Small Community Development Institutes

“The significant problems that we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”  Albert Einstein

Effective measures of every rural economic development effort should be: 

  • What we are doing to increase our population?
  • What are we doing to decrease poverty? 

Since rural counties across the country have lost more population than gained, this quote and goal should be in every conversation of every rural board, organization, and business if there is to be growth in rural America.

Gil Gillespie, retired professor of sociology at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, points out, “population and poverty are complex issues with many causes. Population is important, but having a citizenry with a good balance of ages, a high rate of good livelihoods from their own businesses and employers, and interest in and commitment to the locality, are also needed."

    This pyramid shows where new jobs are created, but most economic development programs are geared to recruit “that” business to town so we can create “good” jobs. If we attract “that” business, it may be good for the community, but a loss for the community “that” business left. We’ve just shifted location, and perpetuated a win-lose game plan.

    Small business is the backbone of this country, creating 98 percent of all jobs on Main Street, in our neighborhoods, and countryside. Rural communities must undergo cultural transition in their economic development mentality that recruiting businesses will be our saving grace for jobs, because rural communities don’t have the workforce and can’t afford to give away the taxes required to compete to get corporations to locate in their town.

    Small communities must work differently – together – to grow, and may have to work around “good ol’ boys” clubs. Leaders may say, “We don’t have to do anything different, we're already doing this.” Recruitment approaches and decades-old methods of attraction worked then, but if still the primary form of economic development, communities lose population, schools, hospitals, and youth.

    What's needed: a systematic process for small community development

    Communities need a systemic, organized entrepreneurial process that allows people to explore business creation, ownership, and succession. There are resources to create pieces of the system such as business plans, financial statements, goal-setting, and pots of revolving loan funds. However, the best approach is a complete ecosystem that instructs, supports, and nourishes business owners AND a community who buys their goods and services.

    Processes that begin steady, consistent, long-term cultural transition to increase new leadership, address long-term, cultural issues and bring historically "warring" communities together see lasting success. Using bottoms-up, relationship-building, image-changing, sustainable approaches to grow rural areas, these Institutes build civility and have great growth benefits through building and strengthening relationships within and between communities.

    What can I do?

    Think of your community. Are any of these issues being addressed at your city council/board of supervisors/economic development team/school board meeting or coffee shop?

    • Do you have young people that are engaging in leadership positions and new ideas being promoted?
    • How do does your community get along with neighboring towns? Collaborate or resent? Why? Is it beneficial to either of you?
    • Are elected officials talking about population decline and increasing poverty? More importantly, what is being done about it?
    • Is economic development being done the same way as it has for the last 100 years? What's happening?
    • How are attitudes? What is said of each community and the county? What do you say about it? Your youth? If asked by a stranger, “What is great about living here?” and the answer is, “There’s nothing to do here, I can’t wait to get out,” is that the message to send guests who could be looking to bring a family and/or business?
    • What about income opportunities? Not everyone is cut out to work for someone else. Do you encourage and support people starting or own businesses?

    Rural economic development must address people and poverty. Approaches must change if rural America is to grow. 

    Learn how with Global Horizons' Small Community Development Institutes. 

    Cultural Transition Institutes

    Cultural Transition Institutes

    Some Places Just Don't Want to Grow!

    C.A.V.E. people - Citizens Against Virtually Everything.   

    W.A.V.E. people - Workers Against Virtually Everything.  

    P.A.V.E. people - Parishioners Against Virtually Everything.  

    N.I.M.B.Y. people - Not In My Back Yard! 

    Every state, community, organization has people like these folks, but we tend to discount them or say, “That's just them. They always look at the negative.”

    If you want to grow, but have issues in your community where you just can't get moving because of some people or obstacle, take an honest look at the issues that keep your community/ies "stuck." 

    Look at your community culture.

    I have served in chamber of commerce and economic development organizations my entire professional career and I know those organizations are paid to promote all the good the community has to offer.

    However, communities that thrive are those who will publicly look for the bad, as well as promote the good. Thriving communities commit to being better.

    If you are committed, you will do whatever it takes. You stop blaming other people and circumstances for your situations. You learn what you need to learn. You practice what you need to practice. You put all attention / focus on how you will achieve your goals.

    How do you know what needs to be addressed if you don’t look at the downside of your community?

    Here are two pain points:

    • Are you increasing population?  and
    • Are you decreasing poverty?

    Making headway on these two goals signals how welcoming people find your community.

