February 2, 2006
EDWARD HARRIS AT LARGE
IT IS TIME FOR A BUSINESS “THINK TANK” IN ST. LUCIA!!!
It is time for an end to verbal expression about the need for professionals and businesspersons to get together and exchange ideas that will propel business both new and old. While it can be argued that this should be the task of the various professional and private sector associations, I feel that with the lack of participation of the membership of most associations being currently experienced, it calls for an initiative outside of any association. The success of the recent Volunteer initiative speaks to the fact that people are willing and ready to get involved.
There are many things we should be doing, and in many instances even if thought is given to them, nothing is happening. We need drivers for progress, a special kind of leadership. There is a handful of people in every society that people know and trust and will follow their leadership. The people are looking for leadership from them. But too many such persons would rather not get involved beyond their businesses or professions. Most important is the fear of ridicule by that minority that will always criticize persons who try to take up leadership roles in our communities. It is for this reason why many persons who can offer public service usually shy away from doing so. They say it openly that they don’t need that and it is for this reason why we find ourselves in the position we are, financially, socially and politically. Are we being served effectively by our brightest and our best?
Where are the examples for our youth? What are we giving back to our communities? I continue to lament this fact. We talk about crime and boldly claim that crime is our business in spite of our efforts, Crime is on the increase throughout our region. Where did we go wrong? We cannot ignore the existence of the youth and expect them to be worthy citizens. There is a great need for mentoring. Community programmes should be intensified. There must be social interaction among the old and young and in between. The key to all advancement is Money and money would have to be put into areas that will guarantee change. The youth is our future. Our workforce depends on our youth especially those who are challenged to succeed.
The process of conceptualizing, visualizing and actualizing must be put into action. We are loosing out on the opportunities that are available today. Let us begin to dialogue for progress. We talk a lot about technology. What are we doing to make an impact in this area? Let us start a simple Blog which is an on line log, where we can generate ideas for the world to read and at the same time promote our beautiful island – St. Lucia. I am a contributor to www.writingup.com and I have seen this site grow to become a staggering success in less than four months. The site started off very simple, now it has bells and whistles. There are so many ideas to be shared. A great way to get your ideas into the public domain is by publishing an EBook. Will someone make this happen for the many poets in our midst and the many persons with ideas to share? How to EBooks come to mind. This is a serious project that can bring substantial financial reward.
Look at what is happening in our midst most of the innovative projects are coming to us from Barbados and elsewhere, check it out. There are a few simple projects that we can start small and grow big. Dr. Basil Springer of Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust (CBET) is a believer in the principle of starting small and growing big. Two years ago he promoted the High Impact Growth Strategy Workshops (HIGS) where a group would get together, brain storm and come up with projects that have the ability to start small and experience phenomenal growth in a short period. He referred to those projects as having the DNA of an elephant.
Napoleon Hill in his master piece “Think and Grow Rich” alluded to the Master Mind Group where it is recommended that people get together and discuss ideas that can turn dreams into reality and make fortunes for those who will persist and refuse to limit themselves to what their immediate circumstances dictate. Instead they reach for the stars and are not be bounded by what is seen but believing in the power of possibilities. “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”. That is the spirit.
The idea about keeping your plans to yourself and don’t share it with anyone is keeping us back. We have to trust each other, before we can begin to do business with other. You may be surprised at what good fortune can come your way by directing questions to persons who can offer an opinion.
I will like to see a group getting together and working at producing ideas that would convert the idle minds that are in abundance into productive thinkers and in the end those thoughts could be transformed into worthwhile endeavours. Those whom God has blessed with vision, wisdom, knowledge and understanding are given those blessings for a purpose. That purpose is to give direction to those who are in need of leadership. Leadership is serious business. It is not easy but it is possible. A leader must be first a servant of the people, he or she seeks to lead. In many cases the leader is left with all the work to do until one day there will be an awakening. Lead with love.
In today’s world no one is looking out for the other, it is all about self and yet most persons are expecting the other person to make it happen for them. The private sector is the engine of growth, small businesses provide jobs. Who is supporting small businesses? The approach I referred to earlier in bringing creative minds together, who is best able to facilitate such a programme. I would like to suggest that the Banks are best suited to promote such an activity. They are always looking for business. If business is a strong contributor to their success, then stop giving lip service and support the sector. Get programmes going to inform and educate businesspersons and support them to come up with ideas that can be translated into dollars. Then there are the beverage companies, it takes a vibrant economy for their sales to grow and what do they support, almost exclusively? It is entertainment, when with a little thought they would recognize that unless there are business opportunities and growth in employment their businesses will suffer. All businesses with promotional budgets should set aside a portion of their allocation to promote human development and small businesses within the communities.
Find out what the communities need to bring about change from a state of decline to one of hope and growth. I am reminded of the National Community Foundation special fund to assist the poor in our midst where private sector companies and other contributors put money into a fund and it is disbursed to persons in need. Maybe a similar strategy may be the answer to promoting a programme of entrepreneurship across the island. While there may be several Funds to help persons get into business, there is the need for new ideas. Everyone wants to be a taxi driver, a barber, a cosmetologist and all the things that everyone else is doing. It will take leadership to get us out of our routine where we are just copy cats.
There must be a group of people out there who would like to see real change. Many of us will die with our knowledge just because we are not motivated to share. I don’t believe that we do not care. It is the responsibility of each of us to ensure that we leave this world a better place. It is important to note that whatever we fail to do, the knowledge we fail to pass on would only work against our loved ones. Those who have the talents that others who are less fortunate are looking for, must share. What will your legacy be like? How would you like to be remembered? I would like to be remembered as a loving and caring person who helped many persons to find their path to progress and prosperity. Have you requested my EBook as yet? Request it at
Keep the Faith, God is in Charge!!
Edward A. Harris