Relations & Communications

Someone asked me today, “When do you stop counting in weeks?”  I’ll admit I don’t know that answer but what I do know is that I’m still gaining valuable insights each and every week.  With my 9 week tenure, I feel like I’ve been here forever and yet it also feels like I arrived yesterday.  I’m in the perfect place right now where I’m not so close to our organization that I lose sight of things while still being familiar enough to understand the basics.

This presents the challenge of keeping a fresh perspective on our business as the upcoming weeks unfold.  Like any great business relationship, I’m wondering how to keep the “high” & wonderment I have in the beginning.  It’s a challenge we each face every day.  My answer:  to always think outside of the box.

It almost pains me to type the words, “think outside the box.”  After all, who willingly puts themselves in a box?  None of us do it on purpose, none of us intend to end up locked in a box, and none of us want to be thought of as restrained or restricted to basic thought.  So maybe the answer is to always look at the creative side, to always seek out new and exciting ways to do things.  Maybe the answer is to admit that we don’t know it all & that there are better ideas out there than our own.

This is easy to do when you’re the new kid at the office with fresh ideas and perspectives & the free pass that comes in the first few weeks while still figuring out the buttons on the copier, but what happens when we’re not new anymore?  That’s where relationship building has to come into play, internally & externally.  We’re finding as we work together as a team ideas flow naturally in conversation.  We’re listening to each other & building on ideas while checking our egos at the door.

We’re also building on the ideas you’re sharing with us.  We’re turning to you to ask how to get creative, how to “think outside the box”.  We’re shutting up, listening, and acting on those requests in our programming, local advocacy, and events that better your business before ours.  You’re starting to see some really great ones like the new community calendar and changes to the blog that are making a big impact.  We’re breaking down the walls of our box & admitting that we can always improve.  In short, we’re committed to remaining outside of our box.

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