Otis White, a well-known community consultant who operates out of Atlanta, says that for a community to change it must have a champion. Based on my own experience I could not agree more. When I see communities making real progress in creating a better community there is almost always a champion. In a recent blog post White points out that the champion may not necessarily be one person, but instead may be a group of people. More often than not it is from the business community where that champion comes from.
Note that I included “if it wants change” in the title of this post. The greatest barrier to change is that people are satisfied enough with the way things are that they either see no need to change or they believe that the benefits of change do not outweigh the costs. Communities are dynamic things, and are constantly changing, even though it may be gradual change. For there to be fundamental change in a relatively short time there must be chaos. Change then usually comes from outside the community instead of within the community.