    In my research, states with a higher population of non-native-born citizens - people who were not born in, but are living in your state - are growing at a faster rate and have higher incomes than states with a higher population of native-born; those born in and living in the state.

    Ask those who moved into your community - people who do not have grandparents buried in the local cemetery - if they feel welcome and feel they belong. Even if they've lived there 20+ years.

    Ask those who come to your church and sit in somebody else's pew.

    Ask your youth. Do they feel they belong? Do they see a future in your town?


    Look at your culture. How your community "grew up."

    To address these issues, you need to start with Why? Why does your community exist?

    Do you know “why?" Are you asking? 

    Are you digging to find the "problem behind the problem" when the community disagrees? Do you ask for value-based opinions from your citizens on issues your community needs to solve?

    Convene a Community Engagement Institute to find your culture.


    Neighboring Towns and Growth

    Why do we not like the community down the road? Is it because of athletics? A school merger? Because they stole our county charter 120 years ago? Or maybe, more than 100 years ago, our community had a competition who could hate their neighbor the most. One did.

    Identifying, understanding, and breaking down the walls of conflict, perceptions, and hate is the first step toward growth as a region.


    How Issues Become "Issues"

    Whether in a family, church, school, business, organization or government, an issue goes through stages. When an issue is emerging, those involved and affected perceive their choices and choose their "sides" in resolving the matter.  The more involved we keep people and include as many choices as possible to solve the issue, the less disruptive the issue.

    If we take away choices, voice, and input from those involved and affected, the issue becomes increasingly disruptive. People who do not know how an issue is decided, and are not a part of how the decision is made, do not trust the outcome.

    So, the more disruptive the issue, the higher the cost that issue is to resolve in time, manpower, and/or money.

    Some communities do not want to know other people’s opinions. It is like they want their deep, dark, secrets to stay hidden, thinking, "if we don't talk about it, it doesn't exist." 

    Are you like that? Or do you want to change so you can grow with new people, ideas, energy?


    You go to the doctor's office to find out why you are not well. You want that doctor to be honest with you and tell you how to get better. 

    The "doctor" is in.

    Global Horizons has championed civility-building, community growth processes for more than 25 years.

    Build civil relationships to address motivation and community issues that keep you "stuck." 

    Give us a call. 712-250-0275.


    Native-Born per state 25+ -
    Growth rate per state -
    Richest States by income -

    Earn, Learn, and Don't Use Your Budget!

    If you are a chamber of commerce, Main Street Community organization, school foundation, or an organization with a cause, this opportunity is for you! 

    When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Make a difference with your membership and your community without putting a dent in your budget. 

    Want a speaker, but budget is tight? We can do this together! We provide the workshop, and your organization handles the publicity, registration, any refreshments, and meeting facilities.

     In return, we split the net registration fees 50 / 50 with your organization.

    (travel expenses may need to be discussed depending upon location of event) 

    We offer flexible programs for your non-profit to present to your community members based on your needs, our experience, and our popular book, The Be WUCA! Way, The ART of getting along. (Press release)

    The Be WUCA! Way is a process to create civility in environments where people get along so businesses grow, customers return, bottom lines increase, students achieve, and organizations grow.

    WUCA! is an intentional lifestyle. It’s a choice of how we think about, talk about, talk to, and treat people civilly every second of every day.

    It’s setting a respectful, civil atmosphere for your workplace, community, family, school, and place of worship where new people and ideas are welcome for deeper, more meaningful, productive, healthy relationships that grow your family's unity, economy, organization, and volunteers.

    Act now and schedule this new WUCA! training for your membership, schools, communities, and businesses! 

    Live and Work Your Passion

    By Frank Spillers

    When you started your career, you could feel the passion! Ready to take on the world and you knew that you were in the right place at the right time. Changing the status quo was your only agenda. Shaking it up and making the world a better place was a huge goal. Real passion - I’m equating it to a vigorous deep desire you feel within you that isn't easy to explain or define. This kind of passion propels you in a direction that seems motivated by a force beyond your control. It’s the inner excitement of being on the right path, doing what feels good to you, and what you know you were meant to do. It’s my contention that the mere presence of passion within you is all you need to fulfill your dreams.

    Learn this innovative soft-skill technique working through our just-released popular book, The Be WUCA! Way, The ART of getting along.


    When you’re enthusiastic, nothing seems difficult. When you have passion, there are no risks: family dramas become meaningless, money isn't an issue, you know that you have the strength and the smarts, and the rules laid down by others have no bearing on you whatsoever. That’s because you’re answering your calling—and the you who is doing the answering is the highest part of you, or the God within.

    Visualize yourself working passionately at what you love. What would you be doing? What would you be feeling? Would you be doing it for free? Passion includes sharp focus, clear vision of your future, total control and mastery over your work, a healthy body and an exuberant attitude!

    Are you doing those things? Are you living those feelings?

    If you are not, you are not living your passion.

    Many people would tell me that it is not feasible to live your passion. I can’t make money doing what I love. I don’t have the time to do what I am passionate about. I am too busy trying to make ends meet to really do what I am passionate about.

    Does that sound like you?

    I would say that you are just making excuses not to do what you love. Why?

    Passion is God’s way of pushing you in the direction that He has prepared for you.

    There is always a way to do something. Look around and list all the people doing what you would love to do. You tell yourself, “I wish I could do what they do!”

    How do you think they do it? What do they do differently than you are doing?

    Living your passion on a daily basis is what you were made to do.

    Listen to your self-talk, your mind-chatter. Everything that you tell yourself, someone taught you to think.

    Telling you that you can’t do what you want to do. You have to do "this" to make a living. You can’t really make a living on what you love to do - no one can. It is unrealistic to think that you can be happy working. No one is really happy at their job. It is just a way to make a living.

    Sound familiar?

    It doesn't have to be that way. There are people living their passion. I am one of them.

    My passion is to create innovative ways that build people to be what they want to become - help them find their passion.

    Life is too short to try and just get by. We listen to other people way too often. Other people do not have our best interest at heart. They usually talk from their experiences. They mean well sometimes, but they want to remain in their comfort zone and they want everyone else to stay there also.

    Step out, find what you are passionate about, pray that a way will present itself, and then go for it. Find an accountability coach to help you and regain your life.

    You will be a much better person for it and those who love you will appreciate the new you!

    Passion does not come overnight. Taking these proactive steps will see a gradual increase in your enthusiasm. You will begin working with a newly-fired zeal which becomes contagious, motivating others as well. You will have consciously taken charge of your life and the fruits of prosperity will be in sight once again.

    Find your passion and change your world!



    Present a BE WUCA! Workshop

      Zero Risk!

    Be WUCA! Workshop

    When you partner with Global Horizons, LLC to present the Be WUCA! process, it’s teamwork and a money raiser for your cause!

    We provide the workshop and your organization handles the publicity, registration, any refreshments, and meeting facilities. In return, we split the registration fees 50/50* with your organization.

    Offer it to your membership, schools, communities, and businesses!


    $45 per registration     $35 for a group that sends 5 or more

    *call for rates for locations beyond 150 miles from our home office in Atlantic, IA

    What will you gain?    GREAT ATTITUDES!

    Be WUCA!

    The purpose for Global Horizons, LLC, is to use big-picture visioning and passion to motivate and guide people to discover their unique talents to build the future.

    When you deal with people positively, they will respond positively.

    Using our proven process called Be WUCA!(c), we will teach people to create an environment to have others feel:

    Welcome, Understood, Comfortable, and Appreciated

    We describe how a person’s belief system is formed and the role our habits play in how we treat others.  This session is great to understand each other and to think about how we treat people on a daily basis.

    This workshop will:

    • Examine how positive and negative habits and beliefs are formed through all five senses.

    • Define and understand paradigms/perceptions and how that affects a person’s well-being.

    • Demonstrate and understand how thinking affects physical attributes of the body using applied kinesiology.

    • Discover and understand differences in personalities and how to interact with them. This is a fun and visual way to deal with employees and customers!

    • Create a purpose statement and define what exactly you want in all areas of your life.

    • Define SMART goals. Write out specific goals in personal, business, financial, health, and recreation areas. Discover how positive affirmations affect successfully achieving goals.

    • Develop the customer service approach to Be WUCA! If you would like to improve your personal and professional relationships, learn to welcome, understand, comfort, and appreciate.


    Be WUCA!      Welcome          Understand           Comfortable            Appreciate


    Present the Be WUCA! process. It is a great way to increase your customer satisfaction, employee morale, visitor return rate, tourism dollars, retail sales, graduation rates, teamwork, cooperation, volunteer participation, youth retention, your bottom line, and many more positive outcomes!

    If you would like to improve your personal and professional relationships, learn to welcome, understand, comfort, and appreciate.

    Be WUCA!(c)