This Thursday at 6 p.m., the public is invited to a community forum, "On the Fort Dodge Horizon" that will be held in the new Bioscience and Health Sciences Building at Iowa Central Community College. Enjoy free appetizers, beverages and fellowship with fellow neighbors and friends who care about our community's future. Help us celebrate the progress that is being made in our community, even during these tough economic times. Join us in a conversation about how we can continue to move Fort Dodge and Webster County forward.
Periodically, all of us need a little inspiration to lift us up and motivate us in our work or in our personal lives. Communities are no different. During challenging economic times, it is easy to complain about a stagnant economy, the high prices of food or gasoline, or other issues that are the news of the day. Yet, as engaged citizens of Fort Dodge and Webster County, we should step back and take a look at our community, extol our accomplishments and reflect on the positive things that are happening.
Renowned author Jim Collins in his best-selling book "Good to Great," identifies a number of important factors that have moved good companies in America to the level of being great companies. He identified such things as having visionary leadership and having leaders and employees who persevere and maintain unwavering faith in their mission. He noted that the best leaders usually come from within the company and were not outsiders. He found that employees and leaders in these companies had a real passion for their work and the leaders and employees thoroughly understood their company's strengths and core values - the factors that made them successful.
These same factors can be applied to communities; factors that can help communities move from good to great. It should go without saying, having visionary leadership within a community is critical to success. Also, having citizens and community leaders stick together, persevere through the tough times and having an unwavering commitment to the community is extremely important. No question, citizens who have a passion to make their community the best it can be is a key asset for any thriving community. And, communities that know their strengths and build on them are the ones that continue to grow and flourish even through the ups and down of the economic cycle.
This "On the Fort Dodge Horizon" event will give us a chance to celebrate our progress and have a dialogue about how to keep things moving forward and staying focused on our positive vision for the future. At this event, 10 community projects will be showcased to demonstrate how progress has continued in our community and county.
Keynoting this event will be Roger Slater, Ph.D., president of The Slater Group. Roger Slater was the planning consultant who worked with our city in the facilitating Envision 2030 planning process. Slater is a highly regarded leader in his field and has worked with numerous communities and organizations. The Slater Group has specialized in some of the most critical areas facing today's companies, communities and educational organizations, helping them reposition themselves and develop new strategic visions and plans. As the president of a national and international consulting company, Slater has dedicated his company's mission to helping make a positive difference for organizations and communities through planning, leadership and service.
The Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way will also be recognizing three businesses and a group of volunteers that are making a difference in our community. We will also be kicking off this year's United Way community campaign with the theme being "Catch the Spirit."
Like all communities, Fort Dodge has its share of challenges. Every community or city in America has issues that people want addressed. The question is: why do thriving communities continue to flourish while many others decline? One factor that Slater will point out is that progressive communities have groups, individuals and businesses that are willing to make a commitment to work together and invest in bold new strategies to improve quality of life and advance economic and community development. If we follow the guidelines laid out by Collins in his book, "Good to Great," we can take our community to the next level.
This year's "On the Fort Dodge Horizon" will be an invigorating event that will encourage us to continue our progress. It starts with a good conversation about where we are today and where we hope to go tomorrow. Please join us on Thursday at the new Bioscience and Health Sciences Building at Iowa Central Community College to celebrate our progress and participate in a dialogue about our community and how we can move our community from good to great.
Randy Kuhlman is chief executive officer of the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way.