“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us…” – Romans 12:6
In my first 33 years of life, my energy abounded, but there was a lack of experience. Parental care, Montessori, primary school, secondary school and tertiary education abroad. Sunday School, Boy Scouts, photography, music and several sports. Marriage, children and advent into the workforce.
The next 33, where energy and experience combined to produce dynamic synergy, was spent searching for the purpose of life. I was contributing to family development, building businesses, providing for retirement through real estate development, serving on private and public sector boards, participating in service clubs, embracing international affiliations and sharing my business experiences through a weekly newspaper column.
The current stage of my life, where physical energy has waned, but the brain is still working – deo volente – is the classic retirement period. I am trying to give back by sharing my thoughts and experiences on enterprise development, the most neglected economic development opportunity in the world. I shepherd entrepreneurs and am coming to grips with my mortality. A gratifying feature of this phase is the privilege of being a director in my son’s U.S.-based and global public relations, marketing and media business.
In the first phase, I enjoyed the diversity of activities at school. I want to think that diversity enhanced my ultimate life performance.
It was in this phase that the late Professor Dr. Oliver Headley CHB and I first combined our diverse skills in inorganic chemistry and biometrics, respectively, to make significant inroads into several applications of the solar energy industry. This partnership continued until his premature death in 2002.
In the second phase, the diversities were many, and the results were more significant.
I recall an incident with a senior colleague which exemplifies this theme. I found that he was diametrically opposing many things I proposed. This was very annoying to me, so I had to give it some serious thought. I decided that I would recommend an idea to him, which I did not want. Lo and behold, he opposed it. Then the reality struck, he was opposing my proposal to force a discussion. The diversity of our minds led to better decisions and better results.
In the third phase, I have learned and am still learning so much.
The Shepherding Squad, which consists of three retired businesspersons with over a combined 140 years of diverse experience, meets and advises an entrepreneur with only six months of business experience. The results are mind-blowing.
The combination of diverse expertise, services and clients in my son’s business keeps the minds of leadership active and stimulates the team to strive for greater results.
In the management of all our business systems – governance, investment, marketing, operations and human resource development – let us strive to introduce diversity in the interest of a better collective experience for us all.