Change, Culture and Leadership

Change, Culture and Leadership
By Brian Donovan                 


There are a number of components that make a community what it is at any given point in time. To see a community evolve, in a positive way citizens must deal with four essential elements: Change, Morale (or Attitude), Culture and Leadership. I want to discuss these items as they relate to both business and community as I feel these are elements we must examine as our community grows. 

Change: I heard somewhere the only person that likes changes is a baby with a wet diaper! Many of us find change difficult to manage and deal with although we are faced with change at least monthly. There are ways to deal with change including accepting your feeling as normal, seeking more information about what is going on, identifying your options and eventually participating in the change. The ability to deal with change in a positive manner can allow a business or community to quickly grow and evolve. We all use the Moncton example and they have done an excellent job showing how their community can deal with change.

Leadership: Leaders have a special place in a community such as ours as they are the people that allow the rest of us to move forward. Positive leadership characteristics include the ability to challenge the processes and norms, to inspire a shared vision, to empower others to act, to lead by example, to be stress resistant and to celebrate the victories and help mange the unsuccessful attempts. True leaders look to experiment, to foster collaboration and strengthen people by giving power away. This is an especially important factor because as important as it is to have control in place in a society or organization, too much control stifles a community or business.


Brian Donovan
Culture: really refers to our habits. Our habitual ways of thinking, feeling and acting that characterize the way we live. Culture is all about our stories, our rituals, our beliefs and our heroes and how we celebrate them. 

Terry Power is the local Tourism Product development officer and I believe has a wonderful ability to synthesize what he hears and is thinking. I have recently heard Terry say two different things that really stuck with me: Terry was the person in our planning sessions that first mentioned the term “Culture of Confidence” referring to the fact we may be losing our confidence and need to get it back. It is the culture issue that he is referring to that really stands out. Our nature in this area has been to work for larger, resource dependent companies and not so much for ourselves. That entrepreneurial spirit is even more important today as we see the difficulties the forest industry is experiencing.

The other term I hear Terry using more and more is “Authentic Tourism.” What he is referring to here are tourism “products” that really show our authentic (cultural) side. We all know more than one person who is a true “Miramichier” and embodies what we believe the river is all about. Some of them are musicians; others may be fisherman or guides, or just average folks with an authentic personality. These “characters” are the fabric that makes up our culture, our norms and our beliefs. Terry’s take seems to be these are the people the tourists want to meet to get the real Miramichi experience.

Morale: Finally I think it is worth discussing attitude or morale. Morale is really all about satisfaction with the way things are. From a business point of view morale is high within an organization when the employees accept the company’s goals, obey its important rules and choose to stay with it. The parallel can be draw to our community. If people want to stay in Miramichi they have accepted the culture, quality of life and can deal with whatever imperfections may exist.

The reason I wanted to go over these four elements is to really point out we have all the pieces we need here. Our culture is as strong as any other location in the Maritimes, we have the tools to deal with change, and if we have the right attitude and strong community leaders we can make this community what we want it to be.