I recently came to the realization that my job has changed. I still hold the title of President & CEO of our organization, but how I spend my time on any given week has shifted. I am not entirely sure when that happened, or necessarily how it happened, but I understand that it is a byproduct of what has been needed of me.
In my ways, this is natural for any leadership position. You give yourself to a business or an organization and it inevitably molds you just as much as you hope to inform it.
When I came to the realization that it is now different, I had to come to terms with the fact that I am more distant to areas of the organization than I once was. I knew everything about what we were doing and sat at every table where those decisions were being made. Today, I cannot be everything to every part of the organization and have finally come to the realization that it is okay.
I share this as I am reminded about the importance of having the right people in the right seats. Within our organization, I believe we have that today. The skill and talent within our organization is enormous and a point of pride for the services that we provide. Our organization is better off NOT having me organize events, paying our bills, or developing our marketing strategy. But stepping back from some areas and focusing on different areas is something that I have had to grow into over time.
I have appreciated every person that has given a portion of their career to our organization and the impact that they have made. But as we continue to serve the entire Ames MSA, all of our roles will shift and adjust over time. The success of our organization is the result of our entire team’s combined commitment and individual strengths.
As the leader of this organization, I must be willing to regularly assess our teams and how they best serve our organization and our community. These should be candid conversations, and as a result of that, they could be challenging as well. But when done honestly and with best intentions in mind, they will be productive for everyone involved.
As I close, thank you for your unwavering support of the Ames Chamber of Commerce and our Affiliate entities. With your continued engagement, our success as an organization, and region, is assured.
I am reminding myself to “slow down” more often lately. Maybe it is because I am a grandma now and I watch the littles grow so fast. Or maybe it is because I know I am getting older and the years go by so much quicker! Whatever the reason, I am making this year the year for slowing down. Not quitting, not retreating, but simply taking a bit more time to make sure that the things I do matter and that I do them with care and quality.
In our line of work here at the Ames Chamber of Commerce, we run hard and fast. Why wouldn’t we? There is always a lot going on across the Ames MSA. From economic development projects within the communities we serve, to Coffee Mingles for our Chamber members, to a host of other activities, there isn’t a lot of down time. Slowing down and paying attention to details to provide the best value needs to be deliberate.
Deliberately slowing down takes concerted effort. In a world that is built around convenience and instantaneous results, it can be difficult to find the balance between getting your projects done and getting them done right. It could be the extra time you spend on the phone or exchanging texts about an upcoming event. It may be the extra touch you put on a table setting or simply making sure the spelling is correct in the publication you are distributing. Slowing down and being mindful of how to achieve the best results, though it might take a bit longer, will inevitability bring service level from good to excellent. These things matter!
Slowing down and taking time to listen is imperative. Ever meet anyone who talks so much you don’t think they will ever breathe? What impression does this leave you with? Listening may be the most underrated skill out there. When we take time to listen, we hear. We may not always hear what we want to hear, but we may hear a nugget of wisdom that will carry us forward in a way that changes us. It is entirely possible that we could hear valuable information that grows our companies, grows our communities, and grows us!
While I take the time this year to slow down, I invite you to do the same. Take time to be kind to a stranger. Take time to listen intently to really understand. Pay closer attention to details that really do matter. Find ways to add value to everything you do. Make all things that you have a hand in show the quality they deserve.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.