Out of the research that I have previously done on different economic development models, one of my favorite comes from the Sirolli Institute. In fact, as I have talked with some of you about- the notion of building an Aikido style network of entrepreneurs supporting entrepreneurs, part of my grounding in these ideas came from both my father’s background as a psychologist, through which I was exposed to the work of Carl Rogers (and reminded by Ernesto Sirolli). From a recent forum post at the Sirolli Institute, this reminder came up from Mike Chitty:
[Carl Rogers:]”How can I treat, or cure, or change this person?”
Despite his best intentions, it didn’t work.
Ultimately, Rogers changed his approach, asking,
“How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his or her own personal growth?”
I think that Rogers’ experience speaks to the heart of Enterprise Facilitation.
The effective Facilitator asks:
“How can my relationships with others encourage them to grow in self-confidence, passion, skill and clarity of purpose?”
And from Mike Chitty’s signature, again: “The future of every community lies in capturing the passion, imagination, and resources of its people.” There is no way to push people/ entrepreneurs into healthily growing their businesses. Healthy businesses emerge by engaging entrepreneurs’ passion, removing road blocks, and supporting each other side by side.
Carl Rogers work in psychology, which provides us with a powerful blueprint of how to build community (and therefore successful business marketplaces) is echoed loud and clear in another more recent book by Ron Kurtz, called Body-Centered Psychotherapy: The Hakomi Method where Kurtz states:
We [Hakomi trained psychologists] are there to help them: first as they reach out towards what they might achieve, then as they struggle and work for their full humanity, and finally, when they come to it. This is very special work. In this process, violence is not only useless, it is inevitably harmful.
Why might you ask am I looking to psychology for models to support social networks of entrepreneurs? It is my belief that as we entrepreneurs begin to organize at interesting levels of scale (say in the ten thousands to hundred thousands) that non-violent ways of interacting in our social networks will be essential for building a stronger network, stronger business connections, and a stronger marketplace. Market control will shift naturally away from dominiate bullies towards businesses and entrepreneurs that know and embody the skills of playing fair… for there will be no place to hide bad manners or poor business practices in the coming business Internet marketplace.
I will write more about social networks, and how I see them being employed to build strong businesses (and other civic initiatives), especially with these psychological and philosophical ideas for interaction in coming post.