Ordinary Communities Achieving Extraordinary Results: A Team-Based Approach

Track Leaders: Vaughn and Sandy Grisham

In this track, participants are initially introduced to the basic components of community development. Building on that introduction, we share the positive experiences of places like those from which our class members come: places where citizens solve their issues without unusual resources. In the process, they achieve extraordinary results and grow confident in solving their own problems.

We then move to engaging the track teams in actual case studies in which participants are able to work through challenges similar to or identical to the major issues of their places. In short, we train participants in community development, so they may return to their area and make the changes they so desire.

We draw on more than thirty-five years of experience in the field of community development to walk the group through each step of this problem-solving and evolution process.

Who should attend? 

While we invite any citizens willing to invest their time and resources to become a part of the community development process, this track is most applicable to community teams. We recommend at least three team participants so that you can actively participate in hands-on planning for your community.

This session would also benefit those interested in adopting a team-based approach to community development and those involved in the strategic planning process for their community.

What can I expect to learn?

  • How to create trust among individuals in your community and get the right people “on the bus.”
  • How to build successful teams.
  • How to identify and create processes for specific projects.

Physical tools and takeaways from this session: Beginnings of a strategic plan to improve your community and a list of resources to guide your work following this session.

Track Capacity: 30

Dr. Vaughn Grisham is the Director Emeritus of the McLean Institute for Community Development at the University of Mississippi where he has taught for the past 40+ years. He has authored several books and numerous articles, including Tupelo: The Evolution of the Community and Hand in Hand: Community and Economic Development. He has helped establish leadership programs in more than 300 counties and has done community development work in more than 30 states and two Canadian provinces. He published a leadership manual, Link 2000, for the Southern Growth Policies Board. In addition, Dr. Grisham’s most recent research has centered on Extraordinary Results in Ordinary Communities, an occasional paper published by the Kettering Foundation.

Sandy Grisham has had four careers in her adult life: secretary, wife and mother, college student and professor, and now research/workshop associate for her husband, Vaughn. As a secretary, she worked for NBC in New York City and Yellowstone Park Company at Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Helena, Montana. Her skills continue to serve her well as she enters her 8th decade. She earned her degrees at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and studied further in the fields of political science and sociology, and taught at Northwest Community College in Senatobia, Mississippi. While doing that, she was awarded a Fulbright Summer Study program to learn Islam through the History and Culture of Pakistan. In addition, she has received numerous other teaching awards and also taught at the University of Mississippi. Upon retirement from the public education system, she joined her husband, Vaughn Grisham in his research into Extraordinary Results in Ordinary Communities.