“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” – John 10:27
One of the international speakers at the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation’s first annual SUMMIT, held on November 16 and 17 2010 at the Barbados Hilton, was Dr. Edmund S. Molloy, from the Republic of Ireland. Eddie is married to a Barbadian, Doriel (née Blackett), and is the Honorary Consul General for Barbados in Ireland.
He lived in Barbados for a few years on either side of 1980 and was part of the Systems Group of Companies which I conceptualised in 1977. The Systems Group later became Systems Caribbean Ltd and now trades as Systems Consulting Ltd. His company, within the Systems Group, offered Organisational Development services and after his sojourn in Barbados he returned to Ireland and has since then distinguished himself as an international consultant.
At the SUMMIT Eddie shared his experiences both in Ireland and beyond and received no less than a standing ovation from the 300 participants for what was a comprehensive and motivational presentation in support of the E-Team’s goal “Barbados – The #1 Entrepreneurial Hub in the World by 2020”. What stands out in my mind about his presentation was the concept of “Implementation Deficit Disorder” (IDD or ID2) as the primary ailment which inhibits the path of enterprise development throughout the world today. This stated simply means that it is not sufficient to do a study or develop a plan; this activity must be complemented by the timely implementation of the plan, if we are to have a chance to make a difference. The collective impact of these differences will redound to the benefit of the country.
A business plan can be generated according to fairly rudimentary guidelines which include: describing the vision and the mission; developing products and services; delineating the concerns in the context of weaknesses and constraints; specifying the corresponding risks of failure of the enterprise which arise if the concerns are not addressed; and recommending remedies (strategies) which will mitigate these risks of failure. Then follow: the plans and actions; the assignment of responsibilities for delivering a given output in a specified timeframe; and the manpower and financial resources necessary to implement the process.
There are many entrepreneurs’ business plans which are lying around, the ideas from which have never seen the light of day. There are many studies and plans which have been prepared for Government departments and Statutory Boards and which are now catching dust. There are many studies that have been repeated ad nauseum because another donor source is amenable to expend resources on the topic. Nobody seems to be too concerned as long as we can say “a study is being done”. No one seems to want to implement the findings from these studies and plans and the usual excuse is that there is no money and other resources for implementation and the monitoring process. We are in a perpetual cycle of awaiting resources and no one seems to be accountable. This is what IDD is about. A remedy must be found for this disorder.
Fully cognisant of the prevalence of IDD, the E-Team does not want to fall into that trap. We have moved swiftly, following the launch of the first stage rocket, with full consultation of our stakeholders, to put an implementation plan into action which will facilitate the timely docking of the rocket at its virtual station in November 2011.
A report (with some of the elements corresponding to a business plan outline) on the SUMMIT can be found on www.barbadosentrepreneurshipfoundation.org). This addresses the strategies identified by the participants at the conference which are necessary to close the gap between our status quo and the international standard for each support pillar. We shall shortly develop the plans and actions; the assignment of responsibilities to SUMMIT participants who have volunteered to deliver the goods and sponsorship to achieve our objectives by November 2011.
The private sector led BEF has been legally structured; the Board has been selected as well as a CEO; an interim project manager is in place soon to be followed by the formal appointment of a project manager to lead the volunteers as the implementation process evolves.
In the process of implementation it is important that we have fun and enjoy it to the fullest. The formal board room and management meetings must be complemented by more social gatherings so that we get to know each other really well.
At Bimventures we have developed a culture of the “Bimventures family” which includes Trustees, Executive Management, Shepherds, Business Advisors, Entrepreneurs and Support Staff. There are Monthly Management meetings with Trustees, pitching to the Venture Capital Board on an as required basis, Quarterly Trustees meetings to report to financial stakeholders, Weekly Executive Management committee meetings and bimonthly “Bimventures family” meetings which are structured informal or social occasions.
As John Maxwell has observed: “One of the most common mistakes people make is trying to lead others before developing relationships with them…(expecting) to make an impact on (the) people before building the relationship. It is possible that (some) will comply…but they will never go beyond that…Take time to get to know each another. Ask them to share their stories with you…Find out what makes them tick, their strengths, their weaknesses, their temperaments…And spend some time with them outside of the environment where you normally see them. It will develop your relationship in a way it has not before.”