here are seven questions for every tribal governing body to consider as to their past and current projects for governance, essential services, and growth as to complex economic development projects.

do our projects never quite seem to work out? 

on tribal projects, reliance upon an “expert” traditionally results in depletion of tribal resources to the benefit of the expert, with a resulting deficit to the tribe. the reality is that the expert relies 100% on the tribe’s economic and political status for the expert’s benefit. 

do we always seem to overpay? 

a “partner” often approaches a tribe promising high yields for low contribution. the partner will often offer a tribal discount. however, the end result is typically low to negative yields to the tribe, even with the tribal discount, and profits to the partner. 

do we always get less than we expected? 

nine out of ten deals has typically resulted in a loss to the tribe and a benefit to the partner. said another way, traditionally only one out of ten deals has resulted in benefit to the tribe.

do our tasks always take longer than expected? 

experts and partners who are contracted with the tribe typically promise rapid results.  however, the expert or partner elects or is asked by the tribe to bill by the hour. a common result is that projects that should take 40 hours often take 40 weeks to accomplish. many projects ultimately fail but only after countless hours have been worked and charged to the tribe by the expert or the partner. 

are we always waiting for one project to finish before starting another project? 

historically, tribal enterprises have been measured, deliberate, and controlled, but have often lacked defined goals. the result for most tribal enterprises is that until one project is underway or in the ground all other projects are often placed on hold. the one at a time approach results in lost opportunities because business does not wait for the next deal. 

outside groups who work with tribal enterprises have come to understand the typical approach of tribal enterprises. these outside groups often prey upon the fact that when one gives an “a” or “b” option to an organization that lacks defined goals the organization may not realize that neither “a”  nor “b” is the desired outcome. 

how do we stop repeating our past cycles?

tribal entities and small governments often repeat the same mistakes by failing to plan and by failing to list their desired outcomes. desired outcomes must be realistic and based upon the skill set, experience, and willingness to succeed of each organization. 

what does it mean to go to the next level? 

every group or organization that meets with tribal governments talks about the “next level.” the reality is that until a tribe defines each and every level the next level is always a fantasy. within each level, all projects should have definite measures of effectiveness, firm quantifiable tasks, and firm but achievable dates for the accomplishment of goals.

common goals for tribes reasonably include increasing governance, gains (increases as to needs fulfilled) in essential services, and increasingly complex economic development projects outside of hospitality. essential helps tribes overcome common impediments to tribal prosperity.

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