Kennebec Valley Chamber

Serving the Kennebec Valley, Maine Region

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Friday Report ~ March 18, 2016

"Feeling Lucky?" - Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day. Those of you who celebrated may have had a hard time getting out of bed this morning. As Americans, we are quick to celebrate the wide variety of minor holidays that dot our calendar. Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, etc. Many of these over the years have developed into a reason to drink and eat, St. Patrick's Day being one of the most prominent. In fact, over 13 billion pints of Guinness were consumed yesterday.

As you learned last week, I am a fan of beer. I too enjoy celebrating St. Patrick's Day. I also love bangers and mash, corned beef and cabbage and a nice Irish whiskey. Let me be clear, I am not Irish at all. Okay - that's not true, my ancestors are Scottish and immigrated to Northern Ireland and are referred to as Scotch Irish or Ulster Scots. In fact, my ancestors, having settled in Northern Ireland from Scotland, are represented on the Irish Flag by the color orange, NOT green. The flag of Ireland is a representation of the Catholic Irish (Green), The Protestant Irish (Orange) and the peace that exists between them (White).
In the spirit of peace, I had a small summit of our own here at the chamber yesterday. I invited three leaders from different communities to the office. We discussed how they can work together to promote our region as one and maximize the commonality of their communities and the things that tie them together.  It went extremely well and I look forward to seeing these three communities work together going forward.
This left me feeling very positive about cooperation and finding common ground where you may not expect it. I am reminded of my college courses on Total Quality Management. I recall a story of two competing gas stations on opposite corners of a small town. They both had mechanics and a strong customer base, but neither had the capital to invest in a tow truck. Based on this, the station in a town 5 miles away was getting all of the emergency repair business.
The solution was not readily evident until they decided to think outside the box. They joined forces on this effort and combined their capital to purchase one tow truck. They then worked out a schedule that shared the truck between the two stations. Not only did they recover the business that they were not capturing, but they provided a service to the community that had been sorely lacking.
So I challenge you this week to try to think of the greater good. Are there customers that are getting services outside our communities that you could capture if you partnered with a competitor? Is there a need here that is not getting met? Is tough competition between two businesses putting you both in the hole? We at the chamber pride ourselves on making business connections and opening communication lines where they may not exist. You would be amazed at what you can accomplish if you start to look at the big picture. As always, if you need a hand, please give me a call.