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Archive for June 2010

Community Engagement and Alignment

with 2 comments

For the Greater Good….

I live in Newton Iowa, a Midwestern town of around 15,000 and the EX “Home of the Dependability People”. In 2006 we suffered through the acquisition and closure of a former Fortune 300 corporation, Maytag, and the flagship plants.

(SIDE NOTE to set the record straight…there IS no more “Maytag Corporation”. The organization was bought out and pretty much gutted, and the highly marketable brand name is all that is left of the Home of Old Lonely. The dishwasher recall that just hit is for units sold from 2006—year of takeover— to present. The Maytag brand, and manufacture of all Maytag product, is under the Whirlpool umbrella)

In its prime, Maytag headquarters and the production facility employed over 4,000 people from a multiple county area. This was before the current economic downturn, and the recession has continued to hammer us like so many other communities.

Shortly after that major blow in 2006, over 300 citizens drafted a community vision statement, in the hopes of anchoring our rebuilding efforts. I came across the vision statement again a short time ago. It had been collecting dust since its creation, due to what I feel is a lack of lasting relevance but mostly no alignment, no ownership, no accountability, no plan to make the vision more of a reality.

I drafted a letter to an independent online newspaper / blog, the Newton Independent to get a feel for what others felt about the vision, and its relevance. The letter, and especially the reader comments, tell the story so I won’t repeat here. Briefly, this has been a real-world application of the concepts of alignment and engagement related to communities in survival mode.

A couple of days later, I submitted Part Two as a summary of other readers’ comments, adding my thoughts to the responses.

If you have a little time, read these two linked letters and the responses. I feel there are some powerful universal forces that are being brought to bear in my community, and I would love your take on what our community, and so many others,  can do.

Key questions:

  • What is the role of vision / mission, leadership and alignment in communities? I feel the role is not any different than for private sector organizations.
  • How and why do people buy into visions and missions? Again, applies to companies and communities alike.
  • Most importantly, how and why do people become fully engaged and committed to exerting the extra effort it takes to get involved in community issues, for the Greater Good?

Written by Craig

June 4, 2010 at 11:25 am

Posted in The Greater Good

Tagged with ,