There are many ways to make a big difference |

There are many ways to make a big difference

Michael Kurz
Vail, CO, Colorado

Early in my career I worked for a very large enterprise. As a new member of the organization, one with more than 10,000 employees on seven continents, the sheer scope of work going on amazed me.

When relating this awe to an associate who had spent nearly a third of his life toiling for the company, he shared something with me that obviated one of the “land mines” in organization management I’ve sought to avoid ever since. He said, “Sure there’s lots of activity, but the ants are digging tunnels while the elephants are stepping on the ants.”

The analogy implies that unless an organization and everyone in it is pointed in the same direction and knows the mission, the objective may never be achieved.

Tuesday’s “State of the Town Report” by the town of Vail demonstrated that the elephants and ants are working toward the same goals and sharing data with town residents and stakeholders.

At a time when the activity level surrounding development and community issues could easily overwhelm the best of the best, the town has organized the efforts to support a world-class mountain resort with a vibrant and sustainable community guided by a well-defined set of prioritized initiatives of comprehensive scope and vision.

There is no doubt that achieving many of the goals stated in both the “Vail 2020” and the “State of the Town” report are a formidable task, but progress is being made. By maintaining the transparency of the process and providing continuous metrics, few can make the case that they are not involved somehow in the process.

Even those who choose not to read the reports, attend the meetings, staff the boards and commissions or speak with town council members affect the process, if only by choosing not to participate. Martin Luther King Jr., said, “Our lives begin to end when we are silent about things that matter.”

Regardless of what town government or municipality you belong to, get involved. Get involved on the county level, for that matter. The town of Vail, like other neighboring governments, communicates openly with its constituents and makes every effort to provide means of, and opportunities for, citizen involvement through newsletters, news releases, Web site updates, forums, meetings, committees, board and commission seats and posted contact information for town council members.

The Vail Valley is what we make it and with these doors open in all towns for input, criticism, thanks and discussion, there should never be a team of ants digging in the wrong direction. So be aware of what’s going on. Contribute. You may not be happy with some outcomes, but you’ll never be able say there was never an opportunity to express an opinion.

Michael Kurz is president and chief executive officer of the Vail Valley Partnership.

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