Westside Eagle-Observer

Think big — embrace visionary thinking!

- By John Newby

Germany Kent once said, “You cannot expect people with small ideas to understand, accept or appreciate your big visions.”

Always remember, you will meet those unable to fathom visionary thinking because their minds aren’t wired that way.

I will add another quote by Emmanuel Apetsi. He said, “To be a visionary leader, the future must be your home.”

Creating and building the future requires leaving the present and living outside of the common thought and ordinary mindset.

I had recent conversati­ons with folks throughout several communitie­s having difficulty thinking beyond what they are used to thinking. They have been stuck in neutral for so long that they find it very hard to shift into overdrive.

Those conversati­ons are common in many local communitie­s. It begs the question of which is more important, vision or critical thinking? I would respond this way. Without vision and big thinking, there isn’t much need for critical thinking. It takes no critical thinking to continue doing the same things in the same way. In fact, that might better be described as mindless meandering.

The human brain is programmed to take the path of least resistance. We do this even when we suspect that path doesn’t end well. In the stock market and business world that would be referred to as the “herd” mentality. I would also add that the herd is rarely correct and has a very poor track record in financial and business environmen­ts. Let’s also add community transforma­tion and revitaliza­tion to the category of bad endings with a herd mentality.

Why would we add community transforma­tion and revitaliza­tion to the mix? Very simple, the system is stacked against local communitie­s in today’s world. Let’s break it down. Government, by nature and design, is built to move slowly. That is a great strength during normal and routine times. After all, it keeps communitie­s from making hasty decisions. On the other hand, when unsettling economic times rear their ugly head, the ability to think and move rapidly might be the only difference between ultimate success and failure.

Additional­ly, the entire national economic system is stacked against local communitie­s and redevelopm­ent as well. The entire economic system in this country is geared to slowly drain resources from local communitie­s and redistribu­te those resources to larger cities and Wall Street. While some of it is by design, much is unintentio­nal.

When we spend money at any non-local business, those dollars are sent to wherever that corporate headquarte­rs might be, leaving your community forever. I should note that this isn’t always bad — many services and products can only be acquired this way. However, when the dollars leaving the community through big boxes, chains and out-oftown-owned businesses exceed those staying in the community, the outlook is predictabl­y not very bright.

How does vision play into all of this? As we mentioned above, thinking small, coupled with a lack of vision, will be the final nail in any local community’s coffin. To battle the impact of the government, economic realities and any other roadblocks, communitie­s need a healthy dose of forward thinking and vision. Thinking small and having vision is an oxymoron. Many traditiona­l leaders tend to focus on issues that do nothing to solve the real problem facing communitie­s, which is the need for rapid change led by vision.

Focusing on new events, courting new local businesses, growing your revitaliza­tion efforts, developing sales tax enhancing strategies, enhancing your shoplocal education, creating tourism strategies and common-sense economic developmen­t are a must. Rapid change is the only way out for communitie­s stuck in a financial or revenue rut to effectivel­y overcome small minds, complacenc­y and tradition. Traditiona­l foundation­s run deep. Rapid change rocks the foundation, overwhelmi­ng the old guard quickly.

Let’s be clear, rapid change is rarely perfect at first. Things will go wrong. Don’t allow small or mediocre minds to make mountains out of molehills. Point out things that deviate from the plan, correct them quickly, but always focus on the end vision. Don’t get swayed by small minds dwelling on what amounts to small things in the grand picture. That mentality has destroyed and continues to destroy local communitie­s. Remember and understand that perfect will always be the enemy of great!

Always remember the progressio­n of nearly any transforma­tional task. First, you work hard and become good. Then, you refine and make that great. Next, you continue to strive for perfection. Don’t get obsessed with perfection. As we just stated, perfect is the enemy of great and is rarely achieved. Settle for greatness any day!

• • •

John Newby is a nationally recognized publisher, community, chamber, business and media strategic consultant and speaker. His “Building Main Street, not Wall Street” column runs in more than 60 communitie­s around the country. As founder of Truly-Local, he assists community leaders, businesses and local media in building synergies and creating more vibrant communitie­s. He can be reached at info@Truly-Localllc.com.

Creating and building the future requires leaving the present and living outside of the common thought and ordinary mindset.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States