“Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.” – Romans 12:11

We are all spiritual beings mastering the human experience. We expect that our spiritual awareness, while we are enjoying this earthly experience, will continually expand leading to greater abundance.

More than a year ago, I attended a seminar organized for the “Bank on Me” Reality TV Show (Season 1) family in Barbados. The seminar was conducted by Cheryl Gittens, a Master Certified Coach, whose business “Connect With Your Passion” coaches passionate professionals in business and peak performance. It was my first exposure to a life coaching professional and it piqued my interest.
Cheryl cleverly offered, all those who left their business cards with her, a free 30-minute consultation and I responded to the offer. This led to a series of very instructive experiences. The impact was such that life coaching is now included in the definition of Shepherding to augment the traditional business mentoring activity.

One of the instruments which was introduced was “affirmations of actions leading to greater abundance” in the categories of spiritual, business, finances, relationships, philosophy and health.

At first, I had some difficulty in relating to these actions but now I have more than 70 actions which I visit on a regular basis to refuel my spiritual renewal engine.

So effective has it been in my own life that it is included as a human resource development organizational instrument when shepherding my business clients. As an instrument of mindset change, it complements the management of business systems as businesses embark on the journey to sustainable success.

On Saturday, I was invited as guest lecturer at a session with participants in an Executive MBA (EMBA) cohort at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business in Trinidad. The feedback was very stimulating and what was particularly gratifying was that they appreciated the live feedback from my day-to-day experience shepherding students in the real world.

They specifically pointed out the value of the practical examples to complement their academic training and endorsed my own view that shepherding is an essential tool for start-up businesses in particular. They also pointed out that many of the suggestions were innovative and practical and were not necessarily found in the traditional MBA curriculum.

Dr. Jules Ferdinand, lecturer responsible for the EMBA course on “Organization Behaviour and Cross Cultural Management”, very graciously sent an email message thanking me for my time and commented that several of the students indicated how useful they found the interaction. “Like me, they wished that more time could have been allocated to the session,” he said.
During the session more than one student thought that there were several businesses in Trinidad and Tobago which would benefit from the approach which was shared, and urged me to make the information more widely available in the interest of the sustainable development of a diversified economy.

The title of my lecture was “The importance of the Planning Cultures in Organizational Change” during which I introduced the colour-coded ManOBiz Matrix™ as a Shepherding tool (planning to monitoring) to be used as a high level indicator of the state of the business.

I expanded on how these planning cultures across business systems provided a sound foundation for the business enterprise thus supporting the thesis of growing an economy one successful enterprise after another. These cultures were supported by organizational instruments for each business enterprise and showed how these instruments could be used as dashboards to monitor the performance of the business systems on a regular basis.
The corporate governance planning culture speaks to the importance of board or management meetings on a regular basis to secure the foundation. The organizational instruments include the agenda and minutes of the meeting which are specially designed to facilitate the management of the business bearing in mind that the function of a board is to interpret shareholder policy, approve plans presented by management and to monitor the performance of management.

The marketing planning culture speaks to the importance of a customer centric focus, also to secure the foundation since this is the source of revenue for the business.

The organizational instruments include the Marketing Matrix which sets up the map from which you establish a customer base by product or service. The objective is to mine the matrix in search of new sales.
The Sales Conversion Flow allows one to systematically move a prospective client through a process leading to a committed sale. From this process Sales Forecasts are made. The role of Social Media to ignite the public relations strategy was stressed.

The operations planning culture speaks to the importance of profitability to further secure the foundation. Profitability can only be obtained by expanding a performing profit centre, increasing productivity of resources and by containing costs. The organizational instruments include optimizing process flow, historical balance sheets and profit and loss statements. Cash flow projections then determine the quantum of investment funds needed for the business.

The human resource development planning culture speaks to the importance of productivity to secure the foundation. Productivity can be achieved by training and motivating management and staff, the appropriate use of technology and optimizing process flow. The organizational instruments include Affirmations of Abundance (as stated above), time management, performance appraisal and the optimal use of the Internet.

The investment finance planning culture speaks to the importance of a good credit rating, the fifth and final pile to secure the foundation. The investment instruments discussed were Savings, Family Loans, Profits, Crowdfunding, Private Equity and Bank Loans.

It is time now to renew our spirits and mobilize our zeal as we build a solid foundation upon which to stand.

(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.)