Steps to Build Wealth in America's Rural Communities

Has your area grown in the last 100 years? Areas across the United States have not grown in population for more than 100 years, as rural communities have struggled how to address economic development, create more of a workforce and build population. We've learned that a community has a personality just as an individual does and to change how it looks at the world requires time, persistence, and a willingness to change the way they look at things.

Our experience tells us it takes at least a three-year commitment to change a community's personality and outlook. These super-fun, interesting processes are critical building blocks to begin a steady, consistent, long-term relationship-building, image-changing, sustainable plan to grow rural areas. Great benefits come for rural areas in this bottoms-up approach to community growth through building and strengthening relationships within and between communities!

Relationship Economic Development WUCA!-izes communities to:

  • prepare for newcomers,
  • learn skills to talk through community issues that positively guide the future,
  • learn more about their own area - how each community is unique and complements one another,
  • identify, invite, and welcome those from around the globe who want to live in rural areas, and
  • grow populations and business sectors.

Leadership Development

This 24+-hr classroom experience is available for up to 25 community members per class. This in-depth walk through our book and its exercises, The Be WUCA! Way, The ART of getting alongseeks to ingrain soft skills that lead to workforce and people engagement. When people truly walk this lifestyle, their personal and professional environments and relationships will change. When perceptions change, behavior changes, one person at a time. We recommend that a notable number of the starting class is selected from service sector employees in convenience stores and restaurants. These front-line managers and service industry professionals are often the front-door to any community and the impression a visitor/potential new business receives.

For faster results, we can train as many groups as desired.

Public Policy Institute

We’ll teach the art of deliberative dialogue to talk through wicked issues, not just about them – like school issues and immigration.

This powerful tool is the approach for schools, communities, business, families, and organizations to participate in the art of civic engagement in each school district. It’s powerful because dialogue includes the voices and values of all who want to participate – the more divergent, the more powerful. The outcome of these conversations will provide common ground to overcome school, workforce, and all critical community growth issues.

We’ve led hundreds of dialogues, including 108 separate ones in the four caucus/primary states. The report informed then-presidential candidates of citizen voice on healthcare and financial security.

We’ve written/helped write local and national issue books including county economic development, education, eminent domain and more. One we led with high school students on America’s Role in the World was included in the 50th anniversary of The Dartmouth Conference on U.S./Russia relations.

Professional Development for School Staff / community/Kickoff Back-to-School Speaker

Lead the year with a one-day training The Be WUCA! Way. This will set the stage for expectations and opportunities during the school year to impact thousands between staff, administration, students, and families.

Deliberative Dialogues

Held in each community of the school district, these dialogues will focus on workforce development and community growth. Using their training from the Public Policy Institute (above), community members will be able to co-moderate, record, observe, and be part of writing the report from value-based conversations that seek win-win outcomes, that, again, talk through issues, not just about them. This training will equip citizens on how to tackle the tough issues they face.

Community Builders – March-September/October

Community Builders is a fast, easy, super-fun way to change the environment of an area. From the March kickoff meeting through community tours and educational components during April/May – October, we’ll focus on technology infrastructure the first year in each area. This process allows communities to dig deep into their area and showcase what makes them proud.

We’ll repeat each year with a different focus, and beyond, if desired. It’s critical for sustainability and new ideas to bring in new people each year to create the town tours and to continue changing the culture through what is learned.

Years Two & Three begin the cycle again, with new professional development topics, participants, and more intentional connection with entrepreneurship in the school districts to impact student achievement and outcomes for students and communities.

Individual business session:                                                                Employees Leave Managers, Not Companies

This one-day session is designed to present a core WUCA! message for employee engagement and application for increased workplace productivity, customer service, and expansion.

Coaching in the Classroom (CIC): year-round

Global Horizons will be in the classroom once a week to focus on workforce development and entrepreneurship that nurtures great ideas from a student into potential businesses and connect them strongly with the business community. During three years at a rural Iowa school district, we reduced their high school “at-risk” population from 41% to 12% by teaching workplace skills.

