Want Economic Development?

Economic development is critical to lure and enlist others to come in and fill the taxpaying holes we can witness by our growing number of vacant properties around the village. Unless you don’t mind losing and not replacing the help to alleviate your increasing share of the tax burden we need to consider a plan to keep us viable. This ‘out of the box’ thinking could be a long-shot, but one I feel is worth aiming for. We’ve aways had the opportunity to develop a strategic marketing plan that could be entirely worthwhile for the long run, financially and otherwise.

Marketing is a picture, painted to conjure a vision that’s desirable/sellable to the general public. That which allows companies to stand out from the crowd, are instrumental in raising the whole image of a company above the competition. When you can demonstrate an edge that sets you apart, it contributes to the list that becomes the very reasons why consumers choose to do business with you. The same principles would apply to marketing our Village.

If you think about it, you would probably prefer to do business with companies that have integrity – those that have professional standards in the way they do business. Some examples of proving business integrity would be a just and fair treatment of employees, or an effectual policy for handling customer discrepancies. Integrity begets trust. In order to have policies and mission statements believable and therefore trusted, they have to be practiced after they’re preached.

Preaching starts at the top to ensure executives and management all the way down to the frontline employees are embracing and practicing fulfillment of the organizations philosophies. A breakdown of integrity anywhere along the line would surely damage a reputation that is so difficult to build yet incredibly easy to lose. Vigilance is the key, you must have watchers overlooking the operation and then have the watchers watched because there are always opportunities to siphon from the system and service personal greed or neglect of duty from laziness or entitlement mentalities.

We can develop and put a new spin on selling a lifestyle; small rural town that’s just the right size, just the right feel and just the right attitude – slower paced – warm and welcoming – friendly – open to new ideas – everything that stigmatize small towns can be dispelled in our own village. We can create positives where most do not. We could have as many positives that we have any control over. We can become and therefore easily sell what people are really looking for when wanting to relocate to a smaller community.

If we started nurturing fair play, inclusion, tolerance and ethics we could encourage more engagement from the community. Imagine what a great sales point this concept would be to present in our branding portfolio – Blissfield is the most engaged  and supportive community that has yet to be witnessed by any other community!

Engagement means the willingness to put yourself, your opinions and your contributions out there, for all to benefit. Any and all ideas should be treasured and ridicule barred. Who decided it’s taboo to voice an opinion? When too many are discouraged from contributing, it stifles creativity and productivity. Opinions are essential for provoking thought, reflection, discussion and subsequently – action. We should also tackle the difficult subjects of Religion and Politics not hide from them. For successful discussion, there are rules to play by; ones that ensure respect and tolerance for those that have different opinions than ours. Engagement is also a precursor to creating support, what resident or business would not want a supportive community behind them?

Consider this, If I issue an opinion about something – anything, instead of attempting to just shut down my opinion by calling me psychotic, a whiner or uttering unintelligible gibberish, why not counter with a thought process of logic? Point out where I might be in error and provide a compelling reason why. Which response do you think would more than likely make me reconsider my stance? An emotional response or one that shows you’ve been thinking? Lashing out at someone with name calling comes from a purely emotional standpoint and it’s not convincing anyone your views are right. It really shows your EQ (emotional quotient) is low and you lack self-control, but it also means the time is past due to shake off the playground backpack of tools.

You cannot give qualified argument to an issue or a point based on just not liking something. “Because I said so, that’s why” only worked  when my Mother said it…and that was well before I was twelve years old.

Although individuals are responsible for keeping themselves composed while offering something substantive to a discussion or debate, we can learn to recognize and/or call attention to unnecessary conversation manipulation (side tracking and condemnation) from an emotional perspective. Composure in this capacity means we are allowed to feel emotions but not let them direct our words or actions. Feeling emotions are acceptable but acting out one, like anger is not socially acceptable.

Leadership positions are no place for people displaying low EQ’s, they’re damaging and ineffectual, something we as a community or any business entity should not tolerate. Good leaders don’t rule by intimidation – posing a constant threat of losing control, nor do they use other manipulative techniques to procure their positions at the top. The best leaders have principled standards and lead by example.

If you choose to bank on what Blissfield has right now and think we can successfully market ourselves as something unique and different from any other small town in our nation, you would be tossing the dice and relying on perception. There is one thing that has a possibility of distracting buyers from considering integrity as a component, that’s a blinding piece of brilliance like providing something else no one wants to live without. Unless you’re equipped to come up with something spectacular like that, a fresh coat of paint may hide the dirt and stains for a short time, but it doesn’t change anything but the color. 

In summary, if you discourage people from adding their 2 cents…you’ll never get to a dollar!

Photography by Graur Codrin

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3 Responses to Want Economic Development?

  1. Me says:

    Here’s another article I found in the Toledo Blade about Michael Sessions our new Main Street Director.

