Some Places Just Don't Want to Grow!

C.A.V.E. people - Citizens Against Virtually Everything.   

W.A.V.E. people - Workers Against Virtually Everything.  

P.A.V.E. people - Parishioners Against Virtually Everything.  

N.I.M.B.Y. people - Not In My Back Yard! 

Every state, community, organization has people like these folks, but we tend to discount them or say, “They will always look at the negative.”

If you have issues in your community, where you just can't get moving because of some people or other obstacle, and you want to grow, it is time to get your head out of the sand and take an honest look at the issues that keep your community/ies "stuck." 

Look at your community culture.

I have served in chamber of commerce and economic development organizations my entire professional career and I know those organizations are paid to promote all the good the community has to offer.

However, communities that thrive are those who will publicly look for the bad, as well as promote the good. Thriving communities commit to being better.

If you are committed, you will do whatever it takes. You stop blaming other people and circumstances for your situations. You learn what you need to learn. You practice what you need to practice. You put all attention / focus on how you will achieve your goals.

How do you know what needs to be addressed if you don’t look at the downside of your community?

Here are two pain points:

  • Are you increasing population?  and
  • Are you decreasing poverty?

If you are not making headway on those two goals, you are not as welcoming as you think.

In my research, states with a higher population of non-native-born citizens - people who were not born in, but are living in your state - are growing at a faster rate and have higher incomes than states with a higher population of native-born; those born in and living in the state.

Ask those who moved into your community - people who do not have grandparents buried in the local cemetery - if they feel welcome and have a sense of belonging. Even if they've lived there 20+ years.

Ask those who come to your church and sit in somebody else’s pew.

Ask your youth in your high school if they want to stay and raise their children there. 

Look at your culture. How your community "grew up."

To address these issues, you need to start with Why? Why does your community exist?

Do you know “why?" Are you asking? 

Are you digging to find the "problem behind the problem" when the community disagrees? Do you ask for value-based opinions from your citizens on issues your community needs to solve?

Convene a Community Engagement Institute to find your culture.  http://www.bewuca.com/blog/community-engagement-institute

Neighboring Towns and Growth

Why do we not like the community down the road? Is it because of athletics? A school merger? Because they stole our county charter 120 years ago? Or maybe, more than 100 years ago, our community had a competition who could hate their neighbor the most. One did. Understanding and breaking down the walls of conflict, perceptions, and hate is the first step toward growth as a region.

How Issues Become "Issues"

Whether in a family, church, school, business, organization or government, an issue goes through stages. When an issue is emerging, those involved and affected perceive their choices and choose their "sides" in resolving the matter.  The more involved we keep people and include as many choices as possible to solve the issue, the less disruptive the issue.

If we take away choices, voice, and input from those involved and affected, the issue becomes increasingly disruptive. People who do not know how an issue is decided, and are not a part of how the decision is made, do not trust the outcome.

So, the more disruptive the issue, the higher the cost that issue is to resolve in time, manpower, and/or money.

Some communities do not want to know other people’s opinions. It is like they want their deep, dark, secrets to stay hidden, thinking, "if we don't talk about it, it doesn't exist." 

Are you like that? Or do you want to change so you can grow with new people, ideas, energy?

You go to the doctor's office to find out why you are not well. You want that doctor to be honest with you and tell you how to get better. 

The "doctor" is in.

Global Horizons has championed civility-building, community growth processes for more than 15 years.

Building relationships builds civility to address motivation and community issues that keep you "stuck." 

Give us a call. 

 

Native Born per state 25+ -  http://www.governing.com/gov-data/census-migration-homegrown-populations-for-cities-states.html
Growth rate per state - http://www.usa.com/rank/us--population-growth-rate--state-rank.htm?tag=Fastest+Growing+States+in+U.S.
Richest States by income - http://www.usa.com/rank/us--median-household-income--state-rank.htm?yr=3000&tag=Richest+States+by+Income+in+U.S.