There is need for a sense of urgency as we seek to become world class!

As we progress into the early stage of the 21st Century, time is not on our side, especially since we have to catch up with developments in the first world. More so, we are expected to match first world performances. The buzz word is competitiveness.

Our regional politicians have to demonstrate that sense of urgency. Too little is done at the regional level in bringing about real economic and social unity. When will the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) become a reality? Will the CSME be implemented beyond 2005? This is very unfortunate as it is necessary for our Governments to take united positions as we negotiate the various Trade Agreements. If we continue to put back rather than move the process forward in the implementation of the CSME, we will pay a price.

At the local level, we need to go beyond identifying the problems and implement solutions. In making these demands, we must be conscious of the fact that we have limited resources at our disposal. However, in the absence of money, people’s power is the only positive alternative. The people must be mobilised to deliver more. Who will promote this message? I have always contended that our leaders at all levels must find ways to be closer to the people. When President Fidel Castro landed his troops to take over Cuba, he was among his people. He motivated and sustained them. Cuba survives on People’s Power. It is an awesome responsibility but a real understanding of the need for this to be done is paramount.

In achieving the level of efficiency that is demanded of us in today’s world, civil society is key. The government will have to make a serious effort to engage the entire society, and challenge the people to do things for themselves. Self help is not popular these days but it is necessary to give new meaning to self help, give it a broader scope not just limited to repairing roads, schools, community centres, etc, but to position self help to touch lives in all aspects.

We need to motivate people to care and share. We need to take the nation down the path of self-development and self-improvement. We cannot only allow a part of society to progress, leaving behind the majority on the fringes. Politicians are in the best position to bridge the gap. In matters physical, they are our leaders. Who is best able to lead the transformation process?

Urgency in dealing with every aspect of existence will depend upon how united we are. How trusting are we of each other. As we seek to move forward, our behaviour will have to change. Let us begin to take simple steps that will bring about significant changes in our attitude and behaviour. How do we deal with telephone calls? Do we apply empathy seeking to deal with the request as if we were on the other side of the line? Do we see the customer or enquirer as the one who is our reason for answering the call? If you mess up, do you hold it against the person who may take objection to your type of response? Do not sit from your vantage point and think that because it is well with you that it is well with the rest of the world? Do you deal with matters that are brought to your attention promptly? Are you one of the businesspersons that will have a salesman or person seeking information from you to call several times although you are reminded by your Secretary, you continue to ignore the caller until he or she gets fed up? Voice machines should not replace human inter action, especially having knowledge of the level of literacy that exists in our country.

Time is money. Every request, no matter how simple should be responded to with urgency. If nothing else is achieved, it makes way for you to deal with the other requests. World Class Companies are under pressure to reduce time in dealing with transactions - Just In Time Orders / Deliveries is urgency is action. Officials in Government Ministries and related Agencies must do all in their power to ensure quick turn around of requests. Maybe, it is time for a Committee to be set up to give recognition to the Officials who understand that time is money and procrastination causes us to lose opportunities and Money. Urgency should become a watchword and I feel that someone in authority should cause to be placed such a sign on walls of offices to promote greater efficiency and a sense of urgency. Maybe, the Slogan could read “PROMOTING EFFICIENCY WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY” I am convinced that we can reduce the time between project presentation/request and approval/delivery, generally improve response time. Justice delayed is Justice denied. So it is with Response delayed, it is opportunity denied.

Last week, I called for an Innovation Fund. This week, I am calling for an Efficiency Council. I have not heard from the National Economic Council in recent times but I would like to believe that the matter of urgency in dealing with economic matters is engaging their attention. We must do whatever we are called upon to do with much more efficiency and urgency and maybe the Economic Council is the Agency to take the initiative on the Innovation Fund, the Efficiency Council and the Slogan.

Finally, let us apply empathy and deal with matters expeditiously because it can be a matter of life and death, not always literally as in the case of the subject at hand. It is necessary that we seek to cultivate a Passion for doing things efficiently, always with a sense of URGENCY.

Keep the Faith – Yahweh is charge!