In the world of business, we experience influence, decisions and challenges on a daily basis. Sometimes we’re the influencers; other times the influenced. While some decisions may hold a higher value than others, doesn’t the reciprocator of the decision determine that? And challenges – aren’t they really in the eye of the beholder?
To be a leader doesn’t mean that you have to be the CEO or President. You can be a leader and have the lowest paycheck in your company. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader” – John Quincy Adams.
Recently, I was listening to Richard Soppe, drilling application specialist, of Center Rock speak at our April Excellence Exchange. He explained how in 2010 their leader shut-down the company to focus 100% of their efforts to the 33 Chilean miners trapped 2,000 feet underground. 33 days later, the miners were free. Let’s be honest, this one leader could not have overcome this feat by himself. Soppe and other Center Rock employees traveled to Chile to battle through the earth 24 hours a day in a make-shift job site, while working in undesirable weather conditions and dealing with government controversy. Back in the U.S., Center Rock’s manufactures also worked around the clock at the plant developing the new drills that eventually saved lives. The fact that there are leaders woven through this company is clear. Strong leadership influences like this created empowerment and leadership opportunities for others. The result – they reached their goal and placed the company on a higher level.
The Chamber offers programs like Excellence Exchange, Chick-fil-A Leadercast, Ethics in Business Forum and Professional Women’s Forum to be a resource for leadership enhancement.
How do you express leadership in your workforce? Do you have a testimony of a great leader?
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Many of you may have seen this exciting U.S. News & World Report online or (most likely) this image flying around Facebook and LinkedIn: I am certainly excited for Lancaster County’s well-deserved recognition, but what I’m even more impressed with is one of the reasons why we are voted #1 in this category. The article says, “One contribution to Lancaster’s top well-being ranking is that working residents feel their employment supervisors strongly support them.” At The Chamber, I have seen first-hand the dedication that Lancaster County businesses have for their employees and it is exemplary. So, congratulations to you! With that being said, what can we continue to do to reach these platforms? Well, I can’t think of a better way to be inspired, get motivated and find ideas than to open our eyes to some of the top ranked, most highly praised cities in the world. Look no farther, The Chamber would like to take you to Vienna, Budapest and Prague:
- Vienna has ranked first (2005) and second (2011) among over 130 top world cities for “Quality of Life” while also surveying first for three consecutive years (2009-2011) for “Quality of Living.” Tomato, tomoto, we know that this is a great place to live. Analytically, it was ranked first (2007-2008) and second (2009) globally for a culture of innovation among 256 cities. It hosts the United Nations and OPEC, it’s the number one destination for international congresses and conventions, and attracts about five million tourists a year.
- Budapest, a financial hub in Central Europe, ranked as “the most livable Central/Eastern European city on EIU’s quality of life index.” Its home of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology headquarters and is the highest ranked Central/Eastern European city on Innovations Cities’ Top 100 index. Plus, (it has to be mentioned) the A38 Hajo bar took the number one spot for “The 100 Greatest Bars of the World” (by Lonely Planet.)
- Prague is rich in history and has been a political, cultural, and economic center of central Europe during its 1,100 year existence. Its extensive historic center has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and is home to Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, the Jewish Quarter and more; many of which survived the violence and destruction of twentieth century Europe.
We would love to have you join us and experience these amazing cities on this 8-day tour in November. To learn more, please visit our website, or contact The Chamber at 717-397-3531.
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My house project has officially taken over my life. As any homeowner knows, when you make the commitment to do a little fixing-up, one thing can lead to another, and another, and another. What started as a desire for a dishwasher, led to additional cabinets and countertop, a backsplash, new kitchen and dining room flooring and, hey, why not top it off with new paint. The beginning is excitement, the first roll of white primer on the chocolate wall made for a drastic change almost instantly. However, as days of evening and weekend work turned to weeks, now over a month that thrill is exhausted.
