“With us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles” – 2 Chronicles 32:8

Let us borrow from the concept of “persistency” usually associated with an insurance company. “Persistency is the percentage of the company’s already written policies remaining in force, without lapsing, year after year. Since persistency is a critical factor in the viability and success of insurance companies, they constantly look for ways to increase this percentage in existing and new business.”

Similarly, let us talk about the persistency in the context of our public and private sector management of the country. It may be defined as the percentage of both public and private sector implemented programmes remaining in force, without lapsing year after year. Since persistency is a critical factor in the viability and success of countries, we must constantly look for ways to increase this percentage. The same is true for new public sector programmes to provide efficient support to existing and new export driven private sector programmes without which the country will not grow. Good leadership is the answer.

In the activities leading up to an election and in the aftermath of the results, there are many events and presentations such as political meetings, manifestos, thanksgiving services, the throne speech, budget debates, strategies for accelerating the growth of the economy and financial stimulus packages. These are formulated and presented in a traditional framework but they often fall short of attracting the appropriate public and private leadership, business management systems and innovative finance to effectively embark on a journey to sustainable success.

I have observed that many organisations arrange church services and other forms of thanksgiving to mark special occasions. This perhaps stems from practices in our traditional upbringing to praise and thank the Lord for the many on-going blessings that he has bestowed on us. I have also observed that, in many cases, once the traditional ritual has been honoured we resort to business as usual and go back in the trenches to fight our battles and forget that the Lord our God is with us to help.

Our egos get in the way and we forget to take daily doses of spiritual nutrients or therapy, in terms of communication with God, to sustain our spiritual health. On reflection, the ritual transcends and confounds the spiritual power that has been promised and indeed exists. We continually sell ourselves short by not renewing our spiritual wealth and wonder why our progress is less than expected.

We have quite casually identified five factors which inhibit the sustainable development of a country: weak leadership, non-innovative business management systems, untimely access to creative financing mechanisms, strategies for accelerating economic growth and the non-renewal of our spiritual wealth.

The Caribbean Excellence Conference 2013 took place in Barbados on 12th March, 2013. This was the inaugural conference of the Caribbean Centre for Organizational Excellence. At this conference there was a segment which focused on “Excellence in Leadership and Governance” which was preceded by a main presentation on “Organizational Leadership: Towards Transformational Excellence.” (calidad@caribsurf.com).

More and more interest is being shown in the innovative business management systems solutions offered by the CBET Shepherding Model™ and the ManOBiz Matrix™ which is an shepherding (action planning, gap analysis and monitoring) tool which can help you identify the areas of your business which need attention (www.cbetmodel.org) .

In terms of financial capital the options are equity (including venture capital), loans and grants. Equity is preferable from my perspective because it engenders a spirit of partnership between the equity provider and the enterprise with an opportunity to enhance the learning process along the journey to sustainable success. The enterprise is likely to exhibit a greater sense of responsibility earlier. Equity does require an exchange of shares in the enterprise as the consideration for the equity investment as well as an appropriate valuation exercise.

A loan can be an appropriate instrument but the proceeds should only be released in tranches according to the requirements of the business plan.  The enterprise should not be burdened by fixed amortised loan payments of principal and interest immediately after the loan has been granted but by more flexible repayments commensurate with the cash flow that the enterprise generates. The enterprise should not be required to put up any hard collateral as security for the loan.  Instead the shepherding process, “shepherding as collateral”, which mitigates the risk of business failure, should be included in the package. A grant should not be refused if there is access to benevolent local, regional or international donors.

The Caribbean Institute of Certified Management Consultants (CICMC) – Barbados Chapter hosted its inaugural, lecture and panel discussion under the theme “Strategies for accelerating growth in the Barbadian Economy” on the March 18, 2013 presented by Professor Andrew Downes, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Planning and Development at the University of the West Indies. There were 120 people in the audience and the event was also streamed live and recorded at trident10.tv. The PowerPoint is currently available at www.cbetmodel.org.

In terms of the renewal of our spirtual wealth we should pay attention to the words of Joel and Victoria Osteen “You may not see anything happening, but you can be assured that Almighty God is not only aware, He is at work. He already has the solution. If you will stay in faith, at the right time, He will release a flood of His power, a flood of healing, and a flood of restoration. He will not only bring you out, He will bring you out better off than you were before!” Help is on the way!