Why Give a Damn:

So you wanna join the rooftop revolution? Get ready to partner up with someone else to succeed.

My running blog on Unreasonable.is is going to be about how you can aid the Solar Ascent – the takeover of the commanding heights of our economy with solar-powered technologies that are better for people and the planet than existing energy systems – by being an activist-entrepreneur. In future posts I’ll get into some tricks and tips I’ve learned along the way trying to kick-start a Rooftop Revolution at Sungevity, but I want to begin with the big picture of how “it happens”.

I know that activists can prevail against great odds from lived experience and I am learning that entrepreneurs can too. Social movements of non-profits plus businesses (not just the powerful white men and existing corporations who get written up in the papers) make our history. Indeed, good companies working with community groups are key not just to our survival but our thrival!

Most of those with influence today grew from something much smaller. Great businesses create big, popular markets where before there was none. Community organizers win rights regularly and globally. As Margaret Mead’s said, “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world for the better; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

But I think she only partially described the phenomena we’re involved in: small groups of thoughtful and committed citizens do change the world – but only by bringing in more folks to the cause. How these movements do it and grow is sometimes less easy to follow, but in the significant social change we’re on the cusp of by “going solar” the few and the brave who do it now will change not only the power supply but the power relations that dominate our world.

So how to start? The first circle of folk you bring into your cause as you build a mission-related business are your partners. No company I know of really started with one person. And in my experience, the best companies are built by friends. Conversely, most businesses fail over the founding partnership.

Partnering is a skill that requires the use of one’s ears and one’s mouth in the ratio that they were given to us; i.e. 2 to 1. As you build your circle of influence, have you got what it takes to be a good partner to people? Aside from good listening skills, partnering requires emotional intelligence and maturity. Have you got what it takes? 2 ears? Trust? And, some strong EQ? If so, shine on!

An Unreasonable Challenge:

Identify individuals you feel you could create a mutually-beneficial partnership with. Then, test out your EQ and listening skills and let me know what you’re accomplishing together.

Danny Kennedy

Author Danny Kennedy

Danny is the co-founder and president of Sungevity and SfunCube, and a clean-tech environmentalist and seasoned social entrepreneur. He is the author of the book, The Rooftop Revolution.

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