Dear Jamaica: We have a garbage problem.

I’m heartsick. I’ve been putting off this particular post for two years now, but no more. So here goes.

Dear Jamaica: We have a garbage problem. We are nasty.

We’ve perfected the art of the road trip. We can now turn on a dime and head north, south, east or west. Easy: keep vehicles properly maintained, stop at the grocery the night before or on the way out, procure water, juices, rum and chasers, nuts, cheesy snacks, granola bars, keep the igloo clean at all times, keep one bag clean and packed with cups and ground sheet at all times, and at the word go, load up and head out.

View from Black Hill, Portland

And so we explore our island at any and every chance we get. Portland’s beaches and hills, St. Ann’s beaches, Trelawny’s beaches, rivers and beautiful vistas in its center, Negril’s beach, St. Elizabeth’s rolling landscapes and St. Andrew’s rivers and breathtaking mountainscapes.

Driving from St. Mary into Portland

Beautiful Duncan’s, Trelawny

Abandoned tunnel in Portland

Paradise, aka Negril

Black River, St. Elizabeth

View from New Castle, St. Andrew

I’ve been very selective in my picture taking, choosing to overlook the nastiness that coexists with the beauty that abounds everywhere.

Yesterday we drove through St. Thomas to Long Bay, Portland. Long Bay is one of the best kept secrets in Jamaica. There it sits, part of the main road through east Portie. There are no huge hotels, no fancy famous restuarants, no “attractions.” But there are always tourists there, walking on the road, sleeping in one of the many BnB’s that you can find on the internet, rolling a spliff, sucking on a cold red strip or swirling a plastic cup with ice, White rum and Ting. Heaven. The surf is rough but the water is blue and the sand is white. And it is all mere steps away from the main road. There are no loud sound systems. And tourist harassment… what’s that in Long Bay?

Long Bay, Portland

Yesterday we simply turned in off the road, parked under some coconut trees, unpacked our igloo and grill, turned up (just a smidgen…) our music, and enjoyed a few hours in Paradise. Easy. But when we looked to our left and then to our right, there it was: garbage: styrofoam, plastic, latex, glass…ugh.
I averted my eyes quickly and kept my focus front and centre. As we left and were heading back, the garbage deposited where it ought never to be all along the coast was inescapable. I said to H: “Can you imagine if we kept Long Bay EXACTLY as it is now: humble BnBs, rustic cook shops, roadside bars, but cleaned up the garbage?”

Deep, white sand right off the main road, Long bay, Portland

There is a lot of talk about our tourism product, creating visions of more rooms, more high prices attractions, orchestrated, pre-packaged tours, all things shiny and new. But simply cleaning up the garbage would result in a step change in what is our current vibe and what we offer to locals and visitors alike.

We visited Jackson Bay, south Clarendon about a year ago. This is way off the beaten track, winding south through wetlands. And there was garbage here. How? Styrofoam and plastic as well as scrap metal in the form of old vehicle chassis and discarded appliances. God.

Almost any hillside in upper St. Andrew is a potential dumping site: check out spots in Irish Town and Red Hills for example.

When last was garbage collected? 
When last was garbage collected?

So how do we fix it. Huge sigh. One perspective is that leadership in Jamaica has lost the art of implementation and has become preoccupied with speeches and box-ticking. It further posits that those in positions of influence and power have managed to insulate themselves from certain Jamaican realities and therefore expend nothing on fixing those ills besetting others; think private schools, private education, private security, gated communities, vehicles that shuttle them from A to B, high off the ground in air-conditioned insularity. They vacation in exclusive locations, out of the line of sight of road side dump sites, and in all-inclusive, created experiences, totally separate from the speak-easy that exists beside a pile of garbage uncollected in two weeks. Out of sight, most definitely out of mind.

And so priorities are set based on a particular skewed perspective and outlook by the powerful and wealthy. And those who see and know and feel The Other Side of Things, in their quest for the Great House quickly adopt the priorities of those who are where they want to be, eschewing the urgent and real needs of our present context.

