I was reading a discussion this morning.  It was started by a fellow who’s a member of an organization of 1.2 million people, and was expressing frustration around how slow it moves – he was asking if it could be brought into the 21st century.

Several people remarked that this organization feels bureaucratic, but I have to say that having just 3 levels of organization (HQ, district, local club) for 1.2 million members seems pretty lean and mean.  If you had any less, there would be no way to maintain any kind of common purpose and international cohesiveness.

One commenter tried to reframe the concern by stating, “If you want to see change, it starts with you.”  But, as usual, this just highlighted the different perspectives:  taking the initiative, versus waiting for others to fix something.

Most of us here are small business owners, so we’re used to making decisions and pushing progress forward.  Congratulations – you’re unusual.  But let’s look at a different context.

There’s a lot of local government issues, including taxes, subsidies, building a new stadium, roadwork, tourism, and so on.  No doubt you have you own opinions about several of these, perhaps even strongly held.  So you have a choice to make:  Do you want to engage WITH the government to influence decision, or do you want to WATCH while decisions get made?

Either choice is OK, but realize that progress is only made by the people who are involved.  If you just watch and wait, then you’ll have to live with what others are doing.  Voting is a relatively weak form of involvement, and only works for certain kinds of issues.  When I watch the Fort Collins City Council or Planning & Zoning Board, I see many important issues which will never be brought to a vote of the citizenry.

Here’s a prominent, and contentious, example of involvement.  Whatever you think of Douglas Bruce, he worked hard to propose and pass the TABOR (Taxpayer’s Bill Of Rights) amendment to the Colorado constitution.  He did the hard work for many years, and was successful in deeply impacting this state’s economy for decades to come.  The impact was far, far beyond what you’d normally expect possible from a single citizen.  Many others were blind-sided by the momentum he was able to build.

Are there any issues that you’re that passionate about?  What’s going on in the local community that has the potential to change the rest of your life and business?

Then … why aren’t you leading the change?  Or actively helping those who are?