“And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it” – Habakkuk 2: 2

Several years ago my son Bevan (a public relations, marketing and media practitioner), whose company’s website – www.marketplaceexcellence.com – officially went live last week, observed that I used quotations from philosophy, science and religion to appropriately introduce various management techniques in my weekly column “Strictly Business”. He advised me that all the quotations I needed are available in the Bible so why don’t I use one source.  Since then I have followed his advice.

I asked him a few days ago to give me a biblical quote pertaining to strategic visioning and action planning. He responded in short shrift with the text above from the Old Testament among other appropriate Biblical references.   I also engaged John Pilgrim, Executive Director, The Productivity Council in Barbados, on the subject and he was by no means short in expanding on other references in the Bible which he thought would provide interesting reading on the topic.

The CBET logo depicts VISION and ACTION in the Caribbean. The CBET slogan is “A Caribbean Catalyst Converting Concepts into Commercial Realities”.  The CBET Shepherding Model™ is the Vision which has been written.  In the last three weeks, I have made three formal presentations to Caribbean audiences and have been engaged in a number of individual discourses “to make it plain upon the tables”.  In addition to Barbados where we have been rolling out the prototype Bimventures since November 2008, I have been engaged in discussion with Jamaica, Martinique and St. Lucia, following my presentations, and I am pleased to say that they are all exploring ways of running with it.

Indeed, Bimventures is a Smart Partnership between the CBET Shepherding Model™ and the public and private sectors in Barbados.   In the same way, Smart Partnerships at the national level can be forged between the CBET Shepherding Model™ and the public and private sectors in any sovereign country to promote economic growth, one successful enterprise after another.

John Heap is the President of the World Confederation of Productivity Science; Director, National Productivity Centre, UK; and Co-editor, International Journal of Productivity & Performance Management. A stimulus from John Heap, who was guest speaker (His topic: Is Higher Productivity Possible in the Caribbean) at a function the night before the conference began, as well as the opportunity to present to the Inaugural Regional Productivity Conference last Thursday, set me on a new path of productivity thinking.

I was Chairman of the Productivity Council from 1995-2001 and I must confess that since then, although I have been peripherally involved with The Productivity Council on an annual basis, I have not really engaged in any innovative thinking regarding productivity strategies.

On reflection, when I was involved we were engaged in “Challenges, Solutions and Impact of Productivity Interventions”; “Performance–Based Management Systems in the Public and Private Sectors”; “Sector Productivity”; “Performance-Based Compensation”; and “Competitiveness” – much the same topics that were on the programme for this conference. These are primarily focussed on enhancing productivity at the enterprise (private sector) or department (public sector) levels and, if successful, they would collectively contribute to the enhancement of productivity at the national level.

John Heap, early in his presentation, explained productivity by the simple ratio of Output/Input.  So that our objective of increasing productivity is achieved by raising output without a corresponding rise in resources consumed, or by reducing resources consumed whilst maintaining output levels or by some combination of the two.

He intimated that the primary National objective in any Sovereign state is to increase productivity in search of a bigger cake which enhances socio-economic well being and hence contributes to sustainable development. The ‘original’ or ‘classic’ formulation of the term sustainable development first came to prominence in 1987 when the World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission) produced a report for the United Nations called ‘Our Common Future’. Its definition of sustainable development was “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

John Heap pointed out that the World Confederation of Productivity Science, understandably, takes a wider view than just increasing the size of the economic cake; it embraces social, environmental and economic productivities. I would add “spiritual” productivity to this mix and assume that “cultural” productivity is included in “social” productivity in the context of sustainable success.

Now to the innovation!

The CBET Shepherding Model™ promotes three concepts: (1) focussing on enterprises with the DNA of an Elephant which can compete on the global market thus increasing the size of the cake; (2) mitigating  the endemic global failure rate (60-90%) of start-up businesses, in the first two years, by assigning Shepherds and business advisors (shepherding) to enterprises to address weak governance and management (marketing, production, HR and finance) issues thus reducing the  failure rate to, say, 20% and growing the cake by 3-4 times; and (3) providing seed & venture capital funding to give the enterprise the financial lift off to increase the size of the cake, until its cash flows will render it financially sustainable. This I label direct productivity enhancement at the national level which together with enterprise or department productivity will induce national exponential growth and therefore everybody will get a larger slice of cake.  Capture the Vision and convert it to Action!