Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Nothing Could be Finer.....

There are probably as many reasons for why those who live and work in Norwich have chosen to do so as there are people here in the city. But, if you found yourself in charge of selling Norwich, by the pound or otherwise, to those beyond its borders, I think you'd want to know with whom you were speaking and what it was they are most interested in. In this Brave New World Order, a one size fits all slide show or PowerPoint presentation is just so passe.

By City Charter, Chapter V, Section 1, our mayor is a catalyst for economic development-a cheerleader, a bully pulpit pounder and a salesperson of the first order. As challenging as describing the taste of an orange is to someone who has never had one-how do you define what Norwich is, and in this age of non-stop competitive advantage, how do you present the city to someone in an industry, manufacturing, service or otherwise, in an honest and most flattering light with the object of getting them to choose us?

This is really what the Office of the Mayor and those with whom he works on economic development, should have been focusing on when invitations to visit for 'economic development initiatives' were extended by the Asian Pacific Association as well as the City of Wuxi in The People's Republic.

As reported in local newspapers, those extending the invites would pay for food and lodging and the mayor, or his designated hitter, would be responsible for transportation. I applaud the immediate consultation with the Ethics Commission in terms of propriety and appearances, but respectfully disagree with their ruling because they shouldn't have ever needed to have made one.

IF, both the I and F should be capitalized, the Mayor's job is to stimulate growth, there should be line items in the city budget to support that mission, including travel, lodging, meals, pony rides (hey, you never know!). Every budget season, those expenditures should be analyzed and evaluated for return on investment-what did we spend and what did we get? Just as we should approach every program across our city budget.

Should any of these trips happen, and I feel very strongly that they should, what's the message the Mayor is carrying with him to the far corners of the globe? What points should he be making in a presentation and what medium best accomplishes and encompasses that? What should he be selling? Is Norwich a dessert topping or a floor polish? Should he have the same pitch for a high tech firm looking to relocate as he would for a heavy industry seeking a satellite location?

How far along is the city of Norwich and the Mayor in having presentations he can do, ranging from a full-court press at a targeted business to a casual elevator ride conversation. Does the city's website now offer any assistance that would help sell Norwich on a global stage? Why does a city that celebrated its 350th anniversary last year pass the 'Who Cares?' Test this year and beyond?

We need to accept that sending anyone, anywhere, no matter how sincere his intentions, to various and sundry locales for 'economic development initiatives' is NOT going to work. When you don't know where you're going any road will get you there. The moment has arrived to plan our work, define our goals, refine our message, identify our messenger and stop talking about 'doing things' and instead, get things done.
-bill kenny


Ira Misenheimer said...

Two comments on different topics.

1. I will only say you seem to be one of the very few that support the trip(s). Many comments have been made expressing the other view point.

2. Spain having won today was very disappointing for me, as I am sure it was for you and yours as well. To be honest though the DFB-Elf seem to have left the Offense in the lockerroom at halftime. Na ja, das Leben geht wieter.

dweeb said...

As a NFH, Not From Norwich, perhaps it's easier for me to see how little 'of the world' we are as a small city, a very small city.

I think we can only improve if we open ourselves up to new ideas and people-but NOT by accepting freebies from people whom we know have an agenda (as does everyone these days) and who will expect a quid for their pro quo.

I'm fortunate in having been on both Charter Revision, that created and defined the role of the Mayor, as well as on the Ethics Review Committee that developed the Code currently in place. I'd like to think it helps me see a larger context, but I admit that I also wear glasses.

As I noted elsewhere, if it's the Mayor's job, give him the tools to include a variety of presentations and airfare and per diem et al and have him do his (her) job.

I don't want to come over the Laurel Hill Bridge some afternoon and see Mayor Nystrom thumbing a ride to San Jose (I don't want to see Dionne Warwick doing it either, come to think about it). Now, someday over a Nehi root beer we can talk about 'have we reached the point where a part-time Mayor isn't enough?' (I say yes) But that's a talk for another time, perhaps.

If we, as a city, give our advocate the resources for his job, he doesn't have to consider free trips and the Ethics Commission doesn't have to contemplate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin on issues they should have never been involved with.

It always comes back to "Have a Reason for Everything You Do," and the bottom line is too often, we don't.

I was disappointed the Deutsche Elf did not play better-a lot of that was because of the Spanish National team who, speaking of plans, did have one and did execute it and, as was the case at Euro 2008, are now playing for the title while Deutschland plays for pride.

I enjoyed the game, and the WM tournament but was disappointed in yesterday's outcome, though had you told me BEFORE the tourney started that the DFB would make it to the semi-finals, I'd have not believed it.