Thoughts about business and economic development in rural areas.


February 2018
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Building Community

First Steps

Spoke at the annual meeting of a local chamber or commerce last night and my topic was “First Steps to a Better Community.” While I listed several things to consider doing, the key to the entire message was that it all depended on passion. Your passion. My passion.

Business and community leaders must develop or rekindle a real passion for their communities if improvements are going to be made. We must be unabashed cheerleaders for our community ‘team’ and we must welcome new residents and businesses to that team.

On first blush some may consider ‘passion’ to be a strange choice for a top priority. But in my experience it’s usually not a lack of skills, talent or even money that holds communities back. What kills us is complacency and apathy. Without replacing those with some fire-in-the-belly passion it will never matter if we have a new strategic plan or if we hire a Main Street program manager or redo the storefronts. Without passion all the community improvement programs in the world are just window dressing.

If we want to improve our communities, the first step is passion. And it starts with each individual. Long before the programs come passion. That’s the real first step!