Our city’s mayor has called a community meeting for tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. about one of the most important (and costly) projects ever attempted in the community. The disconcerting reality is that word is just now getting out about it. Special invitations were sent out to select business leaders and dated February 20. (Unfortunately, MonticelloLive didn’t receive one. We found out through several emails.) Such last minute publicity is alarming and make it appear as if he may not actually want open discussion about the pros and cons of his plans.

Actually, his vision for a new community center has a LOT of merit. However, his efforts to date remind me so much of pastors who have just been called to a church. In their energy and zeal to transform their church, they do too much too soon and end up alienating everyone. They simply don’t know how to communicate, listen, and be teachable while leading. Such pastors do not stay at those churches for very long.
There are myriad leadership principles that urge influencers to assess, communicate, share, listen, and then do it all again, integrating other’s thoughts with the initial vision. In this way, the end product becomes something everyone has “ownership” of, and no one feels like they were forced or manipulated.

Calling a vitally important meeting the week of the meeting is unwise, to say the least. It does appear that a few leaders in the community were aware of it; however, I began receiving emails from concerned citizens around lunchtime today. All of them seemed to indicate that at the least, this meeting is being rushed into without much consensus building or public awareness. I’d highly recommend a leadership seminar or two for folks who have either pursued leadership without vision or folks who have a vision but don’t know how to lead with it.