Post the Positives
I recently attended the Project 17 Un-Conference in Pittsburg. It was a very unique conference that formed around the idea of allowing the participants formulate the topics to be discussed throughout the day. Leading into the conference one of the organizers of the event mentioned a news story that had come out that morning about a person who used some very negative, disparaging words to describe several communities in Southeast Kansas. There was an immediate murmur in the room. Some had heard about the news story, others had not. But everyone had the same reaction. They were upset that someone would put us down. Then ideas began to blossom with topics to discuss for the conference. They included, Southeast Kansas Image; Grow Southeast Kansas and filling the workforce skills gap.
During the session on Southeast Kansas Image we talked about our habit of focusing on negative issues in our region such as generational poverty, substance abuse and unemployment. Then it was noted that if we focus on those issues ourselves we shouldn’t be upset with others from outside our area say negative, disparaging things about us.
What we should do is post the positives. Or as Ken Brock, the founder of Names and Numbers said, never give up, have a positive attitude and faith. We need to dream big dreams!
Southeast Kansas has a lot to offer and we need to tell everybody about it. Look at the number of colleges in our area. We are training the workforce for tomorrow. We have young people who are eager to work. We have new and existing businesses that are looking for more employees. There are new opportunities for entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and we are on the leading edge of technology offering broadband services to businesses in our regional to help level the playing field with businesses in metropolitan areas.
The conversation from the conference brought to mind another news story from the past week. It was about a teenage girl who was fighting back against bullies in her school. What she did was take a pad of Post-It notes and wrote positive, inspirational messages on them and stuck the notes to the lockers of other students in her school. It was her way to boost their self-image. Something we can all do for each other in one way or another.
Here’s a Post-It note that came from a recent meeting report from the Chanute Regional Development Authority, Recruit Committee. From August 2013 to August of 2014 we worked with about 9 businesses that created over 70 new jobs in our community.
Post-It-We are working with more businesses and anticipate an additional 75 full-time and 21 part-time jobs to be created between now and next Summer.
Post-It- Those jobs will add over $5 million in new payroll in our community.
Post-It- Since the City of Chanute Adopted the Neighborhood Revitalization Program last October there has been nearly $1.7 million in residential and commercial construction. Three more applications have been received within the past few days that will add to that figure.
Post-It- Problems with a community eye-sore are being address by Mid-West Fertilizer as they work to renovate the former Holiday Park motel into offices and a training facility for their company. They will also be adding some well-paying jobs as part of this project. Mid-West is also participating in the Neighborhood Revitalization Program.
Post-it- Hi Lo Industries added over 80,000 square feet to their production facilities and will be creating new jobs in our community.
Post-It- Contractors Cartage has been able to use the former Oil Patch building for their trucking business creating about 20 new jobs in Chanute and putting the building on the tax rolls.
Post-it- Dr. Ryan Jones constructed a new building for his Chiropractic office, utilizing the Neighborhood Revitalization Program.
Post it- Three new homes have been built in the Osa Martin Heights area within the past couple of years and work will begin soon on more.
Post-it- Construction on the new Memory Care Building is almost finished and will be opening soon. The Assisted Living building is also taking shape and should be ready in the Spring. Country Place Living will be creating about 25 full-time and 10 part-time jobs when both are open.
I had a pad of Post-it notes on my desk to begin sharing with others. They were not simply focused on business expansions, new businesses, construction and job creation. They were also about the importance of our retail businesses and services. One says, “Love your store and the products you offer” another says “Appreciate the welcome I receive when I walk into your store”. One I wrote after going out to eat last night says, “Best service I have ever received”. Seriously, when we went out to eat the other night the waitress we had was buzzing around the entire time, visiting with customers, our glasses were never empty and she was full of energy and displayed a positive attitude.
There are many more positive things to post like the huge success of the Main Street Artist Alley event this year. The support that was demonstrated when Chanute Main Street covered the Google Earth logo with canned goods that were donated for our local food pantries.
Think about the feeling of community you get when you go to the Chamber of Commerce Pancake Feed or the fun that was had at the 2nd Annual Blues Blast.
Demonstrate your pride in the Osa Martin Johnson Safari Museum and their impressive, world-class exhibits. Share the experience with friends and family when they come to visit.
Take some time and ask yourself. What is something positive you would write on a Post-It note to let others know about you, your neighbor, the businesses you frequent and our community? Write it on a Post-it note and leave it on the counter at your favorite business, leave it on the table for your waitress to see, put it on a door or hand it to someone you appreciate. Post the Positives and see what a difference it makes.