Essential Leadership Philosophy for Naperville’s Future

Based upon numerous conversations and four years of analysis regarding the state of leadership philosophy and practice in Naperville, I have some thoughts to share.  In many ways, I’ve gathered that while Naperville has become a big worldly city, it still has a strong undercurrent of insular small town politics, which is both good and bad. 

As we say in the South you don’t want to “give away the farm” but at the same time you want to avoid excessive inward-thought which creates barriers to new thinking and acceptance of new types of leaders.  Inward-thought can also impair growth and prosperity as those who tightly clutch the reigns might ignore regional, national and even global opportunity.  Social and political “silos” will stifle progress and prosperity.   

Naperville is far from the same place it was 25 years ago and many would agree much of the change has been for the better.  There has been a migratory socio-cultural urban shift which continues to evolve.  In response to the “New Naperville” the past and present leadership of Naperville needs to find ways to leverage it’s new demographic and fresh leaders who have arrived in town. 

Even more, it’s important that we not think of Naperville as a singular town anymore; rather, we must embrace the social evolution and continuing expansion of the dizzying geographic patchwork which Naperville has become.  One major example would be the City Council.  Though Naperville is now viewed as North and South with multiple townships spanning county and city lines, the City Council still consists of “at-large” members meaning there is no ward system or method for achieving balanced geographic representation.  Even more, an at-large City Council creates an environment for political insularity.  Imagine what might happen if the United States Senate consisted of 100 at-large seats which were decided by popular vote in a national election.  Good luck Rhode Island!

It’s wonderful to take great pride in Naperville’s past and to celebrate local families spanning mutliple generations.  At the same time, the next great chapter in Naperville’s history, if it is to be written, must include a new cast of community and business leaders with fresh new perspective, progressive-mindedness and global perspective.

What will fuse it all together?  It is my deepest hope and dream that collaborative arts and imagination will become a more dominant force within our community.  “Two” will always make the road shorter.

Let’s not become so insular that we exclude fresh passion, vision and talent from the next volume of Naperville’s history.  SM 

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3 responses to “Essential Leadership Philosophy for Naperville’s Future

  1. The rash of naysayers regarding NCHS/CMM Estate has made me question what has changed over the years. How could this be the same town that built a giant pool out of a quarry and turned a blighted river shoreline into a jewel of a park? My answer is that we a under siege from people whose addresses are in Naperville but who must “live” somewhere else. These folks are not part of the community – they are not about making their community better – they only care about money. These folks are dead set against paying a few more dollars to have good schools and nice parks and the like. Maybe they don’t have children (or they do but they just don’t care), maybe they don’t use the parks, preferring to monitor Fox News from their underground bunkers. It is clear these folks care only for the almighty dollar. You can find their names on the “letters to the editor” in the papers and sometimes on ballots. They caused the trouble in 204 by discouraging the first referendum, they tried unsuccessfully to take over the 203 board, they sit on the parks board.
    Anyone running as “fiscally conservative” is really saying they are there to make sure that no money will go to making improvements in the community. These bloodsuckers care only for themselves and their money.

  2. Fasteddie – Thanks for sharing your perspective with our readers. SM

  3. Pingback: Councilman Kenn Miller Responds to Recent Post Regarding Naperville Leadership « World of Naperville

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