Perspective: First, Listen. Always.

Sep 9, 2019

“First, shut up and listen.” 



“If people don’t ask for help leave them alone.”  

Ernesto Sirolli recommends this when seeking to transform a local economy. Too often we seek to save. In doing so we are patronizing, insulting and doomed to fail.  

Many of our local communities, both small and large across northern Illinois are spending thousands of dollars, and holding numerous public meetings to plan how we will save ourselves from going down with the sinking ship of Illinois. Consultants are brought in to create revitalization plans.  

  What is needed during this time of systems breakdown is not another million dollar glossy plan, but what is needed is individual entrepreneurs. The needed creative individuals who are capable of thinking beyond the known will not be found in public planning meetings. Peter Druker actually warns that “planning is the kiss of death to entrepreneurism.”   

E. F. Schumacher said, “I can’t myself raise the winds that might blow us, or this ship, into a better world. But I can at least put up the sail so that, when the wind comes, I can catch it.”  

So this means seeking out individuals in struggling neighborhoods, listen to them at their kitchen tables or in cafes. Discover their passions and their strongest will to live. Once there is trust and dedication a person can become what Sirolli calls an Enterprise Facilitator. Someone who guides others to open their own sails. 

I’m Dan Kenney and this is my perspective.