“Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” – Ephesians 4:29

Time is our most valuable resource. Procrastination is the thief of time! We need to think positively and take action.  There is no place for conservative and negative thinking. Use your inner energies to present a positive front.

In spite of what the social micro-climate might be on any given day, I am always “superb”.  Indeed, just to say it is to practise preventive health care and to repeat it induces a healing process which will have a positive impact on a declining social micro-climate and restore it to optimal health. If you give in to a social negative micro-climate, it is much more difficult to take corrective action. A positive approach does not cost you anything and I have had some recent feedback which indicates that positive thinking is indeed contagious.

Over the last two years we on the E-Team, now the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation, have had a wonderful experience pursuing the goal: “Barbados – The #1 Entrepreneurial Hub in the World by 2020.” Of course, there were the naysayers; of course, there were the cynics; of course, there were those who would love to join the positive Tsunami but preferred to sit on the fence; but, thank God, there were the positive thinkers who gave full support to the unrelenting leadership thrust of our dynamic CEO Damian McKinney.

The growing support from across all spectra of human activity as we implement initiatives across the BEF Pillars: Government Policy; Business Facilitation; Education; Mentoring and Finance, has been nothing short of stellar.  It is as if the members of the board and their happy band of volunteers have been able to manufacture time and couple the grand development of this vision with their “day job” to produce amazing results to date. Of course, what is happening is that productivity is increasing in response to the leadership drive.

These results will be shared at the BEF’s 2011 SUMMIT at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Thu 17 November and Fri 18 November where participants will have the opportunity to interact with one another to create an even greater thrust towards the 2012 SUMMIT. As we focus on the 2020 goal, we are adopting the Systematic, Evolutionary Approach (SEA) where the direction and size of the next step is determined by what we have learned up to and including the previous step.

Talking about leadership, businessman Aubrey Choy at a meeting of the BEF finance pillar last week, gave an example of an army leader who said his motivation comes from the “plywood” concept. What is plywood?  It is a structural material made of layers of wood (often waste material like shavings) glued together.

Of course, the 2004 proposals that the Tilby Canadian sugar cane separation technology should, among other things, use the rind of the sugar cane plant to make oriented strand board (a smarter form of plywood) has been ignored because of conservative thinking.

Aubrey then explained how the army leader used the glue/waste material analogy to show how he was able to bond a group of “ordinary” people into a force (plywood) to be reckoned with on the battle field. The ordinary people were the wood shavings and the leadership was the glue.

Dereck Foster, at the same session, said that there is a lot of talk about incentives to attract the private sector to invest in enterprises, but as far as he was concerned the major constraint to entrepreneurship progress was the lack of a user friendly enabling environment. How can we effect public service reform to increase the efficiency of implementation of good Government policies? He said that for him to get a work permit in the United States for an employee of his US operation, it only takes one week at most. He and others lamented the fact that in Barbados it can take up to three years.  The mindset is just not there to understand that the more efficient the resources that you bring into Barbados, the more quickly the country will develop. But no, we have this misguided perception that Barbados is for Barbadians notwithstanding the many examples around the world where successful countries have developed primarily through the synergeries that have been created between expertise from without and within.

Two Saturday nights ago Standard Distributors Limited celebrated its 50th anniversary of operations in Barbados. Dr Anthony Sabga from Trinidad and Mr. Trevor Bowring from Barbados were the initial partners behind this enterprise.  Incidentally Dr Sabga came from Syria to Trinidad in 1930 at the age of 7.  He joined the family business at the age of 13, at the age of 14 he assumed responsibilities greater than what you would normally expect a 14 year old to bear.

The resulting ANSA McAL Group made a 2010 profit before tax (PBT) of $954 million, which its Chief Operating Officer, Gerry Brooks described as a “record-year performance” in what was a “very difficult and challenging year locally and regionally”.

Dr. Anthony Sabga in his address at the anniversary celebrations was full of praise for Barbados. He said that the island is one of the jewels of the Caribbean, offering even more opportunities than the oil-rich twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago.  He said that it needs to move from being one that is driven by tourism to one based on industrialisation.  Why not engage Dr. Sabga and follow this wonderful positive proposal.