There’s an entire class of consultants out there who will come to your town and tell you what’s wrong with it. They take their template that they apply to every town from 500 to 500,000, and they walk around your town to see where you don’t fit. Then they make a long list of everything you’re doing wrong. They’ll dress it up nice with a report and binders for everyone on the council and a nice presentation. Then they leave. You’re on your own to figure out what to do with that list, how to figure out what to do first, then next. It’s overwhelming more than it’s helpful.
That’s not what Deb and I do at all. We will come to your town. We will walk through your town with you. We will not bring a template. We’ll be listening for what you want to do. We’ll point out potential. We’ll unleash people to take action right away. Phone calls and texts will start flying while we’re still walking around. There is no report, and you don’t get any binders. We will do a presentation if you want, but it will be more like a discussion. I find it exciting.
We do it this way because my view is that you have everything you need.
Rather than a long list of things someone else thinks are important for your town, I’d rather turn your own people loose on things that actually excite them. And the things that seem important in general, may not turn out to be important enough for anyone to champion them specifically.
It’s like the town with the dirty sidewalk problem. If we held a vote, probably everyone would have voted for “clean sidewalks” as a top priority. When we asked who was excited enough to take action on it, there was no one. Until small business owner Willow raised her hand and said she’d clean her own sidewalk. That’s Idea Friendly in action. One person willing to take a small step.
It’s never about voting to reach consensus. It’s about finding the right combination of motivation and ability to make it possible for people to act.
The best solutions always come from within. You’ll never be as excited about some long list of to-dos a consultant dropped on you as you will be about your own idea. You’ll never be as motivated by pleasing an outside consultant as you will be by creating the kind of place you want to live and the kinds of things you love to do.
You have what you need, even if it’s only the dirt under your feet and the sun in the sky.
Forget the consultants, forget the rules, forget the problems. You might as well make the town that you are excited to live in, as opposed to compromising down to the town no one will be excited about.