“Ah Lord GOD! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” – Jeremiah 32:17
The one thing that is constant in life is change and we need to strive for excellence if we want to induce positive trends in our daily lives and business activity.
We may be inspired by the power of the creator; or the Midas touch (in Greek mythology), where King Midas is popularly remembered for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold; or the Chinese proverb which espouses the concept “I hear and I forget – I see and I remember – I do and I understand”; or the Japanese Total Quality principle of “zero defects”; or Dr. Spencer Johnson’s motivational book “Who Moved My Cheese”, which is subtitled ‘An A-Mazing Way To Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life’.
It is clear to me that, unless we strive for excellence, “woe betide” we shall continue to experience fluctuating fortunes with a trend of declining success. We must induce a Touch of Class to ensure a positive trend in the things we think, say or do.
On Thursday, I was exposed to a success story which has endorsed the philosophy of striving for excellence. We held a meeting of a new group of Barbadian and international business persons which has endorsed the principle that economic growth in Barbados can only take place one successful enterprise after another.
We met at the offices of a global company headquartered in Barbados, the primary activity of which is to position companies so that their brand becomes number one in their field in the world.
These offices are part of the complex of an old Barbados Plantation House which had fallen into disrepair, almost ruin. The company has rehabilitated the property towards a state of excellence. The mill wall now has a mezzanine floor and a lookout, the stable has been converted into a state of the art office with the best in global communication facilities. The great house is under transformation, next to which is positioned a new two bedroom cottage. The environment is certainly conducive to the mission of excellence which we have to follow as we create a tsunami of entrepreneurial activity to fuel the growth of our economy.
The ANSA McAL Group of Companies is a business success story in the Caribbean. The ANSA McAL Foundation, as a way of giving back to society, mounts THE ANTHONY N. SABGA CARIBBEAN AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE. On Saturday, as Chairman of the Barbados Nomination Committee, I had the opportunity to present three Barbados Nominees to the Awards Selection Committee in Trinidad. These candidates are competing with their counterparts from Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica and the OECS.
This is the third such Awards session and it is always amazing to me the wealth of talent that exists in the Caribbean. All praise to the Foundation for embarking on this Caribbean Awards programme to encourage selected existing operations to grow from strength to strength with the very attractive cash awards in the categories of Arts and Letters, Public and Civic Contribution and Science & Technology. Unfortunately only the winners receive awards, but perhaps other successful companies in the Caribbean can follow suit, thus creating greater possibility for advancement of entrepreneurial activity and hence economic growth.
I was invited to facilitate a short strategic visioning intervention at a WICB retreat in St. Lucia on Friday on “Managing WICB in a changing environment”. As I prepared for the session, I found a WICB mission statement which alluded to “promoting and achieving West Indies cricket as number one in the world”. There in lies the challenge.
The Retreat afforded me the opportunity as a Change Engine consultant to share some ideas with members of the Board and senior management. It is easy to criticize from outside the environment, but the occasion certainly allowed me to get a much broader perspective of the weaknesses of and threats to the Board which on the one hand limit their progress; and the strengths and opportunities which, on the other hand, provide a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
I attempted to structure a process to allow them to assess the risks which affect their progress for change and to identify certain growth strategies which would take West Indian cricket to a higher level and to sustain it at that point. I made it clear that I did not think that the success of West Indies cricket had anything to do with cyclical processes but is directly proportional to the consistency of effort which is brought to bear on the management process. My assessment was that their appetites were sufficiently whet for them to crave for more.
This coming Friday the Barbados Quick Response Venture Capital Fund will be launched by the Prime Minister of Barbados as an innovative venture capital concept from which others in the Caribbean and beyond may learn.
With the upcoming launch of the Venture Capital Fund, private and public sector support could metamorphose the gargantuan failure rate of start-up businesses into an attractive success rate, thus creating a significant factor of growth for our economies.
In all these examples, the philosophy is to muster the power and stretch out our arms within the positive context that there is nothing too hard for Thee.