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


A minister dies and is waiting in line at the Pearly Gates. Ahead of him is a guy who`s dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket, and jeans. Saint Peter addresses this guy, “Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you to the Kingdom of Heaven?” The guy replies, “I`m Joe Cohen, taxi-driver, of Noo Yawk City.” Saint Peter consults his list. He smiles and says to the taxi-driver, “Take this silken robe and golden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” The taxi-driver goes into Heaven with his robe and staff, and it`s the minister`s turn. He stands erect and booms out, “I am Joseph Snow, pastor of Saint Mary`s for the last forty-three years.” Saint Peter consults his list. He says to the minister, “Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” “Just a minute,” says the minister. “That man was a taxi-driver, and he gets a silken robe and golden staff. How can this be?” “Up here, we work by results,” says Saint Peter. “While you preached, people slept; while he drove, people prayed.”

Just like St. Peter we too need to be focused on results and not on all the endless activities. The often used cliché “Work Smarter Not Harder” is true, yet it is very often misinterpreted. When people hear that phrase, they tend to infer it as a reason NOT to work hard. Look at the phrase again “Work Smarter Not Harder”; nowhere in the statement did it say lower the level of work.

I saw second hand the aspect where “busy” was a goal in and of itself, in college (North Dakota State). We had an architecture school where it was standard procedure to pull multiple all-nighters in front of big projects. There were jokes about sleeping bags in the studio and having food delivered there and people not going home for multiple days (and it sounded like that was true for most in that major).

I played on the football team and one teammate was in the school of architecture, which was somewhat rare: all-nighters are bad for athletes, as you can imagine. Yet this guy had no problems: he did his work, got to sleep, and never missed practice. He said the truth was they all sucked at managing their time. All they did was hang around the studio chatting and messing around, and then cramming in the last few days/nights. So much so that it was part of the culture, so everyone was expected to work that way, and new students learned it from the older ones.

He found if he just laid out what needed to be done and spread it more evenly over the whole time period between assignment and deadline, he had no problems making it all work. He wasn’t a nerd, had no issues being social, and was one of the stronger players on our team.

How does this correlate to Tama County’s economy? With all of the businesses forming our economy, we must think of our work or business in terms of results and not activities.  Just because you clocked 15 hours doing lots of activities doesn’t mean anything was really completed that truly added to the bottom line. If you’re putting in 15 straight hours at your job or business, how good is your output? What got completed?

As we continue to build our economy, we all need to remember one bit of wisdom… we all have 168 hours each week…. you can make a difference or make excuses, but you can’t do both.



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