The Collaboration Score: The Missing Link in Site Selection

Posted: Updated:

Location modeling and real estate site selection is a process companies may undertake either through the use of internal resources or by outsourcing the task to a company that specializes in the field. A qualified site selection professional or firm will apply a methodical approach to the process in order to evaluate all factors that are important to a location decision and ultimately reach a conclusion about which site will best serve the needs of the company. One approach is to construct a matrix built upon analyzing key factors that make a site suitable for business growth.

To account for the relative importance of these factors they can be ranked and weighted to determine the comparative strength of a particular location to another. A typical approach might include the evaluation of standard factors such as human capital, business climate, quality of life and infrastructure availability.

These factors, while not comprehensive for all projects, are quantifiable and can be ranked. Through various methods of comparison, these ranks can then be used to translate large amounts of data into values that are easy to interpret and consider in the decision making process.

What may be missing from this approach, but should absolutely be a consideration in the site selection process, is the community "collaboration score."   Though less defined and more qualitative in nature, a collaboration score is the measure of the extent to which the community is fully aligned with its economic development efforts. In other words, a highly collaborative community would be one which has an agreed upon and holistic approach to business attraction and retention. All agencies, public and private, that will be involved in the successful outcome of the project are in sync and understand the project objectives.

The challenge and true risk to the site selection process is the realization, sometimes too late in the game, that a community is not well aligned, that they do not work collaboratively, or worse, that the community is divided and at odds with their approach to business attraction and economic development strategies. Site selection decision makers, whether internal or external to the company, seeking a new location should beware, as this non-collaborative spirit within a community and its leadership can have devastating short and long term impacts on a project. Negative results such as delayed operational time-lines, increased project costs, and compromised objectives can occur as a result.

Having been in the site selection business for 15+ years, our firm has observed and navigated projects within both types of communities. We have seen strong job creation and investment projects focused on a particular site, shift focus quickly when it became apparent that there was a lack of cohesion among community stakeholders. Once confidence in project success is shaken and it becomes known that the collaboration score is low, our recommendation, and the general instincts of those clients that we represent, is to move on to the next available site being considered as a way to mitigate risk and increase the likelihood of success.

In contrast, communities that work together and are successful at instilling confidence, score high on the collaboration meter. Confidence that there are no hidden agendas, that all requests will be handled with the utmost professionalism, and when, not if, problems arise, that they will be worked through in a positive manner and within efficient time lines, which is paramount to a successful project.

Site selectors, both internal and external, should be in the practice of seeking out those communities that assist the location process by moving forward in a timely manner, with minimal delays in approval processes, so long as the company is doing its part. Our experience indicates that businesses are much more willing to invest for the long term and grow in a community that demonstrates it can work together, is financially stable and has strong community leadership.  With a strong collaboration score evidenced by these practices and priorities, along with great communication and total transparency, all involved can have peace of mind that the project will result in success.

Leslie Wagner is senior principal at Ginovus.

  • Perspectives

    • What the Fit!?

      Good fit in our work, relationships, and, yes, shoes – brings energy and joy into our lives! I recently bought a new pair of shoes. They were very snug, the salesman assured me they would stretch because of the material. I was a little skeptical, but I bought them anyway. This made me think about how shoes also provide some fun clues to assess good “fit” in work and relationships. Even stellar communication and conflict skills won’t make a bad fit feel good.

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Jeffersonville to Break Ground on Medical Center

      Leaders from Nicklies Development, Clark County, the city of Jeffersonville and One Southern Indiana will Tuesday break ground on River Ridge Surgical Suites. The $4 million Medical Center will be located on Jeffersonville Commons Drive. 

    • (rendering courtesy of the IEDC)

      Allison Details $400M Expansion Plans

      Allison Transmission Holdins Inc. (NYSE: ALSN) today detailed expansion plans involving more than 300 new jobs through 2020. The company says it will invest more than $400 million over the next few years in projects including a new Vehicle Environmental Test facility and an Innovation Center in Indianapolis. As part of the announcement, Allison today broke ground on the Innovation Center, which is expected to open in 2021. The Innovation Center will feature virtual and physical...

    • (rendering courtesy of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites)

      T.C. Steele Historic Site Visitor Center to Open

      The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites will Saturday celebrate the opening of the new Singing Winds Visitor Center at the T.C. Steele State Historic Site in Nashville. The $2.2 million project broke ground in September 2017 and was funded through public and private donations and grants.

    • Hicks is the director of Ball State's Center for Business and Economic Research.

      BSU Index Updates County Quality of Life Rankings

      A new report from the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University updates the quality of life rankings for every Indiana county. The Community Asset Inventory and Rankings, originally created in 2012, gives a letter grade for each county in seven major categories. Ball State economics professor Michael Hicks says the index gives counties a tool to let them know how they're doing in areas that business and households consider when thinking about relocation.

    • (rendering courtesy of Prince Alexander Architects)

      Demand Fuels Planned Tech Building in Indy

      The business group managing The Union 525 tech hub in downtown Indianapolis is adding to the campus. John Hurley, managing partner of The Union 525, tells Inside INdiana Business plans are moving forward to build a new, $10 million building designed to accommodate the city's growing tech scene. Hurley, who is also the chief executive officer of SmartFile, says The Union 601 will be a six-story, 67,000-square-foot facility that will have a similar open concept feel as its sister...