One thing that I see from many leaders today is a lack of vision. They make decisions which will affect the future of the community without even thinking about what it really means. They only see right in front of their face.
Oh I know that you can think something to death but you do at least need to think it through.
Having vision means you have a good image of a possible future and a plan to get to that future that will have a good outcome and not place a burden on the community or its citizens. Sometimes the vision will seem impossible but with the right group of people, it becomes possible.
With the economic downturn we have experienced the last few years, many small towns are struggling to rebuild local economies, retain skilled workers, keep local businesses open and develop a new sense of purpose for the community. When leaders have a vision and put a plan into action which has carefully been thought out, you see even the smaller towns thrive.
It takes strong leadership, which nowadays is certainly hard to find. Strong leaders come up with ideas for a realistic economic plan and ways to retain residents.
Having a vision helps overcome obstacles you may face and allows you to continue trucking forward even when times get tough. If leaders do not have a clear vision for a community there will be no focus and things are just floundering out there. Visionary leaders have a knack for seeing today for what it is and can plan a future for growth and improvement. They can see the future, but stay focused on the present. Having a vision creates passion.
I am fortunate to have known some visionary leaders in my lifetime and wish we had a lot more today. Seems sometimes like leaders are just going willy-nilly and making decisions by the seat of their pants.
Leaders with vision know that for the vision to become reality, they have to get others on board. That also means keeping citizens in the loop and providing information as the process goes along.
Leaders sometimes get a bad rap. I realize that because you cannot make everyone happy but sometimes if just common sense is used in situations and planning, some leaders would not come under such scrutiny.
For example, in Peach County, some residents feel they were left out of the loop concerning the March 17 E-SPLOST which will be used to build a new high school. This is not a new tax, just an extension of the current one.
I personally believe the school board made the mistake of not providing enough information to the public and not keeping them in the loop. Anytime this happens, there is going to be someone to call foul.
Personally, my verdict is out on whether or not they need to build a new high school. I know that the state gives you more money to start from scratch than to renovate which at times can be a driving force. I also know it would have been better for the community had they built the current high school somewhere in the middle but I don’t know all those details either of what transpired back then.
They plan to build it approximately halfway between the two entities – Fort Valley and Byron, though technically it will have a Fort Valley address and use Fort Valley Utilities. There is and always has been friction between the two towns. Byron used to have a high school and since the old one closed, many have yearned for another Byron High School.
The system voted in December of last year to ask for another E-Splost and naturally they would put it on the March ballot because it will ensure the current one smoothly continues when it expires in December of this year. However, it also stands to reason they might have wanted it in March because citizens tend to not vote when there is only one thing on the ballot which gives referendums a bigger chance of passing. But who really knows, only those involve know the truth but when things are not done openly citizens start to question and can imagine all sorts of scenarios.
Byron is getting a Charter High School which is accepting applicants at this time.
You will never please everyone and it is futile to try but you can ensure less resistance to things when there is total transparency to everyone involved, especially the public. The public can be brutal when they think an entity is trying to pull one over on them and the only way to prevent that is transparency.
We may not see why they couldn’t wait until the November election for the E-SPLOST which would have given them more time for transparency and to give information to the public but they felt it necessary to not have any gap in funding. Giving the public more information allows them to make a more informed decision.
The powers to be need to take all of this into consideration when making such decisions and they need to not just look out for their own personal interests. Of course, when you’re not the one in the hot or driver’s seat, it’s easy to have a differing opinion. But even so and no matter which side you are on, I think everyone can agree, all aspects should be taken into consideration as to how it affects the whole.
VICTORIA SIMMONS is a columnist, motivational speaker/ minister and publisher/gm of The Post/Byron Buzz. Reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org