Friday, November 18, 2005

Regionalism Without Foundation Grants

I'm not against regionalism per se. I'm certainly not against getting people together to talk about how we can work together. My biggest concern about the Voices and Choices effort is the fear that its regionalism will turn into a thick suffocating blanket thrown onto us from above.

From yesterday's BJ, here's an example of good regionalism at work:

A blueprint for growth
Wolf Ledges trade association focuses on leadership structure, regional relationships, training

When the Builders Exchange of Akron lost its longtime executive director, it also lost a critical building block.

James A. Dougherty had led the trade group for 35 years before his death in 2001.

Three years later, membership had dwindled from 220 to 100. Directors who succeeded Dougherty didn't work out.

At the same time, technology was making obsolete the organization's fundamental draw -- a plan room where contractors can copy blueprints.

``We could have survived a few more years,'' President Don Taylor said.

But he wanted to head off desperation, so he and the board went looking for a salvage plan. They found it in Canton.

After extensive interviewing and searching, they decided to merge with the Builders Exchange located there. On Feb. 1, the Akron group became the third leg of the Builders Exchange of East Central Ohio, which also has a Youngstown office.

The organization now is refocused on regional relationships, education programs to help members work on common issues, and a strong leadership structure, said Taylor, who remains a board member.


jack said...

I wanted to leave the comment I left at BFD here as well

One of the businesses cases for regionalism here has been: a) we absolutely must globally compete, and b) this must be done with a mandate for unprecedented levels of collaboration within this region.

This premise suggests possibly that while we listen to each other’s thoughts about tactically how and where to collaborate, we need to strategically decide who we’re going to “beat” in the competitive race - and why. If we accept the premise that external competition is required for internal collaboration, until we decide on “the right external enemy”, we may not be able to effectively decide on where we need to come together to collaborate.

In this model, if we fail to identify and beat the right enemy, we may need to base any mandate for collaboration on some other value and belief system.