Doesn’t matter where you talk as long as you talk
A key to the prosperity creation issues of smaller communities and villages is they choose to stay comfortable. Moreover, when they want to stay comfortable, the status quo remains and, the community never moves forward.
An individual’s actions and words can enable others to be safe in the belief they too can achieve their dreams and make a real contribution to their community. Power rests in each of us to influence, to create change and to drive momentum for each other as well as ourselves and the community we live in.
This makes the connections you create, the ones which decide the success and failure of your community development activities.
Family businesses make up more than 75% of all businesses in Australia, but this fact is barely recognised. Family businesses should be recognised as a key driving force in business and in our communities.
People just continue to avoid the issues
- Poor planning of prosperity creation, no concern for the future because of the tyranny of the urgent
- The competitiveness of smaller town businesses is left to chance
- Becoming part of the world economy is rarely thought about
- Poor understanding of the big picture and changes taking place
- Much scope for domination of decision-making
- Considerable help is needed for community management tasks
- Limited ability to grow or make big or costly changes
- Poor support from bigger cities for smaller town’s prosperity creation
- Close interpersonal relationships means people are too nice to take hard decisions
- Limited leverage in obtaining new funding for projects
- Informal information channels is starving the community of ideas and opportunities
- Little interest, or investment in information systems and knowledge bases
- Lack of creativity and a poorly driven innovation culture
- Lack of formal control processes, exposing them to the potential for errors
- The vicious circle of problem continuation
- Low management expertise available, with little managerial slack
- Very small management teams, committees with limited or unbalanced skills
- Relative operating simplicity and informality often leading to sloppiness
- Inefficient multi-tasking work roles for managers and employees
- Lack of specialist staff with many jobs overlapping
- Associated problems with part-time employees and suppliers
- Little or no employee training, job analysis or planning
- Shortage of promotable employees and the difficulty of finding good people
- Limited ability to scan, monitor or influence the environment effectively
- Narrow product and service ranges available to the community
- The small market can lead to increased vulnerability
- With sparse backup resources and support, mistakes can be lethal.
Have we lost our common sense?
Move over Dorothea Mackellar
When the shearing sheds are silent and the stock camps fallen quiet,
When the gidgee coals no longer glow across the outback night,
And the bush is forced to hang a sign, ‘gone broke and won’t be back’
And spirits fear to find a way beyond the beaten track.
When harvesters stand derelict upon the windswept plains,
And brave hearts pin their hopes no more on chance of loving rains,
When a hundred outback settlements are ghost towns overnight,
When we’ve lost the drive and heart we had to once more see us right.
‘Pioneer’ means a stereo and ‘Digger’ some backhoe,
And the ‘Outback’ is behind the house. there’s nowhere else to go,
‘Anzac’ is a biscuit brand and probably foreign owned,
And education really means brainwashed and neatly cloned.
When you have to bake a loaf of bread to make a decent crust,
And our heritage once enshrined in gold is crumbling to dust,
While old folk pay their camping fees on land for which they fought,
And fishing is a great escape; this is until you’re caught.
When you see our kids with Yankee caps and resentment in their eyes,
And the soaring crime and hopeless hearts is no longer a surprise,
When the name of RM Williams is a yuppie clothing brand,
Not a product of our heritage that grew off the land.
When offering a hand makes people think you’ll amputate,
And two dogs meeting in the street is what you call a ‘Mate’,
When ‘Political Correctness’ has replaced all common sense,
When you’re forced to see it their way, there’s no sitting on the fence.
Yes – one day you might find yourself an outcast in this land,
Perhaps your heart will tell you then, ‘I should have made a stand’,
Just go and ask the farmers that should remove all doubt,
Then join the swelling ranks who say, ‘don’t sell Australia out’.
Is our political system broken
The older I get older the more I distrust politicians and bureaucrats and cunning corporate lobbyists who monopolise their time, to do the right thing in developing our communities. The more I come to understand the self-serving environment in which they work, the more I think our political system needs a major overhaul.
Because of the role family businesses play in prosperity creation, is so important, I believe the selection process for our politicians should start to be based on family and small business experience. People in small towns and villages should make the most of each opportunity to connect with their politicians.
Very few of our politicians, have any experience of ever having built or created a business. All of these government figures pay regular lip service to how entrepreneurship and small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and vital to society’s well being, but they actually have no understanding of, or insight into, what society’s most responsible, independent and creative people need and want.
It seems crazy to me that a country should be governed by the least able and most parasitic and why the electorate does not demand that politicians should have at least had some experience of creating a profit-generating enterprise.
I believe it’s especially important for politicians to have some personal experience of what it’s like to risk everything they have, to battle waves of new regulations and struggle to meet payroll for employees and be able to meet increasing tax liabilities. They need to have experienced the ‘blowtorch’ on their bellies.
Happy people create happy and prosperous communities.
While small businesses, often struggle to make ends meet, they cannot afford to spend money as corporations do on influencing politicians and shaping policies. They continue to remain the least understood and most overlooked voters.
What can government do to improve
Governments at all levels, need to address the issues surrounding what an entrepreneurial ecosystem is. How it impacts on a community and its businesses, and what role government policy can play in helping to foster their emergence and growth.
As a result, successive governments settle for regulatory policies, with a poor understanding of entrepreneurship and how communities actually work. While genuine economic growth becomes ever more out of reach, small businesses feel the brunt of ever-increasing taxes and overwhelming regulations with little return to their communities.
Unfortunately, for the next generations, the majority of politicians these days are in it for themselves, damagingly seeing politics as a career in itself, and using their political influence to make money either during or after their time in government. However, until we can change the wrongs, communities must stand on their own and as families and small enterprise help each other to prosper.
The World Bank has suggested business regulations should be streamlined, meaningful, adaptable, relevant and transparent. Grasping this is beyond most politicians and bureaucrats.
Sure we need high growth businesses, but before we have them we need to generate and nurture as many start-ups as we possibly can. BHP Billiton was a small business once.
We all make mistakes in prosperity creation
Communities and community developers also make many mistakes. The biggest being the failure to actively involve the community members in verifying various approaches to prosperity creation. Like governments, too many think they know what their community wants and needs.
As the owners of the processes and practices, our communities negotiate, but we are blind to many details community members see and experience.
A visitor can often see more in a day than a community member can see in a year. However, it is imperative community advisors take an ’empathy walk’ with community members to verify they accurately captured what the community was looking for.
There is much to learn when you first learn to drive a car, so I would recommend a would-be driver get behind the wheel, and so it is with community development. Community development can be a complex process, as there is no one-size-fits-all model.
Instead, every activity associated with prosperity creation should be backed by data and research. Ultimately it needs to be delivered in practical usable and actionable activities for the specific purpose.
“Make rest a necessity, not an objective. Only rest long enough to gather strength”. Jim Rohn
“Things rarely work out for communities who don’t first put in the time and do the work. A community, like its people, must plan and choose to be successful by taking the right actions”. Peter Sergeant