Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wal-Mart, Starbucks, and Extension

Did you see the news this morning where they highlighted how Wal-Mart's growth has slowed? Other big box stores and supercenters are outpacing their growth. Their plan is the same as the one Starbucks' recently used. "Re-focus" on what made them strong. Extension would do well to take note. It is important to stay in touch with new trends, but that doesn't mean abandon your strengths.

For the last 2 weekends I've watched football fans flood our campus as they "tailgate" before home football games. There are tents, grills, widescreen TVs, and spreads that would make your Grandmother proud. Many of these people are tailgating on Extension grounds, then knocking on the door to use our facilities. I seriously doubt they have any idea what Extension is. Oh, what irony! We'll build a virtual island in a virtual land on a computer thousands of miles away, but not enlighten the people who are literally knocking on the door? Wake up and smell the coffee!


James E. Robinson, III said...

Yep, Extension was founded on going where the people are, not waiting for them to come to you.

Greg said...

Thanks, James. I've pondered that many times, and agree to a certain degree. I happen to believe that Extension's strength is in establishing a community presence so we can facilitate education more than provide it outright (another post, another day). Our current position seems more like hiding in an office than going to where any people are. There's a cost-benefit ratio for any endeavor, and the potential for return on touching the lives of legislators' families as they sit on our lawn is too great to ignore.

My intent was a wake-up call that our presence may be non-existent even on the grounds of headquarters! We have the ability to change that very, very easily.