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The Leadership Lansing Blog is the open communication forum of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. In the Leadership Lansing Blog, we will highlight all things related to the Greater Lansing business community. We will feature posts from our staff, our membership and the legislative leaders of this region. If you have any questions or would like to be a contributor to the Leadership Lansing Blog, please contact Eric Dimoff, Marketing and Communications Director, at 517-853-6460 or We appreciate the continued support!


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What is the Chamber of Commerce?

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What is The Chamber of Commerce?

At the heart of the local economy and the backbone of virtually every great community you’ll find a chamber of commerce celebrating and promoting the diversity and uniqueness of their community.  Chambers of Commerce help form the fabric of America.  Their efforts result in business attraction, job creation, improved education, beautification and more.  Despite all of this, the question is still often asked, “What is the Chamber of Commerce?”

Technically, chambers of commerce are business associations generally incorporated as a 501(c)(6), that work diligently to improve the economic, cultural, and overall business climate for the areas they serve.  They are typically private, not-for-profit corporations.  Chambers are governed by a volunteer board of directors and employ professional staff to accomplish their mission.  While that is impressive, it is the daily work of chambers that moves communities, the state and this nation forward. 

Today’s chambers of commerce focus on a broad range of activities and support for both business and the community at large.  From community and workforce development initiatives to information dissemination and legislative advocacy, chamber professionals and members work with other talented leaders in business, community and government to create a positive environment and to make the community a better place to work, live and play. 

The beauty of chambers of commerce is that they truly embody the spirit of entrepreneurship, ingenuity and innovation of their communities and the businesses they represent; therefore, specific programs, products and services vary by chamber and are tailored specifically to the needs of the local community.  These programs often include:

  • Business development and growth programs for large and small businesses
  • Custom research, local/regional economic forecasts, or other analysis
  • One-stop shops for information or services related to starting a business, getting elected to public office or finding a job
  • Fighting for pro-business as well as important community relevant legislation and to form public and private alliances

This list goes on.  Whether it is economic development, tourism, community events, or those mentioned above the chamber of commerce is the “go to” resource for information.  It is the convener of people and a place where things get done.  In short, chambers of commerce provide the community leadership necessary to develop the economic well-being of their region. 

As you see, chambers of commerce are involved in many facets of the community (sometimes quietly) to help create places we call home. October is Chamber of Commerce month in Michigan. This month is set aside annually to reflect and show our appreciation for the work of many dedicated individuals and organizations across the state.

Now that you have a better sense of what the chamber is, you can better understand the role they play in your community.  With this new knowledge, take a moment to stop in and meet your chamber of commerce staff and learn more about the powerful work they do and the contributions they make on behalf of you, local businesses and the community.  If you already know them (and chances are you do), drop in, say thanks and tell them how much you appreciate them for their work!

Submitted by: Bob Thomas, Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals 

Tags:  business attraction  business climate  business development  chamber of commerce  community leadership  cultural  economic  entrepreneurship  ingenuity  innovation  job creation  public policy  regionalism  workforce development 

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Three Cornerstones of Confidence

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Friday, April 18, 2014

I am always amazed when I watch great athletes and championship teams at what a fine line there is between superior confidence and self-doubt. How often do we see a player or team on a hot streak or coming off a championship season suddenly hit the skids and profess that their confidence is shaken?  How can anyone be so good one day and then profess that they have trouble believing in themselves the next?

Losing streaks and shaken confidence can hit each one of us and our organizations at any time.  History is filled with stories of companies that were on top of the world and lost their way for a variety of reasons. Harvard Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter studied many business and sports organizations that have hit both ends of the confidence pendulum in her book Confidence: How Winning Streaks & Losing Streaks Begin and End. She identifies what I call three cornerstones of confidence that organizations must address to turnaround a downward spiral or maintain a winning streak.

Accountability. Kanter says accountability is missing in most losing streaks, when “people stop talking, stop practicing and stop trying or become accustomed to finding fault than facing facts.  To shift the cycle from losing to winning, leaders must develop accountability—the discipline and responsibility of the best athletes and teams.”

Cultivating Collaboration.  When organizations go on losing streaks, people’s confidence in one another is lost.  It’s up to the leaders in the organization to lead that turnaround. It starts with including everyone on the team in developing and implementing turnaround strategies. Leaders need to set ground rules for team behavior, new goals and new respect for a healthy team building process. This includes getting people connected to each other, carrying out work in teams and communicating an inclusive environment of mutual respect.

Inspiring Initiative and Innovation.  Kanter says leaders should be guided by four principles:

1)      Believe in people and their power to make a difference

2)      Direct the energy tied up in negativity into positive actions

3)      Make initiative possible and desirable

4)      Start with small wins—things that people can control

Even the most supremely confident leaders and their teams will experience more than one crisis of confidence during their careers.  Starting a new winning streak begins with a willingness to honestly face the facts and make changes to “business as usual.”  View your personal and organizational setbacks as opportunities to build a new championship team that will enjoy many more victory celebrations.

Ross Woodstock, Executive Coaching and Leadership Development
Kolt Communications, Inc.

Ross Woodstock is an executive coach/consultant with Kolt Communications in Okemos, Michigan.  During his career in leadership, management and consulting, Ross has become widely known as an innovative leader, creative problem solver and an inspiring communicator. As an executive coach, Ross helps leaders achieve sustainable growth in their careers.  He also works with organizations to help them develop their high potential leaders. He received his ACC coaching credential from the International Coach Federation.

Tags:  Accountability  Athletes  Championships  Collaboration  Confidence  Initiative  Innovation 

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