Dear Jamaica: we are on the cusp of an environmental crisis of humongous proportions. The garbage in and around us is piling up. 

I’m unwilling to relinquish my safety, health and peace of mind so easily though. Community Action has to step to the front of the line now. Local leadership: YOUR TIME NOW! I have latched on to grass-roots activism as one of the first steps towards making our present system of governance redundant and shifting the current paradigm towards one that is more proactive and relevant to us. Yes, I know nothing can really substitute for national policies that are framed and resourced and enacted by central government as we seek to move from here to there. But I cannot wait. Jamaica cannot afford to wait.

Imagine this happening at the Community level:

1. Education campaigns about improper garbage disposal. Get a local company to sponsor a poster competition in the community schools. Tell them to include actual pictures of what is wrong in their community.

2. Again get a local company to sponsor the printing of dozens of the winning poster and then commission local groups like the 4H Club, Scouts, church youth group to strategically, and with permission place these posters in central areas.

3. Set a small goal of creating a garbage free zone in a public area enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Make noise about it. Use social media to spread the news of this success story. Replicate this in another area.

4. Get the Councillor and MP on board: THEY have to pressure NSWMA to cart the garbage away regularly and reliably. KEEP UP THE PRESSURE! Use social media to shame and congratulate. Because make no mistake, there are those who make every effort to bag and discard their garbage properly, but their best efforts are thwarted by the non collection of their garbage! There’s no reliable schedule of collection and public skips seem to be a thing of the past.

I think one clean area, one locality doing the right thing, made visible, will result in spread of ideals and practices. Naive? Maybe. But I’m not ready to give up. And current leadership practices have resulted in Jamaica being buried and drowned in nastiness.

Dear Jamaica: We can do this. We must do this. Get Jamaica clean and keep Jamaica clean.

Happiness at Work: Why does it even matter?

