| “So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt…if you say to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” it will be done.'” – Matthew 21:21
When a country is not doing well then it affects everybody – government employees are laid off, private sector employees are laid off, particularly the ones employed with more fragile businesses. A state of panic is often induced.
With this in mind, this last week it appeared to me that I was bombarded by random gems of good information and advice which served as a reality check not only for me, for others, for nations but also for the Caribbean and beyond.
The first was from the U.S House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Democrat -San Francisco) at a CNN televised town hall meeting: “We don’t Agonize, We Organize.” This philosophy seems very relevant to address the state of panic.
Then a quote from Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist: “Sooner or later I’m going to die, but I’m not going to retire.” I empathized with this as I plan to continue contributing for as long as I can. I immediately created Basil’s personal and professional activity map to start reordering my priority because my life is one where I always have more to do than I have time available. I have been told that I have great difficulty saying “No!”.
Another gem was from Don McMinn: “Anticipate Pyrrhic victories and know when to avoid them”. He explains that a Pyrrhic victory is one that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat. Someone who wins a Pyrrhic victory has been victorious in some way. However, the heavy toll negates any sense of achievement or profit.
Then there is the principle shared by Reverend A.R. Bernard Sr. of Christian Cultural Center in New York: “Every setback in life is nothing but a setup for a comeback”. Do not give up, think positively.
I recall a statement attributed to Trinidadian businessman Sydney Knox which states: “A good manager is not necessarily one who can float at the top of a successful organization but one who can turn around a company when fortune is against it.” When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Barbados Today’s editorial, on Friday, February 3, quoted the Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados as follows: “We cannot continue to have a deficit and we cannot continue to have a wage bill as high as we do because the only way we can afford to do that is by the Central bank providing financing.” He gave an analogy based on the operation of an ordinary householder: “If you are earning $2,000 per month, you cannot be spending $2,500 per month.”
As I implied it a recent column on debt management: “Let us adapt a solution individually or at the national level by (1) rescheduling the national debt through innovative strategies, (2) recognizing that enterprise development is the new growth sector, (3) creating the enabling environment for start-up enterprises to sign up new business contracts and (4) monitoring economic growth one successful business after another using an appropriate rolling cash flow template.”
The answer is don’t agonize, organize.
Individuals and countries get themselves in seemingly untenable situations. Some blame it on the external environment and some accept responsibilities for their own inefficiencies. Whatever the reason, no amount of agonizing will help. To agonize about our current situation is a non-productive emotion.
However, if we have faith and adopt the principles of management which include learning from the past (decade by decade), visioning the future, planning, organizing, staffing, leading and monitoring the present, we can turn our lives and countries around in the interest of a better life for us and those within our spheres of influence.
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)