Wednesday, September 29, 2021

HDC Reimagining Itself

There has still not been a closing on the sale of the Montgomery Street parcel, the former Kaz site. At yesterday's meeting of the board of Hudson Development Corporation (HDC), it was reported that the contract of sale was now in the hands of the buyer, and "the buyer's investors wanted to see additional paperwork." That announcement sent the board into executive session to discuss the matter.

Before that happened, Bob Rasner, HDC president, addressed the board, noting that it was the board's first fall meeting, "which tells me that change is in the air." The change he alluded to specifically was the change HDC is about to undergo, "from real estate sales agency to community activist organization." He asserted, "Developing efficient ways to introduce and implement change can ease the stresses we all feel when change is introduced." He then outlined nine principles for effectively implementing change.
  1. Plan Carefully  Elaborating, Rasner spoke of the need "to document the tasks needed to get to where we want to be and craft an implementation timeline.
  2. Be as Transparent as Possible  Rasner stressed the need to share information with the community "even if we can't give them all of the details." 
  3. Tell the Truth  Rasner warned that "presenting things in an overly optimistic way and promising unrealistic outcomes will create suspicions."
  4. Communicate  Rasner related this principle to communication among members of the board as well as between the board and the community.
  5. Create a Roadmap  Elaborating on this, Rasner spoke of understanding "where the organization is, where it's been, and where it's going."
  6. Don't Expect to Implement Change Overnight  Rasner advocated for a "strategic rollout . . . rather than a hasty shift in direction."
  7. Monitor and Measure  Rasner spoke of the need to "watch for potential problems and address any issues in a timely manner."
  8. Demonstrate Strong Leadership  Rasner advised that strong leadership "will help all of us weather the challenges of change with confidence and clear-sightedness."
  9. Change Will Happen Anyway  Rasner advised, "It's better to embrace the course of change and make it your own along the way."
It was then announced that Martha Lane, who is the Business Development Director at CEDC (Columbia Economic Development Corporation), will be the new chair of HDC's Nominating Committee. Rasner hinted at the goal of recruiting new board members when he recalled this comment made by a member of the community at an HDC meeting, "I can't deal with you. You're just a bunch of old white men." 

There was some discussion of how the board would proceed in developing its strategic plan. Rasner asked rhetorically, "Does this group have the skills and energy to go through this process unguided?" Board member John Friedman suggested that the board identify their goals on their own and engage a consultant to help them structure a plan to implement the goals.

1 comment:

  1. As a humble suggestion for improving the truth-telling and communication skills of HDC members, perhaps individuals in their private lives should think of themselves as still representative of the HDC in their day-to-day conduct. Qua public figures, they can decide not to call those with whom they simply disagree on a range of subjects "white supremacists," and other slurs, entirely without proof or basis. Just to win an argument. Ugly.

    Does the HDC really needs a consultant to guide them in this? Apparently so.

    Likewise, it would be interesting to hear what a consultant (or any ethical person) might say about HDC members and/or HDC staff pleading specific outcomes for current applications before actual City agencies, especially when the applicant in question sits on the HDC!

    It's possible that the HDC's problems are a little too large for a single consultant.