Self-Interests and Selfishness

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Framework cultural interventions rely, in part, on assisting employees at all levels in seeing their self-interests more clearly.

One criticism of this approach comes from a fear that if the pursuit of self-interests are the means, that the result might be mayhem as people do what they want selfishly.

The typical response is a moral one: “people should not be encouraged to be selfish.”

Unfortunately, moral reasoning rarely works, and seems to generate more guilt than anything else. Guilt is more often than not paralyzing, so the repetition of the morality of unselfishness produces little more than a stasis.

Instead, our approach is to deepen self-interest, trusting that if it is pursued wholeheartedly and rigorously, the result will actually be the same as that of the moralists. It is just that the pathway is much easier to follow, and is more likely to produce results than repeating the greatest sayings from any of the moral writings produced to date.

To illustrate, let us look at President Bush’s war in Iraq.

He honestly believes that the war in Iraq is morally correct – of that there is little doubt. However, what he could perhaps be persuaded to see is that continuing the war is not in America’s best self-interest.

The country seeks to live in a peaceful world, and it is obvious that the Iraqi occupation has and will continue to generate more opposition in the form of jihadists, terrorists, nationalists, Islamists and others who are growing up learning to hate America. He might also see that it is in America’s interest to demonstrate that the use of force is not the best way to resolve differences, as it tend to breed further force. Instead, it is in America’s best interest to demonstrate what peaceful approaches can accomplish in the hope that others may be persuaded to follow suit.

I am not saying that this will work or not with President Bush, just that it is more likely to accomplish the result, merely because the self-interests from which he is making decisions is just too narrow to succeed.

The book Freakonomics, makes the case that most drug dealers live at home with their mothers. They cannot afford to live on their own as the vast majority of them “earn” less than the minimum wage from dealing drugs. Only a tiny percentage “make it” to the top (as in any corporation,) and along the way the risks of being killed by another gang member, imprisoned or overdosing is considerable.

Perhaps the only reason that young men choose to be dealers is that they are unaware of the true nature of their full self-interests, and therefore, how to accomplish them. To say it somewhat differently, their choice to enter the gang is based on a very thin slice of self-interests.

A drug addict who takes the very first hit from a crack pipe does not do so with the intention to kill themselves slowly, painfully and publicly, even when there is abundant evidence around them that this is their likely fate. Instead, at the moment before they inhale their true self-interests are hidden from view, or obscured by their need to feel good, be accepted or to numb themselves from inner pain.

Their choice to do drugs is based on a small subset of their true self-interests.
Unfortunately, in today’s world we suffer from accusations of selfishness, and this prevents us from pursuing self-interests openly. Instead, we cover them up by pretending that our actions have nothing to do with us.

All it actually reveals is that we have been thwarted in our thinking, and stopped from pursuing our self-interests a far as we could.

The irony is that the person who has a commitment to deepen their self-interest quickly discovers that (to the surprise of the moralist) it deeply involves and includes other people.

As a thought experiment, take anything or concept of value: love, money, work, sex, possessions, service, giving, having fun, etc. Think of how each of them only makes sense in the company and experience of others.

Getting more sex involves giving more money. Getting more service requires giving more service. Having more love means giving more love. Having more work means giving more work.

The pursuit of self-interest does not lead to an inward-turning selfishness – not if there is rigour and honesty. Instead it leads to the discovery that when I have more of what I really want, you have more of what you really want.

This simple line may take a lifetime to appreciate, but it need not.

Instead, we can accelerate how we all learn its truth by encouraging each other to learn how true it is from actual, first-hand experience, rather than from someone else in the form of a dictate.

There might be a shortcut available to all of us here. Gandhi said: “If you want to change the world, become the first change.” We might expand that here to mean, “If you want anything, pursue it, and discover the degree to which it involves and includes other people, then act freely to want it for all.”

That might be the way to know, deep in our, hearts that our interconnectedness is real, strong and true. Martin Luther King said “We are connected .. interlocking web of …mutuality.” In Africa there is a word: Ubuntu – which means that I am all I can be, until you are all that you can be.

Perhaps this all works because we humans are all so very similar – made from the same “stuff.”

I want to be loved, and so do you. I want to love, and so do you. Loving is much easier when we both know what we want, and that it is the same thing.

Selfish? Who knows… Motivated by self-interested? Absolutely.

The Power of Self Interest

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In Framework’s cultural interventions, one of the ways in which individuals transform themselves is by recognizing that some of their current actions are not in their own self-interest.

Often, we humans struggle to understand each other. In the workplace, management struggles to understand workers and vice versa, as motivations appear to be not just hidden but alien to their own.

In the not-so recent news, RBTT Jamaica announced that they had accomplished record profits. This week, a strike was averted when the management decided, at the eleventh hour, to change its offer of an increase in wages from 4% to 6%.

