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Guest Editorial: Four thoughts for Selby

Guest Editorial: Four thoughts for Selby

Ty HallTy Hall is a resident of Bay Point Park in Sarasota.

Lolly Daskal in her national best seller, “The Leadership Gap,” tells us all leaders make mistakes. The difference between good leaders and great ones lies in how they handle those mistakes.

Since the City Commission sent Selby Gardens’ project team back to the drawing board, it would appear that CEO Jennifer Rominiecki’s strategy is to vilify her neighbors—who by day are simply enjoying the tranquility of retirement, or work as school teachers, real estate professionals, surgeons, CEOs, developers, and attorneys. At night, she would have us believe that the same group roams Orange, Mound and South Palm as a gang of geriatric vandals and thugs randomly attacking green-shirted master plan proponents!

Make no mistake about it: We are neighbors who love Selby Gardens and we want to work with you.

In Monday’s op-ed, Ms. Rominiecki specifically assigned blame to an “extremely vocal minority of citizens who successfully chose to use incivility, fear mongering and circulation of false information to get what they want” and implied that we have “defaced the property.” Here are four simple thoughts from Daskal’s book to consider, in lieu of blaming others for things not going as expected.

  1. Acknowledge your mistakes. Never try to cover up or blame others for what went wrong. If you messed up, admit it and own it. It doesn’t have to be a big deal; simply acknowledge your responsibility and move on. Insecure leaders may be afraid of looking weak, but not admitting their mistake makes them look worse and costs them respect.
  2. Learn from your mistakes. Once you learn from your mistakes, don’t repeat them. Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes; leadership is learning from them.
  3. Teach others from your mistakes. The times in our lives when we feel we have the least power can actually be the times we have the most — when we can affirm or redefine who we are and what we believe, and make choices that help others benefit from our experiences, good and bad. When you make mistakes, make a point of teaching others what you’ve learned. Doing so builds connection and trust.
  4. Move beyond your mistakes. Success is connected with action. Successful people keep moving; they make mistakes but don’t quit. Learn to use failure as a stepping stone away from the past. You don’t forget your mistake, but you don’t dwell on it or let it get you down. Get up and keep moving.

Like all of us, you’re bound to make mistakes. But when you handle them well, they can help you be a better leader.

It is time to move forward together, just as we did in the years leading up to the development of the Children’s Rainforest. We are a “small” neighborhood, but it is obvious that a large percentage of Sarasotans agree that the master plan can be accomplished without changing the city’s comprehensive plan, without taking down 111 mature trees, without a five-star rooftop restaurant and a 77-foot-tall concrete garage and, most certainly, without becoming Sarasota’s premier bayfront entertainment venue!

Nearly 2,000 people signed a petition saying as much, and the City Commission overwhelmingly agreed. All this was accomplished without the benefit of a massive email list, public relations firm or lobbyists.

The Selby management team’s actions over the past week call to mind Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.