    E-mail prank backfires on Hillsdale mayor
    19-year-old admits lapse of judgment
    HILLSDALE – Mayor Michael Sessions, a student at Hillsdale College, has pleaded no contest in Hillsdale County District Court to a misdemeanor charge of sending a prank e-mail containing obscene language.

    The 19-year-old mayor showed his age by admitting Monday that he wrote a prank e-mail to the mother of a former high school friend.

    He now must complete 40 hours of community service and pay court and restitution fees to make up for his lapse in judgment.

    “Ever since taking office almost two years ago, my youth has been an issue for some of the residents in Hillsdale and even for people in far off countries,” Mr. Sessions wrote in a statement.

    “For some it has been a curiosity, while for others it has been a deep source of criticism and distrust of my abilities.”

    “However today I must apologize because I have also proved my critics right,” he wrote.
    The prosecutor’s office charged that Mr. Sessions sent three e-mails on April 2 under false pretences.

    For one of the e-mails he used the name of Collin Dwarzski, the roommate of former Hillsdale high school classmate Brandon Thomas. Mr. Thomas served as Mr. Ses- sions’ campaign manager in the autumn of 2005 when Mr. Sessions waged a successful write-in campaign and captured the mayor’s post by two votes over incumbent Douglas Ingles.

    The warrant stated “the e-mail sent to the mother of Brandon Thomas contained obscene language and was designed to disparage and annoy.”

    The e-mail attempted to convince Mr. Thomas’ mother that her son and his roommate were regularly out drinking, partying, and womanizing, Prosecutor Neal A. Brady said yesterday.

    The prosecutor said Mr. Sessions sent two other e-mails, both to Eastern Michigan University’s housing authority.

    The e-mails stated that Mr. Thomas, 19, who attends Eastern Michigan, had dropped out of school, was partying, and was an overall bad influence to the university’s community, Mr. Brady said.

    Mr. Sessions used the pseudonym of a “concerned parent” for one e-mail, and a concerned female student for the other e-mail.

    The campus police began investigating Mr. Thomas, but the police soon realized that there wasn’t a case and discovered all three e-mails had originated from the Hillsdale mayor’s home computer, according to the prosecutor.

    The Michigan State Police completed the remainder of the investigation and forwarded it to the Hillsdale prosecutor’s office.

    In addition to the misdemeanor charge, Mr. Sessions initially was also charged with two felonies – unauthorized access of a computer and using a computer to commit a crime.

    The prosecutor’s office charged that Mr. Sessions used his computer to hack into Mr. Thomas’ computer and deleted his My Space and AOL AIM accounts.

    Mr. Sessions said, “Although I acted childish, I am still determined to do the adult thing and take responsibility.”

    “I must swallow my pride and take responsibility for involvement in an exchange of pranks between my former campaign manager and I that has now clearly crossed the line … something stupid and immature,” he said.

    As a part of the plea agreement, Mr. Brady dropped the two felony charges.

    Judge Donald Sanderson ordered Mr. Sessions to be on probation for seven weeks.

    During that time, he must perform 40 hours of community service, make restitution of $850 to Mr. Thomas, and pay a probation oversight fee of $100 to the court.

    Mr. Brady said if Mr. Sessions completes the probationary period without incident, the misdemeanor charge likely will be dropped.

    The judge set formal sentencing for Aug. 20.

    – Benjamin Alexander-Bloch

    • Robin says:

      I’m thinking plenty of people will be shaking their head – it shows our Mr. Sessions can be malicious. My speculation is betting the DDA has either thought this was a good quality or it was an unfortunate College/Mayoral prank and they are convinced he has grown up since.

      • Robin says:

        This article gives added information, I don’t know if forcing the resignation of the Village Manager was a good thing or not;

        The cancer diagnosis wasn’t the first tough situation Sessions faced. In 2006, he played a role in forcing the resignation of longtime City Manager Tim Vagle. This year, he avoided felony charges by pleading no contest to a misdemeanor, malicious annoyance by writing. The case involved disparaging e-mails he sent about his former campaign manager and onetime friend, Brandon Thomas.

        Sessions served 40 hours of community service and paid Thomas $850 in restitution. The two no longer speak to each other, and Thomas could not be reached for comment.

        In the midst of the criminal charges, Hillsdale resident Jeff Buchhop mounted a recall effort. He dropped it after the initial petition language was rejected as unclear and Sessions issued a public apology.

        Buchhop said he didn’t seek to recall Sessions out of vindictiveness or concern about his age but because he thinks public officials charged with crimes should not serve.

        “The charges against him were really quite serious,” said Buchhop, 46. “I felt the public had the right to choose if he should remain mayor.”

        Here’s the link to the article; http://www.wzzm13.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=82273

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