Fix Today and Fight for Tomorrow
We all think to ourselves, “if only I had a bit more time, I could get this or that one extra thing done.” The problem is that time is unforgiving. There are just only so many hours in a day.
The Daily Challenge
As a county commissioner, I wake up with a daily challenge. Where do I concentrate my energy, effort and resources? Do I fix today’s pressing problem or do I fight for the brighter tomorrow? And the answer is I need to do both. The question is how to do it.
Begin with the End in Mind
Steven Covey was a great Utahan author. He wrote the best selling book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. One of his key points was that in order to concentrate your best efforts into things that are either important/urgent or important/non-urgent; you need to begin with the end in mind.
This means getting clear about where we are right now as a county. Then working with data, community engagement and seeking counsel from the best and brightest, we can begin to understand what a successful County of the Future could look like. With a shared vision in mind, we can begin to figure out what we need to do today to work towards a better tomorrow.
Good Government is Efficient
Fixing today’s problems is important and often it is urgent. County services and infrastructure are a vital operating system. We need to be as efficient as possible in implementing these services. To keep it lean and responsive, we also look to the private sector and civil society to contribute to a thriving county. This is good governance.
The challenge is that a singular focus only fixing today’s problem puts a county at risk of under-investing in its future. The best counties in the country don’t just happen. It takes fighting for the future.
Great Government is Effective
Fighting for the future is equally important. The successful counties understand that investing in education, next gen infrastructure, next gen workforce skills and economic development efforts to attract high growth potential businesses are key. Those that fail to do this lose. They get out competed and put themselves on the path of decline.
An elected official is the steward of the taxpayer’s dollars. The official is also charged with making sure that the upcoming generation is positioned to be competitive and self-reliant. Many elected officials, though, fail the upcoming generation. They under-invest.
The good leaders make efficient decisions to fix today’s problems, but the great ones make effective decisions that empower the next generation as well.