Month: July 2014

Pulling the Trigger On Change

Posted by Rickey Hayes on July 30, 2014 in Blog | No Comments

Written by
Rickey Hayes
Retail Attractions, LLC

Over the years it has been my great privilege to see cities and towns across America, with our company’s assistance, actually and sometimes even continually improve their situation, either in quality of life for their citizens, their financial condition, or growing the overall “cool factor” that is so important for modern cities. One of the most fulfilling segments of my job is to know that we have had an impact or have been a partner in facilitating a positive outcome in our client cities. When you study and compare cities that are pro-growth and have a track record of success in continual improvement you will always see certain traits displayed.

One trait that is always in place in positive, pro-growth cities is vision. Most of the time vision is cast, or begins to be cast, by one person. Many times it is the city manager, sometimes not. It could be the mayor or another elected official. It could be someone on the city staff. Ironically it could be a fifth grader at the local elementary school. Vision is contagious and when single vision becomes collective, or corporate vision, it almost always begins to generate momentum. Lack of vision, on the other hand, is a deadly disease. Lack of vision is much like cancer or AIDS, where it exists is a spawning ground for all manner of negativity and death. Lack of vision is also contagious and also generates momentum.

Another attribute of a city that is becoming what they are destined to be is courage. Like vision, courage is contagious as well, and most of the time it is perpetrated by an individual or small group. Courage will infect others though and is completely necessary for transforming a community. Today there is an apathetic and many times a lethargic resistance to change of any kind. Turning around a city that is set in its ways is a big battle. Communities are like any other living, growing object. They don’t stay the same. Without renewal and maintenance they deteriorate. The human body is a good example. People may live for 100 years, but not without constant work to maintain and renew and deal with continual change. Stop doing these things and death will come sooner rather than later. No positive change ever came to anything without someone having the courage to risk something and to deal with pushback or resistance from those addicted to the status quo.

Another characteristic evident in cities that are moving forward is the ability to “think outside the box”. Sometimes the “box” has to be broken and thrown out. In the case of community transformation and change, sometimes “normal” is a dirty word. Cities sometimes have to break the norm to create change or get an advantage. Tactics are sometimes done on the run, and most of the time they are unconventional to say the least. For a city or town to be successful in this competitive age there needs to be a certain expectation that we can never say “this is the way we’ve always done it” because to become something you’ve never been before is most certainly going to require doing something you’ve never done before.

We love changing cities for the better. All kinds of communities; small ones and big ones and in-between ones. It takes vision. It certainly takes courage. And it takes un-conventional tactics. Having been involved with helping communities change for nearly 35 years now, in several different capacities, we have discovered some things that definitely work. Maybe more importantly, we have realized some things that certainly do not work.
Call us. We can help.

Rickey Hayes is the principal of Retail Attractions, LLC, a firm dedicated to helping cities and developers successfully find retail sites, close deals and improve the quality of life for our client cities.