Forget 2050: Why we must have a vision for today

'There are more than 500 mayors of local communities scattered across Australia. And every one of them wants to make a difference," writes demographer, Bernard Salt in today's Australian (26/7).

But they're going about it the wrong way, he argues. Firstly, 'by promoting towns as a great place to live, simply because 'a famous cricketer used to live there'.

And secondly, by 'applying for grants from Canberra to workshop entrepreneurial thinking'. No siree, Salt argues, the key to mobilising a whole town for the future is to set a 2030 and 2050 year vision.

But here's the thing with small towns and long term visions

1. Things don't (always) go to plan.

Heck, do they ever?

Take today, for example. Out of nowhere, the hard drive on my 8 month-old laptop decided to cr@p itself. There is no computer repair shop in Heathcote, so I had to drive 50 kilometres to the nearest town. And just like that, my whole day was thrown out of whack, while I was having more than kittens. Only discovering 9 hours later that everything was on the cloud. ONE DRIVE.

Although this is a small example - it's an allegory.

Simply, s-t happens.

How many of us out there can honestly say that our plans have EVER gone to, well, plan?

2. People want instant gratification. 

We're in a tap and go society. Country people can sniff lip service and well meaning 'city advice' faster than high speed internet. They're sick 'consultation', they're sick of being told what to do. What they really want are people with influence to give a damn. Some infrastructure and services wouldn't go astray, either.

Simply, 'these people' already have a vision. And they want to make a start, today.

Long term thinking is important.

But the only moment we ever have, is now. Living in small country town, I know that unfortunately, you'll never have everyone on the same page. But you can waste months and years consulting and work-shopping. It ain't gonna happen.

But this shouldn't stop anyone from taking action. Just as Emma Isaacs, Global CEO of Business Chicks writes in her new book, "Winging It", 'it's far easier to mop up after the event, than to seek permission from everyone beforehand'.

Simply, we can't please everyone. So don't be afraid.

Gather your people together, now, even if it's just one other person. Find the people who DO believe in your vision. Then together, take action. No matter how tiny or imperfect.

Remember: you're doing it for you, and you're doing it for today.