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.  http://www.bewuca.com/blog/community-engagement-institute

     

    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+ -  http://www.governing.com/gov-data/census-migration-homegrown-populations-for-cities-states.html
    Growth rate per state - http://www.usa.com/rank/us--population-growth-rate--state-rank.htm?tag=Fastest+Growing+States+in+U.S.
    Richest States by income - http://www.usa.com/rank/us--median-household-income--state-rank.htm?yr=3000&tag=Richest+States+by+Income+in+U.S.

    Rural Communities: Stuck and Spinning Wheels

    In this blog, the context of “communities” is perceived as any group of individuals

    who work to make life better for all people in all groups.

    Is your community growing in population and new business, or does it feel you are “stuck” and spinning your wheels?

    Do the "good ol' boys" want you to believe they know what’s best to develop the community, even when you are skeptical they are self-motivated, rather than looking out for the good of the whole?

    If you are growing, great! Keep doing what you are doing!

    If you could use some help, here’s a technique to help your community move forward in the best way possible: deliberative dialogue.

    In a Be WUCA! community, all people work on public problems together, like what to do if the school is struggling, or your population is dwindling away. What sets a Be WUCA! community apart is its focus to talk through, not just about its issues using a technique called "deliberative dialogue.”

    This type of conversation gives amazing results because community members talk with each other for mutual understanding, not decision making, to find common ground. You get to hear why an issue is important to your neighbor from their values and experiences, not just venting.

    Be WUCA! community work creates the environment where all people thrive and feel part of their future. It’s a place where all feel WUCA!: Welcome. Understand. Comfort. Appreciate.

    Community members are the experts, so public deliberation begins as citizens - not the good ol' boys or experts - name a problem and identify potential approaches toward it. Through dialogues in a safe, neutral space, people take time to carefully consider advantages and drawbacks of the approaches, leading to new understandings and shared directions or decisions.

    A Be WUCA! community opens the door for all sectors to work together to enhance community life, where old relationships can change and new ones develop. You’ll even find that individuals or organizations who have a history of arguing or never talking can begin to work together!

    Growing your population and businesses using this Be WUCA! process creates a place for all people to be involved, because growing a community is up to each person to talk well of and promote your town, not because it’s someone’s “job.” 

    Communities that want to grow need to create opportunities for all people to get involved and then individuals need to take the opportunity and do it.

    Make growing your Be WUCA! community your responsibility.

    To learn about how these questions can help you grow, check out http://www.bewuca.com/blog/relationship-economic-development-wuca-ize-your-community?rq=WUCA!-ize

    Fund Early Care and Education for a Better Workforce

    Why should businesses, communities, and states be concerned about creating family-friendly policies for their workforce and citizens?

    • Communities are concerned with keeping their youth and attracting young people and families to live, work, and play.
    • Communities across the country are pursuing the same families, so special attention is needed to stand above the rest.
    • U.S. companies lose $3 BILLION annually as a consequence of childcare-related absences and 85% of employers report providing childcare services improves employee recruitment. 

    Here's how: inject money into making sure yours is a Be WUCA! family-friendly business and community with a quality, fully-funded early care and education environment. Every decision your community makes, asks: "how will this decision affect children?" Look at all your policies and ask if they are family-friendly. 

    Issues with childcare often affect the job performance of working parents by increasing absenteeism, tardiness, turnover rates, recruitment, and training costs. In turn, these issues affect productivity and work quality and, ultimately, the competitiveness of the businesses that employ these workers.

    An average business with 250 employees can save $75,000 per year in lost work time by subsidizing care for employees' sick children. Employers surveyed report that childcare services decrease employee absences by 20-30 percent and reduce turnover by 37-60 percent. If it's your own business, it impacts your bottom line.

    Research shows that work-family benefits have a direct impact on employee recruitment and retention. For example, a small textile manufacturing company in the Southwest experienced a 40 percent turnover rate that dramatically dropped to seven percent after beginning a childcare program.

    It's critical employers attract and retain good, productive workers to stay competitive in the market. Given the changing composition of America’s labor force and the impact childcare has on worker productivity, businesses with employer-assisted childcare implement a cost-effective way to control labor costs, enhance worker productivity, and engage your workforce. Employees will be loyal to and productive for a company who helps care for their children!

    Investing when the brain is developing is good policy.

    The following chart shows the relationship of brain development to public expenditures.

    The brain develops 80% by the age of three and 90% by school age. In fact, the brain is connecting new neurons in the first 2000 days of a child's life at a rate of 700 connections per second. Every connection is a thought, belief, or a new learned experience. These first 2000 days are when school and work habits are being formed. We need to spend dollars when they will do the most good. 

    Think back to your first thought. How old were you when you have your first memory? For most, our first memories average at three or four years old. As that is true, what is being taught to children during this critical phase of lifetime brain development is crucial to a child's - and society's - welfare.

    But, as the diagram shows, public expenditures increase in the preschool and kindergarten years when a child begins school, near the end of early significant brain connections. In fact, the Federal Reserve has documented that for every $1 invested in early care and education, communities save between $4 - $14 in future costs of remedial and special education, the juvenile crime system, and welfare support.

    The labor market today and into the foreseeable future is radically different than it used to be. New jobs that we will need have not even been thought of or invented. The old problem of finding enough work for rising numbers of workers is replaced by the new problem of locating enough workers to fill new jobs requiring technical skills generated by an expanding economy. 

    Every experience we have had shapes who we are, including our school and work habits. Good early care and education is critical to the students and workers of the future. 

    When you invest in and create a family-friendly WUCA! community with a quality, fully-funded early care and education environment, families will look for you and choose your community to call home.

    When you implement these recommendations in your community and state, you will stand above the rest and grow! 