My goal last Saturday morning was to find sturdy shelving and a wooden trash bin (a task I assured my husband would take one or two hours tops) as I left him working away. I hit the typical spots merely minutes from my house (yes, I admit, big box stores) yet leaving empty handed, glancing at my watch. As store after store failed me in my pursuit of house deco, I found myself drifting down the line of Route 30 until I reached a rather large country store. I searched and again didn’t find exactly what I was looking for until the wonderful sales woman (an angel at the time) made a call to her Amish craftsman who said he would make my trash bin. I was thrilled to not only accomplish this task, but to receive a hand-made, great quality item. She suggested I stop at a furniture store right down the road for my next purchase and while they did not have what I was looking for, they suggested another place, who suggested another place. Now, keep in mind, while this may be obnoxious for some, I was temporarily escaping the insanity that was my house. And, while I consider myself an advocate for Lancaster city, the drive around Amish country was truly beautiful. I ended up in Kitchen Kettle Village which I have only been to once before. Honestly, I would have liked to spend the rest of the day there. But, I was on a mission and I finally did end up at an Amish store that had exactly what I was looking for. As I was pulling out, I couldn’t help but notice the other vehicle’s license plates in the parking lot: New Jersey, New York and Maryland. These visitors have come from out of state for something I have in my backyard and took me all day to find.
Here-in lay my point: I should have started here to begin with. That’s what The Chamber’s Think Local campaign is all about. I was a prime example of conveniently overlooking the treasures of Lancaster County. I encourage you to not make my mistake, but to start with thinking about what you can get from local businesses and go from there both professionally and personally – which leads me to my second point. Tourism is the second largest industry leader in Lancaster County generated by consumer spending, tax revenues and jobs. It is likely that the visitor’s bureau will receive zero state funding for tourism promotion efforts. Our out-of-state friends might not receive those TV, radio and print advertisement enticing them to come to Lancaster. However, we can stroll down the street or hop in the car and easily take advantage of local opportunities. So, let’s roll-up our sleeves and continue building Lancaster County into a model of prosperity. Agree?…Want to put it in writing? Then sign our Think Local’s Declaration of Understanding!
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I think it’s safe to say that the weather this past year was very…odd. Last year around this time, (if I remember correctly) we had a normal winter. A few snow showers here and there, but nothing like the winter before (thank goodness!).
We then slowly rolled into spring. A few weeks later, it was summer. I felt robbed – we barely even had spring! Spring is one of my favorite seasons (not only because it’s the season of which my birthday is in) but because it’s beautiful weather! Flowers start to bloom, the sun stays out longer and you can finally go outside for long periods of time and not feel like an icicle. Where did it go?
I slowly got over the fact that there was nothing I could do get spring back and embraced summer. I don’t mind summer; in fact I enjoy it! I love riding my motorcycle around on back roads and going on vacations with my family. However, this past summer was one of the hottest I can ever remember. We reached record high temperatures and I swear there was 100% humidity every day. It felt like a sauna out there!
I’m not even going to get into the fact that we didn’t have a fall either, because then I’d be ranting forever. But we all know that summer ran right into winter – remember the snow storm we had on Halloween?!
You’re probably wondering why I’m raving about the weather, but I compare our current economy to the weather – you never know what will happen today, tomorrow or even next spring. Some reports say that we’re almost out of the current recession but then others say we’re headed into another recession. It changes every day. How can you truly stay on top of the matter?
Thanks to The Chamber, we offer programs, events and initiatives, like Think Local, to help better our local economy and educate our community. Do you want to learn how The Chamber’s going to continue to help make our community prosperous for 2012? Then I strongly encourage you to attend our Annual Business Meeting, February 17 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. to hear The Chamber unveil its strategic priorities for 2012. Attending this event gives you the opportunity to hear firsthand from Chamber leadership on our plan to lead Lancaster County’s business community. You’re not alone; we’re all in this together as a community. Now about that weather…
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When I was younger, I remember my parents always saying how fast time flies by. I would look up at them and shrug it off because time for me at that age seemed to take forever. Whenever I was in school, sports practice or even certain family gatherings, time felt like it was at a standstill.