Contact Global Horizons to begin your three-year cycle           repopulate your community!

Perception - Another Person's Reality

To really understand another person you need to understand how your filtering mechanism works.

Your filtering mechanism is your belief system of what you see or another word for that is paradigm. A paradigm is the belief that has been turned into a habit and has been programmed into you. it is how you perceive reality and why you act the way you do and live the way you do.

A paradigm is like railroad tracks. It creates a set direction for how you see the world. Everything you see, everything you’d do everything you perceive of other people and situations, is filtered through your paradigm. It becomes your reality.

So it is also with other people. Their paradigm or belief system filters the information that they take in.

In order to understand how another person perceives reality, you have to understand how they grew up, their culture. You have to understand their personality, and you have to understand their current situation. 

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!

It Takes a Village to Engage a Workforce

America’s low level of employee engagement is a huge drag on your community’s economy.

An October, 2013 Gallup survey indicates that only 13 percent of employees worldwide are engaged at work, according to their 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace. In other words, about one in eight workers -- roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied -- are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.  http://www.gallup.com/poll/165269/worldwide-employees-engaged-work.aspx. 

In the U.S. and Canada, that survey indicates employee engagement remains at 29 percent, static since Gallup’s 2006 survey of employees engaged in their workplaces.

In the 2013 report, Gallup states, “Increasing workplace engagement is vital to achieving sustainable growth for companies, communities, and countries --- and for putting the global economy back on track to a more prosperous and peaceful future.”  

These statistics matter to communities as global business relationships flourish and economies are increasingly interwoven. An engaged workforce is critical to each community infrastructure for safety, stability, and sustainable growth. An engaged workforce keeps vital services in place like police and fire departments to protect citizens and homes. An engaged workforce provides jobs and business opportunities. An engaged workforce provides volunteers for churches, civic, and philanthropic organizations.

If workforce engagement is such a huge issue for companies, and the statistic of engaged workers has been the same for nearly eight years, why is little being done to address the problem? Companies, communities, schools, and individuals must move in a different direction. Doing the same things in the same way will get you the same results. 

A picture of a village engaging a workforce

In a given geography, we identify four “workforce hubs:” individual, community, education, and business, each an entry point of opportunity to engage citizens. For example, in the business hub, engaged employees are critical for a company’s bottom line. An engaged worker will contribute more to profit, growth and innovation, increased investment and purchases by outside interests, and an internal productive, enjoyable environment. Workers need their “head in the game” while on the clock. When workers are distracted for any reason from the task at hand – making money for the business – worker productivity decreases. In short, worker engagement matters to the company bottom line. 

All businesses, community organizations and governments spend money to attract new opportunities and people from around the globe for economic growth. It’s imperative communities have a holistic approach to workforce engagement to be efficient with those dollars.

What to do? 

Implement an overall community approach with targeted actions to better-engage citizens in every hub to strengthen schools, increase productivity, build volunteerism, and reinforce families.

  • In the individual hub, get to know yourself. Coach citizens to know themselves and identify their skills. Find their passion and purpose, define their vision of the future, and establish goals to get there. In turn, the community will benefit from new businesses, stronger families, and increased pride. New voices, ideas, and attitudes that welcome must exist and be promoted.
  • In the community hub, be open to newcomers and new ways of seeing the world. Newcomers arrive in our towns in many forms seeking a place to connect, feel safe, perhaps raise their families, and contribute to society. In a five-county area, we used a process called Community Builders. By encouraging new ideas from residents and newcomers, 250 new jobs followed during the next three years. 
  • In the education hub, connect your students with your area workforce. The learning environment in your education system establishes habits for your future workforce participants. Schools are workplaces. Interactions between administrators and teachers and teachers with students need to model workplace etiquette and skills. 

