Day 25: How do I handle bad situations? As I have said before a good economic developer is not doing their job if they aren’t upsetting someone. That sounds a little crass but it is true. The secret is to get the person upset to actually be your friend two days later. Easier said than done, right? I have upset plenty of people over the years. In every case I can think of, it certainly was not on purpose. I think if you are actually working hard you will just upset someone because you are actually doing something. Our society seems to be more sensitive about offending someone. I have decided I can’t go about life worrying about offending someone because, I just am. Not intentionally. As with most of my posts, communication is a good problem avoidance technique. If you communicate what you are going to do and what you have done frequently it takes a lot of the surprises out of a situation.
Several years ago when I was at the state and responsible for existing business I had made a call on a company that wanted to expand to another town in Iowa. They were not moving the operation, just expanding. They actually had already decided what town. They were going to add around 100 jobs in the new location. They were going to ask for some state assistance. In order to get assistance, they would need the community where they already had an operation to sign off on the assistance that would help the company expand to the new location. They had several legitimate reasons for wanting to expand outside of their headquarters community. I went with the company and met with the Mayor. The meeting did not go well. The Mayor was very upset that they weren’t expanding in their hometown. He got very upset with me. He called the Director and the Governor demanding that I be fired. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed but it was rough for a couple of days. But I did what was best for the company and the state of Iowa. But, I was doing my job and it upset someone. There is a right and a wrong. We should not be afraid to stand up for what is right. Next: How do I handle politics?Next Previous