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Front Page » Opinion » How One Community One Goal Revisited Can Best Succeed

How One Community One Goal Revisited Can Best Succeed

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Written by on February 11, 2010

By Michael Lewis
A rerun of job-creation drive One Community One Goal offers great dividends for Miami-Dade County if done smartly.

It could focus us upon agreed-upon growth targets that would marshal resources to give us the biggest long-term bang for scarce bucks.

We’ve done it before, with success.

Beginning in 1996, Miami-Dade gathered 42 partners under the banner of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce to focus on seven industries as our bet for growth. In 2000 we added an eighth, aviation.

It was no small undertaking. One Community had paid staff and offices near the chamber. At least $100,000 from the affected industry funded each target. The school system designated 26 high schools divided among five targeted industries to be focus academies.

Eventually, the drive moved to the Beacon Council, which is to go to its board soon to begin again. Council President and CEO Frank Nero made the effort public two weeks ago at a Miami Today roundtable on marketing Miami based on quality.

A Beacon Council proposal to set new targets for attracting industries suggests a study that would analyze by employment, wages and sales the eight industries targeted by One Community.

The proposal seeks to view trends from local to global to find fastest-growing and emerging sectors.

It would also create a committee structure and look at community partners to bring in experts from around the world. Later would come efforts to get community consensus on goals.

Frankly, updating our economic targets is overdue. As Mr. Nero notes, the US economy has plummeted since the last study and China has become the global powerhouse.

When we set prior goals, the Internet was an infant, books were all on paper, airplanes had far shorter ranges, network television dominated and our county’s government was vastly different.

Changes can be game-changers, and a new look is vital.

Great ideas, however, demand great execution. Last time, a power struggle within the chamber sent One Community over to the Beacon Council. Ground must be evenly plowed in advance to make certain no boulders lie in the way today.

The Beacon Council memo cites funding need to hire "a marketing, research or location consultant firm to develop and publish the study, the purchase of existing industry trend studies and data, for a staff coordinator, management of committees and for special events scheduled to solicit input and the announcement of the completed study."

Other key questions linger:

•Who would pay? Having targeted industries fund work is a two-edged sword, charging beneficiaries but also making sure that only those who can afford to play benefit. That might not be wise.

•Who would work: loaned executives, a Beacon Council unit or a team formed just for this effort and expected to see it past study into implementation?

•Where would the study go? Shelves are full of dusty plans. Should the aim from day one be a continuing, continuous drive to put the study into operation community-wide spearheaded by an operations team? Or should the Beacon Council alone enact it?

•What about our largest and most vital segment, small business? It’s harder to target than a specific industry, but it’s where we most successfully create jobs and development in the trenches. Small business certainly won’t fund a study, but it’s worthy of one.

•Who makes the calls? The Beacon Council memo implies that partners get enlisted once work begins. The chamber, which created the first drive, has yet to be invited. Since jealousies and power struggles impaired the last effort, this is a concern.

•Like One Community 14 years ago, will a strong CEO take charge? The memo mentions only a staff coordinator, not far up the ladder when dealing with powerful figures and industries. What adds clout?

•Will the structure be temporary or permanent? Last time it became a 501c3, seeking contributions with a tax deduction. Is that smart?

•Where does government fit? Last time county Mayor Alex Penelas co-chaired, lending impact and funding help. Would a strong government role help or hurt?

•Will visioning be limited to picking key industries or broadened to view what kind of community, with what economic underpinning, Miami wants? The former is tactical, the latter strategic. Cooperative goal-setting takes far more time than unilateral targeting, but incorporating shared values and goals can pay larger long-term dividends.

Remember, without a shared roadmap for Miami’s drive into the future one route is as good as any other because we don’t care where we end up.

Those questions notwithstanding, the Beacon Council deserves a huge "Bravo!" for initiating a new and improved One Community One Goal. We’ll all benefit.

We’ll benefit even more if we unite to find the right answers to those tough questions.