Hope KC chamber's 'Big 5' don't become Big Duds
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce rolls out its “Big 5” ideas with lots of fanfare next Tuesday morning at the Liberty Memorial.
Picking the right ideas is important. Getting the right people to put them in place is even more crucial.
Fail that test, and the Big 5 will become Big Duds, and the bold experiment to move the KC region forward will fall by the wayside - as too many other grand ideas such as this one have done in the past in this area.
Chamber President and CEO Jim Heeter and others previously have said they want to have a “champion” for each of the Big 5 ideas when they are announced.
They want a group or a person who will lead the charge to make sure the idea gets done.
That’s significant, because everyone knows putting together lists of goals and objectives is easy. The difficult part is meeting those goals and objectives.
The chamber hasn’t announced its five finalists yet, although a select group of members have already made the decisions. A couple of early favorites to become finalists - such as promoting life sciences and entrepreneurship - likely will make the list.
Just as notably, don’t look for light rail or related transit objectives to make the Big 5. That priority already has many champions. They just aren’t tugging in the same direction. Plus, the chamber’s added voice on this topic wouldn’t make much difference.
No, the chamber has to make sure it selects cream-of-the-crop leaders who will be committed to carrying out the Big 5 ideas.
If that means pouring money into the cause, count on fundraising experts to be among the champions.
If that means galvanizing broad public support behind a priority, look for experts in that field to become immediately involved.
There are plenty of skeptics, as usual, about what the Big 5 will lead to eventually. Chairman Greg Graves announced the plan with enthusiasm last year, and his support for the project hasn’t wavered.
But it’s going to take long-term backing from the chamber - from Heeter and the chairmen and women to follow Graves after he leaves office this fall - to make the Big 5 a true success story for the chamber.
And for the entire Kansas City area.