January 18, 2021

“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
-Nelson Mandela

In a recent interview, Coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke observed that he has “thought a lot about the game of basketball, not just my team, because what is good for the game is ultimately good for the players.” My translation of that thought is that we must realize that things are constantly evolving and changing and we must think deeply about the interests of our country over our communities, our community over our individual interests, our industry over our company or organization, and our team over ourselves.

The “game” of economic development is a game of high stakes for our citizens and because of that we must think about the broader themes as we compete for jobs, investment, tax base, and growth. It is why economic development professionals sign a code of ethics that says we will not target other communities, especially those that are made temporarily vulnerable because of natural disasters or unrest. It is why we seek win-win-win agreements between companies, communities, and citizens’ interests. It is why we think long-term, not about the next quarter or election cycle. It is why we create broad, inclusive coalitions to leverage resources and do what we cannot do alone. All of these things sound rational and yet there is a constant push and pull to look inward, to take the short-term gain against what we know will burden future generations.

This week, out of respect for those that have sacrificed and those that continue to do so, let’s think about what is best for the game, not just our team.

-Kenny McDonald