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Leading from behind the scenes

I recently hosted the Central Florida Development Council’s Past Chairman's luncheon and had the opportunity to speak with some impressive leaders in the region. CFDC is the economic development arm of the Board of County Commissioners in Polk County and according to the council’s website, central Florida is Ideally located between two major metro areas and includes a superb business environment offering a potent blend of connectivity, workforce talent and low operating costs.

During our conversations, the former Board Chairs shared numerous stories about how economic development and innovative thinking have taken place in the region due in large part to solid ‘behind the scenes’ leadership. As the stories continued, I became more and more impressed with how humble and approachable these community leaders were in raising the standard of living methodically across the region. Let me explain…

Early CFDC Board Chairs had the vision to start something new that would benefit the entire community, not just the cities they lived in. Follow-on leaders had the wisdom to try and unite the different parts of the area to seek common ground and set broader goals and objectives for the organization, all while bringing along the other economic development organizations in the county. These men and women operated effectively behind the scenes, apart from the normal churn of state and local politics, with a skill and technique that set them apart from other people.

Our recent Chairmen worked quietly but effectively in the conference rooms of local businesses to advocate for migrating the central Florida economy into new business sectors beyond citrus and agriculture. These smart leaders always maintained complete loyalty to the Council’s current Investors, many of whom still operated in those proven sectors, but they also encouraged the county, cities and municipalities to seek new and innovative businesses in high-tech arenas. And, these leaders encouraged a careful, methodical match between the emerging pool of graduates from area colleges and universities to the new businesses looking for local talent in a tax-friendly state. These tactics paid off and even now we continue to see new businesses relocating right here in Central Florida - with bright ideas, entrepreneurial spirits and amazing new product lines and services.

These leaders from the Central Florida Development Council impressed me in a big way as they described how best to operate effectively behind the scenes to improve the standard of living and quality of life for all the people and businesses in the area. At the end of our luncheon, I thanked them all for their quiet but effective leadership styles.


Jake Polumbo is the Founding Partner and a Senior Consultant in Two Blue Aces Consulting and serves as the Board Chair for CFDC. TBA provides executive-level services to our clients focusing on their business needs and strategy development. The team also provides hard-hitting presentations on key attributes of effective leadership to area businesses and organizations.


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