Thursday, May 04, 2006

Its Time For Commitment

I and others from I-Open met today with someone in Cleveland who has worked with developing entrepreneurs in Europe and is now trying to develop some innovative businesses here in Northeast Ohio. It works elsewhere so why can’t it work here? The comment I heard is that Cuyahoga County is so siloed and set in its 1st curve economy ways that it is unlikely anytime soon that Cleveland will move forward. Many are close to giving up hope and a number of businesses, organizations, and individuals already have. My brother has said to me that no community is guaranteed the right to survive. It is up to its residents to make a commitment to work together and then act on that commitment.

We all need to stop making the same strategic plan year after year and decade after decade, stop having conversations about what would be wonderful if somebody else did it, and stop whining. We need to start working together, supporting each other, and sharing best practices. We need to learn to do strategic thinking and doing rather than strategic planning. We need to treat each other and each others ideas with respect. Maybe even implement the old golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” rather than the current Cleveland golden rule, “He who has the gold, rules.”

The Morrison brothers have always said that the revolution will come from the mountains. It will come from the outlying areas, whether it be Akron, Youngstown, Mayfield, or Berea. Cleveland civic leaders and all who interact in the civic space need to learn and practice new behaviors. I will continue to teach new behaviors in the civic space, to encourage entrepreneurs to stop waiting for someone to give them permission, and to help build collaborative networks and behaviors.