MUSIC TO MY EARS

MUSIC TO MY EARS – BASIL SPRINGER COLUMN WHICH WILL APPEAR IN THE BARBADOS ADVOCATE’S BUSINESS MONDAY ON APRIL 29, 2013

“This is my comfort in my distress, that your promise gives me life.” – Psalm 119:50

We all have moments of distress but God’s ever present love should be our greatest comfort. This was manifested this week by a scenario which occurred at a bank. I have a relationship with the tellers at this bank where we exchange greetings using the word “superb”. When I asked a particular teller “how are you today?” she knew the answer that I was expecting and replied “I am not superb today, I am not feeling well”. I replied: “I did not ask you how you were feeling; I asked you how were today?” So I repeated my question. This time she replied “superb” as if to cater to my expectation but with the caveat “I am not feeling well”. I confirmed that saying that you are superb actually creates a certain mindset of comfort which evokes God’s divine blessing, it is a potential to which you aspire, and it has nothing to do with how you are feeling at the moment. Then she said “Oh, I am superb, but not feeling well” to which I replied “exactly”. She then concluded the conversation by saying “I get it; I like that; I am going to use that from now on”.

We have to focus in our daily lives on that potential to which we aspire. The last 15 years of my life has been focused, with various engaging teams, primarily on creating, developing, testing and now franchising the CBET Shepherding Model™ which will help the promoters of business enterprises, whether there are start-ups, spin-outs or scale-ups, to make a contribution to sustainable national development in whatever country they reside. The Model’s three component processes address three important challenges, namely: the selection of enterprises with “DNA of an Elephant” potential; the mitigation of the risk of business failure; and timely access to appropriate finance.

There have been many moments of distress regarding the acceptance and implementation of the model but I continue to be superb. There have been many defining moments in the last two weeks which have actually given me the feeling of profound and enduring comfort, namely: (1) introducing, on a number of occasions with tremendously flattering results, the ManOBiz Matrix™ as a Shepherding (action planning, gap analysis and monitoring) tool for enterprises; (2) the prospect of an engagement to train potential shepherds in Trinidad and Tobago in the rudiments of the shepherding process which mitigates the risk of business failure; (3) achieving recognition of the model in a Caribbean audience as having potential for solving problems not only in the Caribbean but beyond; (4) the opportunity to present the model to a Commonwealth audience later in the year; (5) getting the ear of a cabinet minister to convince him that the model can be a catalyst for diversified economic development in Barbados.

Then they were other defining moments: (6) the opportunity to interact with a 15 year-old student who was preparing a paper on the holistic operation of a business as part of her business studies course and the recognition of the absorptive capacity of youngsters – “I believe that children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way”; (7) hearing a case made at a regional forum for the introduction of basic principles of business at the primary school level; (8) exploding the myth that we have scarce resources having watched a documentary “Years of Sacrifice” presented by a local production team on the story of a farmer who had that superb mindset and overcame one distressful experience after another; (9) recognising that there were so many lessons in this documentary to be shared with the world and that it exhibits the “DNA of an Elephant” hence can be exported beyond the shores of Barbados; and (10) hearing a bank manager say in a public forum that commercial banks have to diversify their services in relation to the needs of an innovative enterprise-driven society, if there are to restore their declining profits to their accustomed levels. This was “music to my ears”.

Then they were a couple of Skype calls to a colleague in Trinidad whose organisation has a vision for the outreach of Caribbean resources to impact the rest of the world and the recognition of the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility and Personal Social Responsibility in contributing to this thrust.

We know that our people are our greatest resource and we must develop them to the fullest. It was very gratifying to hear, at a health and wellness seminar, that serious action was being taken to address the high incidence of chronic diseases in this country, occasioned by poor lifestyle options, and with the deleterious ripple effect on productivity in the workplace.

There were also opportunities to advise traditional teaching establishments how to recognise that change is the one thing that is constant in life and there must re-engineer their institutions along business lines using the ManOBiz Matrix™ to guide them on their journey to sustainable success.

It was very gratifying to see the positive reaction to the model from a World Bank team searching for the appropriate governance structure to sustain enterprise development in the region.

My involvement with a doctoral student, from a supervisor’s perspective in an appreciative environment, was also invigorating and a great source of comfort in the sense of being able to give back to the community. Indeed, a superbly stimulating fortnight!

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET – Columns are archived at www.cbetmodel.org

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