It’s been 20 years since I started working in economic development.
Over the years I’ve provided support to hundreds of organizations in the mid-Atlantic region.
A lot of things have changed in the past 20 years. For example: 20 years ago, we had a typewriter in the office. Fax machines were cool and helpful. Scanners were there, but you couldn’t email a large file. (Dial-up wouldn’t sustain it.)
Websites were just starting to come out. There was no (affordable) “content-management” system. You learned HTML if you needed to make any changes. There was no Facebook or social media strategy. I often visited the local library for data.
And now, information is 3 clicks away. I’m sure many of us remember (or wish for) the day when we weren’t living in a 24-hour work environment. Do you remember the last time your internet was out or you couldn’t connect? Now, it’s a big deal to find a remote vacation where you can truly disconnect.
While reflecting on the past 20 years, I was surprised to find that while so much has changed, the core of how we do business remains the same.
Here are 3 key things that haven’t changed in the past 20 years:
1. You need to stay connected with technology trends.
One of my first projects (just after college) was to work on the first website for the Jefferson County Development Authority (Jane – do you remember that??) I had to learn enough HTML to be dangerous … I still use these basic elements to this day.
One of the important elements with new technology is to continue learning. You need to continue learning, trying, testing new tools and methods.
2. We live in a data-driven world.
As much as I strive to tell client stories, everything starts and stops with factual data. I started my career as a research analyst (I think that was the title) and having the ability to review and interpret data has been important over the years. People make data-driven decisions and we are capturing data differently — more efficiently.
3. Personal relationships must be cultivated.
I’m not about to contradict myself (from #2), but so much of what we do starts with the personal relationships we make and nurture. If social media has shown us anything, it’s how important it is to be personal, relatable, consistent, and authentic. The only difference is — many of these relationships are happening online rather than in person.
What about you? Regardless of the length of your career… some things change and many things stay the same. What has withstood the test of time? What has continued to be at the core of how you do business?