November 28, 2022

“The secret to change is not to fight the old, but to focus all your energy on creating the new.” – Socrates

Change is difficult, but not change is harder.

Starting a change can be exciting, whether it’s a new car, a new job, or moving to a different city.

But the changes forced upon us can be debilitating and cause fear and anxiety. Unemployment, unexpected death, fatal diagnosis. We all experience constant change.

And because organizations, communities, and countries exist only because of people, they too will experience change.

How we uniquely and individually choose to adapt and direct our energies is paramount for optimal progress, since stopping change will ultimately be futile and waste practically limited resources.

Eighteen months ago my wife Elizabeth and I moved from Florida to Norman, a change in stark contrasts. We left behind a hurricane, a sweltering afternoon, and our family. We also left palm trees, salty air and sandy beach breezes.

During our first month at Norman we experienced a two-week closure at Embassy Suites as a “blizzard of the century” overwhelms the Texas power grid and claimed the lives of dozens of people in Texas and Oklahoma.

Not long after, we experienced “the hail of the century” like many of us in our newly purchased Norman home, which swept through entire vehicles, destroyed roofs and shattered windows.

Obviously this is not the kind of change we expected. We could pack up and move somewhere else or even go “home”, but instead we doubled down and invested time and resources in our new home, Norman.

We made friends, volunteered and, most importantly, listened.

As we’ve learned, Norman isn’t a pony town with one trick. Complex with nuances, transformations, and challenging perspectives that not everyone can share.

As Chairman and CEO of the Norman Economic Development Coalition, my number one goal is to impact change in a productive, positive, uplifting and engaging way for 128,000 citizens.

To do this effectively, I must listen to and conduct my own research, and identify historical trends and where they will lead us all if left unchallenged.

At the same time, Elizabeth interviewed more than 130 community leaders, politicians, educators, business owners and non-profit organizations to give them first-hand experiences of life at Norman.

These anecdotal explanations along with my own data gave Norman a clear trend.

We look forward to sharing our findings in December and paving the way for prosperity and community engagement.

As John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past and the present will miss the future.”

Norman’s future is bright and we look forward to sharing it with you.

Lawrence McKinney is Chairman and CEO of the Norman Economic Development Coalition.

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