Issue: January/February 2013
Momentum Is Power
With the Medical Mart, Horseshoe Casino, Flats East Bank and other positive developments, this could be our year.
There is a concept in business: You are either growing or you are dying. It is simple. Black and white. It doesn’t matter how fast you are moving in either direction. Each day is either better in some way or worse.
Of course, there are good days and there are bad days, but the net sum of the week or month is clear and everyone knows it. You don’t have to see the balance sheet.
Somewhere in the survival instinct part of our brain we know. We feel it.
Everyone wants to work for the growth companies. It is both rational and instinctual.
We want success on our resume, and we want to run with the strongest in the herd. There is a real energy and opportunity in growth organizations. There are new people, new products and new challenges.
All of which are new opportunities.
Excitement for what tomorrow will bring pushes people to work harder. Growth companies have buzz. They are talked about in the media and at the kitchen table. Growth companies have confidence, and confidence is sexy.
The good news for growth companies is they continue to grow. Their momentum acts as an invisible force propelling them forward.
In the book Good to Great
, Jim Collins expresses this concept of momentum using the image of a flywheel. When the wheel is spinning in a direction, each push makes it spin a little faster and the faster it is spinning the easier it is to push. Push-spin, push-spin, repeat.
Communities work very similar to companies in this way. Growth communities equal opportunity and excitement. They have buzz and they are sexy. Even their sports teams win.
Growth communities attract new people and new businesses, and each new success builds on the previous as momentum propels it forward.
Unfortunately, the reverse is also true, and Cleveland has been shrinking.
In every census since 1950, when Cleveland had 914,808 residents, the city has lost residents and jobs. In 2010, the population dipped below 400,000.
Cleveland’s industrial glory is in disrepair. Cleveland is not sexy. The Cleveland we know and love is dying. Our flywheel has been spinning in the wrong direction for more than 60 years. Sure, we had some good years mixed in, but we all know, deep down in our gut, we are falling behind. Not only have we been falling behind sunny cities like Charlotte, N.C., and Austin, Texas, but we have also given ground to Midwestern peer cities such as Pittsburgh and Columbus.
Until now. 2013 is the year it changes. Not the proverbial next year. This year. I mean it. This is the year our gigantic community flywheel slows to a stop and starts going in the other direction.
We have the Medical Mart and Convention Center coming on line. Push-spin
. We have an all-season, 24/7 attraction with the Horseshoe Casino in the middle of downtown. Push-spin
. The Flats are back with a sustainable mixed-use model, instead of a tropical weather style boardwalk. Push-spin
Our economic development community is coordinated and engaged. Push-spin
. Our county government and city government are working together to help us instead of colluding on back alley deals to help themselves. Push-spin
Our culinary scene is hot with nationally recognized chefs and new restaurants opening all over town. Push-spin
People are on waiting lists to live in our community’s heart, downtown Cleveland. Push-spin
. Our Cleveland city schools worked with teachers and charter schools to pass the first levy in a generation. Push-spin
And why wouldn’t this be our year? The No. 13 is the lucky number for the unlucky ones, and who has been more unlucky than us over the years? 2013 will mark the year we start growing again. I can feel it.
Have a happy New Year.
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