Nation-building

barbados map flagThe purpose of nation-building is to: “inculcate a feeling of belonging and with it, accountability and responsible behaviour.” (National Planning Commission, Republic of South Africa). At the time this statement was fashioned, Nelson Mandela held the reins of government. South Africa was returning from an abyss of deadly strife and everyone had apprehensions about the future.

While none would claim a perfect outcome, there is no denying that the declaration of intent made a positive impact on South Africa and the world. A key point of emphasis is Continue reading

The high cost of patronage

barbados map flagThis time last year there was heavy public debate around the competing promises of parties vying to be elected. This year, the discussions are even more intense around a failing economy and how to fix it; quickly.

There is an age old adage: “to the victor goes the spoils” and six years ago, there were blatant statements of dividing up the “fatted calf”. The traditional methods of patronage have been in the creation and awarding of jobs. Certainly the previous government engaged in patronage and after three terms, the electorate decided to correct the imbalance. However, it has not turned out to be a ‘correction” but Continue reading

I have a dream

Why Martin Luther King, Jr. did NOT say “I have a plan.”

In the past week, I have been reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights march on Washington DC; the one where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his historic “I Have a Dream” speech. I won’t claim to have been present though I was at the time, in Boston, labouring in the community development trenches. I was more inspired by the speech than the march itself. I took pieces of it with me every day and used it to start conversations and to encourage others to believe in what it described.

During the week, I encountered an article (posted on my Facebook page and LinkedIn company page) written by Daniel Burrus, entitled “Why Martin Luther King, Jr. did NOT say “I have a plan.Continue reading

“You Really Oughta Wanna”

Repost

This week I have heard the Prime Minister and the Leader of Government Business in the Senate emphasize the importance of increasing productivity. They exhorted members of the public service in particular, to “pull their weight” and “be punctual”.

MC910216326This certainly recognizes a perennial performance issue that is generally characterized as low productivity. Recent reports commissioned by NISE and the Barbados government and others conclude that: a large segment of the population don’t want a job and that a large percentage of workers in the public and private sector are disconnected from their jobs.  Consequently, the cost of doing business in Barbados is so high it has an adverse effect on our competitiveness.

The title of this article is taken from the subtitle of a book written in 1984 by Robert F. Mager and Peter Pipe, called “Analyzing Performance Problems”. It is still in print and still relevant. The point is that the laudable words of exhortation by government leaders cannot, by themselves, lead to improved performance. Continue reading