Thursday, March 15, 2012

Enjoy Your Community

Retired City Manger Mike Levinson -Community
"The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life."
-- Jane Addams

What a wonderful experience I had this morning, I was invited to a breakfast (very early!) and work shop with Mike Levinson at Dunedin's Stadium to look at the idea and practical structure upon which to build a community of excellence. Mike was the manager of Coral Spirngs in Florida and is the only town of it's size of about 130, 000 to ever receive the Baldridge award for excellence.

This was rated on a number of criteria but particularly its vision of Coral Springs as a place to LIVE, WORK, and be FAMILY.

One fact that I was very heartened by was the number of volunteers and youth volunteers who contributed time and energy to a community service or cause of one kind or another.

the point was made that while the example we were given was of a community of this size with all of its many parts, the principle's where scalable, that is, any organization could apply these and find themselves becoming truly excellent.

The towns focus on community was refreshing and more than once Mike emphasized that every policy and process was decided on against the criteria of serving better lives, a better place to work, and a better place to bring up a family.

One strength was the ability to build relationships of substance with all sectors of the community and his joy and pride in their achievement was obvious. yest here were lessons to be learned and the learned them. The system they worked to went beyond a fake 'consultation' with the people and employees and business, these people were an integral part of the decision making process.

Many thanks to the Otago Polytechnic, Polson Higgs, and the Otago Chamber of Commerce for a wonderful event. (And also to Henry and Thunes from the Southland and Waitaki counsels for their company).

Lets enjoy our community's, leading with spirit and collective wisdom with action.


Richard Kerr-Bell
Enjoy Your Life

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Importance of Vision

"Dissatisfaction and discouragement are not caused by the absence of things but the absence of vision."
— Anonymous

Roald Amundsen - Knew where he was going, and prepared!

I had the joy of sharing a drink with people involved in sport, with a passion for football. All have experience and gifts to share and have achieved at a high level.the combined frustration of some of the discussion was around the inability of those charged with leading the sport locally to show, share, or act on anything approaching a vision.

Now just so we are on the level, all of my friends work had during the day and give almost as much time on a volunteer basis to their passion and to support young people to enjoy some of the many rich experiences they have, they do not ask for money or anything else, just acknowledgment and sharing in a mutually beneficial relationship.

The sport, arguably is being maintained, a couple of good ideas emerge, not innovations or world changing, not making waves, just keeping things ticking over and this is the problem.

People want more, especially if they are giving more, they want a vision, they want something to aspire to, to aim at. Some of us are wired to see possibility and go for it, others are wired to support this group and take actions to make it a reality, yet others are gate-keepers of tradition and require convincing that the new wont eclipse or forget the past. At times this group fail to see that their seeking to protect 'what is' eventually destroys what 'could be' and the any who might wish to be apart of them leave.

I recall an add placed by Amundsen before his trip to the Antarctic seeking men who would risk their lives for little pay, lots of discomfort, and if the venture failed a lonely death, yet he was inundated with applicants!

People want something to live for, something worth pursuing and worthy of their life's commitment. Do your people know where they fit int he big picture, concretely how they make a difference and why their goals and targets are so vital and valuable?

Make everyday part of something great, even a little.

Take care

Richard Kerr-Bell