“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” – Proverbs 1:7
I share with you a simple exchange when a visitor unexpectedly came for breakfast last week:
Me: “A piece of pawpaw?”
Visitor: “Yes thank you!”
Me: “Eggs, what style?”
Visitor: “Scrambled please, I shall have two!”
Me: “Sorry we only have Ryvita Crispbread to go with it.”
Visitor: “That’s perfect, I am cutting down on my sugar and wheat flour carbohydrates since I have to watch my weight.”
A quick glance at her physical profile indicated that her formula was working. Her mind was also as sharp as a tack and love filled the air.
We then had a lively half an hour conversation at the core of which was: (1) addiction that many Caribbean societies have to sugar and wheat flour; (2) similarity between sugar, wheat flour and abusive drugs; (3) obesity in children and adults; and (4) other lifestyle-induced chronic non-communicable diseases have been on the increase.
Given the trend of the discussion, if our guest did not have to leave to attend to her family’s domestic chores, we could have comfortably extended the conversation to include related topics such as: (5) the devaluing of human life; (6) when does the soul unite with the body; (6) pro-life versus abortion; (7) important general concepts that should be introduced in primary schools; and (8) uniqueness of the human being.
What do these topics have in common? They all relate to the value of the human being, our most important asset, all of whom ought to achieve their promised potential.
We need a national strategic focus along the theme: “Be wise, Live longer”, because the sustainable development of a nation is predicated on the combined success of political, social, economic, environmental and spiritual behaviour of its people all of whom have gifts of mind, body and soul.
Politicians in the Caribbean need to have an aggressive national nutritional public relations campaign which persuades the individual of the importance of living longer in the interest of the nation. Remember if the nation does well, we all do well. Living longer is about nutrition and exercise and such concepts should be introduced appropriately at the primary school level so that it becomes etched in the brains of our young people to the extent that they take this philosophy with them throughout life.
The national policy must address the cost of nutritious foods, which may not be affordable to many persons in society. Indeed, it may be cheaper in the long run to prevent lifestyle induced chronic non-communicable diseases than to cure them. Politicians too must address the policy on national security – in particular to stem the tide of rampant senseless killings and the devaluing of people’s lives which is very much part of some Caribbean societies today.
People, who have been educated, must motivate themselves and practise moderation in all things even when tempted by the tasty food and delicious drinks which are laden with flour and/or sugar. They must also be educated to stay away from narcotic drugs. People must protect the environment by reducing, reusing and recycling waste. People must engage their soul as they express love for their fellow man.
The sustainability of our economic growth is directly related to the success of businesses in which people are essential. Let us look at the importance of people to a business.
Corporate governance speaks to the importance of structure, trust and performance.
People are required in leadership and management at all levels in a company to effectively determine the vision, mission and core values; conduct meetings efficiently by setting targets; and monitoring performance against those targets.
Investment finance is surrounded by issues of risk mitigation as manifested by protection, credit rating and capital. This can be addressed by shepherding which takes you through a systematic, evolutionary process. Trained people are required to shepherd the entrepreneur through the maze of financing alternatives and to find the option which preserves the credit rating and protects the investor. A major feature here is the concept of “Shepherding as Collateral” where hard collateral is partially replaced by shepherding.
People have to be trained by shepherds in this respect. It should be noted that hard collateral, in support of loans, only protects the depositors’ assets but does nothing to reduce the rate of business failure. Shepherding, on the other hand, directly mitigates the business risks and hence secures the investment capital.
Marketing is the life of the business, driven by consumer satisfaction and manifested by sales. Expert sales and marketing teams are required to give the business a chance to experience growth. Well trained people are needed to effect sales, and expert public relations and social media marketing resources are needed to measure the impact of promotional strategies.
The People Development business system gives rise to company growth. This must be done in such a way as to engender employee fulfillment and ultimately happiness. It is measured by productivity.
Finally, the Operations business system, if sturdy, gives the stamina to the business, giving rise to sustainability and is measured by profit. People are needed to run the technical, administrative, accounting and IT services to generate increasing levels of profit.
Let us expose our minds to positive wisdom from the cradle to the grave. Let us strive to be wise, live longer and treat our bodies with good nutrition and regular exercise. Let us celebrate the spiritual wisdom which engulfs the soul and has the potential to release creativity, in abundance, and recharge the system from an infinite source of love. Let us recognize the uniqueness that is in each of us which, when collectively taken at the flood, leads onto blessings.
(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.)