I have become fond of a phrase lately. It’s called “moving the needle”.

In the early stages of a company or organization, you have an important stage where you determine whether you can plan to have a measurable impact and then go do it. I saw a great example of that recently by a local company that produced an informercial and saw thousands of units of products fly off the shelves. They proved they could impact the market. For a developing company, that is called “moving the needle”. Usually it is a feat of strength, will or money, but it is definitely an outside influence on a system.

Frank Melton in the early stages of his administration is trying to just move the needle just a little bit on several fronts. Housing, crime, and leadership are all places where he is trying to have an impact. By not much more than sheer force of will, he is starting that process and in many cases he is using brinksmanship and expending political capital to do it. Once you can move the needle and have a measurable impact, then it is just a matter of marshalling resources and repeat over and over again.

That is what Jackson needs to do. Try to continue to have measurable impact on a small level on things that need to change, figure out the formula, and then dump money and manpower and repeat over and over and over again.

Many detractors have gone into apoplexy at the thought of someone operating in the style Melton has chosen. Fortunately or unfortunately, it’s the only one he knows. But his personal success was built on it.

It’s not very imaginative, but it works.