The headlines flip back and forth between positive news that people have more confidence in the economy to news that we are headed toward a double dip recession. During these challenging times, it's hard to stay optimistic.
I recently attended the Maine Development Foundation's 32nd annual meeting and awards. I must commend Laura Lachance on her presentation on all of the positive things happening in Maine. It was refreshing and the focus was on companies that are being innovative in our state.
Yes, we have a long way to go to recover from the slow growth in business and jobs and the inability to attract new businesses to the state. However, in the afternoon, a panel of business professionals commented on several areas of interest and shared valuable insight as to what companies need to be sustainable during these times. From my perspective, they shared optimism.
The panel included: Connie Gemmer, Partner, Barton & Gingold; Michelle Hood, President and CEO, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems; Peter Vigue, Chairman & CEO, Cianbro Corporation; and Bruce Wagner, CEO, Barber Foods.
Six themes emerged for me:
- Control your destiny.
- Know who you are and what you do. Have a vision with goals.
- Engage your workforce.
- Have a "yes, we can" approach to doing business.
- Hold people accountable and understand the consequences when people are not held accountable.
- View problems as opportunities.
These are not new ideas, but they reinforce what we know to be true. If business leaders do not create a clear strategy with a vision, rally employees around that vision and hold people accountable, companies will risk their survival.
Don't put off planning for the future. The future will be here and businesses must be ready. Thank you to the Maine Development Foundation for renewing my optimism in future possibilities.