January 23, 2023

“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one that they sprang up.”
-Oliver Wendall Holmes

Community and economic development issues can be complicated, costly, and complex. Each community has its own history, leadership dynamics, and physical and financial constraints. These problems often require experts and funding from afar to help local leaders bring the resources and know-how to solve them. Each of the problems require local leaders to unlock the door from the inside—meaning that they must invite others to help and to give the first-person perspective unique to their community so that everyone can solve the problem.

This reminder is for all of us at a local level to know our communities, to understand our history, how leadership works within our four walls, and to objectively understand our limitations. It is also a reminder for government partners from state and federal agencies, as well as businesses and private foundations, to not apply a one-sized-fits-all approach to seemingly common problems.

As local leaders it is on us to unlock the door from the inside, to invite others to help, and to provide perspective and understanding for those that answer the call. No one else can unlock that door, break down that wall, and humbly seek solutions from those of different means. As regional, state, and national partners, it is imperative that we walk through that door humbly and ask those that have been working on these problems for perspective and local insight.

This week, let’s lift each together up, unlock a few doors, and move forward!

– Kenny McDonald