This week, a small group of Chamber colleagues spent two jam-packed days in Raleigh scouting topics, speakers and venues for the 2018 Metro Leadership Visit on October 3-5. Spending 36 hours in the City of Oaks visiting with business and community leaders reminded me of three things:
1. The Charleston region is unique, but our biggest challenges aren’t.
Every metropolitan region is concerned about transportation infrastructure, human capital and housing costs. Every bold new project faces skepticism and opposition. Political boundaries are barriers to progress everywhere.
► Metro Leadership Visit attendees will see that our region’s top priorities and biggest challenges are essentially the same in Raleigh and every metro region in the country.
2. There is no instruction manual for region-wide prosperity.
Raleigh showcases transformative projects that converted critics to champions and bold plans that overcame narrow-mindedness. But none of their plans offer plug-and-play solutions for Charleston or any other region.
► The goal of looking at another city’s accomplishments during a Metro Leadership Visit is to educate and inspire attendees. Everything we learn in Raleigh will need translation to apply back home. Progress is a never-ending journey, not a destination.
3. The biggest issues are never truly overcome because the goal posts are not fixed.
Raleigh has not “solved” transportation or workforce issues because those challenges are ever-changing.
► Metro Leadership Visit attendees will see examples where Raleigh is a few steps ahead of us; they’re bound to notice issues where they’re a few steps behind us. We can’t afford to waste time either with self-reproach or self-satisfaction because the end zone will always just get further away.
Most importantly, I returned from this week’s Raleigh trip with fresh eyes to see the Charleston region. That may be the best reason to sign up for the Metro Leadership Visit. A few days exploring Raleigh this October could be just the ticket to give you a new (or renewed) perspective on the progress you’re leading at home.