principlesSometimes the problems of the world seem overwhelming. So many in need of help, so much that needs to be done. It almost freezes you into inaction if you let it. Where to start, where to stop, how can you possibly make a difference?

Then the proverb that my dad told me about your neighbor’s sidewalk comes to mind. When the problems seem too much to tackle, simply sweep off your sidewalk and then sweep your left and right neighbors’ sidewalks as well and you will have done your part and more.

I’m not saying ignore the problems of the world around you. I am saying do what is in front of you, with what you have, where you are. As the bumper sticker admonishes, “Think globally, act locally.”

The Collier Companies has many partners of long standing, business relationships sometimes going back decades. While it is true in the business world that we must always continue, day in and day out, to deliver value to a competitive market, we also value the high-trust relationships we have built up over the years: the ease of communication, the comfort level with each other that lowers costs and speeds transactions.

From a long-time business associate I recently received a heartwarming thank you (1. below) for our help in providing an apartment for the family of one of his company’s people while undergoing medical treatment. I shared it with our organization and I received a response (2. below) from a Collier Companies Team Member, which triggered this response from me:

“We take care of our own. We value ALL our stakeholders. We give back to our community, we contribute, we believe in the social contract. We know with freedom comes responsibility, and we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. We know that in many respects we are but stewards of what we have. These are the straightforward principles we live by. The correct application in the hurly-burly of daily life can be complex and difficult, but they are our North Star.”

These words flowed quickly and easily from pen to paper because I deeply believe them. At the same time, I am humbled by the daily challenges of applying them. I don’t always get it right, but I always try.


1. “Just want to make sure I personally thank you for [providing] a short-term lease during his leukemia treatment. You have provided his family with a first-class place to spend quality time together…quite an upgrade from their previous accommodations at [a local motel]. Now they can look forward to getting together for the holidays in a comfortable environment that feels more like home. You are a true steward of the community – always nice to see someone actually “walking the walk.”

2. “Thank you for doing this. Cancer hits close to home for a lot of us, and it’s great to see this sort of compassion for the families. The Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge facilitated my mother through most of her treatments and surgeries, but they can only house so many people. The demand for short term living facilities far outweighs the availability. Again, thank you for letting The Collier Companies be a part of the solution! You rock, sir!”