Dear County Supervisor
It’s about Vision.
Burn the words of the new President of Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) into your desk today. About his new job Neil Hoffman says,
“This is not about begging; this is about the development of institutions that service the community, and … fund-raising is simply a delightful extension of the pride you have in an institution and the ability of other people to be involved in it and share in that pride.” (quote in last week’s Shepherd Express, page 48)
This is Vision. This man is not a cash register. His passion is the Institute and its purpose.
One of you, any one, pick up the phone and ask Neil Hoffman to lunch. Pick his brain. Ask him about his vision. Karen Vernal (Vernal Management) studies and teaches executive vision. Milwaukee is replete with leaders who think this way
Slogans are not Vision.
Two slogans dividing the Board might get you votes but they won’t fix Milwaukee’s flat tire: “no new taxes” and “dedicated funding” Money is only the means. Milwaukee needs a vision or it is stuck on the side of the road.
In business the concept of building within budgetary constraints is NORMAL every day activity. Effective business leaders develop vision and translate it for the whole team.
Transit needs a Vision that is as big as its task. Transit’s task is nothing less than the full economic development of the County. Leave out some workers, and you leave out some businesses, they pick up quickly to move along to more lucrative locations. The death spiral of Transit is the canary in our dark cold mine.
August 27, on WUWM’s “Fresh Air” I heard Ms. Jackie Janz* say about Transit ‘There is nothing else we can do about the proposed bus cuts.’ Why, I threw up my hands in exasperation. Nothing? This is America. We are The Experts in business. The speakers on Monday night are not accepting “nothing” as an answer. They know Transit is larger than the blinkered vision of its caretakers.
As I said to Supervisor DeBruin after the meeting, Transit needs to grow. Keeping it as the current level would be a wonderful temporary victory for the current riders, but it is being drowned in Grover Norquist’s “bathtub” unless it get Vision and uses its assets to recover.
October 31, 2007
*Spokesperson for County Government on matters of Transit