Last night I saw a RT by #OOMF on Twitter: “Being Happy at Work Matters.”  To be honest, had it not been retweeted by this person, I’d have skipped straight past it. But his past recommendations and RTs have been pretty spot on and relevant, on so I clicked on the link. This HBR article started out immediately debunking the common view that how you feel and the quality of your relationships at work don’t really matter.  Many of us think we can safely separate how we feel about what we do and who we do it with at work and our performance.
Guilty as charged. I once had a colleague that I was not fond of, and I’m pretty sure he felt the same way. We managed to handle our respective portfolios despite the growing acrimony and dare I say malice that was growing between us. But one day things came to a pretty pass. I erupted in a meeting, decrying the unit that he was assigned to and what I perceived to be their approach to the mission at hand, and he rose to my very vehement and aggressive challenge and pushed back in a most admirable manner. I punched back hard…damned hard… and a few days later he called me and asked if we could talk. I had a feeling that this was going to get all touchy-feely but I pretended that we were going to discuss some work related issue and agreed very breezily. So we met and he said that he wanted our relationship to improve. I assumed the alpha dog position and looked at him with great incredulity and asked him why in hell he thought that was of any importance. I don’t think that was the response he expected or wanted. You see, I had zero desire to be his friend. I felt very justified in taking this stance. This individual had been more than rude in the past and to my mind, too cursory in his handling of matters of strategic importance. He had effectively pissed off several members of my own team, and I had very good reason to believe that he enjoyed this sterling reputation across the wider organisation.  I figured that how we felt about each other could at best lubricate our interactions and up the pleasure quotient, but I strongly believed that I could relate to him and get the job done without having to like him. And I told him as much. The discussion ended the way it started, two colleagues no closer to smiling and getting along.  
So when this article claimed that the quality of your output at work is directly linked to your happiness and the quality of your relationships at work, and that neuroscience supports this claim, I sat up a little straighter. This wasn’t mere drippy feel good opinions being pushed at us, here was some science challenging my cosy, self-contained world.  There are, the article claimed, clear neurological links between feelings and thoughts and actions.  Apparently, in the face of strong negative emotions (think anger, distrust, resentment) our ability to process information decreases, creativity declines and decision making is compromised! Anger and frustration effectively shut down the thinking part of us and we cope by doing this: we mentally check out, or as the experts say, we disengage. 
So despite how well we think we are coping in a sub optimal work environment, we really are not! A sub-optimal work environment could be one where you feel that you don’t get enough support from above, where you feel that your efforts are not appreciated, where you perceive that others doing less than you are progressing while you remain stagnant, where your evaluations are unfair, where your compensation does not match the value you bring to the organisation, where fear drives decision making, where form trumps substance, where you are underutilized, where you are over-worked, and so on and so forth. You think you are delivering, but you really are not being all that you can be due to compromised cognitive processing and shut off valves that you unconsciously activate in an effort to  protect your core.
So if this is the situation, what is the remedy? The article proposed that a happy, engaged workforce results when there is a meaningful vision of the future, a sense of purpose and great relationships prevail. Daniel Pink too maintains that stakeholder engagement results from three things: autonomy, mastery and a sense of purpose. Sure, at the individual level, you can accept responsibility for building great relationships. But that is only one aspect of happiness at work.
Most of us feel as if we can’t affect the vision of the future or inbue a sense of purpose to what we do. We feel as if it is the role of leadership to create that environment where we can thrive. And that indeed is so! I could never pretend that it is the role of effective leadership to ensure that team members feel connected to a bigger vision, that they have the freedom to create and produce and that they are given the opportunity to develop and to be all that they can be. So what happens when leadership is found wanting? Are we destined for unhappiness at work and therefore sub-par performance?
I am very, very unwilling to allow my own performance to depend on the actions of someone else. So I challenged myself to think of how I, not at the top, but not at the bottom, could create more happiness and feelings of good will at work such that my brain would work properly, my creativity would be given free reign, and my decision would be clear, straightforward and efficient.  Here’s what I’ve come up with:
Be the Leader you wish you had… trite but worth considering. If you are actively seeking to influence your own orbit, you will likely build solid relationships across, down and up, and this working towards a better future will likely fill you with positive feelings and energy.
       
Create your own Vision.  Find something:  a phrase, a direction, a goal from the grand Organisational mission and distill it down to a bite sized vision directly applicable to your role and make it the driver of your actions and decisions. Even when there is obvious and blatant misalignment between what you see around you and the stated organizational goals, you can still carve out relevance to your situation and make it work for you.
In an unhappy work environment, we unconsciously cope by disengaging and shutting down.  Perspective, though, allows us to deal more reasonably with perceived disappointment and disillusionment. We in fact alter perspective when doing 1 & 2 above. But I think we can also shift our perspective from what we consider to be a hopeless, dysfunctional work environment by compensating though building interests and purpose and happy experiences outside of the work environment. Think volunteerism, hobbies, activities that use your best talents and so on.
I wonder about how happiness at work affects men and how it affects women. My own informal recollection is that I know more men than women that have walked out of jobs because they were unhappy with the job. Women seem to hold on and persevere despite being less than satisfied with the work environment. Many years ago my own mother proffered the view that men define themselves though their jobs, so-called “job satisfaction” being of paramount importance in their personal matrix. I don’t know… worth thinking about. 
I can’t say that in my 20 year career that I have ever worked in a single context that I would describe as optimal. I’m not even looking for perfect, but I am looking for a context where I learn, where I am inspired, where I am valued and compensated accordingly, where I can’t wait for tomorrow to come. But throughout these 20 years I have very deliberately done things outside of these sub-optimal contexts that paid my bills, preparing for the future and as a way to cope. I’ve put myself in the role of perpetual learner (I’m happiest when I’m learning) and ensured that I have constantly retooled and gotten the certification to prove it. I’ve taken up different hobbies along the way (writing, cooking, and I’m about to take up photography). I’ve had the honour of building relationships with a few select switched-on colleagues and mentors who to this day enrich my professional activities with their sage practical advice and their willing ear.

