The importance of teamwork

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Over the last six months, the Cassville Democrat has undergone a growing process that has helped members of its staff rediscover the importance of teamwork. Due to the economy and the struggles that every newspaper across the country has endured, we have developed an even greater appreciation of our advertisers, subscribers and readers. We are very thankful for the continued support that we have received from local businesses and local and distant readers who put their trust in us to design a newspaper that they can continue to enjoy.

In addition to our newfound appreciation for the partnership we have with businesses and readers, we have developed a new appreciation for teamwork among our newspaper staff. Our local staff has always functioned as a family and we depend on each other to ensure that we place the best publication possible on newsstands each week, but over the last few months we have also learned to work with the Monett Times staff in order to bring our readers news from across Barry County and southwest Missouri.

As I look back at the steps that have been taken to help two, once competing publications, function as a team, I can't help but see the lessons that I have learned. First, I have learned that when you are working as a team respect and trust must be involved in the partnership. Second, teamwork requires individuals to see each other as partners instead of enemies.

Much like our newspaper staff, in the last few months, the City of Cassville has taken on the challenge of developing a plan to weather the economic downturn and prepare for a brighter future. The city hired BWR (Bucher, Willis and Ratliff) to complete a master plan for Cassville that will address growth over the next 20 years. Cassville also hired a building inspector to help enforce city building codes to ensure growth is completed in a safe and productive manner.

Although I understand that all of the proposed changes are very intimidating for a rural community like Cassville and I know that we will not all agree on every decision that is made concerning building codes and future growth, we must remember that the city is attempting to partner with its citizens for improvement. Our Cassville Council members make every effort to keep the best interest of the city's citizens in mind each time they approve an ordinance, enact a policy or make a decision regarding city business.

In order to prosper, a city is dependent on the teamwork of its business community, residents and officials. This is not to say that there will never be disagreements. Every healthy partnership requires productive debate, but we must move away from the thought process that has led some local citizens to feel that they are in combat against our city officials and employees.

As we all look to the future, we should make an effort to work with our city officials as they develop plans for present and future growth. We should also take time to offer our opinions regarding future plans. Even though there is no "I" in teamwork, any coach will tell you that a team is dependent on the knowledge and talents of its individual players. By combining all of our individual knowledge and talents and working together with respect and trust, local residents can and will be an important part of the future growth and prosperity of Cassville.

Lindsay Reed