Thursday, February 18, 2010

February 15, 2010

Message From the Chair Emeritus—Richard Johanson
One of the most interesting agenda items at our Board of Directors meetings has been a member report on one of this region’s “Community Values”. Last week Peter Weber made an excellent presentation on “Commitment to Outcomes”. He went to the core of the ongoing civic transformation efforts in our community. He stressed that while concepts are preliminary to progress, they are ineffective unless they are brought into reality. “Commitment to Outcomes” arrives when individuals have traversed the hanging bridge that spans “talking the talk” and “walking the walk”. We are deeply indebted to those who have made the trek.

The Importance of First Principles In Times of Rapid Change
Where you begin your thinking about a problem has everything to do with what you come up with as a solution. As our organization is committed to finding solutions to the critical challenges we face economically, environmentally and socially, the Community Values have provided a useful lens through which to craft strategies and guide behaviors. The verbs associated with a Commitment to Outcomes are: “We are willing to take responsibility for tasks and achieving specified outcomes. We are committed to staying involved until the tasks are completed.” When the values were first written down in 2000 as a proposed new operating system, this value had more to do with getting past the “someone oughta do something”, plans sitting on shelves phenomenon that had replaced the traditional barn raising, all hands on deck culture of our past. In Fresno, we know it is about both being strategic and relentless action. Thus, at the meeting the focus of the discussion was about the difference between results and outcomes and the critical importance of both.

Results and Outcomes—Tactical Actions Aligned Behind A Shared Strategy
Global outcomes like prosperity, an educated and healthy populace and a quality environment are the responsibility of everyone. No sector or organization has enough authority, resources or talent to achieve these goals, but everyone has a piece of the puzzle. Unlike outcomes, results are more easily measurable, often within the control of a specific entity and typically follow a linear pathway. A focus exclusively on results often leads to bureaucracies and competition, while a shared focus on outcomes inspires innovation and collaboration. The big challenges we face as a community, state and nation will require us to think globally and take personal responsibility for our part in the solutions. Both the RJI and HII were designed to be adaptive frameworks and aimed at outcomes. Our community assets are plentiful and when we decide to more fully align them, we will scale and accelerate both results and outcomes.

Find Your Passion and Take Action
The following quotes honor both the importance of inspiration and taking action.

In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm… in the real world all rests on perseverance.” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe 1749-1832

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” Thomas Edison 1847-1937

“The kind of commitment I find among the best performers across virtually every field is a single-minded passion for what they do and an unwavering desire for excellence in the way they think and the way they work.” Jim Collins, Good to Great 1958

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