I do have my periods of abject disenchantment, but I try to remain hopeful, and I especially compensate in the ways I described just now.  This is now even more important given the link between happiness and effectiveness. I still hope to find that work environment that ticks the boxes of compelling, clear vision and purpose, where functional, good relationships at work predominate. I’m pretty sure I have a part to play in creating this environment.

Being effective is more important than being right!

My very first blog post, January 2012 was entitled: “Being Right Isn’t Enough”. The JLP had just lost the general elections to the PNP.  I spoke about what I deemed to be the JLP’s failure to engage the electorate, the electorate choosing instead to respond positively to declarations of love and validation from Mama P, and the promise of great things ahead in the form of JEEP. In that blog post, I opined: 
The space to make decisions after thorough analysis simply does not exist in Jamaica’s context of poverty, and the JLP ignored, to their downfall, the Jamaican psyche. Thus, they did not frame their communications appropriately. They did not work the communities effectively. Instead of being focused only on what was “right” in terms of managing the economy, they should have placed equal focus on getting buy-in from the Jamaicans who put them there to serve.”
The tension between being right and being effective…
I started thinking about this last evening after a conversation with a friend of mine. We were going on and on about a favourite topic of ours: “good” leadership and the lack thereof…
“You’re Lucky that I’m Bright!”
About a decade ago, I was a newcomer to the management team of Organisation X. I had come to them by way of an acquisition, and to further complexify things, we were once fierce rivals in the space that we operated in. I also happened to be young and female, a minority in the demographic of the management team at the time. So we started our relationship with a thin veneer of civility overlaying layers of tension. One management meeting in particular stands out in my mind.  
The then sales manager, reporting on a project we were working on, was waxing eloquent about how he had “properly schooled me as to how things should have been done” and that he had taken the time to “show me the nitty gritty of things.” I simply lost it. I turned my full body towards him, raised my voice and cut him off mid-sentence: “You did what? All of you in here are lucky that I am bright!”. I am lucky that the general manager didn’t fire me then and there. Yes, I had been handling my portfolio efficiently and yes, I had been contributing positively to the good fortunes of my new employers. And yes, perhaps I am bright, whatever that means. But my outburst did absolutely nothing to help the relationship among us managers. 
Tensions spilled out of our little circle and staff knew that management was divided. My boss hauled me to the CEO, I resented him, he resented me and the next few years were stormy. I continued to be right in a lot of instances going forward, but I know I was not as effective as I could have been. We wasted a lot of time tiptoeing around each other, being suspicious and guarding ourselves. I sometimes think about how much more we could have accomplished had I focused more on building good, professional relationships that would have facilitated more productive brainstorming, problem solving and strategy formation. 
Do you have the right support?
Eventually I was promoted out of that particular organisation to a senior position within that group of companies. By this time, I had mended fences with my former colleagues in Organisation X, and to this day, I remain good friends with them even though I have since left that group of companies.
Let’s go back to that promotion, though. The group of companies had problems. They had spent resources that they scarcely had to contract a world renown management consultancy company. Let’s refer to them as “M”.  I am chuckling now as I remember my audacity so many years ago. M had recommended a course of action aimed at lifting the group out of the slump that it was in. In my new position, I was expected to implement M’s recommendations. There was a problem though: I disagreed with M. Ha! I didn’t just disagree though, I had a plan of my own that I was sure was the way to proceed. So I told them I wouldn’t accept the position unless I had the latitude to implement my own plan.
To their credit, I was given permission. I was sure I was right. I even had the backing of SOME members of the executive management team of which I was now a part. Here’s where I went wrong: I spent hours and hours and consulted experts and more experts and formulated what I think of to this day as The Right Plan. I found and allocated resources, including having some of the best human capital at my disposal. BUT I didn’t get my boss fully on board. He was skeptical (I suspect that he was under tremendous pressure from his board, and he didn’t have a single original thought as to how to fix our issues. He was just happy to have M thrust a recipe at him, his only duty being to implement) and took the approach of “let me see what you can do” instead of “let’s do this, Kelly”.
In two years, we achieved some major successes with my plan: we implemented a warehouse management system which imposed never before seen order and efficiencies, cut labour costs, increased visibility across the network and drastically reduced stock variances. The change that the board wanted did not come fast enough apparently though, and half of that executive management team was eventually “made redundant”, including yours truly. I think it was easy for my CEO to cut me. You see, in all my “rightness” I never bothered to spend the time or energy to get him on board, and fully supportive of my plan. Had I focused on being as effective as I was right, I would have ensured that I was aware of the balance of power. 