     How does this decision affect children? Is it FAMILY-FRIENDLY?

    Create Wealth with Community Builders

    All across our rural regions, schools are struggling with cutting budgets due to declining enrollment, districts are facing decisions to close buildings and move students to schools in other towns and neighborhoods. Young people are moving to economic opportunities elsewhere. Families face low-wage jobs as poverty levels continue an upward trend.

    Community and economic development need to be more than just about creating jobs. It's about creating an environment where businesses - which create jobs - and people - who create quality of life - can thrive.

    It's about locally creating a place where people are part of their future.

    This is where wealth is created.

    Healthy relationships between people establish the basis where true economic development can happen. In a grassroots, values-based leadership program called Community Builders, wealth is created. Residents better understand and build their communities and local economies by knowing their assets, needs, and intentionally create wealth and jobs.

    Here’s why wealth creation matters:

    · the “walls” come down between communities and animosities disappear. This allows new ideas to flow.

    · new, much-needed income from business-to-business opportunities appears.

    · youth are integrated into community leadership positions, encouraging involvement and commitment to the community.

    · while agriculture is, and will remain an important part of the rural economy, it need no longer hold life and death power over a community's economy.

    · pro-active, positive attitudes improve quality of life in communities.

    · change happens everywhere. Managing change is key to successful transition and growth.

    · new ways of looking at development better supports and nurtures economic, entrepreneurship, employment, and social development at local and regional levels.

    · collaboration between communities creates a peer support network and friendship links across a region, promoting an “it’s good for all of us” mentality to achieve common economic goals.

    · economic success in rural communities is tied directly to investment in rural leadership.

    Here's how it works.

    Community Builders is a terrific, interactive, fun, unique, action-learning process focused within a geographic region between or within communities, businesses, schools, organizations, and individuals. It's designed to promote unity when people become more aware of each other, entertainment, opportunities, and area businesses. It works fabulously between towns in a county or between multiple counties.

    It creates an environment where trusting relationships build, attitudes change, jobs and wealth are created, and entrepreneurial spirit flourishes!

    The process is flexible and did you catch this is FUN?

    Community Builders  begins with a kickoff session uniquely crafted from 28 years of experience with a core group of people interested in new ways to develop their towns in a region. The presentation explains the background, what to expect, the importance of Community Builders, and what it can do for an area. At the end of the presentation, those communities who want to participate select a date for their town’s tour. Participants usually include six to 10 communities with people from each community as committed representatives for the length of the process.

    Now creativity begins - there are no rules for what happens next!

    At least monthly - depending on how many participate - representatives from each town visit the town hosting that month’s tour. Much like a tour you'd share with someone who wants to move to your town, guests learn about businesses, their product/s, employee base, sales area, and any other information the business wants to share. Schools, tourist stops, historical landmarks - anything special to that community - are included. The final stop for the evening includes a meal and program pertinent to the community's needs. The tours continue through the summer until all the towns have been visited.

    A key focus of Community Builders is to foster collaboration and connections between communities. A regular discussion theme relates to ways of strengthening these bonds, thus ensuring 'win-win' for all communities.

    What is learned through Community Builders  is that even the tiniest towns have exceptional treasures! Lifelong residents discover numerous companies with international scope, and more “Main Street” and home-based businesses than you thought you had! Notably, your residents will be filled with pride and amazed at the great town they call home!

    When residents speak highly of their hometown and area - these days globally - you are utilizing the very best and least expensive economic development tool: word of mouth!

    The process is simple. 1) Engage every member of your community, 2) connect with towns around you, and 3) you will create wealth!

    It takes a village to engage a workforce!

    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!

     

     

    Be WUCA! Communities Create Civility for Young People!

    At a time when many people feel overwhelmed by the problems and challenges facing children and adolescents, communities across the country need to discover new energy in working together, building civility toward a positive vision for young people. Instead of focusing only on problems of young people, communities need to build and support a foundation of development all young people need.

    Uniting a community to nurture the positive development of youth and build civility is much like playing in a jazz ensemble. Each musician (community member) must know the tune and listen to the other ensemble members; all players must improvise together–sometimes taking the lead and sometimes blending into the background. To create a community-wide commitment to youth, all the “players” need to be an ensemble working toward a common vision of what is needed to promote the healthy development of young people.

    Healthy Be WUCA! communities that build civility and family friendly supports need to act:

    • All residents take personal responsibility for the efforts to build civility in relationships.
    • The community thinks and acts intergenerational.
    • All children and teenagers frequently have opportunity to by in service to others.
    • Families are supported, educated, and equipped.
    • All children and teenagers receive support in both informal settings and in places where youth gather.
    • Neighborhoods and schools are places of caring, support, and safety.
    • Schools mobilize to promote caring, clear boundaries and sustained relationships with adults.
    • Businesses establish family-friendly policies for all employees.
    • Virtually all 10-to-18 year-olds are involved in one or more clubs, teams, or other youth-serving organizations that promote community building as a central part of their mission.
    • The media (print, radio, television) repeatedly communicate the community’s vision, support local mobilization efforts, and provide forums for sharing innovative actions taken by individuals and organizations.
    • Youth have opportunities to serve, lead, and make decisions in community government and service organizations.
    • Religious institutions mobilize their resources to build civility both within their own programs and in the community.
    • The community-wide commitment to building civility is long-term and sustained by business and industry and the public sector.

    Communities utilizing Be WUCA! strategies will stem their population decline and attract new families. If you had a choice to live in a community that did not care about its youth or live in a community that engaged youth, into which community would you want to move your family? Think about it: all communities think they have great schools but I believe all parts of the community are needed to assist youth in education and to recognize as this is the place they wish to live or return with their families because of the importance that is placed on youth.

    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!

    Cost

    $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)