Thursday, March 12, 2009
Embracing the Challenge of Change
Every community has its unique, ongoing challenges. Concurrently, our nation's economic struggle is causing an increasing number of communities to experience amplified financial duress, family poverty and business failure. How we, as Duluthians, respond to these combined national and Duluth- specific challenges will determine the vibrancy of our shared future. Rising above these challenges will require us to become increasingly effective at handling change. I am optimistic that we are positioned well to rise above these shared challenges and these shared changes.
History teaches us that we too often behave wisely when we have exhausted all other alternatives. Thankfully, our community leaders are increasingly exhibiting wise behavior. The future of our beloved Emerald City on the Hill is being fortified because of it.
It is undeniable that dealing with community change is oftentimes disruptive, and always demanding. The intelligent solutions being generated by Mayor Ness and our business and civic leaders have included thoughtful dialogue. We are making positive strides, but have not yet reached the highest level of discourse. Certainly, heated debate continues within city council meetings, local newspapers, and local interest groups. It is paramount that we not become discouraged in the midst of this discord.
In the midst of this spirited debate lies hope. Change causes resistance, which in turn causes tension and tension generates energy. We can all agree that energy is better than apathy. Where there is energy there is hope for the future. The Chamber's leadership is actively engaged in determining how the business community can most effectively partner with our elected officials to adapt to our nation's, our state's and our community's challenges.
American philosopher William James said, "A great many people believe they are thinking, when they are simply rearranging their prejudices." It is essential that we rise above this likelihood when considering our response to a person proposing change within our community. We can do so by engaging in unthreatening dialogue. When we understand the almost inevitable factor of resistance to change, we begin to see things from a fresh perspective. We begin to see the positive possibilities.
The Chamber is deeply involved in a sincere effort to better understand the views of our members and of our elected officials, while we fashion our positions on local issues. We recently surveyed our members to better understand the challenges they face and the importance they place on various local, state and national issues.
When we speak on behalf of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, we intend to speak with a strong, unified voice that resonates with positive potential for our city and its future. We pledge ourselves to move Duluth forward in a spirit of openness and optimism, and we invite all citizens to do the same.
posted by David Ross