In the literature, they refer to this as “force field analysis”.  It’s simply a common sense approach to implementing change. The leader has to know where support is, where it is lacking, and then implement measures to deal with those obstacles to change. 
An effective change leader would know that failure was certain without the backative of the most powerful member of the team, the CEO.  
So a decade later, I know for sure that I am older. I hope I am wiser. I remain passionate, opinionated and a seeker of truth. 
I know I am right! 🙂
What I do know for sure, is that no matter how right I am, if I don’t implement properly, if I don’t get all stakeholders on board, if I don’t engage my team, if I am not effective, my rightness means very little.

Transformation through Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Lessons from Israel

Twenty two years ago, while a post graduate student in the Botany Department of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, I did a two month course at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot campus. Those were the glory days when USAID money flowed freely through the Jamaica Agricultural Development Foundation, with the aim of creating a cadre of agricultural scientists who could and would tackle Jamaica’s specific agricultural problems head on. I was one of several students who benefited from this funding. We pursued post graduate degrees in agriculture, engaged in on-farm research and solved real life problems.The Israeli government partnered with JADF in sponsoring our participation in this sub tropical horticulture course.
I was struck first of all by the aggression of the Israeli nationals on the El Al flight from New York to Tel Aviv. They were noisy and boisterous and the Hasidic Jews on the flight had no problem congregating towards the rear of the aircraft to say prayers at the appointed time. Flight attendants were hard pressed to maintain order. I remember chuckling to my then 24 year old self at the realization that there were people that matched the aggression of Jamaicans.
The second thing that struck me during my stay in Israel was the obvious unity among the Israelis. The janitor who cleaned the labs was treated with the same respect as the professors churning out scientific breakthroughs, and both groups treated each other with respect. The sight of professors tutoring undergraduate students in the university cafeteria was a common one, very different from my own experience at UWI. Laboratories, classrooms and enclaves were constantly abuzz with activity and vigorous debate.  Knowledge was freely shared.
The other thing that impressed me, and that I still reference to this day, was Israel’s approach to problem solving. Israel is not a nation blessed with fertile arable land and to say that water supply is a challenge is perhaps an understatement. Yet they are the source of many agricultural breakthroughs today.  Think drip irrigation… placing water precisely at the root zone, adding nutrients to said water, enabled crop production on the most marginal of land. It was amazing to drive through the desert and see swatches of green springing up. This was problem solving at its best! How to farm in the desert? Don’t bring more water: use less more efficiently!
Israel produced temperate fruit crops like apples and pears right there in the desert. This allowed them to capitalize on the European markets that are typically out of stock of these products when traditional producers shut down during the winter periods. Israel could have accepted at face value that these crops could not be grown in their conditions because after all, there is a huge and obvious difference between Israel’s climate and that of the temperate producers. But not being satisfied with a simple, obvious answer, Israeli scientists dug deeper and determined that the bud break seen post winter in temperate climes is not as a result of weeks of subzero temperatures, but rather exposure for a specific, very narrow band of time to these temperatures and light conditions. They simulated these conditions on potted apple and pear trees in refrigerated containers and bud break ensued as they knew it would. Thereafter, it became a simple matter to move them to open fields in the desert, feeding and watering them via drip irrigation (what else?) and making a ton of money via elegant, empirical problem solving
So fast forward 22 years to today. We were bemoaning the sad state that Jamaica finds itself in today, where passing IMF tests has superseded our own vision for ourselves and our nation. We were bemoaning the absence of hope and opportunity for our children. We were bemoaning the apparent levels of corruption that compromise decision making and further impoverish us as a nation.  We bemoaned the apparent absence of leadership able to transform our circumstances.  I posited a model for economic development that called for community based enterprises to rise up, provide said leadership, generate economic activity and empower and enrich Jamaica one community at a time. This can only happen through an innovative, pragmatic approach to problem solving.
