Ask Coach Bobby Lamb of Mercer or Coach Mark Richt of Georgia: Whats the most important thing in winning a football game? theyll tell you: Blockin and Tacklin. Sure, the quarterbacks passing arm and the receivers jumping catches are what get the fans off their seats screaming and shouting and whistling. But if you dont block and tackle, you lose. Every time.
Ask Ronny Williams, the vice president of construction for Chris R. Sheridan & Co., why Middle Georgia owners choose his firm to build their churches and schools and football stadiums, and hell tell you: We listen. Sure, they bring the project in on time, within budget and thats what everybody sees; those two things are touchdowns. But the basics of this game -- the most important thing -- the blockin and tacklin -- is listening to the owner and the architect and the sub-contractors. If you dont do this, you lose. Every time.
Ask Michael Tompkins, the CEO of TriBridge Residential, why thousands of people want to rent his apartments when they have so many other choices available, and hell point to the wall in his Atlanta home office lobby. You cant miss it. Its an entire wall painted with three words in five foot letters. It reads: KEEPING OUR PROMISES. If they promise to fill the swimming pool, its filled. If they promise to paint the curb, its painted. If they promise to fix a leak, its fixed. TriBridge considers this basic -- its their blockin and tacklin. Without it they lose. Every time.
Let me ask you this: youre trying to build a great community. You want a neighborhood thats safe from crime; a downtown thats inviting, a school that really teaches, a church that inspires and businesses that flourish and provide great jobs. How can you get this? What is basic for a great community? Think about all the great communities youve ever known or read about. Whats the one thing that each of them has? Its not the weather; its not the size; its not the closeness to the mountains or the sea; these things may be touchdowns, but they dont win the game. Whats the one thing -- without which the community loses? Every time.
You know the answer. Its leadership. Without real leaders, we cant have the environment where blacks and whites sit down together; where Democrats and Republicans communicate, where cops are protectors not predators, where teachers are respected and properly paid, and where were all proud of where we live.
Ray Rover runs the Streets for Success for kids in the Houston Avenue neighborhood that Charles Richardson wrote about last week. Ray creates the environment where people just want to volunteer: the Rotary Club, Central Georgia Tech and Mercer University. Everybody turns out to help his kids because hes a leader who builds the environment.
Real leaders build the environment and the culture. They write the policies and the procedures and the laws. They might not teach in the schools but they make teaching a career people want to have; they might not wear badges and guns but they make policing worthwhile. Leaders are the blockin and tacklin of a community; theyre the basic essentials. Without real leaders, the community loses. Every time.
Real leaders are here right now in our community. We need to find them, promote them and vote them into office. Sometimes theyre a little hard to find; sometimes we miss them in the whirlwind of activity and thats because real leaders are not pointing at themselves. As the 6th century B.C. Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, once said: A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.
Find these people; theyre the blockin and tacklin of our future great community.
Dr. Bill Cummings is the CEO of Cummings Consolidated Corporation and Cummings Management Consultants. His website is digitallydrc.com.