'You see things; and you say, "Why?"
But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"'
George Bernard Shaw
The news is sadly full of layoffs taking place. Thousands each month are losing their jobs. The grim spectre of the 1930's Great Depression comes readily to mind. However, there is a non-documented period of history, 30 years ago in Europe, which paints a different picture, one of much greater possibility. Non-documented because it was pre-internet time and no one thought to record what took place.
In the late 1970's British Steel were laying off thousands. The steel industry, as it was then in Great Britain, was no longer viable. Massive steel mills were closing down. Communities supported by the steel industry suffered profoundly the loss to their local economies.
Into the picture came Patrick Naylor, to run the job creation arm of British Steel. He had the imagination to recognize two important truths:
1. A steel worker has dreams too.
At that time, it was considered that a man who worked in steel could do only that. Therefore there was no hope for him when the industry died.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand,
imagination points to all we might yet discover and create."
2 There is a tremendous wealth of human energy and resource in every community.
What does this mean? When an industry closes down, its employees are not stripped of their imagination, talent and capacity for creating wealth. Quite the reverse. The demise of one large industry potentially releases individuals to generate greater economic stability than was there before.
"Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm,
and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things:
first, an ideal, with takes the imagination by storm,
and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice."
England in the 1970's was emerging from the notion that a person worked for 48 hours a week, 48 weeks a year and for 48 years of their life in the same organization - a relic concept of the industrial age. It has since been recognized that a person may now have several vocations in one lifetime, more than one dream to fulfil.
Not only did Naylor have the vision for job creation, but he also had the skills and ability to implement the vision, creating lasting jobs in communities, potentially devastated by high levels of unemployment. Above all he was a believer in the process. Subsequently, his practical experience turned belief into knowledge and understanding.
When job creation teams had been set up within steel closure areas, Naylor went on to run Job Creation Limited, a private enterprise addressing other major industries in Europe which, through changes in the marketplace, were downsizing or shutting up shop completely.
"There is hope in dreams, imagination,
and in the courage of those who wish to make those dreams a reality."
The forces of negativity were legion. Non-believers, and those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, such as the unions wishing to retain their membership, tried and sometimes succeeded in blocking a job creation project.
Job Creation Limited was paid on results: new jobs established over a period of time. As a one time small business owner himself, Naylor recognized the most important factor in securing new wealth:
3. The key to successful job creation
A person with a business idea needs help, both practical and psychological, to translate their idea into a successful enterprise. They need support at hand to avoid the pitfalls, and ensure a positive outcome. You can't just throw money at a start up project, walk away and hope it will work. In the 1980's, British banks made that mistake. As a result, they created a lot of unnecessary business failure and human misery.
In response to my last week's post 5 Ways To Turn On The Power Of Your Love, Jason commented that "the power of imagination is so under valued in our culture". I agree.
You may recall Imagine sung by John Lennon:
If you have been recently laid off, the future may seem very bleak for you. My heart goes out to you. My hope is that in President Obama's job creation initiatives there might be programmes similar to those run successfully in Europe 30 years ago.
When Patrick Naylor was engaged in Job Creation, I went with him to some of the industrial closure areas. To enter huge shut-down factory buildings -- cold, damp, desolate and devoid of people gainfully employed in them -- was gut wrenching for me. Later, these empty shells were transformed into industrial villages with new hope, fresh enterprise and sources of greater wealth and well-being than before.
History could repeat itself.
True to his own philosophy, Patrick Naylor now fulfills a long time dream of running very successful small hotel in Cornwall, England - The Camelot Hotel.
"They are ill discoverers that think there is no land,
when they can see nothing but sea."
Have you been laid off, and how are you dealing with it? Do you have a business idea that you would like to make happen? What does your community need that you might provide as a business?