My father and sister recommended that I read Start Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle (Senor and Singer, 2011). Suspend your politics for a moment and consider the facts. Israel is a nation that was birthed only in 1948, described by Shimon Peres, former leader of Israel, as “a poor people coming home to a poor land”.  Israel’s only capital was its human capital. They were surrounded by their enemies. They faced numerous economic and political embargoes. Yet still Israel today boasts a phenomenal number of start-ups. They are undisputed leaders in the high tech world that drives product development and commerce today. The book explained the observations that I made two decades earlier.  Senor and Singer proffered a number of reasonable questions aimed at uncovering the reasons for Israel’s relative success: did Israel’s adversity, like necessity, breed inventiveness? Did Israel have more talented people than any other country in the world? Perhaps it was the moderating impact of their military, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). But other countries have faced adversity, have well developed militaries and possess any number of talents citizens.  Through a number of well documented examples, the authors offered the following as reasons for Israel’s entrepreneurial and innovative successes: tenacity, insatiable questioning of authority (I called it aggression) determined informality (remember the professors and students, ancillary workers and academic staff?) a unique attitude towards failure and risk, teamwork and a mission orientation, and cross disciplinary creativity. 
I have tried to identify parallels between Jamaica and Israel, seeking to identify jump off points for us as far as revving up entrepreurship and innovation are concerned. I will touch on the main issues I think that explain why we, unlike Israel, have not developed since coming into our own nationhood in 1962. I dare you to challenge that last statement by the way… we are NOT better off today than we were in 1962. 
 Jamaica exhibits a cultural paradigm that cuts across public and private sectors that I refer to as “a preference for form over substance”. The “right way” seems to be more important than the “right thing”. The result is that we waste time ensuring that we don’t cause offence and we appease the right people at the expense of true problem solving.  Committees are formed and meetings are held and announcements are made and this is all applauded even when there is no transformation resulting from these activities…form over substance. Perhaps, per Senor and Singer, we should reframe our interpretation of aggression as assertiveness rather than insolence, and instead of a label of insubordination, look at it as critical, independent thinking. 
Consider too how we treat failure and our approach to risk management. Every military exercise carried out by the IDF is followed by the all important de-briefing. Here is where actions and outcomes are dissected in order to extract those critical learning necessary to raise the bar the next time round. What I observe in the public sector is an entire absence of tracking against goals, and the commensurate analysis that should be done to understand the present state against a desired state. The only meaningful tracking of government performance against stated goals, is a private sector led monitoring of performance against the IMF agenda. Where is Vision 2030 today? My own experiences suggest that the very opposite happens in some private sector settings today. There is goal setting and tracking of performance against these objectives. But a so called undesirable outcome is dealt with by a change of personnel and quiet abandonment of the original plan rather than an empirical understanding of the failure so as to get it right the next time around.  There is very little understanding and appreciation for so-called “smart failures”.
I still struggle with exactly how my (admittedly partially thought through) community based model for development will lift us from our current quagmire. Sure, private enterprises can create internal cultures that run counter to national cultural paradigms of how we perceive authority, how authority perceives itself, form over substance and so on. And certainly, the national benefits to be derived from a private sector which successfully develops an entrepreneurial and innovative culture go without saying.  But I suspect that based on where we are today, there is a critical role that state leadership must play.  You see, Israel had the direct involvement of the state from the very beginning in terms of setting policy and providing funding and setting the direction.  Israel benefited from the pragmatism of Ben-Gurion in the early days, and later on from the tenacity and can (must) do attitude of subsequent leaders. Jamaica, unlike Israel, is blessed with an abundance of natural resources…we have fertile soil, water sources, and raw materials with which to create prosperity as long as we stop abusing our environment. We have a naturally feisty people, but over the years, a culture of patronage and a swapping of colonial subjugation for home grown, ineffective (and I’m being kind here) leadership have failed to leverage our natural inclination to buck the status quo.

