Learning how to collaborate properly

I recently looked up the word “collaboration” on my computer. I found that Google provides two very distinct meanings for this word;

The action of working with someone to produce or create something.

Traitorous cooperation with an enemy.

The first of these seems like an admirable and even virtuous action and the other seems, well, pretty bad.

I was thinking about this in terms of the areas in which Hillsboro is currently working on;

◼ Responsible economic development.

◼ Improve and enhance our infrastructure.

◼ Ensure Hillsboro is an affordable and family friendly place to live.

◼ Working together with citizens, businesses, schools, county and state governments.

Collaborate and collaboration were frequently used in a Marion County-wide meeting that was held this past week in Marion. Leaders from all communities in the county were invited to attend so that we could review the updated “Development Opportunity Profile” for Marion County, KS. The event was sponsored by Network Kansas and the report was provided by the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship (CRE) out of Lincoln, NE.

Don Macke, representing CRE, gave us a lot of information to consider, such as; population trends, employment trends, personal income trends, economic drivers and retail market gaps (read opportunities). The not so good news in the report was our county’s population trend (decreasing), but at the same time there was encouraging and positive trends; employment levels up and personal income up for example. Self-employment numbers were up as well as employment at Stage 1 (2 – 9 employees) and Stage 2 (10-99 employees) companies in the county.

The theme that seemed to resonate as we considered the information presented was how do we collaborate (i.e. work with someone to produce or create something) to reverse the negative trend (population growth). One thing I know for sure, we can’t view collaboration in light of its second meaning. City, township, school and county leaders have to find ways to work together (win/win) and not to work against each other (win/lose).

I know my colleague and friend, Todd Heitschmidt has written about this in his column but the Cities of Hillsboro and Marion cooperate routinely to insure the citizens of both communities receive the critical services they need to live and work. These acts of mutual support take place as a matter of course, because, it’s just the right thing to do.

In the future, more and more frequent collaboration is going to be required to insure the viability and sustainability of the county and the communities we all call home. As for your City Council, you can rest assured that we will continue to pursue a collaborative strategy, one that allows us to grow Hillsboro together.

If anyone is interested in reading the report on Marion County, or the one we have for Hillsboro specifically, please let me know and we can get you a copy. Collaboration takes all of us, not just a few, to collaborate to insure our future.

Completed (well mostly…)

The cones are gone, the cones are gone! Well they are almost all gone. Our D Street Mill and Overlay project is complete and the orange cone maze has been removed (with possibly a few isolated cones at a couple crosswalk areas). I appreciate everyone’s “collaboration” during this time and hope you are enjoying our new, smooth street. Thanks again to our contractor Pearson Construction, EBH Engineering and our city crews. It’s a great improvement to a major city artery.

Until next time, be safe, be happy and most of all… be kind!