I imagine that some workers are wondering why the bank’s management and ownership cannot see that treating them well is the key to making even greater profits in the future. In other words, workers think management cannot see that it would be serving its own interests by granting the increase that the workers are (at this point) demanding.

By the same token, management is probably asking itself why the workers cannot see that putting more of the profits into wages rather than new investments means slowly killing the goose that laid the golden egg, by starving the bank of opportunities to grow itself.

What might be missing at the moment (and this is pure conjecture on my part) is that management and workers do not share the same self-interest. In other words, they cannot see it or separate it from the other points of view that are competing for their attention.

A powerfully defined self-interest would change everything, and it would not even have to be the same for both.

To illustrate, every spiritual and wisdom tradition that I am aware of counsels against holding grudges.

Why so?

Can the truth be found in this old saying: “Revenge is like drinking poison, hoping that someone else will die.”

A grudge is a self-sentence, as it imprisons the one holding the grudge to a life of vigilance – watching to make sure that the person they have mentally imprisoned never escapes.

Unfortunately, the person holding the grudge is unable to see their own full self-interest, and can only see the passing benefit they feel from blaming the person.

In reality, the other person might well be leading a happy, fulfilled life. They cannot be aware of the depth of the grudge (indeed, no-one can.) The torment that the grudge produces is experienced for the most part in the mind of the one holding the grudge.

Holding on to it is just not in their self-interest.

In our interventions we focus on training employees to manage their own self-interest in an enlightened way. We have found that if an employee can appreciate and accept more of their own self-interest, they make better choices.

When coaching an individual, we might ask:
a) What is your self-interest?
b) What are you doing to accomplish it?
c) What are you doing that is working against it?
d) How can you better meet your self-interest?
e) What other self-interests do you now see?

What we have found is that telling someone that they should “be less selfish” does little more than make them feel guilty, and is a difficult leap for many employees to make in a working environment, as companies are not created to accomplish moral goals. Instead, companies are formed with the clear intention to achieve material goals, and at the source of every corporation is a person or group of persons that were unabashedly pursuing a self-interest.

The real problems come when individuals and companies lie about their self-interest, and insist that they either “don’t have one” or are “above such things.” These lies prevent the kind of truthful cooperation that produces partnerships, in which, for example, both managers and workers are honest about their self-interests, and can plainly see that they must cooperate to accomplish them.

Relationships and Transformation

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Here in Jamaica, much of our crime is not based as much on greed as it is based on relationships that have gone sour. Or in other words, grudges.

A study from a few years ago (which I wish I could get my hands back on) showed that the majority of our murders are not done randomly, but instead are based on personal relationships that have gotten to the point where one party is willing to kill. The frame of mind that is created is one in which one or both people can only see murder as the way to resolve the hurt feelings that they carry.

From the outside, this may seem bizarre.

But for those who are inside such relationships, it makes perfect and complete sense. While they know that killing is wrong in some moral sense, the pain that they are feeling in the moment vastly overwhelms and overcomes any other process or sentiment.

Such is the power of deeply hurt feelings.

One hears these stories all the time in the Caribbean: inadvertent slights leading to verbal altercations, fights and even murder. I remember being in Washington DC and hearing a story about a shooting that started when one man accidentally stepped on another man’s foot.

The result? One dead. Another imprisoned.

While these are extreme examples, the high murder rate in Jamaica and the increasing murder rate in Trinidad lead us to think that what happens in the region’s companies is a scaled-down version of what happens in our neighbourhoods and communities.

Not that people are killing each other in companies on a large scale. Instead of measuring murders, one might decide to measure what happens to profits. However, a transformation that impacts behaviour and results (murders or profits) might start with a different way of thinking in both cases, and this is where companies can learn a thing or two.

When companies develop a commitment to transform their cultures, few imagine that it has much to do with altering the way in which people relate to each other. Yet, at Framework our experience shows that new ways of relating and communicating are the only way in which people know in their own experience that anything is different.

Where then to focus? There are two points that we think are worthy of exploration, and both are related to what are simply deeply held grudges.

  1. The first has to do with the source of the hurt feelings. On one end of the spectrum, there is someone who takes everything personally, trying their best to defend themselves against future pain. To them, hurt feelings are caused by external people and circumstances.

    On the other end, there is someone who believes that feelings are generated in response to events, but are created only by the person holding them.

    Obviously, the second person is able to affect their internal feelings more powerfully than the first. They realize that the levers of their internal state are in their hands, and nowhere else.

  2. Once hurt feelings are recognized in any form, the question is “what to do with them?” An unskilled person will take actions to try to prevent the feelings from recurring – some strategies include removing themselves, ignoring the person, refusing to speak with them, cursing them, abusing them and even killing them.

    A skilled person might instead seek to engage other people in conversation. They know that feelings can change in an instant, and try to find ways to work things out and thereby neutralize the hard-felt feelings.

