I've had a variety of perspectives given to me on the event yesterday. I attended and have several thoughts. I've heard statements deconstructed and interpreted, motives questioned, excitement about possibility, and comments about the umbrellas!
Big Thanks to Allen Johnson for our conversation about a week ago regarding the intent of the event and his invitation to our Strategic Alliance
core planning committee. While Guilford County elected leadership was not on the panel,(and has been noticed!) there were around 20 Department Directors at the event along with several County Commissioners. Here are some points:1) High Point University campus facilities are great!
Nido, I told you, I'm impressed with the place. I'm a Guilfordian, but the Athletic facility and campus are great. Speakers with music in the trees; Plato quotes in the cement; $21 million in construction and enrollment increases. They are moving in the right direction. 2) The concept of Vision and Leadership for Guilford County.
I prefer to call the challenge "Vision-Seeking" for Guilford County. I appreciate the News and Record and Nido for helping convene this event. I really mean it. Over 300 people attended who "influence" the public, private, religious, civic, and political circles of the County. I'm not going to diss it out of principle. I'm also not going to say it's THE TRANSFORMATIVE EVENT ON VISION (out of principle as well). I must admit I'm hungry for these discussions in diverse venues of the County because it is needed. 3)The event symbolized the surface tip of a massive glacier.
At times several speakers and audience members dipped their toes beneath the tip into the icey waters. Issues like race, education, economics, district and at-large elected body responsibilies, historic differences were chipped on in that short time. Just enough for a bit of frost bite!
4) I believe the central challenge is to have movement on "Vision-seeking"
with not only the those of us who "influence" (represented well yesterday), but the "influenced" (the hard part!) We need these kinds of events, and others, with folks who never get the invitation. We need a process that keeps vision-seeking alive in every corner of the county. If those of us who "influence" are serious, we will need to exercise much effort and sound judgement.
5) There were profound differences on the concept of vision and what that vision should be and unchallenged statements that will have to be challenged in this quest.
In addition, what does "the quest" look like? Is it organized or do we just come back next year at a different location? What's the soil for the seeds look like? 6) Relationship building and "knowing an individual's story" is truly essential.
We all have strong opinions and strong leadership must have integrity. If it has integrity, there will be challenges to it but the vision seeking process can build a movement in many untapped areas of our community. 7) Guilford County government.
I have a belief that the Strategic Alliance can play a major role in transforming service delivery and demonstrate a positive influence on One Guilford. And yes, I include the Guilford County Board of Commissioners in that effort!8) And don't think this stuff is easy.
It is messy and has the capacity to make us very uncomfortable, especially after we get the warm, fuzzy, vision feeling. Guilford County has real needs and many interests that have to be considered. This effort requires a capacity to listen, learn, and grow beyond some safe places.
Effective or not, this discussion will continue in the months ahead!