A Unique Approach

"I believe in the collective wisdom of people. If you have a reasonably diverse group coming together around a unified subject, they will have arguments, but if allowed the opportunity, they will find wisdom. Not enough people appreciate that." advocates Mr. Stitt .

To help a community reach its potential, Stitt works with project leaders over a period of several months to a year. His approach is based on two main ideas: Inspiring public participation and transforming community culture.

Inspiration and Guidance

Bert Stitt has a charismatic, motivational energy that spurs people into action. Communities can also rely on him to tell the hard truth about the work they have to do. Stitt brings a wealth of experience to each community and provides them with no-nonsense advice and a clear-eyed realism that carries them through the challenges of long-term community work. He tells the community the truth about what they are facing. As he says, "community work doesn't take much--just blood, sweat, money, some intelligence, and a sense of humor. And all the them in great quantities." Bert Stitt helps each community find its own expertise and wisdom so it can carry on the work of revitalization when he is gone.

Public Participation

When revitalization stays in the hands of the usual power brokers, the community as a whole cannot embrace a value of stewardship and make real and lasting changes. A first step is to invite the public into the process. This brings in new people with new ideas, new talents, and fresh approaches to leadership.

"Citizens are amazingly intelligent. If they are given a forum and the right kind of guidance they will discover more of their own expertise and wisdom than they ever dreamed of." observes Bert.

Serving as a facilitator for a public participation initiative, Bert Stitt:

  • Helps the community develop a project steering committee that will jumpstart revitalization. Guides the community as it "grows" its pool of talent.
  • Facilitates public meetings where the community defines a collective vision and lays out plans to achieve it.
  • Advises work groups so they can take effective action and turn vision into reality.
  • Mediates conflicts so work can move forward.

The more people who join the process, the more successes the community experiences. The more sucess a community sees, the more people join the process.

Cultural Transformation

Public participation insures that the community's spirit of collective action and goals can develop. A cultural transformation takes place. The community is healthier because individual members communicate and work more effectively. They rediscover a passionate belief in the community and its future. Individuals have succeded in transforming the community's shared beliefs, values, and goals. As Stitt says, "one of my greatest rewards is the personal growth I see." Personal transformation creates cultural transformation. The community's ground is prepared for the long-term values of stewardship and community re-investment.

Bert Stitt helps a community

  • Take charge of re-defining its culture and priorities.
  • Build cooperation between agencies, organizations, groups, and individuals.
  • Discover and develop leadership within the community.
  • Discover its full range of resources.
  • Create a "safe place" where community members can express concerns.
  • Learn more effective ways of behaving, thinking, and expressing their feelings so community work moves forward.
  • Empower individuals so they can empower the whole community.
  • Develop its sense of stewardship and community spirituality for the long term.

"A community that relies on the usual top-down strategies of decision-making can wait twelve years to see real results. A community that invites public participation in a process of cultural transformation can see results in as little as four years." notes Bert.

"The bottom line here is about stewardship, and it really doesn't have a dollar sign on it, it has a heart sign on it. But if you want to talk dollars and cents and how this will benefit you, look to the communities where I have worked." Bert confidently recommends.

Bert Stitt's method of jump starting public participation and creating a culture of intentional stewardship gets results:

  • The community will attract reinvestment in commercial, industrial and residential real estate.
  • Downtown business will increase sales and profit margins.
  • Residents will see an increase in residential property values.
  • School districts will see an increase in tax revenues.
  • The community will attract new talent and entrepreneurial resources.
  • A shared value of stewardship will guarantee the long-term reinvestment in the health of the community.

"Soon after Bert Stitt entered the picture, things began to happen in our community. Through his innovative "retreat process" all interested parties were able to freely discuss and plan a course of action. I recommend his unique skills to any business or group needing specialized consulting services." Richard J. Schneider, Mayor of Sheboygan (1975-1987)