Get on the "great" bandwagon

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Is Cassville satisfied with being "good enough" or does the community strive to be "great" in everything it does? This is a question that's been echoing through my mind since I listened to Silver Dollar City co-founder Peter Herschend speak at the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet on Jan. 26.

Herschend framed his question in the context of the book "Good to Great" by Jim Collins. It is Collins' contention that nothing is ever "good enough." As a community, we can't settle for being anything less than great. It is imperative that we pursue a shared direction of striving for the best . . . in our schools, in our parks, in our homes, in our businesses. And according to Collins, "the real path to greatness requires simplicity and diligence. It demands each of us to focus on what is vital--and to eliminate all of the extraneous distractions."

In his remarks, Herschend reminded chamber members why Cassville is special in the first place. He spoke of the community's proximity to Roaring River State Park and our prime location in the middle of the beautiful southwest Missouri Ozarks. He also spoke of Cassville's innate friendliness and listed "us," its citizens, as one of our city's greatest attributes.

As I reviewed my notes from Herschend's speech, a scripture verse kept coming to mind -- "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:48)

Cassville has natural gifts that other cities envy, and it's up to our citizens, our chamber, our businesses, our civic leaders, our industries and our service organizations to determine what we are going to do with these gifts. How do we share all the benefits of living in Cassville with a wider audience so that these attributes translate into more traffic for our local retailers, which in turn produces increased sales tax revenue for our city and county governments and our schools?

How do we get our message out to businesses and individuals looking to relocate? How do we advertise Cassville's greatness to tourists seeking a beautiful and relaxing place to visit? How do we position Cassville as a unique and valued commodity in the mind of our customers?

I think it begins with members of the community buying into the message that Cassville truly is great. It also requires an individual investment in being part of the message-sharing process. When someone walks into your business or stops you in town to ask for directions, it's up to you to represent the attributes of Cassville with something as simple as a smile and a helpful spirit.

It's also up to us to keep Cassville looking clean and tidy. Do your part by keeping up your yard and making sure your business has curb appeal.

Our shared direction also requires that citizens commit to doing their fair share to make Cassville great. Right now, there are so many exciting things happening in Cassville. We are a DREAM community and an active participant in the Missouri Main Street program. We also have the benefit of an active and progressive chamber whose leaders are committed to supporting local business.

The more citizens who step up to the plate and get involved in programs that make Cassville great the better. Don't think someone else is going to pick up the ball and run with it. It falls to each of us to do our part in spreading the message that Cassville is a GREAT place to live and work and play. It's up to each of us to volunteer our time, talents and resources to ensure our community is the very best it can be.

Don't know how to get plugged in? Start by contacting the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce and asking how you can help. It might be as simple as joining the chamber or signing up to serve on a committee. You'll never know how you can benefit your town unless you put yourself out there.

Lisa Schlichtman