The hardest part about improving is the change required in between. Change is something we've experienced quite a bit here lately at The State Chamber. The past 18 months have been a lot like a game of dodgeball, new obstacles being hurled at us, almost daily, testing our agility and dedication. Instead of ducking, weaving and searching for cover, we caught the ball and played it.
The result has been significant wins for us that would not have been possible otherwise - the biggest one being a reshaping of the process for setting our policy and legislative agenda moving forward. The centerpiece of this robust process is our new Council of Advisors, a select group of business leaders who will drive an improved and focused, data-driven policymaking process.
We made this change after learning from our members - via a thorough and interview process - that what they value most about their membership with The State Chamber is the ability to participate in policy development. Our new structure is aligned to this desire.
The invite-only council will establish the policy and set the legislative agenda for The State Chamber so we can promote and defend the broader business community in the legislative and regulatory arenas.
The policy development process will begin by annually polling business leaders to identify the most significant barriers for business growth in Oklahoma, conducting research on solutions to the problems identified, and developing a competitiveness index that identifies where Oklahoma is economically competitive and where we need improvement. Along the way, we will track our progress on those issues by measuring key economic indicators.
The State Chamber's members will provide input and feedback to the Council of Advisors through policy committees. The Council of Advisors will use the data, research and input from committees to form The State Chamber's annual legislative agenda and policy positions.
Put simply, the Council of Advisors is now the most impactful policy body within The State Chamber.
Listening to our members provided an opportunity to improve how we operate at The State Chamber but also to return significantly more value to members and home in on our core function - developing pro-business policy that will make Oklahoma the best place for business.
Change is difficult. It's always easier in the short run to stay comfortable by doing things the way they've always been done. But staying comfortable is also a sure-fire way to become stagnant and miss opportunities. For The State Chamber, remaining the most impactful voice in Oklahoma legislative, regulatory, and judicial arenas is well worth the growing pains needed to do so.
Note: This article was first published in The Journal Record on July 9, 2021.