There is a fable that is often quoted as an African proverb.
"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."
We are all lions and gazelles at different times in our lives. We may be leaders in our industry being chased by competitors. Or maybe we're a start-up company trying to revolutionize a product or service offered by businesses that have been around for decades. Often, we are the lion and gazelle at the same time, with one eye looking ahead trying to capture more market share while simultaneously looking back to make sure we haven't lost any customers along the way.
Regardless of what role we may be playing in the evolution of our organizations, the idea that we must constantly be on the move is a generally accepted truism of success. We must constantly be tinkering, creating, and innovating to stay fresh and relevant.
The Sherwood Chamber of Commerce is no different as we evolve to meet the growing and ever-changing needs of our members. Listening to our members and learning and adopting the best practices of others will assist us in our mission to give value to our members and the community through innovation and bold leadership and programs that develop the business climate.
A couple board members and I recently returned from a training session hosted by the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce. We were challenged to honestly assess how we function. Are we respected or liked? Fast and entrepreneurial or slow and bureaucratic? Do we get things done or are we simply busy doing things? Are we constantly changing or dominated by tradition?
As I completed the exercise, I felt good about many aspects of how the Chamber is run, but I recognized areas where we can be better.
As we conclude another busy summer of Cruisin' Sherwood, the Spotlight on Sherwood Awards Dinner, and the annual golf tournament, I look forward to working with our board and membership to build on our strengths and improve our weaknesses. Sherwood is a strong, thriving community that is well-respected, and we hope that the efforts the Chamber makes to run every day when the sun comes up will keep us on a path of improvement and prosperity.
Corey Kearsley is chief executive officer of the Sherwood Area Chamber of Commerce.
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