Sunday, December 6, 2009

Part 2. Part of Larger Problem - Sometimes followers must take lead

Last week I began this article concerning what we can do in our communities about our social disintegration and failure to develop in Pictou County that we see evidenced by the very rapid decline in our public school student population. I said that to turn this around will require us all to change our failing ways and do something different beginning with our community leadership, which in this case is our Pictou Regional Development Commission (PRDC) and our democratically elected community leaders – our mayors and councillors.

I left off there as it was becoming too long to publish as a letter to the editor in The News so that is where I’d like to pick up the thought again now.(... continued) Before getting into specifics of leadership however, I’d like to point out something obvious. The greatest need of a leader, the thing that every leader needs most is followers. You can not lead without followers. And sometimes the followers have to take the lead and tell the leader where they want him or her to lead them. So I want to say just a quick word to the followers.

If it walks and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. No doubt you’ve all heard people say that. But the opposite is also true. If it doesn’t walk or quack like a duck, be assured it is not a duck! Pictou County does not walk or quack like a community so be assured it is not a community. In another hundred years it may grow into a community but today, right now, it is just an area drawn on the map of Nova Scotia. We cannot afford to wait a hundred years for development so as followers, tell your leaders to wake up from their dreamland, get their heads out of the sand and begin to develop the communities we have in Pictou County now.

If we are to grow and develop our communities, for reasons that I will elaborate, we need an organization like our PRDC to assist with the technical side of required leadership. However, we need for them to do something different. The real dilemma for me is that every few years, I see that group heading out again to speed full-throttle down a wrong road.

Last month, Pictou Regional Development Commission (PRDC) rolled out yet another version of their strategic economic plan for Pictou County region. PRDC and their predecessor, PICORD, have been doing that since the 1970s or before. It never works! It’s a strategic plan to develop only one community sector, the economy, in a community that does not exist. As important as the economy sector may be – to use an analogy, as important as the heart may be, you wouldn’t expect to keep our population healthy if the Aberdeen Hospital only treated the heart and ignored the rest of the body.

The region continues to develop unevenly while overall losing industrial infrastructure, social capital, working population and now our students. I wish PRDC would do something different. What?

Well, this is again becoming too long so I’ll close off here for now and pick it up again at this point next week.The End - Return to main page

No comments: