Many feel that Central Iowa’s culture of collaborative leadership is the key ingredient that has driven the region’s ascendance as an increasingly prominent destination of choice.
Social Capital is more than networking; it is about creating relationships that build upon the strengths of community members from all backgrounds. Social Capital is about ensuring this leadership capacity transcends generations and reflects the future face of the community – a face that is increasingly diverse. It is about acknowledging that leadership is often learned and not a birthright. It is about today’s generation and the next, and the next. It is about civility and the ability to have conversations and create solutions that address inequities that are not always comfortable. Social Capital is about becoming a community that sees its future in the lives of its residents, works to acknowledge their contributions, and aids in their success in both formal and informal places and public and private spaces.
As one leader put it, the Social Capital can be the framework for Central Iowa to “figure it out together” by asking the hard questions necessary to tackle social and infrastructure issues that are challenging communities at rapid rates. This would entail identifying common concerns around leadership, diversity, equity, inclusion, and civility; defining shared goals and strategies; and, determining how success will be tracked and measured. This certainly is consistent with the broader vision of Capital Crossroads as a coordinated framework to achieve equitable, transformative change.
Improving respect and civility in our community isn't someone else's job. It can start with you. Show Some Respect, a campaign of the Iowa Civility Project, urges Iowans to be respectful and encourage others to do the same.
Capital Crossroads represents a comprehensive initiative inclusive of Central Iowa’s principal strategic focus areas. The Social Capital has and should continue to inform and advance the three critical drivers of success in Capital Crossroads’ implementation:
The first step in this process should be building grassroots discussions and participation to drive deep understanding of key issues before positive and lasting progress can be made.
Assess and confirm a conceptual framework for Social Capital action
Reach agreement on priorities affecting Social Capital focus areas
Set community goals around leadership, diversity, equity, inclusion, and civility to drive strategic activities
The desire to establish Central Iowa as a national best practice in leadership, diversity, equity, inclusion, and civility should be balanced with the acknowledgement that these are challenging, complicated, and far-reaching concepts that could take generations to achieve lasting change. Patience, persistence, and a sustained, coalition-based collaboration will be necessary for success.
It is critical that the community of Central Iowa recognizes, celebrates, and continues to lift up successes since Capital Crossroads’ inception. This includes staff and volunteer efforts to ensure Social Capital initiatives are complementary, non-duplicative, and allow for positive impact in the growth of the individuals and groups that participate.
Formalize strategies to achieve established goals
Actively and successfully advancing a coordinated effort to improve leadership, diversity, equity, inclusion, and civility in all aspects of the Central Iowa community and professional life will be a daunting task. Organizations must engage in the overall initiative as well as its components. Implementation resources must be identified and sustained, and activities must be tracked, measured, reported, and enhanced as work proceeds on the action plan.
Define a framework for implementing the Social Capital action plan
Determine desired outcomes and metrics of coordinated leadership, diversity, equity, inclusion, and civility strategic implementation