Working together for the greater good| Rebecca Martin

Becca Martin

A critical determinant for investment decision-making is based on the climate for doing business in that area. To have a strong business environment and to be successful in the competitive game of economic development, a community —business, residents and government — must be in harmony.

The Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce recognizes the critical role collaboration plays for investment decision-making and is committed to working in partnership with community stakeholders as it convenes, facilitates and networks the business community to issues and ideas.

Successful efforts to retain, expand and attract business are tied to areas that practice respectful, reasonable and inclusive leadership. And that leadership takes many forms — business owners, frontline employees, community volunteers, elected officials or those within the chamber itself.

We need each other. No one organization can create economic prosperity standing alone as an island. No one organization can drive community-wide initiatives. We all have a part to play. Sometimes we lead and sometimes we follow.

Collaboration, then, is a rallying cry for all of us living and working in Federal Way to take responsibility for the atmosphere we create, not only for economic growth but also for the culture of our community.

Sounds great! But how is it done? Communication is the key. How do we talk to each other? Where do we find new ideas? What are the facts? We’ve all been there. Any conversation or negotiation can take an unexpected turn that stalls progress and limits our potential.

To support a climate of growth that celebrates collaboration, the chamber has developed a “Work Together for the Greater Good” initiative based on national models. The following eight points of collaboration were developed in part based on The Civility Project, Millennium Group, Duluth Superior Community Foundation.

Eight points of collaboration:

• Be Inclusive.

Welcome all citizens working for the greater good of the community. The greater good is only achieved when we work together for goals that reach beyond our personal position. When we draw boundaries, we define ourselves and protect our own spaces and ideas. Seek to include, not exclude.

• Listen.

Focus on others in order to better understand their points of view. Each of us can make a conscious effort to listen, to remain calmly silent while another speaks. A good listener hears, then waits before speaking. Waiting shows that you are listening and that you care enough to think about what has been said.

• Show Respect.

Honor other people and their opinions, especially in the midst of a disagreement. An opinion is not the truth. You have an opinion, and so do others. While neither of you may hold the truth in your hands, both of you deserve respect.

• Be Open-minded.

Look for opportunities to agree; don’t contradict just to do so. There is strength in letting others be strong, in acknowledging that others can help us. Standing up for our beliefs is noble, but seeking common ground and agreement with others gives strength to our nobility.

• Take Responsibility.

Don’t shift responsibility and blame to others. You can stand firm and be true to your values while practicing civility. Community leaders can express their beliefs with poise and grace, even as they disagree on issues.

• Celebrate Ideas.

Welcome diverse opinions and reframe conflict. Ideas translate into progress. Welcoming the diversity of ideas translates into progress. Welcoming the diversity of ideas from members of a thriving community will expand the opportunities within it.

• Know the Facts.

Be truthful. Honest debate takes place when you know the facts. Issues can never be resolved when points are clouded by gossip and misinformation. Get the facts on an issue first, and then interpret them together. If we start with the same factual information, we can resolve issues more efficiently.

• Get Involved.

Be aware of the world and the people around you. A community moves forward when its citizens focus their attention on the needs around them. Working together for a greater good is the foundation of every successful public/private partnership in America — and Federal Way is no exception. Collaboration strengthens all of our efforts to enhance our economic future. We must commit to stop talking about it and do it.

The chamber would love to share the “Work Together of the Greater Good” program with our community. To schedule a presentation for your business or organization, contact the chamber at 253-838-2605.

Rebecca Martin is the CEO of the Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce.

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