Is it beyond us, is it too late for Jamaica to become an entrepreneurial, innovative country and reverse our current trajectory?

GRIT in World Cup 2014

The USA can totally beat Belgium later today. Yes…I said it. At this stage of the competition, it takes more than a good defense, sure strikers, and a sound midfield strategy. Look at how Algeria held off Die Mannschaft yesterday… Think of how NED had to FIGHT with every ounce of mind and body and soul to win this weekend past (God bless Robben). I come back to the theme of GRIT: that relentless attack, that hunger to win distributed throughout the team, that mindset that says play on until the Fat Lady sings, regardless of the score line at present, that ability to transcend pain, heat, discomfort, attacks from the opponents all in support of that one over-arching mission…that job to be done…TO WIN.
Have you ever looked into Dempsey’s eyes? Have you observed the way he communicates and directs the team on the field? Have you observed how leads by example…playing on with a broken nose, demanding and expecting no less from his team. And they respond to him. It is such a clear example of leadership in action, literally. He just happens to be the captain, but there are other teams that have this function residing in someone other than the captain…It doesn’t matter, Ladies and Gentlemen. This is “Distributed Leadership”. Bottom line: every team needs that standard bearer, that nucleus around which everything coalesces. The USA has that.
Anyhoos, all wha gwaan, BELGIUM! mi seh 
ps. Have a good game, Tim Howard 

The L Word…not Love, but Leadership.

Like the other L word, this one means different things to different people.  But I think it is safe to say that one question sums it up in a universal way: “Who’s in charge here?”.   Leadership is a field of study all on its own.  Numerous tomes have been written on the subject, everyone has an opinion on it and it is often blamed when things don’t turn out as planned.

I’d like to weigh in with my own thoughts on the topic.
I believe that leadership can move mountains.
I believe that more people are comfortable being lead than are comfortable being leaders.
I believe that there is most definitely a role for someone to define and articulate a vision and get a team       on board to make that vision a reality.
I believe that a good Leader ought to ensure buy in from stakeholders
I believe that there is a role for a final decision maker.  I believe that a single person ought to be held accountable for the final outcome.
I believe that the role of the Leader is to facilitate constructive conflict and then allow the best ideas to prevail
I believe that the Leader ought to coordinate execution activities
I believe that the Leader ought to encourage and deliberately seek to build Leadership among the team of followers

That being said, I also believe that there are some character and personality traits that are common to effective leaders:
Integrity
Mental agility
Articulate by nature
Salesmanship
Understander of human nature
Open minded
Good listener
Decisive
Unafraid of confrontation
Good negotiator
Visionary

Imagine an organization where conflict is encouraged, allowing innovation to flourish…
Imagine an organization where your boss can integrate information quickly and articulate an end game that both challenges and inspires… Imagine an organization where all personality types feel as if they are really part of the team… Imagine an organization where decisions are made in a transparent manner in the best interest of the organisation, sooner rather than later….

Now just re-read the few sentences above, putting “Jamaica” where “Organisation” is…
We can do better.
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