Tonight our speaker was Steve Pierce from State Farm, who is also a UNA trustee. He focused mainly on leadership in his speech, trying to define what it means to have leadership. At one point, he even speculated that leadership is not a thing that can be learned; rather, it is something inherent that one either has or one doesn't. He warned that sometimes as a leader the decision one must make that is the best for one's community is not necessarily the most popular decision among one's community. I can understand that.
He also said that a leader must research their decisions before deciding anything. Again, one would think this is self-explanatory, but many people do not do this all the time: just look at the newspapers at the stupid things politicians and famous people do. You read the paper and you think, "What an idiot!" And yet we don't often think about our decisions as much as we should, either.
Another important part of making a decision, Trustee Pierce said, is looking ahead to the consequences of one's actions and decisions. All possible results must be included when making a decision. You cannot make a decision for your community if you do not first study what sort of impact it will have on your community. These results must, however, be viewed impartially. Many people want something to have a desired effect so much they will steamroll ahead regardless, not bothering to really check if their decision will have those results.
Take the decision to extend St. Florian Road to Industrial Park. It's a stupid decision. There's no other word for it, and I don't say that just because I live on the road. People complain about the traffic situation in St. Florian, and I know it can be bad... for about twenty minutes of the day, around 5:00. And you're telling me that building a major thoroughfare and ending it in the middle of a tiny town whose roads are farm-to-market roads that are simply not designed to handle that sort of traffic is anywhere near a good idea? I don't have the figures, but I do recall that traffic into St. Florian will increase by several thousands, while only lessening the traffic on the existing major thoroughfare of Church Road (no, I can't think of the County Road number at the moment; no one uses it) by only 100 cars or so. Yes, great idea. And the Industrial Park already has far many more egresses and ingresses than most industrial parks. Is it so vital that it needs another?
Rant finished. Trustee Pierce also insisted that leaders must not take the easy way out and go along with people for various reasons, because they are afraid of confrontation, etc. He said you must be willing to stand up for the right thing to be a leader. He also said that sometimes true leadership is never acknowledged or rewarded, implying that a true leader must be humble and willing to admit his own mistakes. (Aragorn from the Lord of the Rings comes to mind...)
He also gave us one of his favorite quotes (I love quotes!), this one by Helen Keller: "What a shame it is, to have sight and no vision."
In Pace Christi,