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Y'all Means Y'all

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

By RDG Senior Counsel Rob Radcliff

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got”

-Henry Ford

When we moved to North Carolina in 2019 we were introduced firsthand to this friendly euphemism, y’all; I had heard it before of course but now we were learning real time how the nomenclature works its way into everyday conversations. The most striking conclusion was that often, y’all did not necessarily mean y’all!!

About 18 months ago I wrote a book review of Economic Development Is Not for Amateurs, written by my very good friend, Jay Garner, and his Co-Author, Ross Patten. I was so enthralled with the offering that I closed my blog with, “I encourage anyone to read this excellent tutorial on economic development in the rapidly changing landscape in which we find ourselves today.” Frankly, I never considered ways that their narrative could be improved.

And yet, they’ve done it! The second edition: Economic Development Is (STILL) Not for Amateurs, was recently released and is available on Amazon and I must say it is an impressive enhancement of the first effort.

Most notably are the addition of two new chapters focused on the site selection process, Demystifying the Site Selection Process, and DEI, titled with the aforementioned euphemism, Y’all means Y’all! One of the many things I liked about the first edition was its common sense, real time, dare I say “dumb it down” description of the key components of taking a comprehensive approach to growing a community. These two chapters further enhance understanding of two very important and evolving trends in the industry – the use of third-party expertise in site location decisions and building communities that offer opportunities for all!

I think what I have liked the most about both editions is that they are not just about “what to do”, but also offer meaningful insights on “how to do”. I was particularly impressed with a series of suggestions regarding how to effectively measure DEI initiatives. I know from personal experience many very sophisticated EDOs are struggling with that particular element – they know they should be in the DEI space but haven’t really figured out how to measure the impact of their involvement and work. For them I say READ THIS BOOK!

More importantly, and as I said previously, I think the primary beneficiaries of this treatise are EDO Board members, elected officials, government administrators and others who are in our space but may (aka don’t!) really understand and/or appreciate the real work that goes into a growing a community. The take-away for practitioners will be “halleluiah, someone has finally chronicled what we do, step by step, acknowledging the opportunities and pitfalls we face every day”. Many of the aforementioned community leaders, however, will have epiphanies, introducing them to a world heretofore of which they were aware, but really did not understand. The value of having board and community leaders that truly appreciate what you do is immeasurable, certainly worth the price of a few books!

If you have not yet, I strongly encourage you to check out the new edition and buy a bunch for the purpose of educating the people you need on your team in order to be successful!

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