- An “and” approach is the only way we can solve our biggest challenges and capitalize on opportunities.
- We must move away from leadership with a fixed mindset, toward leaders with a growth mindset.
- Chamber poll reveals a glaring disconnect in how people feel they are doing economically versus how the economy is doing.
The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Sandy K. Baruah and 2023 Conference Chair Matt Elliott took the stage to discuss Michigan’s benefits, challenges, and more.
Matt Elliott emphasized that an “and” approach is the only way we can solve our biggest challenges and capitalize on opportunities. A clear framework will keep progress consistent and on track while avoiding the “crisis of the moment” or the infamous “Michigan 180.” A clear “why” will drive the state forward and maintain focus on finding the most win-win scenarios among businesses and consumers.
“The structures that are created and produced that create less than win-win outcomes are not there by accident,” he said, along with asking that structures serve somebody, but do they serve the right people, the right way, often enough?
Further, Elliott argued the essentialness of moving away from leadership with a fixed mindset, “captured by the illusion of disconnection,” and toward leaders with a growth mindset that recognize that they are responsible for solving problems instead of placing blame on an invisible “other.”
Sandy K. Baruah presented data from a new statewide poll of registered Michigan voters, the latest in the Chamber’s ongoing efforts to understand Michiganders’ perceptions of timely economic and societal issues that affect business. The poll revealed a glaring disconnect in how people feel they are doing economically versus how the economy is doing.
72% of Michiganders say they are doing as well, if not better than, they were a year ago. However, this May, the University of Michigan Consumer Confidence Index released a score half of what it was pre-pandemic, showing that residents feel the state is on the wrong track.
When it comes to higher education, only 8% of Michiganders think a college degree is very important to obtain a successful job. 80% of these same voters support policies regarding state-funded post-high school education.
Voters also said they think the ICE to EV transition is due to companies buckling to environmentalist and government pressure, as opposed to responding to consumer demand and market forces.
“I’m not sure how much business knowledge they have, but that’s not generally how multi-national corporations work,” Baruah quipped. “Here, we’ve got to get over ourselves and figure out what is new and exciting and get excited about it.”
Cohesion, collaboration, consistency, compromise, and common sense will be the most critical focus areas moving forward, according to Baruah. Further, he said we must also switch from meeting challenges with a programmatic approach to an alignment approach, where initiatives work together for a greater impact and have a more optimistic point of view.
“The same things that make us great and build the middle class – leadership in mobility, leadership in technology, leadership in innovation – are the same things that are going to drive our future,” he said.