“If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee’ – Proverbs 25:21-22.
The selection of the above text was divinely inspired. The first part I could relate to as a Christian teaching but I was puzzled about the second, in fact it appeared paradoxical. I set about resolving the paradox. I discovered that in any culture there are customs, peculiarities and idioms that are completely understood by those who live in the culture, but which can be confusing to others. What does it mean to heap coals of fire upon someone’s head? This has been described as a reference to an Oriental custom. A fire in the centre of a village was kept going day and night. This fire was used to light the fires in individual homes each day. Every morning a village youth would put a container on his head, and hot coals would be heaped into it. He would then go from house to house distributing the hot coals so that the villagers could start their fires. On cold days this was an enviable job, since the heat from the coals of fire kept the head and hands of the youth warm. To heap coals of fire on someone’s head, then, means to warm him up, and, by extension, to bless him. The text may then be paraphrased “If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch; if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness, and God will look after you”.
The Maxwell Leadership Bible offers promises for everyday. The thought for October 23 is: “Leaders need to respond to individuals based on their needs rather than their faults…Good leaders do this well. They do not lead out of a determined package of behaviours, but size up every situation and determine what must happen to reach the desired goal…good leaders remain flexible and many change their response, based not on what a person deserves, but on what they need to succeed”.
Entrepreneurial success implies successful enterprises; successful enterprises imply economic growth; economic growth lays the foundation for socio-economic well being; socio-economic well being implies happiness for all.
We need to strive for happiness; we can attempt to achieve this through entrepreneurship. The E-Team has assumed a mantle of leadership and has set the lofty goal of “Barbados: The #1 Entrepreneurial Hub of the World by 2020”; one annual Barbados National Entrepreneurship Summit after another. The first Summit is scheduled to take place at the Barbados Hilton on Nov 16/17 2010.
International speakers will explain the state of the art global performance; local speakers will delineate the size of the gap between the local and global performance; participants will contribute to strategies to fill the gap; the Barbados Entrepreneurial Foundation will implement the strategies between Summits. Invest in your future, come to the first Summit for an amazing experience of content, talent, networking and enjoyment, www.barbadosentrepreneurshipfoundation.com, sponsored by leading private sector firms who are demonstrating that they have sized up the national crisis and have determined what must happen to reach the goal of economic success.
The one thing that is constant in life is change. As Spencer Johnson in his book “Who Moved My Cheese: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and In Your Life” explains Change Happens – Anticipate Change – Monitor Change – Adapt to Change Quickly – Enjoy Change – Enjoy it Again and Again.
One of the main constraints to entrepreneurial development is the lack of timely access to appropriate finance. This means that many good ideas which could contribute significantly to growth never even see the light of day. Companies with strong balance sheets and cash reserves have a national responsibility to diversify their core business and explore non-traditional areas, through partnership with others with the ideas, to grow the economy. And guess what? The Shepherding process will mitigate the risk of business failure. When Barbados wins we all win. Leadership in terms of financial investment is the key and the Shepherding process will lubricate the engine of growth.
I was heartened to see in the press this weekend that Williams Industries Group has embarked on a policy through a new company everGREEN Limited to power their various businesses using solar power, one business at a time. This is a powerful leadership initiative.
Tourism is our main industry. Let us hope that recent leadership initiatives to move towards service excellence, increase air lift capacity, reduce airfares, and engage in market diversification will be sustained. This must be coupled with enhancement of the tourism product as exemplified by the work of Diana McIntyre-Pike in Jamaica. She is promoting the Countrystyle Tourism Village programme which combines rural and urban communities as sustainable products for visitors seeking a Jamaican Community Experience. She has in fact developed the International Community Tourism Institute, www.westernhospitality.com.jm. She must be complimented.
My daughter just knocked on my office door to convey the sad news of Prime Minister David Thompson’s passing at 2.10 am on Oct 23 2010. A great leader has gone. Blessings and strength to his wife and family. May he rest in peace! He certainly embraced change – may his successors triumphantly emulate him.