“A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage. Everyday sends to their graves obscure men whose timidity prevented them from making a first effort” – Sydney Smith, English Clergyman (1771-1845)

Although the above quotation is over 150 years old, it is, to a large extent, still relevant today. My day-to-day work brings me into contact with many a frustrated entrepreneur whose talent has allowed him or her to conceive an idea but who is missing the business elements of money nd management and the concept struggles to get off the ground.

On the contrary, we must applaud organisations like the Barbados Cancer Society and the Heart Foundation of Barbados, 25 and 20 years old this year, respectively, for effectively mobilising talent and having become forces to be reckoned with in the heath care sector. By the way, Plans are on target for the ‘Healthy Heart Living – Get Fit for Business’ Healthy Lifestyle Seminar for Business and Professional Executives, hosted by the Heart Foundation of Barbados in partnership with Sagicor General Insurance Inc. on Thursday, 7th July 2005 at Sherbourne Conference Centre.

There are also those with wonderful talent who never get to share this with other human beings because of modesty or the lack of opportunity. Two weeks ago, I was privileged to observe an example of this from a Canadian house guest who originally hailed from Dominica. He is Michael White whom we first met at University many moons ago but with whom we have kept in contact, from a business and social perspective, over the years.

Two Thursday nights ago I had to travel to Grenada for a business assignment but my wife invited Michael to join her on her weekly piano adventure to entertain the dinner guests at Savannah Hotel. It turned out that a talent of his, which I must admit he always spoke about but which I never myself witnessed, came to the fore when he joined my wife in a rich baritone accompaniment, much to the euphoric pleasure of the guests that evening. His timidity was eroded and he was thus rescued from obscurity.

Michael and I had some very interesting discussion, before I left on my trip, on the state of the Caribbean today. I experience it daily and he now views it from several thousand miles away but is engaged in the Caribbean as a Consultant on a regular, if not frequent, basis. He shared with me some information on a people development programme entitled, “Character First” which promotes the concept that character determines success. We agreed that this type of programme is probably one which is needed throughout the Caribbean to arrest the social and cultural decay which plagues our efforts to successfully improve our lot. The underpinning of this programme is based on the definition of character which is, “the qualities built into an individual’s life that determine his/her response regardless of circumstances.”

On his arrival in Barbados, we virtually drove straight from the airport to Kensington Oval, at his request, to witness the after-tea session of the first test between the West Indies and Pakistan. It was a treat for him to experience a cricket game live once again, since he is no longer privileged, not even on television, to be part of the environment which moulded his upbringing. He was, of course, aware of the decline in West Indian cricket fortunes over the years and was motivated, after his return to Canada, to offer his ten point programme to the re-building of West Indian cricket supremacy.

This kind of response comes naturally to him as a problem-solving and institutional strengthening consultant and I suggested that his ten points be brought to the attention of the West Indies Cricket Board. He modestly considered his recommendation as ‘just another set of thoughts to put into the teaming cauldron to what we see as a regional dilemma’. He gave me permission to reproduce it in my column.

White’s Ten Point Programme for the Rebuilding of WI Cricket Supremacy:
(1)A conglomerate of corporate sponsors committing to providing financial support needed for one year. (2) Freeing selected players of all work commitments for one year (Leave of absence as appropriate). (3) Assigning a top level coach (preferably a former WI great) to coach the Captain in “captaincy” and leadership skills. (4) Identify two ‘Captains in waiting’ to understudy the Captain, and provide them with similar coaching. (5) Engaging all available past Cricketing greats to deliver periodic workshops to the team.
(6) Organizing daily, year round, continuous practice for all members of the team. (This is the cornerstone of the program). (7) Delivering personal development and team building training to the team twice weekly, utilizing a team of Caribbean and foreign experts. (8) Constantly replay, study and rebroadcast great West Indian cricket performances as a motivation to players and to stimulate public support for the WI Team. (9) Enforce a strict disciplinary regime in all areas (on and off field). (10) Organize a fixture of demonstration matches utilizing all the modern cricket stadia in the region. Keep ticket prices low to encourage attendance by school children.
This is a worthy input into the WICB strategic review process.