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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

Predicting Success

We are several weeks into the professional football season. It’s time to peek at the standings and see who’s doing as expected, who’s losing and who’s the surprise contender.

It’s not always as you’d predict. Take the list of past Heisman Trophy winners. The Heisman Trophy, of course, is one of the most coveted awards, not just in college football, but in all of college athletics. Recognizing the best player in college football, you would think the Heisman Trophy would be a good predictor for who will be a good player in the NFL. However, it’s rarely the case.

Oklahoma quarterback Jason White beat out wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and quarterback Eli Manning (two of the highest paid NFL players by the way) as the best player in college football in 2003. White won numerous other honors such as NCAA Quarterback of the Year and was the third quarterback to ever win the Davey O’Brien Award two years in a row. He ended his college career as the University of Oklahoma’s all-time leader in career passing yards and touchdown passes. But despite his strong college career, he was not even drafted. He received one tryout from the Kansas City Chiefs who did not sign him.  Eventually signed to the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent, White quit before he racked up any stats in the NFL.

While it’s no secret that many believe the Heisman Trophy is a poor predictor of future football success, the same could be said about some of the “business predictors” people rely on to predict success in creating prosperous companies.

So what is the formula to creating a prosperous and successful company (and in-turn building Tama County’s economy)? Is it having a prestigious degree . . . developing a great product or service . . . possessing a high IQ?  Simply put, no.

The winning formula comes from a football coach. Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who was diagnosed with leukemia in September. Visiting the Colts locker room following a win over the Miami Dolphins, Chuck delivered this heart-wrenching speech to his team that explains the correct formula.

“I mentioned before the game that you guys were living in a vision, and you weren’t living in circumstances,” Pagano said. “Because you know where (the pundits) had us in the beginning — every last one of them.

“But you refused to live in circumstances, and you decided consciously, as a team and as a family, to live in a vision. And that’s why you bring things home like you brought things home today. That’s why you’re already champions, and well on your way.

“I’ve got circumstances — you guys understand it, and I understand it. And my vision that I’m living is to see two more daughters get married, dance at their weddings, and then hoist that Lombardi (Trophy) several times. “I’m dancing at two more weddings, and we’re hoisting that trophy together, men.”

I believe he is right. The secret to winning in football, business or life is to live in the vision, not the circumstances. As we continue to work on Tama County’ economy let’s all embrace this concept so we can build a winning economy.


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