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Different Threads, Same Fabric

IAMC Members and Prospective Members,
      In the 21st century, when there is such a free flow of information, increased transparency and more frequent use of the open bid process, the most important value left in terms of differentiation is trust. At the IAMC Professional Forum just concluded in Corpus Christi, Stephen M.R. Covey spoke to this point, and collectively we all benefited from its thrust.
      The folks I meet at IAMC are already focused on a high trust quotient in their lives, and that's what makes the organization work so well.
      Another speaker, Bodine Belasco, told us how important it is to have a vision and also have an assessment of current conditions — the difference between those two positions is the structural tension that fosters creativity and innovation.
      The concepts of "vision" and "current assessment" also characterize how IAMC shapes its mission, all in the kind of small-group dynamic where meaningful relationships are built.
      The programming in Corpus as usual was top-notch, and I continue to be impressed by the work of our programming and research and education committees and staff. But as befits a collegial organization like ours, sometimes the impromptu is beneficial too.
      During an arranged interview with a newspaper reporter, several corporate IAMC members slipped into the room, and we ended up having an unscheduled roundtable. We talked about what it takes for a community to be competitive in a global economy, about the need to be resilient and the increasing importance of education and training. These days — as the automotive industry continues to prove — production technology allows a large facility to be operated by far fewer people, while at the same time ratcheting up the need for highly skilled technicians and professionals. That brings a lot more small communities into the site selection matrix, widening our vision at the same time it focuses our criteria.
      The conversation in that room was referencing the fact that we are in a global economy, but while we're in competition with regard to emerging mega-economies like India and China, there is still a huge amount of opportunity to prosper right here in the United States — if we can unshackle ourselves enough to do it.
      Stephen M.R. Covey also told us that the lowest form of communication in terms of trust is legal documents, which assume a complete lack of trust, slow down processes, and inherently create conflicts at a time when parties should be coming together.
      In an era when natural suspicion has become a core competency measured by HR, I'm personally hopeful that we can lift ourselves out of the stranglehold of legalism that can choke the efficiency, optimism and profitability out of U.S. enterprise.
      Trust is at the beginning and end of that journey. Through the personal and professional lessons and relationships that IAMC fosters, we have a good head start on weaving a future where the conditions grow closer and closer to the vision.

Charles McSwain


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