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The Sane Middle--A Petri Dish for Innovative Change

The Sane Middle--A Petri Dish for Innovative Change

You may have seen the recent press release announcing the graduation of Chamber Director Steve Bush from the Institute for Organization Management (IOM), the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. He returned from a week-long educational event armed with energy and a wealth of tools and industry insights to implement here in McDowell.

The institute is comprised of four week-long sessions, and is taught by university professors, industry experts, and leading practitioners in the chamber and association industries. Course material covers everything from finances and governance, to hiring and advocacy. A chamber, one instructor noted, is in the optimal position to serve its community as the moderator in dealings of economic growth and policies. 

"I like to think of our Chamber as being a conduit that brings people and ideas together to facilitate growth, address problems, and tap into innovation where ever we can," Bush says. "We can serve as a "sane middle" in a divided arena of often polarizing views."

The Sane Middle

President and CEO of the Mobile, Alabama Chamber of Commerce describes The Sane Middle as, "providing a pragmatic approach to collectively working together in our community to find solutions to problems and take advantage of opportunities."
The very nature of the Chamber of Commerce lends itself to the task of identifying a fluid and more natural path to conscientious progress for our community. Through the work we do, we have the privilege--and responsibility-- of building relationships, connecting the right people to the right project or investment, and recognizing the communities key strengths and weaknesses. We work closely with local, county and state governments, the school system, nonprofit organizations, and of course our business members. These relationships provide a unique birds-eye-view to issues and projects the country faces and is a powerful tool for encouraging consensus. We are better equipped to bring all of the issues together, funnel ideas, and really become a change agent for McDowell.

Professor Elaine Estervig Beaubien of Edgewood College School of Business points out that, "The collective mind is fertile and cultivating the best in people will lead to results far greater than the sum of its parts." 

Our core pillars, Accountable, Growth-focused, Service Oriented, and Engaged, along with our mission statement align well with being the Sane Middle and change agent for our community. 

"The diversity of our membership allows us to have a pulse on the range of issues that our community members and businesses face on a daily basis and then act on them accordingly through the various connections and relationships," says Bush. "This helps us be that conduit for getting things done." 

Change is inevitable. Families, communities, businesses, and organizations exist in a dynamic, open system, explains Prof. Beaubein. All variables in this system are in a state of constant flux, she says, and if an organization or an individual does not adapt, they will become obsolete. We believe that as a community, the more each individual/entity/organization is engaged in the process, the better the outcome for us all. 

The Chamber will continue to lead with the driving philosophy of Henry Ford: 

"Coming Together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working Together is Success!"


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