Today, the (unofficial) results are in: the skills employers want the most have nothing to do with performing a specific task or function. Instead, employers across all industries covet workers with “soft skills” – namely, relationship management, creativity and leadership.
This is also true for economic development.
Here’s how these three skills can apply to economic developers:
Economic developers build and manage relationships with many audiences, including prospects, existing business owners, local elected officials, regional and state economic development organizations, developers and site selection consultants.
How can economic developers successfully navigate such diverse relationships?
- Develop trust: do what you say you will (and when you say you’ll do it)
- Remember: you are serving the customer/client
- Know your product: this includes your community’s and region’s strengths
- Keep the end goals and strategic vision in mind
- Ask questions to identify your client’s needs
- Listen, listen, and listen!
- Determine the best method and how often to communicate