These two steps in dealing effectively with grudges are the building blocks of creating a new company culture in the region’s companies, for our greatest challenge is how our people do, and do not, work together. Companies in the region that are serious about building values into their culture operate differently, and distinctly, by providing their employees tools in the above 2 dimensions that assist them in the living of their daily lives.

Grudges, then, can be learning tools around which useful coping techniques can be taught. They are real, and can be embraced and given full life in the right kind of learning situation.

During our corporate cultural interventions, we are beginning to see the power of using grudges as turning points, giving employees tools to deal with hurt feelings, and therefore work relationships, effectively.

TextAloud

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I have found something good!

As an increasingly frequent writer, my concern about putting out well written material has given me pause for thought. Some recently read, self-published books that I found to be horrific literary adventures, have only added to my concern. Given that I write a blog, I can’t very well blame my editor, publisher or proof-reader.

I imagine that I could blame my wife (my unpaid editor)… but doing so would only confirm suspicions that my jackass writings are indeed written by… a jackass.

Well, the good thing I have found will at least let people know that I can, more frequently than not, put together the basics of grammar, punctuation and spelling.

The tool is called TextAloud, and it simply converts written words into words spoken aloud by my computer.

How has this helped?

In the course of my recent writing, I found that the very best way to edit my own writing was to read it out aloud to “hear” how it sounds to the ear. An even better technique was ask my wife to read it.

Both methods, but especially the first, were kinda goofy. I seemed quite capable, with enough effort, to overlook crappy spelling and turn paragraphs of garbage into prose worthy of Rex Nettleford.

Plus, for some strange reason, she tired of it (calling her a monkey once didn’t help.)

Now, I have “Anne.” She has a mid-West U.S. accent that sounds bizarre when reading bad writing. My bad writing.

When I get tired of her, there is “David,” who sounds a bit Southern U.S.

I can purchase others, and may spring for an English voice that may help my writing sound even better!

Of, course, that is not the point. The point here is that Anne and David help me to write with more fluency, greater cohesion, and with a rhythm that is pleasing to the ear. The fact that I can achieve all this with such a simple tool is something good, that might help this jackass get his points across.

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Feedblitz to your inbox

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I recently added a new feature to this blog: the ability to receive an email with the latest entry from this blog. The feature is free, and is designed by Feedblitz.

I rarely post more than a few times per week, so emails would come at most 3-4 times per week.

It provides a level of convenience that I find quite useful, and the output is also very well designed.

To add your name to the list of subscribers, fill in your email address in the form at right.

Goof Off Time and other Time Management Techniques

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One of the efforts that we at Framework are undertaking this year is that of defining a method of time management that fits the Caribbean tempo and lifestyle.

The reasons why none of the popular approaches used worldwide has become popular in our region are varied and many: too much rigidity, too much technology, not enough humanity et al.

While the best approach I have found is the one described in the book Getting Things Done by David Allen, eve this approach does not provide a complete time management solution for our way of living.

I know this from personal experience, having lived in both North America, with its daily predictability, and here in the Caribbean, where for example I am “borrowing” someone else’s wireless internet access, because it is taking now 7 weeks to get my phone and therefore DSL service installed. Incidentally, the borrowed service is now down (an occurrence that befalls us every three days or so.)

In my reading this morning, I realized that my own time management tricks have evolved a great deal over the years. In particular, my calendar has evolved to the point where I discovered that I actually have three calendars in one, viz:

  1. A Same Action Calendar

    This is my weekly calendar of regularly scheduled items. It contains items that I have scheduled do to each day, each week, and each year at regularly recurring intervals.

    For example, I went cycling this morning at 4:00am with my cycling club, a regularly recurring Thursday morning activity that I undertake whenever I am in town. It is pre-scheduled into my calendar, and requires an intrusive alarm clock to set it into motion!

    Each month at around this time, I balance my check book.I also pay my phone bill.

    Each year at around this time, I set an appointment to look at issuing various tax documents that are due on January 31st for the prior year, and also at scheduling my company’s annual meeting – -a legal requirement.

    These recurring activities are all programmed into Microsoft Outlook, although I do use a variety of other tricks to help me to remember them, such as a programme called Rememberit.com that sends me an email reminder to complete one particular tax document that I seem to forget about each year!

    This “Same Action Calendar” keeps my life humming in the background, and I never have to remember to do any of the actions in it. I love to find new things to put in this calendar, because each time I do it, I relieve myself of the burden of having to remember, or to rely on someone else’s memory, or to rely on a piece of mail that can get lost.

    It is much easier to take that child to their swimming lesson when it is on the same night each week, and when the schedule is regularized, it can be safely put in the Same Action Calendar where I can forgot about it until it reminds me at the start of each day.

