LEAVING A LEGACY: REALIZING THE DREAM

LEAVING A LEGACY: REALIZING THE DREAM – BASIL SPRINGER COLUMN WHICH APPEARED IN THE BARBADOS ADVOCATE’S BUSINESS MONDAY ON FEBRUARY 10, 2014

“The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts.” – Philippians 4:7

Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller (1895-1983) was an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist. One of his quotes reads as follows: “None of us knows when or how our life on this Earth will end, but we are certain that it will… Nobody wants their life to end without fully sharing the depth of their love for others or the wisdom that they have acquired. And each moment is even more important when we know that it could be our last”.

As the decades roll by, there comes a time when one assesses progress of one’s dream in life, reflects on the past and, if blessed, prepares to leave a legacy for posterity to follow. It is at this time we seek Inner Peace. In our fast-paced lives, finding inner peace requires intention and practice. As we focus on the present moment and all that it holds, we release any hurry or anxiety. We let go of past concerns and future expectations. Centred in this now moment, we discover inner peace.

My dream in life, as exemplified by my passion, is to contribute to the rate of economic growth in the Caribbean through enterprise development. In my first job in 1968, I was asked to establish a Biometrics unit in the Faculty of Agriculture at UWI in Trinidad. I was alone but I had an offer to share a secretary with another department and was shown an office which appeared to have been unutilised for years. I set about the task with the foundation of three degrees acquired over seven and a half years and a six months internship as a Biometrician in England. This led to expertise in some very limited technical areas related to Biometrics as applied to agriculture.

I was in charge of everything even though I was an expert at nothing. Today, I would describe my situation then as being charged with the task of managing the business systems relevant to establishing a Biometrics Unit. The business environment was as follows: (1) corporate governance within the University setting; (2) marketing to a captive market of staff and students at UWI and agricultural statistical units of the Ministries of Agriculture in 12 CARICOM states; (3) the services I offered were teaching Biometrics to undergraduates and post graduate agriculture students at UWI in Trinidad and consulting on design and analysis of experiments to research staff and students in Trinidad and throughout the Caribbean as well as establishing the necessary support systems in ICT, admin and accounting; (4) human resource development involved selecting, appointing and training staff; and (5) financing was acquired through proposals to the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, the CARICOM Secretariat, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and other traditional funding agencies.

Having established a stable Biometrics unit and having secured my successor, in 1977 I left a sheltered environment (since I had by then received the status of “tenured Senior Research Fellow” with the University), much to the chagrin of many of my parents’ friends.

My mission was to set up, as a pioneer in the Caribbean, my own management consultancy practice SINCOS Consultants Limited in Barbados, but serving the Caribbean. SINCOS is an acronym for Statistical, Information and Computing Systems and was later to become Systems Caribbean Limited (SCL). Why did I make this change? Because I wanted out of the sheltered environment and closer to the real world.

When I started my business, there was one other full-time income earner and two other part-time support resource persons. I now had nine years’ practical experience in developing a Biometrics unit and travelling around the Caribbean. In order to prepare for a career in management consulting, I completed four courses at the Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity, in General Management for Executives, Marketing Management, Management of Human Resources and Economics of Business and later two courses with the Certified General Accounts’ programme of Canada in Information and Computer Systems, and Accounting.

Again, I was in charge of everything even though I was an expert at nothing relevant to the new task at hand, even though somewhat more experienced than I was when I started my first job. Today, I would describe my situation then as being charged with the task of managing the business systems relevant to establishing a management consulting practice. The business environment was as follows: (1) corporate governance within the national private sector ; (2) marketing to an unknown private and public sector market in the Caribbean; (3) providing business development and ICT solutions as well as establishing the necessary support systems; (4) selecting, appointing and developing consulting and support staff; and (5) working with private investment funding sources to acquire the necessary operational finance.

In 1998, the Caribbean Development Bank was concerned that the Caribbean region must diversify its export base and develop new business activities, which integrate the macro, mini and micro-enterprise sectors, if it is to succeed in enhancing the quality of life for the peoples of the region, maintaining social stability, earning foreign exchange, reducing employment and poverty.

The Bank appointed me as a consultant to design and develop an innovative strategy to address this challenge.

In 2001, the Caribbean Business Enterprise Initiative arose which later morphed into the CBET Shepherding Model™. Why did I make this change? Because I wanted to help create a structured environment on which we could sustain economic growth.

My legacy? The CBET Shepherding Model™ and the ManOBiz Matrix™ Shepherding tool.

(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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