“I will mention the loving kindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses” – Isaiah 63:7
Daily we are getting reports in the press of the negative impact of the global economic crisis on one country or another. The Caribbean is no exception. What are we going to do in the Caribbean to arrest the slide? Clearly, if we do nothing, it is unreasonable to expect the current situation to improve. On the other hand, emergency solutions are like putting a plaster on a wound to prevent it from getting worse, but not for the purpose of getting it better. What is required is a more in-depth analysis of the problem which is prefaced by the invocation of spiritual guidance. Then we must mobilise all the resources that have been bestowed upon us towards effecting a sustainable solution. In Singapore, they speak of the human resource as the most important resource and then they proceed to develop it to the fullest. In the Caribbean we pay lip service to this concept. We need to get back to basics. The ultimate goal is socio-economic well being for the populace. This implies addressing the spiritual, physical, social, cultural and economic elements of our environment. The one requirement that is common to all these elements is management capability. I am not only talking about academic qualifications but also the acquisition of experience which, when twinned with the academic knowledge, will make an impact on development. Let us focus on economic development which is perhaps the biggest driver towards socio-economic well being for the populace. Economic development can only be realised through sustainable enterprise development, one successful enterprise after another. The history of enterprise development reveals that most businesses fail in the first two yeas of operation. My initial hypothesis is that failure of these enterprises is due to a failure in management of one or more of the following pillars of the business: marketing, operations (technical and administrative), human resource development and finance. The focus must therefore be on developing successful enterprises or, in other words, ensuring that the management of these enterprises is optimal. The CBET Shepherding model promotes the assignment of shepherds and business advisors to support the management team of each enterprise. Thus, there is an expected increasing demand for shepherds and business advisors. It is expected that shepherding the enterprise will mitigate the risk of business failure and hence, collectively, will result in a growth rate which will ensure that sustainable development takes place. Once we have designed a Seed & Venture capital funding concept, as in the case of the CBET model in Barbados, then we must find the shepherds, in adequate numbers, who have an optimal combination of training and experience to respond to the many creative and innovative business ideas which may emerge. If the Barbados experience is anything to go by, the rate of emergence of enterprises will not be a constraint. As CBET expands throughout the region, then so too does the demand for shepherds and business advisors. Whence the source of these shepherds and business advisors? I am already getting unsolicited requests not only from entrepreneurs with ideas or emerging businesses who would like to introduce their businesses as members of the CBET family of enterprises but I am also getting positive responses from local and regional individuals as well as resource persons from the Diaspora who have heard, one way or another about the CBET initiative and would like to know what they have to do to become a shepherd or business advisor. The good news is that, in parallel with the CBET initiative is the Caribbean Institute for Certified Management Consultants (CICMC) initiative – www.caribbeancmc.com. CICMC’s mission is: “To be a professional organisation that aggressively mobilizes its members and enhances their ability to serve clients according to global standards of excellence and ethics”. Two of its goals, in support of that mission, are to (1) provide a full range of accreditation, certification and professional development programmes for its members and (2) establish structures and mechanisms that ensure the value and integrity of the international Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation. CICMC members may include: (1) recently qualified graduates who are interested in pursuing a management consulting career; (2) management consultants with more than three years full-time experience in the management consulting industry; (3) members of the Diaspora and others abroad who have at least three years’ international management consulting experience and who have an interest in being part of the thrust as we penetrate the global market with Caribbean goods and services. The aim of CICMC is to create a user-friendly path which results in all of its members achieving the designation CMC. There is a four point requirement: (1) three years’ full time professional experience; (2) successful presentation of three comprehensive engagement summaries; (3) passing the CMC ethics exam; and (4) passing an oral exam. There will be a requirement for continued professional development. It is expected that the CMC will become the leading professional designation for management consultants in the Caribbean and that all CBET shepherds and business advisors will work towards achieving the CMC.