The thrusts of these conversations range from who to blame, what to blame, Continue reading
Last week, I was the guest speaker at a Power Breakfast event in Newark, New Jersey. This series attracts executives, business owners, legislators, educators and other professionals in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. areas. Continue reading
I have had some very interesting conversations with a diverse group of people regarding what is most needed to restore Barbados to its former economic and social dynamism. Interesting, because many telling points emerged despite the fact that the insights came from parties who were of diverse socio-economic and political perspectives.
I am very saddened by the continued politicization of Barbados’ Continue reading
As the year closes, many people are talking about change. Not just the normal “new year resolutions” that tend to be a review of what remains from last year’s promises but changes that are being imposed. In Barbados, there is a growing group of persons who fall into this category. Beyond those in the public service who are on notice of job reductions, there is the ripple effect that occurs when money stops circulating. Continue reading
Due diligence and risk management are business terms that have come into popular use. Due diligence is to exercise a certain standard of care before concluding a deal. That exercise should include an examination of factors that could have an adverse effect on desired outcomes. Typically, an effort is made to minimize risk.
Everywhere in the world people are planning and seeking a path toward an ideal future. Continue reading
Communication is the lubricant in everything we seek to achieve. Successful communication is characterized by collaboration on mutually beneficial outcomes. Leadership, service excellence and human development are key endeavours that are currently struggling with communication breakdowns.
The media today are filled with many stories about jobs. I am struck by the fact that there are few references to job performance. Sometimes the term productivity is broadly used to suggest optimal performance but with little detail. All jobs are made up of key tasks that must be performed to a specified standard. When these standards are met consistently; the organization, its customers and workers should prosper.
In the course of working with executives and managers, I found that key tasks are not clearly understood and consequently, performance standards are not well articulated. This becomes a major issue in job evaluations, performance management and employee engagement. When asked about recurring performance problems, Continue reading
For the past two weeks I have been moving my residence and business offices. While I had hoped to minimize business disruptions, almost every “worst case scenario” happened. As a precaution, I provided LIME with more than a month’s notice, regularly checked on the progress and intentionally avoided the end of the month bulge. When the transfer of service date arrived, I was left with a complete loss of land line and broadband services. Continue reading
In our work, our firm relies heavily upon clients and colleagues to contribute to achieving successful outcomes. Ideally, these contributions will meet agreed qualitative standards and be delivered on time. Unfortunately, there are more instances of unfulfilled promises than ones that are kept. Ironically, the ones in the greatest and most frequent deficits are service providers.
The promise “debtors” are often persons of high integrity who are fully capable of what is required. Certainly, when I am a “promise debtor”, I am filled with remorse and apologies. Nevertheless, the damage is done, especially when I become a bottleneck in the delivery of our famed “Supreme Service”. I know full well that reliability and responsiveness rank highest on the customer’s definition of quality but there are times that I miss.
In the “old days” of time and motion study, workers did mundane, repetitive work so it was easy to define productivity. Then, a good worker was someone who came to work every day, on time and responded promptly to the factory whistle that signalled times to start and finish. The assembly line kept moving. When I see awards given today for good attendance and long service, it represents a bygone era.
With the ratios of work becoming increasingly focused on the application of knowledge, there are more unpredictable elements in today’s work. Even tasks we might have performed frequently have nuances brought on by new information, which can delay our response times. Is it realistic to expect every promise to be kept? Where is the line drawn when we become unreliable and non-responsive?
We don’t expect perfect performance from professional athletes, doctors, politicians or any other group that earns our respect. We do get concerned if there is a high margin of error for pilots, surgeons, architects and others where public safety is involved and back this up with requirements for additional safeguards. Personal resilience, flexibility and a commitment to continuous learning have now become our assurance of authenticity.
How much of the decline in public trust can be attributed to an erosion of our commitment to bring our best game every time? I have seen many instances where the least productive employees provide orientation to new employees. They say them “Here’s how we do things around here; if you want to get along, you will work at the pace we set”. This always results in a de facto performance standard that is lower than that for organizational success.
What if we are now entering a period where there are no more employees and everyone was a freelancer? In truth, the demands of the marketplace are causing more functions to be outsourced and contracts are more specific about what is to be delivered and for how much. With this trend, what does your “best game” entail?
Somehow the word “professional” comes to mind. Typically, we associate this term with fields that have prescribed educational and ethical criteria such as medicine, law etc. but it also serves to differentiate from amateurs.
Therefore, I submit that all of us should promise to be professionals in whatever we do. This means that we will strive to be reliable, responsive in our efforts to achieve goals that are mutually beneficial. We will recognize “stumbles” as learning opportunities for self-improvement and actively seek to improve.
Next week in Trinidad, the Caribbean Export 5th Annual Management Consulting Business Symposium will convene. The Caribbean Institute of Certified Management Consultants (CICMC) will have members from around the region in attendance. This event represents an important milestone in the process of transforming the region’s economic development model to embrace the realities of global trade in services.
According to the agenda: “Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) continues to identify the professional services – in particular the management consulting industry – as a priority niche sector for support interventions.”
This recognition of management consulting as a “priority industry” represents a breakthrough that if utilized, can be valuable in addressing the economic woes of the region. In May 2007, the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI) made a presentation to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, titled: “Improving outcomes from Development Funding by using Indigenous Management Consultants”.
Key points were:
- Using competent indigenous management consultants would improve the efficacy, effectiveness and efficiency of development funded projects, and through these and related involvements increase the capability and capacity the economy of the developing country.
- ICMCI’s core competence is in establishing and running national professional bodies for management consultants, and it is the NGO Mission of ICMCI to build national Institutes of Management Consultancy in Developing countries. This mission is in direct support of indigenous management consultants.
- Management consultancy is a process that occurs with the client. The consultants need underlying skill but must be competent in the use of the process and to have demonstrated to a client’s satisfaction, that the proper behavior and due process is regularly employed. Only then can the management consultant claim to be competent.
CICMC was established in January 2007 and by November of the same year, managed to obtain Provisional Membership in ICMCI. This required a waiver of the rule specifying that only single countries could become members. It was important to establish a regional body because studies (also published in 2007) conducted by Caribbean Export and the Commonwealth Commission concluded that management consulting in the region was too fragmented too generate to worthwhile foreign exchange.
In truth, there was no vehicle to promote collaboration among regional management consultants. Further, the public, service providers and procurers had no recognized criteria for assessing management consulting competence. The follow-on is that it was also impossible to recognize the value and importance to the development of our region.
As the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between CARICOM and the European Union came in effect, 93% of every dollar spent on consulting services in the region, left the region in the pockets of non-regional consultants.
If you want to get an idea of the enormity of this statistic, consider the fact that management consulting industry earns a trillion dollars per year. Aside from the benefits that can flow from having “indigenous” management consultants increase the value of regional development projects, it is then possible to generate valuable foreign exchange through the export of these services to the rest of the world.
In 2010, CICMC became a Full Member of ICMCI and the only organization in the Caribbean authorized to certify management consultants with CMC (Certified Management Consultant) designation that is recognized in 50 ICMCI countries. I wish to congratulate CICMC and Caribbean Export for their persistent efforts toward developing this hidden treasure.