I have been thinking a lot lately about obstacles, change, resistance and course corrections. It may have something to do with the book “The Obstacle is the Way,” which was procured for me about 5 months ago, by one of our stellar partners and local businesses – Zeal. Thank you, Trever and Adam!
The book is the second such gift to me, which came with nifty color-coded tabs highlighting sections of the book which were particularly insightful to them. And its arrival was timely, of course, given SOREDI’s concurrent 7-month undertaking to update our comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS).
Most of us would readily admit that we are rather averse to change; and when faced with obstacles, we may, more often than not, opt for the path of least resistance. At least one thing is certain – both are inevitable. Moreover, both are likely to be met with resistance.
Consider how the river flows naturally around the boulders, or diverts away from trees and other debris that stand in its way after a storm. The river makes a natural course correction.
On a related personal note, I have been making a very lackluster attempt to return to a fitness routine after work by going to the gym. However, my obstacle is the parking lot. I get there later than desired, drive through the lot looking for the perfect spot and then drive right out the other side and go home instead. It has been the path of least resistance. True story – at least twice!
But, change and intentional resistance can also be a good thing, right? We go to the gym to work out and build muscle and gain strength by lifting weights or increasing the incline on the treadmill. Greater rewards are effectively realized by responding to resistance. The same principle applies in building bone density through a consistent regimen of walking.
Let me offer a second personal illustration. Earlier this year I returned to league bowling after a 5-year hiatus for many reasons, including a knee surgery. My doctor recommended wearing a knee brace for stability and I complied. But it was an awful experience to bowl with the brace, as it inhibited my ability to slide. Thus, my timing was wonky, my entire game was off, and I was NOT having any fun.
So, when league started up again this year, I was ready to address my obstacle: the brace. Granted, it was necessary for my healing for a time. But after recognizing it as an obstacle and removing it, the outcome was an increase of 20 pins in my average. Moreover, I go home each week now feeling good rather than out of whack!
This book has caused me to think about obstacles differently. We have three options: go with the flow and go around them, resist them by taking them head on with purpose, or remove the obstacle. Regardless of the option we choose, we must make a course correction. We must act.
SOREDI’s updated One Rogue Valley strategy is calling for a course correction. The data analysis, the insights from hundreds of partners, and the recommendations of the consultancy we hired, point to an extensive list of action items pertinent to initiatives within 5 key focus areas – Business Development, Innovation, Talent, Tourism, and Placemaking. Most of the initiatives are directly tied to work that was identified in 1987, leading to the establishment of SOREDI as an agency; a few are new, yet complementary ideas that leverage resources among agencies for the greater good of our region.
The common denominator among all initiatives is SOREDI’s role to convene, facilitate, and more extensively partner with other agencies. We are on point to increase outreach calls regionwide, in order to deepen our knowledge of existing industry trends and business needs, while also identifying opportunities for innovation within our existing base of large employers and traded-sector companies.
To effectively and efficiently tackle this work, SOREDI is already taking solid steps to strengthen its business development staff and refocus its internal communication and implementation strategies. Watch for a press release next week announcing the newest addition to our business development staff, who will begin January 2. Thereafter, we are hopeful to add another new business development manager in February.
The underlying premise of the book is that the obstacles we face and conquer often lead to a better pathway and remarkable work. The organizational changes we are undertaking will be challenging and a few have already been hard, but we are counting on many remarkable outcomes.
While change is inevitable, of greater importance to me is the way in which I navigate through difficult pivot points and decisions as I lead this agency. This agency’s core values include serving you and one another with the highest degree of integrity, care, and professionalism. That will not change.
I’d like to close this writing with two quotes included in the book I referenced, along with a Bible verse which has been foundational to my life for nearly 40 years. But before I do, I’d like to wish you an amazing Christmas season and a blessed new year. May you do something remarkable!
“Objective judgment, now at this very moment. Unselfish action, now at this very moment. Willing acceptance – now at this very moment – of all external events. That’s all you need.” – Marcus Aurelius
“What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first steps to something better.” – Wendell Phillips
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8
Colleen Padilla, Executive Director
P.S. If you happened to read my last writing entitled “Apple Butter Blessings”, you might be interested to know those resistant, clingy apples finally dropped!