The Stop Doing list for communities

Stop sign

By Paula Jensen

Have you ever experienced a time when you could imagine what was to happen without knowing what to do stop doing in order to reach the point of success?

Here is a simple example: this year on Santa Claus Day in my community, someone asked, "Why are we giving turkeys to families during this event – it seems to be a waste of funds and time to collect funds? "My immediate thought was – it's a long, long tradition. In my community, we have always raised money from local businesses to donate turkeys on Santa Claus Day. Over the decades, the number of volunteers welcoming Santa Claus has decreased along with the number of businesses, so now businesses and individuals are making a generous donation to our local community group to provide donations. turkey for santa claus day. The truth is that raising money is not difficult in our community, but no one has ever asked the question, “Do people really want a turkey for Christmas?” How to continue the tradition of generosity, but without Turkey?

Sometimes we are stuck in a cycle that loses the real purpose of why we started something. Communities often do what they have always done and honestly it is often good work. But when this good work stops having a purpose or producing results because our world has changed, people really can't understand why. This is where the conflict can begin. A good question to ask at times like this is – What should our community do stop doing to reach our full potential?

The Stop Doing List can be an important conversation for any community, and it should include its companion Do Do List Differently. Together, they offer an innovative path to your full potential. What could your community stop doing in 2020 who would light up your future?

Below is my short list of things that communities could stop doing and replace with new ways of leading and doing.

  1. Stop having meetings. So often, we sit in unproductive meetings that go wrong, last too long and never produce results. It really makes people not want to be involved. Try to set a goal for your meeting in advance, ask people to co-create the agenda, then set deadlines for each agenda item to keep you on track. right way.
  2. Stop saying "rural is dying". The truth is that if you don't try, you will die! Over the past decade, communities that collaborate regionally and are actively working on housing, community and economic development will likely see a population increase in the 2020 census. They are trying! You can verify for city or county population estimates.
  3. Stop trusting elected leaders. While many communities have excellent leaders, others struggle to hold important positions in the community, contributing to a great divergence of capacities. Believe in yourself and cultivate the leader in you. Then cultivate the leadership of those around you to develop a local vision, community problem-solving approaches and generate funding for projects. We can all contribute to local success.
  4. Stop believing that more jobs is the answer. Entrepreneurship is the key to creating jobs and retaining young residents in small towns. The creation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem strengthens communities and regions by creating partnerships between the education, industry and finance sectors.

Now, it's your turn – What could you add to your community's Stop Doing list that could help reach your full potential?

About Paula Jensen

Having a passion for leadership and community development is what drives Paula Jensen's personal and professional life. Paula lives in her hometown of Langford, South Dakota, population 318+. She is a grant writer and community coach for Dakota Resources, based in Renner, South Dakota. Dakota Resources is a mission-oriented 501c3 community development financial institution that works to connect capital and the capacity to empower rural communities. Contact her at [email protected]

  • The Stop Doing list for communities – January 20, 2020
  • How parents prevent children from becoming the next generation of leaders – December 28, 2019
  • Gather the actors – November 22, 2019
  • Why do we never do anything in this city! – October 12, 2019
  • Wishing vs hoping that your city will improve – July 27, 2019
  • What is the life expectancy of our community? – June 22, 2019
  • We have tried this before and it has not worked! – May 26, 2019
  • If they want to lead, empower them to lead – April 27, 2019
  • Are all small towns dying? Can you save a small town? – March 23, 2019
  • Is your business on the map? – February 23, 2019

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