Collaboration and partnership in response to challenges is critical

Thursday, October 8, 2020

by Roy Williams

In some ways, it’s one of those truisms that we almost take for granted in Oklahoma City: “Working together, we can get great things accomplished.”

But, as many other communities can currently attest, effectively collaborating to solve big problems is not something that should be presumed as automatic. It doesn’t always happen, and when it does, it’s generally precipitated by less-than-ideal conditions, inherent distrust and conflicting goals among parties. Thankfully, in OKC, collaboration and partnership in response to challenges is almost de rigueur. Sometimes it’s even referred to as our “secret sauce,” the special thing that we have at our disposal that others don’t, but wish they did.

An example is the state’s recent ascension up the ranks of highway bridge conditions. In 2004, we were ranked 49th in the number of structurally deficient bridges. It took a long-term sustained effort by legislators responding to the concerns of their constituents, forward-thinking agencies like ODOT, and advocacy endeavors like ours and others from the business community to bring us to our present top-ten ranking in this area.

It’s testimony to what an engaged, aligned business community like ours can do when we work together. Like our work on criminal justice reform and numerous other examples, it takes all of us pulling on the same rope to make headway into complex difficulties: it takes time, it takes commitment, it takes resources, it takes creativity and diversity of ideas, but together, we can make great things happen for our city.

From our city’s very founding, a business community with a commitment to partnership has proven its worth. For many, if not most, these are difficult times with their own special set of difficulties. We know we have tough challenges ahead and big problems to puzzle out, but we also know if we work together, we can tackle anything that comes our way. And that’s perhaps the best part of the spirit of Oklahoma City—and one that we should be loath to lose.

This story originally appeared in the October edition of the POINT!