“Put away your former way of life, your old self … clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God.” – Ephesians 4:22-24
In my 74th year on earth as a spiritual being attempting to master the human experience, as I reflect chronologically on the decades of my existence, the image of a spiral staircase is conjured up in my mind.
Indeed, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), has suggested that “Life is a journey up a spiral staircase; as we grow older we cover the ground we have covered before, only higher up; as we look down the winding stair below us we measure our progress by the number of places where we were but no longer are. The journey is both repetitious and progressive; we go both around and upward.”
In the first decade I was nestled in my parents’ care, imbibing principles of religious, moral and ethical fibre and building a foundation driven by the Montessori and primary educational curriculum. The second decade provided freedom to explore and learn through the exigencies of secondary education, the Boy Scout movement, hobbies and sport. The third decade built on the experience of the first two decades and took advantage of the opportunity to cast a foundation for life through tertiary education, family building, professional security and financial independence.
The fourth, fifth and sixth decades tested the integrity of the foundations built in the first three decades.
Fortunately, they withstood the test of time and provided adequate support for the spiral staircase which was getting dauntingly higher and higher. But the foundation building exercise repeated itself since we now had to withstand global forces of change and for the first time to do this “on your own”. During this period there was also the question of comprehensively securing the future since there was no knowing what was in store ahead.
As it turned out for me in the seventh decade, from many perspectives, I evolved to adopt new insights and I realised that, as the Daily Word points out, “every insight is an opportunity to begin anew”.
Now, when I look down the winding staircase I see the importance of repeating the process of building foundations at higher levels of the spiral since we do not know how tall the staircase will be. As we look down the winding staircase we measure our progress by the number of places where we were but no longer are.
So here I am in my eighth decade, Deo volente, building foundations from which to execute plans for the remaining spiralling sequences of my life.
Now that was from a personal perspective. Suppose we apply William Yeats’ spiral staircase analogy to the journey of a typical Caribbean country through its life. What do we see?
As the country grows older and we look down the winding staircase, yes, the country covers the ground covered before but unfortunately at the same level. The action is repetitious but not progressive since we have few places where we were but no longer are. In some cases we have regressed. We go around spending much energy and resources but remain stagnant. The result is disappointing rates of economic growth if any at all.
We must make a fresh start. We must “Emerge from Chaos to Order”. We must lay foundations on which to execute plans which will be progressive.
There are many institutions, both public and private, in many countries in diverse sectors with wonderful ideas but yet it has seemed difficult over the years to build that repetitive and progressive spiral staircase.
I have been blessed to have gained Caribbean project management experience over the years which spans agricultural, tourism and enterprise development. So here I am in my eighth decade still building foundations from which to execute plans for Caribbean countries to experience the benefits of the spiraling staircase.
Two weeks ago we talked in this column about the food revolution as the next most promising opportunity for growth. I indicated that I have been engaged with a group that is all fired up for action. It consists of four individuals from the food design, open innovation, shepherding and communications disciplines. We have made significant progress in the interim.
The open innovation component consists of highly experienced R&D professionals who: help clients in the Food and Beverage and Consumer Healthcare industries; find novel technologies to develop new and innovative products; evaluate new technologies and develop prototypes of products; and create, development and commercial partnerships, giving them access to innovative products, technologies and new markets.
The food design component consists of a food designer, a financial strategist and a psychoanalyst and tackles projects related to: the future of the food market; designing the next trendy food offers; creating new restaurant concepts; serving a multi-purpose design-branding team; and re-thinking the role of food in our lives.
The communications component provides excellence in the fields of public relations, marketing and media coaching. It has US and worldwide affiliates in the Caribbean, Canada, the UK, Middle East and Asia. It converts the gifts, talents and abilities of clients and team members into excellence and value in the marketplace.
The shepherding component mitigates the risk of business failure, enhancing the chances of business success. An innovative shepherding tool helps stakeholders manage their business systems and efficiently grow the business enterprise. Shepherding re-engineers the thinking of entrepreneurs and offers a simple, systematic and evolutionary approach to business development.
Look out for this new Caribbean food project as we promote a fresh start to sell Caribbean food and beverage products and experiences within the global marketplace.
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET – His columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com)