In our method, Coaching in the Classroom, intentional outreach, especially with students “at-risk” is crucial to a community’s success. Gallup identified the reason students drop out of school and disengage from education: they have lost all hope in graduating. Our experience indicates these are the students who will run their community someday, so engaging them, teaching them early on to be productive citizens, business owners, and mayors will pay off. In one school district  that implemented Coaching in the Classroom, the “at-risk” population decreased in three years from 41 to 12 percent.

  • In the business hub, knowing employees and their strengths is key to success. When a worker is considered for a position, there is an effort made to connect their resume and skill set to what is needed. Likely what would be more effective, especially in the long-term, is to determine what the applicant is absolutely passionate about doing. Doing what they love to do and contribute will indicate whether they “have” to come to work, or “get” to come to work. When a person “gets” to come to work, a business will have an engaged, productive, energized workforce. 

In companies large and small, the relationship between supervisors and employees strongly impacts worker engagement. When there is worker dissatisfaction, it’s often with a supervisor, not the company itself. It pays in the long run for companies to train their front-line supervisors to have respected, encouraging relationships with the workers in their charge.

Gallup concludes, “If your business is like most, only about one-third of your employees are committed to your company’s success and that’s clearly not enough to overcome the two-thirds of your workforce standing in their way. So, while doubling engagement may seem like an uphill climb, it’s easier than justifying a company’s downhill slide.”

When you take a holistic approach to worker engagement, your whole community benefits by increasing wealth beyond the bottom line. People will volunteer. They will take pride in their town. They’ll invite their friends and family to move to the area, growing school districts. When you feel valued, you have personal and professional satisfaction and peaceful relationships - outcomes every community seeks in its quality of life.

Implement The BeWUCA! Way methods to motivate your village to engage your workforce. Click here now to create a 21st century workforce economy!

Responsible Citizenship and Change

WUCA!-led communities are more open-minded, approachable, tend to have more newcomers, and they allow new people to make new ideas happen. Studies show U.S. state populations seeing growth have a higher percentage of newcomers than native-borns. A rural community that I once worked with told about a person who had moved to that community within the last two years. With three children enrolled in the district, she was at a school board meeting, and stood up to share her opinions on the issue at hand.

When she sat down, the lady next to her turned and told her that she had no right to talk at this meeting. The shocked woman asked why not. The woman replied that “she hadn’t lived here long enough.” Though she had children in the school, she'd only lived in the community a brief amount of time which, apparently, equaled her value and ability to contribute. In our town, we know people who moved to our community 30 years ago who still don’t feel they belong because their grandparents aren’t buried in the local cemetery.

As a leader, you need to look at your policies. Are they welcoming? As communities, counties, and states, do you allow newcomers to move in and do you embrace them? Yes, leaders love it when new companies come to town. There’s a ribbon-cutting for a new business,  a rousing welcome to all the new people to town, then, in a month, the excitement dies down and the new people that the community was excited about become  “those” new people with all those “strange” new ideas. Or sometimes you hear comments when they become successful, they must have done something “wrong” and “underhanded” to gain that accomplishment. Communities and people in general, have a habit of trying to pull successful people down to their level because there is a tendency to not like people who are doing better than they are because they have such low self-esteem.

Really, we often only like change if the change doesn’t affect us.

The result is that the future remains the same because people often refuse to take their role as responsible citizens to make change that is necessary. It’s hard work. It is messy. It requires talking to people. It requires acknowledging the world is not as black and white as we thought. Change requires slogging through the “gray” of an issue to see it through the eyes of another’s experience. Change requires that we may have to give up our way and do it someone else’s.

Remember that for every result that you want, there is a certain way of thinking, believing, and acting. You can change without improving, but you cannot improve without changing.

For your community, school, workplace, and organization to become "WUCA!-ized" contact kim@ghorizons.com

Frank and Kimberlee Spillers are the co-authors of "The Be WUCA! Way, The ART of getting along." Available at www.bewuca.com

 

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!