“Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!” – Psalm 150:4
In my last column “Seek Comfort in Good Business Health”, I drew a business analogy with the child mortality rate (the death of a child before the child’s fifth birthday) which globally declined from 89 per 1000 children (8.9%) in 1990 to 60 per 1000 children (6.0%) in 2009. The corresponding historical global statistic is that 90% for start-up businesses die within the first four to five years.
A specific UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is to decrease this childhood mortality even further by 2015 as a contribution to sustainable development. The full set of MDGs are: (1) Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; (2) Achieving universal primary education; (3) Promoting gender equality and empowering women; (4) Reducing child mortality rates; (5) Improving maternal health; (6) Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; (7) Ensuring environmental sustainability; and (8) Developing a global partnership for development. Even though it is recognised that economic growth is a necessary contributor to sustainable development and that successful enterprise development, one enterprise after another, is necessary for economic growth, there is no specific MDG that addresses the issues of successful enterprise development.
Since the MDGs were established there was the United Nations Global conference on Sustainable Development in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) held in Barbados in 1994 out of which emerged the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA). Indeed, the latest conference along these lines was the BPOA + 10 held in Mauritius in 2005 which revisited and refined the BPOA.
The BPOA is a policy document that both: comprehensively addresses the economic, environmental, and social developmental vulnerabilities facing islands; and outlines a strategy that seeks to mitigate those vulnerabilities. It remains the only internationally approved programme specific to (SIDS) which has been collectively and unanimously endorsed by SIDS.
It addresses the following thematic areas: (1) Climate change and sea-level rise: (2) Natural and environmental disasters; (3) Management of wastes; (4) Coastal and marine resources; (5) Freshwater resources; (6) Land resources; (7) Energy resources; (8) Tourism resources; (9) Biodiversity resources; (10) Transportation and communication; (11) Science and technology; (12) Graduation from least developed country status; (13) Trade: globalization and trade liberalization; (14) Sustainable capacity development and education for sustainable development; (15) Sustainable production and consumption; (16) National and regional enabling environments; (17) Health; (18) Knowledge management and information for decision-making; (19) Culture; and (20) Implementation.
The level of resources expended in developing, revisiting and reviewing the MDGs and the BPOA is considerable. What has been the impact globally and why has enterprise development, which is one of the factors critical to the achievement of sustainable development, not been singled out and addressed aggressively and comprehensively? Do we really understand the positive gargantuan economic impact of converting a business failure rate from 90% to 6%, say? We are concerned with child mortality rates of 6%, but with start-up business failure rates of 90% it is business as usual even though we continue to wallow in the ponds of economic recession. Why are we not doing anything about it? Is it because the MDG and BPOA are public sector driven and there is not enough recognition of the value of private cum public sector partnerships in fostering sustainable development? Surely, it is not too late to act.
Edgar Cayce (1877–1945) founded the non-profit Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) in 1931, to explore spirituality, holistic health, intuition, dream interpretation, psychic development, reincarnation, and ancient mysteries. The Mission of the A.R.E. is to help people transform their lives for the better, through research, education, and application of core concepts found in the Edgar Cayce readings and kindred materials that seek to manifest the love of God and all people and promote the purposefulness of life, the oneness of God, the spiritual nature of humankind, and the connection of body, mind, and spirit.
When studying the readings, doctors working with Cayce were forced to expand their understanding of the role that four basic processes played in governing the health of the body. These four processes, which Cayce said affected our cells’ ability to reproduce and function properly, were: (1) Circulation – the main attribute to the physical body, or that which keeps life in the whole system; (2) Assimilation – intake of nutrients and process of digestion; (3) Elimination – eliminate waste products and toxins to remain healthy; and (4) Relaxation – the activity of the mental or soul force of the body may control entirely the whole physical body through the action of the balance in the sympathetic nervous system, for the sympathetic nerve system is to the soul and spirit forces as the cerebrospinal is to the physical forces of an entity.
We can learn from Cayce and suggest that business health care professionals should expand their understanding of the role that four basic goals can play in governing the health of an enterprise. These four goals, which affect the contribution of enterprises to economic growth are: (1) The Management (circulation) – the main attribute which keeps life in all the business systems; (2) Selection of the enterprise process and investment finance process (assimilation) – the financial investment is best utilised in feeding the most innovative of concepts; (3) The Shepherding process (elimination) – which focuses on elimination of unnecessary costs and inefficiencies: e.g. non-profitable products; low productivity processes, people and technology; and unnecessary costs; and (4) Attitude of the Management Team (relaxation) – create an environment which flows with the music of the soul, dances to the rhythm of the heart, and sings with the harmony of love for the business.