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When I tell people that I work for Little Elm Economic Development Corporation, their response is typically, “what is that?” Economic development can be defined as efforts that seek to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community by creating and/or retaining jobs and supporting or growing incomes and the tax base. Simply put, we seek to bring the cool stuff to Little Elm!
A day in the life of our department is one that cannot be defined by specific job duties and business hours. The single most important thing we do is build relationships. Whether it’s with fellow departments, commercial developers, business owners or members of the community, the relationships we make are what binds us together and allow us to thrive as a community. It can be the difference between a business choosing Little Elm over a neigh-boring community.
We have all heard how our values affect the different leaders and departments in our Town. In Economic Development, those values are just as prominent. We strive to be transparent when working with developers to establish agreements with the Town that will bring new economic opportunities. We are consistently fulfilling the customer service role as we field calls from citizens about what is coming to town. We purposefully work efficiently in trying to simplify the development process for all of our business owners as they go through the construction process. The most important value that we promote is innovation. We have worked diligently to brand the Town as a destination location. With that comes the challenge of finding those unique amenities that will attract people to see what Little Elm is all about. Innovation is our biggest challenge as we continue to search for ways to be a unique “daycation” spot. With the lake as our biggest amenity, we are always finding new ways to get the word out to “Live here and play here.”
It is empowering to me to be among some of our great local leaders-and you find them in every depart-ment. You can be a leader without being the leader of a department. You can influence others without being the speaker everyone comes to hear. You can influence others by your actions. If you ever wonder if you are a leader, just ask yourself, what do I do that makes others want to do better? Self-reflection is one of the hardest-and most prominent qualities of a leader. It is said that the true calling of a leader is the growth and development of their people. Anyone can manage a group of people. That’s just about getting the task done. The leader is the one who inspires the shared vision, enables others to act, unites the team and most importantly, encourages the heart.
Look up the term leadership and the results are vast. We’ve all heard the “catch phrases” and read the books, “From Good to Great,” “Nice Bike,” “It’s your Ship,” the list goes on. The overlying theme of all of these is relatively the same. However, the key to leadership is simple, “A leader cares more about others than they care about themselves.”
We all have it in us to be leaders. The question is, how will you lead? Invest in those relationships with others. Developing those relationships forms the emotional connection that moves people, inspires people, and encourages people to go above and beyond.