September 16, 2005 Features & Images » Feature Story

How can Whistler get its mojo back? 

There’s no magic bullet, but following Dr. Seuss’s advice may help

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The confidence to see ourselves as a premium brand and determination to stay the course is something Rempel believes is the key to getting our mojo back.

"It’s hard to see short-term benefits when you’re developing a brand. You need to be in it for the long term. If you want short-term results, you discount; but we will never be the cheapest so we prefer to focus on delivering excellent value. It’s a long-term vision for the brand."

Conventional wisdom would also suggest that market forces be left to shape the economic fate of the resort, but perhaps the time has come for government to take a more active role in our collective destiny. Government directly influences a community’s e-quotient, which measures factors such as its ability to attract new businesses, its ability to retain and sustain existing businesses, a skilled talent pool, and its ability to incubate new business start-ups. Rempel suggested that local and provincial government should be partners in the resort’s success. "We need help from the government, both local and provincial, to support the economic value local business brings and to re-invest in this place to maintain it as a premium product."

The hedgehog and the fox

Consider the hedgehog concept espoused by Jim Collins in "Good to Great; why some companies make the leap… and others don’t." Collins’s research is based on companies that had average shareholder return (good) and then underwent a transformation that led to a minimum of 6.9 times over performance of the market average for a minimum of 15 years (great).

The hedgehog concept is central to the companies’ turnaround. In the book, Collins explains it this way: "Foxes pursue many ends at the same time and see the world in all its complexity. They are scattered or diffused, moving on many levels. Hedgehogs, on the other hand, simplify a complex world into a single organizing idea, a basic principle or concept that unifies and guides everything. It doesn’t matter how complex the world, a hedgehog reduces all challenges and dilemmas to simple – indeed almost simplistic – hedgehog ideas. For a hedgehog, anything that does not somehow relate to the hedgehog idea holds no relevance."

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