“No visions are ever rendered to us in the dead of night that we are incapable of pursuing at the break of dawn.”
Economic development is all about playing the long game and it pays to be patient and make incremental steps towards your biggest goals.
That said, there are pivotal moments when we must go “all-in,” to eliminate alternatives, and to forge ahead without all the facts so that projects, initiatives, and our communities can advance. Economic development is not equivalent to life-or-death military scenarios, but lives and livelihoods are indeed at stake. Real reform and innovation calls upon leaders to convey to their stakeholders and their partners that there is no turning back to another era, another strategy, or to pass the buck to the next generation. Incremental, long-term change is often good enough—but in certain circumstances, where pragmatism risks failure, is simply unacceptable.
At the height of a sudden crisis, it can be easier to say that there is no plan B and to call for dramatic action. This becomes tougher when the crisis emerges slowly over a long period of time or when the problem has existed for so long that most have accepted that it can never be changed.
Projects and initiatives, schools and transit systems, neighborhoods and entire city economies can go from losing to winning if the leadership signals that the boats should be burned and that there is absolutely no alternative but to go forward and not look back.
Is there something you or your team are working on that is worth taking such a bold stand? Are you willing to sacrifice other priorities for the sake of this singular focus—to commit to do whatever it takes to get it done? A worthy exercise is to take your highest priorities and define what a strategy looks like to achieve the goal if failure was not an alternative. How much time, money, and commitment would be necessary to succeed if you eliminated all other possibilities?
Let’s have a great week, lift each other up, and move forward this week!
President and CEO