As someone who is actively involved in our community and its economic development, the issue of blight has been of concern to me. As a result, I read the editorial board’s Sunday editorial with great attention. I could not agree more regarding the proposed approach for our pool of money earmarked for fighting blight; the creation of a well thought out plan of action that focuses our limited resources on those projects that will have the greatest impact.
In 2002 I began a research study to discover what separates exceptional organizations from average, mediocre organizations. After a few years we discovered seven elements which we published and received much attention, including having the U.S. Navy decide to teach these seven elements to their leaders at its Center for Naval Leadership. One of these elements is vision.
Something else we learned about exceptional organizations is that they don’t just do things differently; they do different things. Regarding vision -- exceptional organizations don’t create vision statements and put them on a wall -- instead, they determine their core beliefs (purpose and values), and then set long-term goals. Once those long-term goals are identified, they can then determine what activities they need to do in order to make an impact on those goals and then focus their resources on those few key things. This leads to far greater success and longer-term sustainability.
To be sure, there are a lot of things that need to be cleaned up in our community, but our resources are limited. We need to focus those resources on a few key projects that will have a tremendous impact, which will then allow us to gain more resources and make more impact.
The mediocre approach, on the other hand, would be to spread the money out to a large number of projects, most having no major impact on the community as a whole. This approach may “feel good,” but our limited resources will then be gone, and while many little things might have been accomplished, there will be no visible impact which will attract more resources.
We need our elected leaders to put aside their personal preferences and resist the demands of a few who are looking out for personal interests that are limited to only their neighborhoods and make a decision that is good, not just for their district, but for all of Macon. After all, with our consolidation, we are now One Macon. We all need to think about ourselves as One Macon, including our elected leaders and make decisions beyond artificially drawn boundaries, decisions that will enhance the lives of all of us.
I sincerely hope our elected leaders will listen to The Telegraph’s editorial board and hold off on divvying up any money toward blight efforts until we have a solid plan for the expenditures of that money that focuses it on those few key things that can continue to move this community forward as a whole, no matter where in the community those projects are located. Macon is a great city and has the potential to become exceptional, but that will not happen unless we do different things within the guidance of those seven elements that lead to exceptionalism.
Gary Lear is president & CEO of Resource Development Systems in Macon.