Over the years, my columns have discussed change, innovation, news-media, community, revitalization, tourism and transformation. As you have come to realize, I love using quotes from some of the historical greats. This column is devoted to many of those quotes and how they relate to the topics at hand.
Walt Disney: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
In my travels and consulting with communities and news-media companies throughout the country, I find the biggest obstacles with most are the ability to think and dream big. Many are stuck in what I refer to as a poverty mindset. That is setting the bar low based on past experiences. While there are many leadership qualities needed to succeed, there is no greater quality needed than the ability to dream big.
Jonas Salk: “Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.”
While facts, figures and logic are essential elements in success, it is intuition that puts the real wheels in motion. When it comes to change and innovation, be prepared to upset those with only the mental capability to fight change. They resist due to a lack of understanding of what it takes to implement real change. Change agents are never popular in the sea of tradition until others finally catch the vision which is usually long after the change has been implemented.
Charles Kettering: “If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.”
There is certainly a place for tradition and continuing certain practices. However, the fact of the matter is that without change, we will wither on the vine. Communities and their news-media organizations not willing to take risks are simply organizations on their deathbed in hospice care waiting to take their final breath.
Helen Keller: “Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
In today’s economic climate, security is nonexistent, and it may seem every day is a daring adventure at times. Communities and the news-media companies that cover them must treat tourism as a daring adventure. Dare to think big. Dare to take a chance. Dare to aim high. Tourism can change your community and the business base along with it. Don’t treat tourism as a nothing, you will pay the price if you do.
Albert Einstein: “You can’t solve a problem on the same level of thinking that it was created. You have to rise above it to the next level.”
I find it humorous how often those tasked with solving a particular problem are the ones who actually created or perpetuated the problem in the first place. You need to create new thought processes, move and scale quickly. Those saying, “move slow” in today’s world are simply out of touch with the reality on how to create effective and long-lasting change. Remember, powerful change comes through revolution, not evolution.
Victor Hugo: “There is only one thing stronger than all the armies of the world; and that is an idea whose time has come.”
I would argue that taxes are in this category as well, but that is another column. Change and innovation threaten those in charge. It threatens those holding on to fading power. Great leaders are those leading the charge into the world of change and innovation. Great leaders always challenge the old ideas and traditional ways. Hundreds of communities around our country are sinking as they cling to the old ideas and traditions of bygone years. Be the change you want to see!
Anatole France: “To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act.”
Having great ideas and dreams is only 25% of the battle. Enacting those dreams is the other 75% of the battle. The biggest enemy of dreams is tradition, inaction and/or slow reaction times. Oftentimes, dreams come with a narrow window of time as well – miss the narrow window and you then miss the synergies that might have accompanied those dreams.
Change and innovation aren’t for the weak of heart and mind. They are for the bold and those willing to brave new worlds, create new communities, build stronger companies and sail into the unchartered water of their particular challenge. They will always be accompanied and challenged by tradition, power brokers and those standing in the way, either on purpose or due to lack of understanding. Don’t let that get in your way, plow ahead with the knowledge that any great change has the same hurdles and challenges. Why not lead the charge?
John A. Newby is the author of the "Building Main Street, Not Wall Street" weekly column dedicated to helping local communities keep their consumer dollars local. He can be reached by email at: john@360MediaAlliance.net.