“Change is good.” You hear people say this all the time, don’t you? They shake their heads in agreement, but their eyes are wide and those two little lines appear between their eyebrows. They say it out loud a few more times, hoping to convince whoever is listening that they believe this to be true.
The truth: Change is good, and change is also hard. More often than not, people choose to stay right where they are, even if they are unhappy, rather than move forward into the possible discomfort and unfamiliarity of change.
If this already feels a little personal, I understand. And we’re not even going that far below the surface. While I’m speaking from a professional standpoint (and I’m about to start talking about your Denton Chamber of Commerce again), I do want to acknowledge that it feels personal because it is personal.
You care deeply about this community, about your business and about the things that you trade 40, 50, 60-plus hours of your week for. It is personal. And from our perspective at the Chamber of Commerce — where we have committed ourselves to supporting the success of business owners in this community — it’s personal to us too.
In the conversations I have been listening to and at the tables I have been invited to, the thing everyone seems to agree on is that change is in the air. Leadership is changing or has recently changed in a number of companies and community organizations. The community is growing, which brings change on multiple levels. Many streets are lined with orange detour signs, indicating that change is happening right beneath our feet.
Why does having to take a different route each morning feel like it’s throwing off our whole day? Because we can’t rely on autopilot.
As a newcomer to your community, I’m feeling the pain of this right alongside you. I have not developed a routine yet, and literally everything requires my thought and attention. And while it is exhausting, it is also necessary. Who wants to live a complacent life?
What does any of this have to do with the Denton Chamber of Commerce, which has been operating here for 110 years? Everything.
Your Chamber of Commerce is changing too. We are in the process of evaluating everything we do under this roof by these metrics:
■ Does this align with our mission?
■ Is this wasting our resources or generating resources?
■ Do our members find value in this benefit or program?
If you will indulge me for a few more bullet points, I am going to remind you of exactly what we exist to do. And if it feels familiar, that is because I am going to have it reprinted here as many times as I can get away with it. Last month, in this same column, I said:
Chamber missions vary, but they all tend to focus to some degree on five primary goals:
■ Building communities that attract residents, visitors and investors — through public and private partnerships. (The economic development arm of the chamber plays a large role here.)
■ Promoting those communities. This is most commonly the function of the Convention & Visitors Bureau arm of the chamber.
■ Striving to ensure future prosperity via a pro-business climate. We want to make it easy to do business in our community!
■ Representing the unified voice of the employer community to local, state and federal government (There’s power in numbers.)
■ Providing accelerated access to resources and relationships — networking!
Most chambers are led by private-sector employers, self-funded, organized around boards of volunteers, and independent. They share a common ambition for sustained prosperity of their community and region, built on thriving employers. Most are ardent proponents of the free market, resisting attempts to overly burden private-sector enterprise and investment. To read more, visit acce.org.
This is what we do and why we exist. Your membership in the Denton Chamber of Commerce is not merely an “all-access mixer pass.” While you are handling the business of running your business, we are creating partnerships, building relationships and hunting down resources and opportunities that will help you reach your goals.
Your obligation as a member is not to carve out time to show up to every single thing we do. All you have to do is tell us what keeps you awake at night. What hurdles are you trying to navigate and what kind of help do you need?
Your membership in the chamber is your “all-access resource pass.” A membership in your chamber is an investment in your business and an investment in the health of the business community you are operating in.
If you are feeling the winds of change as we navigate toward being the very best place to do business in Texas, reach out and let me know how we can help. My email is erica@ denton-chamber.org, and our office is at 414 W. Parkway St.
Or find me of Facebook at Erica Pangburn. Let’s be uncomfortable together.