by John S. Cox, CCE, CEcD, IOM
President & CEO
Communities and the disparate components within them rise and fall on, among other qualities, the leadership resources positively united working toward a common future. Some of us call such a scenario Collective Impact.
First articulated in 2011 by John Kania and Mark Kramer in the Social Innovation Review article Collective Impact, the idea revolves around the notion that lasting solutions to large scale social problems are best addressed when those who can coordinate and work together around clearly defined goals, not in silos but rather in cross sector,
cross discipline teams, coalitions, partnerships and alliances do so in order to make meaningful and sustainable progress and change over time.
The most recent example of this in SW Florida is the more than 40 member Steering Committee assembled in December 2013 to work on what has become known as
Opportunity Naples (and previously written about in these pages, www.opportunitiesnaples.com). This diverse assembly, skillfully led by Dudley Goodlette, completed its work in September having:
- Created a Common Agenda, namely a Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Development;
- Developed a Shared Measurement System, identifying benchmark goals for improvement;
- Assigned Mutually Reinforcing Activities, specifically involving Partners across sectors;
- Identified Continuous Communications as an essential tool before moving forward in order to build trust
- Choosing a Backbone Organization which will provide the needed staff and the essential volunteers requiredto successfully achieve the initiatives.
The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce convened its annual Board Advance with 90 leaders representing a broad spectrum of the leader talent pool within Collier
County. We listened to, questioned and challenged speakers as they developed the collective impact theme in the areas of Economic Development, Leadership, Public Policy and Community Building.
As County Manager Leo Ochs spoke we wrestled with the fact 90 percent of the county’s revenue comes from residential ad volorem taxes–the tax base must become diversified. We then listened to television and film star Aaron Norris (Chuck Norris’ younger brother) identify ways Florida could become more competitive in the recruitment of television and film production using competitive incentives and importing tax base into Florida and in particular into Collier County. In all, 15 highly informed and exceptionally capable leaders addressed the audience.
The final presentation was from Sheriff Kevin Rambosk who noted, “We already have this going in our favor, and now we know what to call it: Collective Impact.”
The Greater Naples Chamber has a unique ability to collect leaders and volunteers around key ideas, moving from ideas to innovation and to implementation. It is about the arts. It’s also about education. It is very much about talent and workers with strong skills, higher paying jobs and suitable housing. And it’s also about attracting and retaining young people while engaging our existing base. It’s about believing we can be the healthiest community in America and the world’s next Blue Zone.
As Dr. Allen Weiss said regarding health care, “What has happened doesn’t always have to happen.” Improvement and excellence are possible but only if we all go all in together.
So we all know–it has been proven: The opportunities in Naples are significant, sustainable and available now. Our next step is to prove it can work. Naples Works.
Opportunity Happens. I invite you to join us on this journey. Our Collective Impact won’t be complete unless you are in. Are you ready to get to work?