13 Ways to Kill Your Community

 – By

Recently, I watched a short YouTube video by Doug Griffin and his speech inspired me to share with readers. He calls it, “13 Ways to Kill Your Community.” I found his list so helpful with our work here at On Hand. I also thought a lot about our community and how some community members need a reminder that they can be part of the success of our community.  

Here are the 13 Ways to Kill Our Community:

  • Forget About Clean Water- If we don’t have enough water for our community, it can’t grow or even sustain itself. Quality of water is equally critical to our success. We often take for granted that our water will be safe and clean, but it takes only a situation like Flint to remind us of what can happen when we aren’t vigilant.
  • Don’t Attract New Businesses- To kill our community, do not entice new businesses; especially if they may be competing with existing businesses, including yours. If our community has competition, it keeps money at home because people shop at home knowing they are getting better price, quality, selection and service. We all say we believe in the value of competition, but the only way to prove it is when we support it even when the competition is against us. If you want to fail, don’t attract competition and you can have a secure monopoly . . . on failure.
  • Don’t Engage Youth- Every community wonders how to keep youth from leaving. That shouldn’t be our goal. The nature of youth is to explore and try new things. We should want them to experience new worlds, new cultures and new ideas. Success is not about keeping them. Successes is about giving them a reason to come home after, and to bring those outside ideas and experiences with them.
  • Deceive Yourself- Knowing who you are is fundamental to our success.
  • Shop Elsewhere- A dollar spent in a community will be spent 7 more times on average before it leaves a community. A dollar spent out of town is likely gone for good.
  • Don’t Paint- A community’s appearance is the most telling sign of its pride, its faith in itself, and the clearest outward sign of its future.
  • Don’t Cooperate- Within a community, failing is as simple as refusing to cooperate with any other organizations, businesses, agencies, boards or other communities.
  • Live in the Past- The world is always changing, and it always will. Successful communities find ways to adapt to the change, or adapt the change to them.
  • Shut Out Senior Citizens- Seniors cause a lot of success in our community. They have worked hard to build a successful community for themselves, their kids and their grandkids. They don’t want to see their work disappear. They have the time to volunteer in your community and often still want to.
  • Reject Everything New- Far too many communities refuse to try anything new, so they re-implement the same thing over and over.
  • Ignore Outsiders- Outsider are a special and powerful group. They weren’t born in our community so they aren’t here by default like some. Every single one of them chose our community on purpose so they know what great things it must offer, and what potential awaits.
  • Become Complacent- Success means continued valiant effort. Seeking to be vibrant, dynamic, responsive, adaptive, and enterprising can give us what our community needs to keep from dying.
  • Don’t Take Responsibility- This method of killing our community is powerful. Our lives and our world are only what we make them. Our community is no different. If we decide we are going to take ownership of our community’s future then things are going to get better. If we decide our community’s fortune lay in someone else’s hands, we can wash our hands of responsibility and watch it die without any feelings of guilt. It doesn’t even matter who you blame. You can blame the local government, the state or provincial government, or the federal government. You can blame a local teacher, preacher, doctor, dentist or volunteer board. It doesn’t matter who you blame because none of them are responsible for it. The only thing you can control is you, which means the responsibility for making your community better is your responsibility.

Success is all about attitude. For too long we have watched our rural South Dakota communities weaken and fade and wondered when somebody is going to fix them. You are somebody. Now go out and fight the attitudes that sabotage success and remember – you are not alone. You will face criticism and negativity, but Doug Griffin’s advice is to simply smile and remind the critics that, “those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it.” Change in small towns is difficult but not impossible.

 And if all else fails . . . give us a call at On Hand Development. We know when it comes to finding success . . . There’s Always a Way.

Last Modified: