Ernesto Sirolli – Shut Up and Listen!

I just love this talk. It is perhaps one of the most important TED talks ever related to the field of ethics and doing good. Ernesto Sirolli’s work as an enterprise facilitator is well known around the world. In this talk he shares both his early experiences in what doesn’t work in Africa, as well as his work with entrepreneurs in Australia and beyond.

There are many great lessons in this, but I just love his 2 principles of:

  1. Never Initiate Anything
  2. Never Motivate Anyone

Your job is to simply shut up and listen!

Your idea is not unique, so get over it!

Recently someone pitched to me an idea for new organisation they want to establish in Australia, which highlighted what I have seen time and again as a perennial problem in the social space. This new initiative strangely shared the same mission, target group, and even name of an existing and well-known charity in the same city. The striking thing however was that the ‘entrepreneur’ claimed he had researched the market and that there were no other existing initiatives of its kind.

You wouldn’t believe how often this happens. Either the entrepreneur had not done their research, or if they did, the research was not of a quality that unearthed some very obvious results. A good place to start is to put your new initiative’s proposed name and key words into a google search. If you get no search hits, please let me know as you will be amongst the first ever. The only other scenario could be that research was conducted and did indeed uncover other initiatives, but the entrepreneur was legitimately convinced that their thing was indeed unique.

In the commercial world we are quite prepared to accept that a coffee shop can exist on every corner. We see them pop up all the time and get excited about the additional options available to us. Small business owners don’t shy away from Read more