Chambers’ Strategy: A Great Role Model

Go Lean Commentary

We normally do not think much about Chambers of Commerce, but they are important in the normal eco-systems that businesses operate in. Despite the community, a representative of a Chamber of Commerce – see Appendix A below – can almost always get an audience with the Mayor or other governmental executives. See this news reference here:

CU Blog - Chambers Strategy - A Great Role Model - Photo 2Mention the Chamber of Commerce, and most people think of a benign organization comprised mostly of small business owners who meet for networking and mutual support in local chapters across the U.S. But today’s Chamber is anything but that, according to Alyssa Katz’s extensive research, recently published as “The Influence Machine.”

Founded in 1912, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been shaped by its CEO Tom Donohue into a powerful lobbying and campaigning machine that pursues a fairly narrow special-interest agenda. It’s now the largest lobbying organization in the U.S. (ranked by budget). It mostly represents the interests of a handful of so-called “legacy industries” – industries like tobacco, banking and fossil fuels which have been around for generations and learned how to parley their earnings into political influence. The Chamber seeks favorable treatment for them, for example, through trade negotiations, tax treatment, regulations and judicial rulings.
Source: Retrieved April 30, 2016 from:

The book Go Lean … Caribbean, a how-to guide for elevating the societal engines in the Caribbean homeland, owes its origin-motivation to the US Chamber of Commerce. On August 1, 2011 the US Chamber published a recommendation to American power brokers on how to recover from the recession and create jobs in the US. They provided a 10-Step advocacy for creating jobs in the US; in response, the Go Lean publishers created its own 10-Step advocacy for the Caribbean; this proved to be the first of 144 advocacies that constituted the 370-page book. See the side-by-side comparison in Appendix B below.

CU Blog - Chambers Strategy - A Great Role Model - Photo 1The Go Lean book was composed with many of the same strategies as pro-business Chambers of Commerce in the US. We therefore look to these organizations as a role model in our roadmap to transform – remediate and mitigate – the engines of regional economics, security and governance. Rather than just any Chamber in the US, this commentary considers the example of the 2 Chambers in South Florida (Greater Miami Chamber in Miami-Dade County and the Fort Lauderdale Chamber in Broward County). These entities are now embarking on a strategy that the Caribbean stewards should examine and apply in our region. See VIDEO in Appendix C below on the Greater Miami Chamber; the City of Miami is pictured here.

The publishers of the Go Lean book are now here in Greater Miami, (in from Detroit), to observe-and-report on the developments and progress of this neo-Caribbean community. Miami is notorious for its penetration of Caribbean people, culture and causes. It has a full scope of business and civic activities that traverse the breadth-and-depth of Caribbean interest. Miami’s success, with its potpourri of Caribbean Diaspora, comes as a consequence of many Caribbean failures; consider the experiences of Cubans, Haitians, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, JamaicansBahamian and other nationalities from the region.

Therefore the strategies, tactics and implementations of the Miami-Dade-Broward Chambers of Commerce definitely apply to the Caribbean region. See related news article here:

Title: Greater Miami, Fort Lauderdale chambers may merge
By: Nancy Dahlberg and Jane Wooldridge

South Florida’s two largest chambers of commerce, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, are exploring a merger.

A memorandum of understanding was signed by the executive committees of each group, the chambers announced on Monday. A task force is being created to explore the structure and operational issues required for the combination to move ahead, and the chambers will decide by the end of the year whether to proceed, the chambers said.

“It’s a great opportunity for our business communities to evaluate this as many of the things we do discuss are very regionalized. … such as transportation, sea level rise and beach erosion,” said Heiko Dobrikow, chairman of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce and General Manager of the Riverside Hotel. “And when you have a larger, more regional representation, it gives our members certainly more growth potential for their businesses.”

Christine Barney, chairwoman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and CEO of Miami’s rbb Communications, concurred. “The potential combination gives more clout to the business community in shaping the future of South Florida,” she said.

“In the past we’ve done a lot of strategic alliances and that can only do so much,” Barney said. “We thought a more-aggressive approach was needed.”

Though membership in both Greater Miami and Greater Fort Lauderdale chambers has remained strong, nationwide, chambers of commerce have suffered declining membership and revenues.

“Even though we are acquiring new members it is probably not at the same rate as we wish, and there is probably a great opportunity that we have,” Dobrikow said.

The Greater Miami Chamber was founded in 1907 and now boasts about 4,100 members representing about 400,000 employees. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber, founded in 1910, has 1,311 company-members that employ more than 500,000.

Both counties are also home to myriad smaller chambers focusing on specific geography or demographics. The idea rose from regular meetings between the president and CEOs of the two organizations, said Miami’s Barry Johnson, who announced recently he will retire at the end of this year.

Said Dan Lindblade, leader of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber, “Barry Johnson and I have been talking over the years and we thought now would be a good time to begin these discussions to see if they lead us into the direction that we both feel is inevitable — a regional chamber with the size and scope of the two largest chambers in Broward and Miami-Dade.”

The Greater Miami chamber will continue the search for Johnson’s replacement during the evaluation period, Barney said.

As more small smartups emerge throughout South Florida, the traditional model of fee-based memberships has become less attractive to some members, who may have specific needs such as international introductions or skills training but not the full range of services now offered, said Barney. The ultimate goal, said both chamber chairs, is to bring more value to members.

Said Barney, “Miami is unique, Broward unique, Palm Beach is unique. … Whatever we do, we want to keep the strength of the local representation as front and center as possible.”
Source:  Posted April 26, 2016; retrieved April 30, 2016 from:

So the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce are considering merging, consolidating and integrating their efforts to elevate the business environment for the entire South Florida region. If successfully executed, this effort could be a role model for the Caribbean region to emulate. This discussion aligns with the book Go Lean … Caribbean, in its effort to serve as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU); the purpose of which is to elevate Caribbean society, for all 30 member-states. The book stresses the need to optimize the societal engines of economics, security and governance. Jobs is a very important goal of the Go Lean roadmap, with a prime directive to create 2.2 million new jobs in the Caribbean.

The stance of Chambers of Commerce is normally pro-business, anti-labor. So they are not always universally loved in their communities; they do and will “ruffle feathers”; sometimes they are even accused of promoting Crony-Capitalism. But the Go Lean focus here is “jobs” more so than Chambers of Commerce. The Go Lean book opens with pronouncements relating to the jobs-creating directive. Consider these statements early in the book in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12 – 14):

xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

xxv. Whereas the legacy of international democracies had been imperiled due to a global financial crisis, the structure of the Federation must allow for financial stability and assurance of the Federation’s institutions. To mandate the economic vibrancy of the region, monetary and fiscal controls and policies must be incorporated as proactive and reactive measures. These measures must address threats against the financial integrity of the Federation and of the member-states.

xxvi.   Whereas the Caribbean region must have new jobs to empower the engines of the economy and create the income sources for prosperity, and encourage the next generation to forge their dreams right at home, the Federation must therefore foster the development of new industries… In addition, the Federation must invigorate the enterprises related to existing industries like tourism … impacting the region with more jobs.

The subject of job creation has been directly addressed and further elaborated upon in these previous blog/commentaries: Where the Jobs Are – A Lesson in ‘Garbage’ Vegas Casinos Create New Jobs By Betting on Video Games Where the Jobs Are – Futility of Minimum Wage Immigration Policy Exacerbates Worker Productivity Crisis Job Option: Jamaica-Canada employment programme Obama’s immigration tweaks in the US leave Big Tech wanting more Where the Jobs Are – Entrepreneurism in Junk Disney World – Role Model for Self Governing Entities Using SGE’s to Welcome the Dreaded ‘Plutocracy’ and Jobs Where the Jobs Are – Computers Reshaping Global Job Market Where the Jobs Are – Ship-breaking under SGE Structure STEM Jobs Are Filling Slowly

The Go Lean book itself details the economic principles and community ethos to adopt, plus the executions of strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to create new jobs in Caribbean communities. See a sample list here:

Economic Principles – People Choose because Resources are Limited Page 21
Economic Principles – All Choices Involve Costs Page 21
Economic Principles – People Respond to Incentives Page 21
Economic Principles – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 21
Economic Principles – Voluntary Trade Creates Wealth Page 21
Economic Principles – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Job Multiplier Page 22
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship Page 28
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Research & Development – Create Local; Stay Local Page 30
Strategy – Vision – Integrate 30 member-states to a Single Market Economy Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Foster local economic engines Page 45
Tactical – Tactics to Forge an $800 Billion Economy – High Multiplier Industries Page 70
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Commerce Department – Promotions Role Page 78
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Planning – Ways to Improve Trade Page 128
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Education Page 159
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Labor Markets and Unions Page 164
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Foster e-Commerce Page 198
Advocacy – Ways to Help the Middle Class – Promote Entrepreneurship Page 223
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Youth – Early Start for STEM Page 227
Appendix – Growing 2.2 Million Jobs in 5 Years Page 257
Appendix – Job Multipliers Page 259

The Go Lean … Caribbean roadmap needs the effective modeling of South Florida’s business promotion, as in the regional Chambers of Commerce. Considering the 5 L‘s, (Look, Listen, Learn, Lend-a-hand & Lead), there will be much for us to look, listen and learn in the South Florida area. Eventually we may even be able to lend-a-hand to the South Florida cause – especially in regards to the Diaspora – but our focus is on the Caribbean. We do not look to lead in Florida; we are preparing to lead in the Caribbean.

Today, the Greater Miami / South Florida region is a better place to live, work and play … due in many ways to the contributions of the Caribbean Diaspora. These ones are active in the participation of the work-force, business promotion and culture of South Florida, resulting in a distinctive character that has made the Greater Miami region unique, and appealing.

We invite all of the Caribbean Diaspora in the Greater Miami / South Florida region to lean-in to this roadmap to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play. We also urge all stakeholders in the Caribbean to lean-in to this roadmap. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix – Encyclopedic Reference: Chamber of Commerce

A chamber of commerce (or board of trade) is a form of business network, for example, a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of businesses. Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to advocate on behalf of the business community. Local businesses are members, and they elect a board of directors or executive council to set policy for the chamber. The board or council then hires a President, CEO or Executive Director, plus staffing appropriate to size, to run the organization.

The first chamber of commerce was founded in 1599 in Marseille, France.[1][2][3][4] Another official chamber of commerce would follow 65 years later, probably in Bruges, then part of the Spanish Netherlands.[5]

The world’s oldest English-speaking chamber of commerce, in New York City, dates from 1768.[6] The oldest known existing chamber in the English-speaking world with continuous records, the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce,[7] was founded in 1783. However, Hull Chamber of Commerce[8] is the UK’s oldest, followed by those of Leeds and of Belfast in Northern Ireland.

As a non-governmental institution, a chamber of commerce has no direct role in the writing and passage of laws and regulations that affect businesses. It may however, lobby in an attempt to get laws passed that are favorable to businesses. They also work closely with a number of other youth organizations in the country about the value and role of business in our Source: Retrieved April 30, 2016 from:


Appendix B – Creating Jobs: How?


US Chamber of Commerce – 2011

Go Lean … Caribbean (Page 152)


Steer more students into technical schools Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market & Economy


Enhance the payoff of a college degree Feed Ourselves


Help small businesses find foreign customers Clothe Ourselves


Welcome more immigrants House Ourselves


Create a national jobs database Update Our Own Infrastructure and the Industries They Spun


Create “lean” regulatory agencies Steer More People to S.T.E.M. Education and Careers


Speed the foreclosure epidemic Help Regional Businesses Find Foreign Markets


Copy Germany’s Model for Jobs Preservation Welcome Home Emigrants


Draw more tourists Welcome “Empowering” Immigrants


Lure American companies back home Draw More Tourists

Source: Posted August 1, 2011; retrieved April 30, 2011 from


Appendix C VIDEO – Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce –

Published on Jul 18, 2015 – Category: How To & Style
License: Standard YouTube License


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