The Cities of Georgia: Planting Seeds and Living Dreams

October 6, 2021

By Larry Hanson, GMA Executive Director

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” - Robert Louis Stevenson

In our uncertain times, one thing is certain: Challenges will always arise, and leadership is the primary ingredient to successfully deal with such challenges. Over the last 18 months, we have experienced a pandemic which affected business, economies, jobs, health care and families, and caused the loss of life of over 24,000 Georgians. And yet, through this time, one common ingredient is that city leaders have stepped up courageously to be voices of stability, encouragement and hope for the citizens they serve. In many cases, economies have recovered, and revenues are strong. However, this is not uniform across all cities.

One thing for certain, though, is that you as leaders worked to plant seeds at the beginning of the pandemic as to how your city would manage and recover. These seeds included innovative ideas, making wise use of CARES funding, transitioning services to virtual or remote and prioritizing expenditures. Many of these changes borne out of necessity are now being made permanent, an example of how seeds can germinate and reap benefits that were not imagined at the time. Innovation occurs with vision and imagination, but also from necessity. I am certain that your city’s plans have changed as a result of the pandemic, but this only reinforces that plans should be living, breathing creatures with an expectation of flexibility and change.

We are ultimately judged by our results, not our plans, and I am proud that city leaders demonstrated innovation, adaptability, resilience and the ability to see beyond each day’s struggles to stay focused on a positive outcome.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

Along those lines, I find that success is often accomplished by those who lead with bold dreams as opposed to leading with fear. I have always found it ironic that faith and fear share a common connection: the belief in something we cannot see. I take great pride in watching city officials all over this state lead with faith and allow their dreams for their city to remain a focal point in their communications with citizens.

As I write this, we are still managing in difficult times and the COVID numbers remain high, and we must continue to encourage our citizens to take the necessary actions so that we can all regain a sense of normalcy in our communities, economies and lives. I know that each of you will continue to lead your cities with dreams and aspirations of better times to come and that your leadership will continue to make a difference to all those you serve.

As always, we at GMA are here to serve you and assist you. We remain grateful for your steadfast support.

This article was originally featured in the September/October 2021 edition of Georgia’s Cities Magazine.

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