Leadership. It’s about the bigger picture!

Caroline Williams, Chief Executive, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

Any business leader worth their salt will get their hands dirty; either literally, or metaphorically, by sometimes getting into the detail that they no longer deal with on a day to day basis to support their team. Whatever the cause it would have been worth it. But, ultimately, if they’re leaders, it’s their ability to see, understand and react to the bigger picture that they’re being trusted - and paid - for.

That strategic ability means they can see the strengths and weaknesses of the operation. They can grasp the size, shape and impact of competitive activity. They can motivate their team. They can frame the best direction to take for the future. And they can make things happen. 

To do all of that our business leaders must, inevitably, be in touch with the social and political landscape of our region. It’s they therefore  who actually know where roads need widening, railways need improving and that any broadband or mobile black spot is not just a debating point with a provider, it’s a potential lost sale to a customer.

It would seem to make sense then, wouldn’t it, to tap into that knowledge more effectively when it comes to leading the region forward? To use the knowledge, born of real commercial need and honed by leadership experience, to drive our region into the fast lane.

What I am saying, is that the region’s future prosperity relies on its commerce, and that it would  therefore make sense for leaders of that commerce to be recognized as influential in policy making, because they are hard wired into what’s really needed. There seems to be a misguided view from some, that the business community should leave the decision-making related to running Norfolk purely to elected members. They seem to have missed the point as to how the economy actually works.

We also need our local MPs to regain their tenacity and strength as a united lobbying unit working for Norfolk. I realize how difficult it is now many of them are Ministers, and in other key roles, but the business community needs them to work with us to reposition Norfolk in Westminster as a can-do County, a position which, because of the current devolution situation I believe has been weakened.

Norfolk will not grow and thrive unless all parties recognize the contribution each community brings. I believe that 2017 is the time to regroup and to work through our differences - to celebrate the great place Norfolk is to work, live and play! We have an event with all our MPs in February which is a great place to start. Let’s ensure that Team Norfolk really shows what we can achieve. I call on Norfolk’s business leaders to work with us to make this happen.

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