As a society, we are captivated with big ideas. Last week in this space, I shared the story about the Eagle County road and bridge crew that didn’t just plow snow — they helped our economy work by getting people to work. This way of thinking about our daily jobs and tasks expands our view to encourage big thinking and avoid being mired in the day-to-day small tasks that fill all of our schedules.
The road and bridge crew viewing their jobs as a way to ensure that our economy works (and not as just snowplowing) is an example of thinking that empowers individuals — regardless of job title — to be involved and engaged in solving the big issues facing our community.
Make no mistake; we’re facing a number of big issues. Big issues are easy to ignore in the context of recurring tasks when running a business, taking care of our customers or achieving our daily tasks and job duties. Yet, big issues help define the community and, thus, impact our daily job duties.
Thinking big, and viewing our daily tasks and job duties as part of a larger systematic solution, doesn’t necessarily entail doing more than asked or required. Rather, it requires a shift in thinking from a task-oriented focus to an impact oriented focus. Retailers and front line employees don’t handle guest transactions; they contribute to making someone’s vacation memorable. Restaurateurs don’t feed people; they give people a culinary experience to enhance a vacation experience. Service providers don’t build websites or provide financial advice; they help their clients achieve success.
We are all invested in, and all benefit from, viewing our jobs as a way to address big issues, much like the snowplow crew in the Eagle County road and bridge department helping our economy run. Thinking big gives context to the need to address the big issues facing our community. After all, these issues impact our economy and, thus, impact our business vitality.
Vail Valley Partnership is focused on tackling and addressing big issues; our vision and daily work is focused on developing and enhancing the economic vitality of the Vail Valley. Our day-to-day activities consist of connecting people to resources and entities to build community resilience and conditions favorable to business success. We strengthen regional economic vitality through our programs and efforts.
Essentially, we focus on big issues to help benefit our member businesses and stakeholders. It remains incumbent upon the community to address big issues in order to provide a better place for our visitors and a better community for our locals. The Vail Valley Partnership, and by extension our members, is actively involved in big issues that impact businesses throughout the community.
Increasing air service from new markets is a big issue that is key to our continued competitive advantage and provides a better guest experience. The EGE Air Alliance is a public-private partnership dedicated to increasing nonstop air service to the Eagle County Regional Airport, enhancing our destination guest experience and providing an economic boost to communities throughout the valley.
Regional broadband access is a big issue that is a key to our continued economic growth. Northwest Colorado Council of Governments is focused on a Regional Broadband Strategic Plan that focuses on improving broadband throughout the region, primarily for the sake of contributing to economic development, but also to improve quality of life and address public safety needs. The Regional Broadband Strategic Plan focuses on improving broadband by increasing capacity, decreasing cost and improving reliability.
State tourism funding is a big issue and is an obvious benefit to our rural resort economy. Legislation passed during the 2013-14 Colorado legislative session provided more permanent funding for statewide tourism within the gaming fund and helped stabilize our tourism funding both now and in the future. The Tourism Industry Association of Colorado continues to work with our elected officials to reinforce the return on investment in a robust state tourism message to drive awareness and visitation to Colorado and to promote individual businesses on Colorado.com.
The Vail Valley Partnership continues to be involved and engaged with big issues such as air service, regional broadband access and state tourism funding in order to help our members in the business community. Much like the examples of retailers and restaurateurs helping make a vacation memorable or service providers making their clients successful, we’re tackling big issues to enhance the economic vitality of our community and build a better environment for business.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.