A journey to discover the people who change our world.

Monday, May 22, 2006

So what makes a Social Entrepreneur?

Good question, which I am frequently being asked. One of the best answers I have heard came a couple of months ago at the Skoll Forum on Social Entrepreneurship when Jeff Skoll, founder of the Skoll Foundation, provided a most amusing, but apt, adaptation of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People with:

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Social Entrepreneurs:

1. EXPERIENCE A PROFOUND SENSE OF HEARING LOSS (in that they generally don't take 'no' for an answer, or 'can't' as an excuse).

2. ARE 'A' STUDENTS NOT AFRAID TO GET 'Fs'. Social entrepreneurs learn that failure is part of the package.

3. KNOW WHEN TO BOIL THE CLOTHS. Florence Nightingale was one of the most well know social entrepreneurs of her time- but she knew that it was not always about big plans and schemes. When it was 'roll up your sleeves' time, she was there, boiling the cloths, and knuckling down.

4. INHABIT LESSER ZONES OF GRAVITY. Social entrepreneurs learn how to do more with less.

5. HAVE THE ABILITY TO MAKE MOLEHILLS OUT OF MOUNTAINS.

6. HAVE X-RAY VISION. They can see to the core of an issue.

7. ARE PYROMANIACS AT HEART. They can set a room on fire. As one social entrepreneur once said to Jeff, 'I am on fire because I've got mountains of ice to melt'.

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