Five-Year organizational Road Map adopted

April 03, 2017
          During the chamber’s Annual Membership Banquet in March, Board Chair Jim Fykes announced the adoption of a new five-year, organizational Strategic Plan.  The 2012-2017 five-year plan cycle concluded on March 31, 2017.

          Based on the responses of three different focus groups, the 2012-2017 plan was updated, and adopted as revised by the full board of directors on March 30, 2017.

        The new Strategic Plan will serve as the blueprint for the chamber through March 31, 2023.

        Due to the complexity of the chamber, there are several components to the updated plan.  Jim told the membership “The roadmap we expect to follow is broken into six major, over-arching components.”

The six areas are: Advocacy, Branding, Triangular Focus, Careers, Tax Base & Profit Opportunity, Targeted Investment Growth and Facilities.

        The Denton Chamber is one of only a handful in the entire nation that has not only achieved Accreditation through the U.S. Chamber every five years, but, has also maintained its certification since originally attained in 1975.

        Jim pointed out that “earning Accreditation is one step, but, striving for the corresponding supplemental ratings is another.  Based on the observations from the U.S. Chamber’s Accreditation Board in 2014, we’ve basically reached the highest supplemental ranking we can, as long as our public advocacy role is limited.”

        Jim clarified that the Denton Chamber’s organizational structure is very unique.  Most local chambers of commerce no longer operate convention & visitor bureaus, their economic development marketing roles are very narrow, and, their emphasis tends to be much more political in nature.

        In compliance with the current By-Laws, Jim confirmed that “our chamber does exercise its public advocacy role periodically, mainly at the local level, in a very select manner.”

        From the perspective of the U.S. Chamber, however, their target is a lot more partisan, aggressive in personal endorsements, and, expanded to include state and federal elections.

        Subsequently, this query was posed to the three focus groups.  The caveat was that the chamber has enjoyed decades of formal partnerships with the City of Denton to administer the local convention & visitor bureau (CVB), and economic development (ED).

        After thorough discussion and vetting, the overwhelming consensus of all three focus groups was that maintaining these partnerships with the City of Denton definitely supersedes the necessary shift in program philosophy required to fulfill the expectations of the U.S. Chamber.

        In summary, the updated strategic plan advocates continued pursuit of Accreditation.  “But, as a board,” Jim told the membership, “we acknowledge and embrace the fact that we will probably never reach the top, five star certification, as long as the chamber is a contracted partner with the City of Denton.”

        For at least the next five years, the status quo will remain in place, assuming that the City Council and chamber board mutually agree to the existing terms of the standing CVB and ED administrative relationship.

        The restructured plan carries forward an initiative from the 2012-2017 proposal to ultimately pursue a new full-time staff position. Ultimately, this position would coordinate the chamber’s Leadership Denton program, as well as identify, analyze and make recommendations on proposed public regulations, at all levels, for board consideration and subsequent action.

        Another important, existing factor in the plan is the chamber’s location and office headquarters.
      The present chamber facilities are completely paid off, and, sit on property owned by the City of Denton, based on a $1 per year lease, originally transacted in 1975, and, ultimately extended to 2048. 

        The unanimous consensus of all three focus groups was that the board seek ways to make the current facilities and property useful for at least the next five year cycle.

        The updated plan sets forth a critical initiative, which calls for the board to evaluate and redefine the relevance of the Denton Chamber to the next generation of potential members.

        Jim explained that the board touched upon this charge during the planning retreat in late January, and agreed that it needs much more vigilant consideration.  Additional input on this particular initiative will naturally be sought over the next few years.
Chuck Carpenter, President
(940) 382-9693