Doug Peters had his work cut out for him when he signed on as the new president and CEO of the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce. Just months before he made the move to Fayetteville, both the Fayetteville City Council and the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners were questioning how the money they were paying the organization was being spent. {mosimage}
    Peters heard and understands their concerns. That’s why as his first act as president of the newly renamed organization, he has implemented a 100-day strategic plan designed to bring greater accountability and a business mindset to the chamber.
    “All plans are a work in progress,” said Peters. “This plan is representative of where our priorities are currently, where we expect them to be as we move through my first 100 day tenure — which I hope is forever. I love Fayetteville.”
    Peters reiterated that he is a strategic thinker, and wants to make sure the organization is positioned well for the long-term.
    Already ongoing is a realignment of staff. He said the organization has some vacancies, and those responsibilities are being shifted to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. “We are a people organization,” said Peters, explaining that much of the work of the organization is carried out by volunteers with staff guidance. “We want to make sure we have the right people in the right roles doing the right things for the right reasons.”
    The plan is also designed to build in accountability measures, create a set of values for the organization and create an environment that’s fun, yet productive.
    Key to the whole plan is improved communication throughout the community. During his first 100 days, Peters plans to meet with key leaders throughout the community to get their perspectives on the strengths, weaknesses and threats to the organization. He hopes to hear what it is they think the chamber should be doing. “We cannot be all things to all people,” he said.
    He added that he hopes to bring a transparency to the agency that has been missing. “I want the organization to do things as openly as it can. Obviously we can’t name names of companies who are looking at our area or give information that is not for public consumption, but we can meet with key individuals and share information and bring them to the table,” he said.
    In keeping with that idea, the organization will look at economic development losses to the community to find out why the county was not selected as a site for the new business. “The key is finding out why we were not selected,” he explained, “and then create strategies to strengthen these weaknesses.”{mosimage}
Peters said the organization cannot keep doing business as usual. “We can’t keep doing activities because we’ve always done them,” he said. “We have to gain confidence in our ability to say no. We have to focus on key objectives. There are no sacred cows.”
    He will also start a benchmark process whereby the community will be compared to other communities of its size and demographic — the chamber will look at where we rank and what we, as a community, can do better. “We want to connect all the dots,” he said.
    Another benchmark he will look at is the satisfaction of the current membership of the chamber. “We’re going to ask them to rate us, and then create a report card with a baseline for improvement,” he said.
Another set of partners he hopes to show improvement to is the organization’s funding partners. “We want to pull all of the foundational data together and then establish returns to measure progress and accountability for our funding partners,” he said. “We have to have accountability for our funding partners.         They have to know that there is a return on their investment. If we are not delivering value, then we are not getting the job done.”

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