5 Lessons From the MLB All-Star Game for Economic Opportunity Pursuits

Overmoyer-MLBIt’s All About the Distance. Or is It?

Sure, power contributes to your ability to hit a home run, but it’s also the mechanics of how you swing that can take the ball farther. Many community and economic development initiatives throw a lot of money (power) at an issue without an understanding of the underlying issues and opportunities. A better approach is to use community input combined with real-time data to better understand the current local mechanics and what forms of investment (money and time) it will take to support change.

A Team Needs Time to Play in Sync

The all-star game is a collaboration between players chosen by votes and luck and they come together each July to represent their League. Some know each other well, others are only remotely aware of their new teammates. There is a lesson to be learned here about how professionals can come together from different communities to create a winning outcome. It just takes a shared goal and solid coaching to achieve victory.

No Position Is More Important

Everyone should have a chance to take a swing at the ball or make that great play. Our field of community and economic development takes as much offense as it does defense and this is where the arguments begin. Community development is all about playing in the field – making sure the positions are covered when a hit comes your way. Economic development is about hitting a home run for your community that puts you ahead quickly. That lead may not last for as long as you would think though. It takes both roles to win the season and too often our communities support one over the other and end up middle of the pack.

Diversity is Important

Baseball, like our cities, is an international venture. MLB teams scout talent all over the world and take a bet on players that can help them compete. Successful cities are doing the same as they attract foreign-born professionals and students that contribute in many ways to their community and culture.

Reward the Best

Sure, our field won’t support million dollar signing bonuses and contracts, but we really should start developing a better understanding of the return on investment that our economic and community development professionals are providing versus other “community role models” like our sports team professionals. Can you only imagine what a five-year $35 million deal for your local executive director’s organization would mean for the future of your community?

Fourth Economy Champions 2017

In closing, how about next summer we have the community and economic development all-star event where we celebrate our best and tell our communities that real life can mean even more than sports.  Join me by getting in touch at rovermoyer@fourtheconomy.com