Collective Impact01-29-14-robertson.gif

Well, I guess we have new buzz words in our community. Collective Impact is a vogue and stylish term now being used to describe the cooperative initiative that needs to take place in order to enable communities, organizations and municipalities to deal with progress, situations and problems they face.

Interesting.

I had a very social and enlightening weekend; here is what I learned and observed while talking with established Fayetteville residents.

First, I found it amazing how knowledgeable they were of the problems and impediments facing Fayetteville and Cumberland County that keep our community from progressing and moving forward. Everyone I talked with felt the same way about the urgent and contemporary needs of our community. No doubt, addressing Cumberland County’s crime problem was always priority number one. It seems like our new mayor is right on track with that one.

Priority two, also no surprise, is the need to create jobs and explore innovative ways to encourage new business and economic development. (Check the box again for Mayor Nat Robertson).

Finally, local residents believe we need to address the quality of life of our residents through the enhancement of education, the fine arts and more public recreational facilities.

Is anyone surprised?

What might surprise you is that each person I talked to expressed the opinion that it wasn’t ideas or initiatives that kept us from moving forward. Instead, they mined it down to one word: silos.

Obviously, they were not talking about a silo storage cylinder for farm grain or an underground chamber where a missile is housed until it is ready to launch. What they were talking about and what I found myself talking about a lot is the use of the word as a metaphor to describe the mentality of people and organizations that just don’t want to share information.

They are selfish, self-indulgent and protective of their turf, resources and money, while stifling progress and growth of an otherwise progressive community.

What is equally astonishing is that everyone speaks of this as common knowledge and a typical way of life here in our community.

That might have been true in the past. It may not be true now. But for our community to succeed and thrive, it can’t remain that way. If this community is going to move forward and better itself there is no doubt that collective impact will need to take place. This can only happen if there is a cooperative spirit among people, organizations, institutions and governments.

Like in Berlin, the walls must come down! Leaders must lead and emerge with a long-term vision for our community that the community can get behind and to which it can make a commitment. This takes cooperation and leadership.

Can we do it? Will we do it? This is yet to be determined. However, after a weekend of extended discussions with friends, there is no doubt in my mind that we know what the problems are, it’s just a matter of whether or not we have the intestinal fortitude to address them.

Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

Photo: Fayetteville’s new mayor, Nat Robertson, has plenty of work to do to bring the people, organizations, institutions and government together. It looks like he is on the right track. 

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