Fast forward a few years later until I was a junior in college. I remember it was during finals week for the fall semester and I was thinking to myself that I only have three more semesters to go and then I’ll be finished college – how exciting! After this thought actually processed through my mind, I realized that I only have three more semesters left of my college career! How could this be? I was just a senior in high school and now I’ll soon be a senior in college? It wasn’t until this moment that I realized that my parents were right – time does fly!
In a blink of an eye I was graduating college and soon after I started working for The Chamber. A few days ago I received an email congratulating me on my first 90 days of work. I couldn’t believe that I have been working for more than three months when it only feels like I just started yesterday!
Knowing that time is out of our control and that we all never seem to have enough hours in a day, we should step back and look at the bigger picture: be thankful for the time that we do have and take advantage of it. Now that it’s the holiday season, spend as much time as you can with your friends and family and enjoy every second of it!
Time is free, but it’s priceless.You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back – Harvey MacKay
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Every once in a while, someone asks me to justify their Chamber membership on a dollar-to-dollar basis. They say, “What will I get in return for my dues that will improve my bottom line by that amount or more?” I say, if you are measuring our value in that regard we better have a talk about how you can plan on getting involved or utilizing the resources available to you as a member, because just joining doesn’t guarantee bottom-line results.
By refusing to be judged on a dollar-to-dollar basis I am not trying to dodge the “tough question.” Rather, I am trying to reinforce my belief that the value of Chamber membership cannot be adequately measured that way. Let me explain.
As the only county-wide organization advocating for state and federal transportation dollars, what is the bottom-line savings to a specific business for improvements on Route 30 or enhancements at our Train Station or flight service at our airports (Lancaster & Harrisburg)?
What is the bottom-line value of our recently launched and financially supported Think Local campaign that is designed to encourage local businesses and consumers to do business with local businesses and, in so doing, benefit the entire community?
What is the bottom-line value of our Sustainable Cities initiative where we are mobilizing and advocating for state legislative changes that will enable our local government to govern in a more cost-effective manner and, in so doing, improve the local business climate?
What is the bottom-line value of attending any of our free Mixers where you can avail yourself to 200-plus business people? We can’t promise you business; but I know we can deliver the opportunity!
What is the value of showcasing local best practices, peer groups and other professional development opportunities right here in your own back yard? Many people have found time and time again that that “one take-away” they experienced at an event resulted in increased business, reduced expenses or an entirely new market opportunity (and we have testimonial after testimonial to prove it!).
The above represent the real value of The Chamber and your support through membership enables it all to happen. Make no mistake about it, we need and appreciate our members! However, we also like to think that our members need us –even in ways they don’t fully realize. Working together we can grow everyone’s bottom line and continue our collective quest toward “Building Lancaster County into a model of prosperity for 21st Century America.”
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Well, it happened. This Monday (Oct. 17) I was minding my own business and cooking with the television on in the background, when I noticed the snow, tinsel and red ornaments on the screen. It was a holiday commercial… in October. To be fair, it was for Avon, where you must place orders now to have product by Christmas. But still, isn’t it awfully early to be thinking about buying gifts? Or maybe I’m just behind the eight-ball as the only person who hasn’t started thinking about it??
Either way, I did some research on holiday spending forecasts, and according to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, holiday shoppers will be buying more gifts online this year than ever before: 46.7% will be purchasing online, up from 43.9% last year.
It is interesting to me that while movements are springing up across the country to encourage support of small businesses—including the Chamber’s Think Local initiative—more Americans are shopping from the comfort of their homes.
No one would argue the convenience of slipping into pajamas and surfing the web at midnight to complete a shopping list. However, I challenge you to Think Local as you embark on your holiday shopping journey. As technological opportunities advance, you will find that many Lancaster-based businesses have an online store presence, and by placing an order with these folks, instead of a vendor hundreds of miles away, you will keep money in the community, which leads to increased prosperity and sustainability.
Check out the Chamber’s membership directory to see if your favorite shops are members, and make a point out of spending your holiday budget locally. When we Think Local, we invest back into the community we love, and—simply stated—there’s no better gift for the long-term than a thriving, successful Lancaster County.
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