The right leadership at the right time

Published 5:29 pm Saturday, October 6, 2018

Potential is nothing without the ability to take advantage of opportunities. Timing is everything and having the right leadership in place at the right times is key to increasing a community’s chances for greatness.

When a community loses on opportunities all of its members eventually recognize it. When potential fails to be realized all of its members eventually know something is off. When change does not come and stagnation sets in, some community members leave, but those who stay, although at a lower pace, eventually realize that there is a leadership void. When community members disengage because of disillusion or fatigue, they allow the leadership void to grow. It is simple. It comes down to having the right members of a community exercising leadership and being in the right leadership positions. Successful communities must be led by those that provide a vision for the future and not by those whose offering consists of a whining explanation of the present that is blamed in a myopic and self-absolving interpretation of the past. Leadership must renew itself. We need good leaders to rise up and to engage. Many are already involved but we also know that many are disengaged and sitting on the sidelines. We are looking for them. We need them because the more they participate the faster we can grow our community.

I am reminded of a friend from Grenada, who once described economic development as “swimming across a river.” He said, as a community we have our arms and legs to help us swim, but then we have a few “boulders” attached to our legs that are pulling us (the community) down. The more positive leaders join the efforts of economic development, the sooner our community will break away from those “boulders” and realize its promise.

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The announcement of more than 640 jobs in the past few months alone are proof that when good leadership aligns itself and unifies around a common goal, great progress can be achieved. Indeed, our community has announced more jobs and investment in the past few months than any other community in the entire state. And that was accomplished only by advancing an agenda of unity and common purpose. All of those jobs and investment will build our community up, will provide jobs for our residents, contracts for our small businesses, and bring revenue for our governments. There is still much more work to do to be fully ready to tackle the transformational opportunity that might come tomorrow, and to do that, we need more flexibility, we need more speed, we need more creative and forward thinking leadership. We need good people to come out and lend a hand, we need them to get involved, we need them to suspend disbelief and abandon the type of self defeating narrative that only feeds those that thrive in the community’s stagnation and confusion. We need good people, the right people, in the right places, exercising leadership.

I invite employers across our region to think of those employees in their ranks that exude leadership attitudes, passion, grit, and empathy for their fellow community members.

I encourage those employers to sponsor one or two of their employees to join the Vicksburg Leadership Program and to support them as they grow and flourish as leaders in our community. Help them find a path to channel their passion for Vicksburg and Warren County.

Potential is nothing without the ability to take advantage of opportunities and timing is everything. We need to continue to build and multiply leaders in our community so that through their awareness of the issues, their dreams for the future, and the exercise of their own leadership, they can be part of the community’s success.

Fresh, forward looking, innovative leadership is needed all the time. We call on employers across the region to sponsors their employees to train under the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce so that they can become better leaders, so that they can help us drive forward the transformation our community seeks.

For more information on the Vicksburg Warren Leadership class, please go to or call the Chamber at 601-636-1012.

Pablo Diaz is president and CEO of The Partnership, which includes the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce.