“The Pessimist complains about the wind. The Optimist expects it to change. The Leader adjusts the sails.”
I am a big fan of John Maxwell and of others who inspire us to become better leaders. One of the principle qualities I see in great leaders is the ability and willingness to be positive. To use another favorite quote, “being positive won’t guarantee you’ll succeed, but being negative will guarantee you won’t.”
We all have and will face challenges in our lives. Likewise we have and will face challenges in our work and in our role as public servants. So many of our cities were impacted by the economic recession beginning in 2008. In certain parts of our state, strong recovery has occurred. In others, recovery is just now taking place and in some areas economic recovery remains a challenge. Leaders managed through these challenging times and found ways to become more efficient, more businesslike and learned to make hard decisions to live within their means. In many cases this meant sacrifices and difficult choices. But in every case, cities and their leaders had to adjust their sails because complaining about the economic winds would not solve the problem. It took courage, fortitude, opportunity and optimism to move the ship in the right direction.
Part of our role here at GMA is to provide the resources, training, education, services and networking opportunities to help our cities be successful and prepare for the future. At our Annual Convention in Savannah, we celebrated record-breaking attendance, training opportunities and the amount of exhibitors. There was a feeling of optimism in the air among cities. We honored Gov. Deal for his leadership, which included historic job creation in recent years. We celebrated legislative successes particularly in areas of revenue and finance, such as with the Internet sales tax.
Being positive about the future means being prepared for it. As your member organization, we are here to serve you. We take that responsibility very seriously. We know our partnership with the CVIOG provides the best in training for our members. Let me know if there are ideas you have for new or additional training.
Our programs and services are also second to none. If you are not a member of our retirement, insurance and life and health programs, you should be. Give us a chance to earn your business. Many of our other services such as our Telecommunications and Right of Way Management program, bricks and mortar and equipment lease financing programs and hotel-motel tax administration program help your city earn or save money. Programs such as our new e-procurement partnership with Home Depot and the U.S. Communities aggregated purchasing service present opportunities for savings.
As we welcome our new President Linda Blechinger of Auburn as our leader, it is important that we hear from you so that we plan for a successful year and a successful future. Thanks to input we’ve already received from city officials, planning is underway for annual meeting changes. In addition, the Training Board and Member Services Advisory Council will be meeting soon to make plans for 2018-2019, with your needs and ideas in mind.
We are setting our sails for a positive and prosperous future. By working together, I have no doubt our efforts will be successful and cities will continue to lead the way as centers of commerce, innovation, leadership and destination.