  2. A Next Step Calendar

    This is my calendar of projects, and all other activities that happen only once, broken down into the “Next Step” that I must take in the sequence of actions to complete the project.

    This includes activities such as “contact my web designer” which is the next step of a larger project called “Update Website.”Another activity is “Install Monitor” which is part of a project called “Install New Office” (I just moved offices.)

    The calendar of Next Steps is, admittedly, filled with more fun and exciting activities than the Same Action Calendar, which is filled with lots of mundane activity, some of which I normally detest. They are both critically important, however, to my functioning as a professional.

    The next calendar is one that is truly Caribbean.

  3. The Unscheduled Time Calendar

    (Also called the Interruption/Emergency/Goof-Off Calendar)

    This one is critical for mental health and sanity for those of us who work in the region. It is a calendar of time that must be devoted to fixing stuff that breaks, recovering from emergencies, cooling out from the heat, drying out from the rain, waiting for stuff to happen (like for the Fedex man to come between 8:00 and 2:00 when he comes at 2:30) and responding to interruptions of a human or inhuman nature.

    Life here is all about going with the flow, and there is a lot of stuff flowing about, that one needs to learn to go with – enough to drive a North American or European professional absolutely crazy. This time needs to be put in the calendar (just in order to reflect reality.)

    Each day differs, from what I can tell.

    Staying at the office in a meeting all day? Schedule very little Unscheduled Time.

    Going on errands to the Tax Office, Post Office and Bank, while picking up the children? Plan for a LOT of Unscheduled Time to account for the pothole that blows a tire, the long line at the post office, the bank that can’t find your account and the Tax Office that… nuff said.

    Plus, you may need to spend an extra fifteen minutes with that one child who had a tough day and is looking a bit forlorn.

    Each professional I different in terms of what their Unscheduled Time Calendar looks like, and it needs to be carefully tweaked to match the circumstances of the day, week, month or (God forbid) year.

Putting Them All Together

Of course, these three calendars are not actually three different pieces of paper, or three different electronic files. Think of them as transparent overlays that come from three very different ways of thinking.

In actual practice, they are being assembled at the same time as the Caribbean professional builds his/her calendar for the day. He/she ensures that all three mindsets are carefully balanced to produce a day that is not just productive in the traditional sense of the word, but also realistic and relatively peaceful.

After all, isn’t that the goal of trying to manage time in the first place?

P.S. Your comments are welcome, as this particular idea may be used in the programme we are currently developing. If you actually start using the idea, we would to know that also!

FirstCuts ezine Issue 7.0

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FirstCuts Framework Consulting logo

A Framework Consulting Online eZine

High-Stake Interventions — Issue 7 January 15, 2007
Developing a “Caribbean Manager”

by Francis Wade

Editorial

While I was in Johannesburg, South Africa over the holidays, I was able to take tours of 2 townships: Soweto and Alexandria. While visiting I was struck by the wickedness that was the Apartheid system, and how long it will take that country to integrate all of its citizens
into a seamless whole — something that has never existed.

Here in the Caribbean we have a similar challenge: to create an economic force that has never before existed. This issue is devoted to the idea that a truly “Caribbean Manager” is the basic building block, because if the mindset is not there at an individual level, then all the CSME activity will be wasted.

Francis

Developing a “Caribbean Manager”

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Developing a “Caribbean Manager”
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The upcoming Cricket World Cup arrives in the Caribbean in March
2007 and brings with it several interesting possibilities.

One possibility that it brings to mind is that we, as a region
can find a way to emulate the success of the West Indies cricket
team in the 1980’s and 1990’s — off the field. One lesson that we
might learn from our Test cricketers and their collective success,
is that they each had to undergo a personal transition from being
merely a representative of their country, to being a member of The
West Indies cricket team.

I am certain that the transition involved more than just a change
in team name, particularly when we were world beaters in the
1980’s and early 1990’s. The players of that time were able to
set aside their local preferences, biases and idiosyncrasies, in
order to build the kind of unified force that politicians and
business-people have, to date, failed to create.

While our politicians are making little headway with the
implementation of CSME, it is our business-people that are more
closely following the example of our Test cricket team. Assisted
by the liberalisation of the region’s economies, they have been
able to export capital, and use it to build regional conglomerates
in manufacturing, distribution and banking.

In our work, Framework has defined a term that we have been sharing
with our clients that we hope to make synonymous with the power
that “West Indian cricketer” has around the world: “Caribbean
Manager.”

Why should we care about becoming Caribbean Managers? Who or what
are they anyway?

A Caribbean Manager is a manager who has undergone a mental shift
or transition from being a local professional to one who sees
themselves as part of a wider regional fabric. It is a change that
one makes for oneself, and with it comes a broader context within
which to make decisions to invest time, energy and capital.

For example, a Caribbean Manager cares about the latest business
happenings in other countries in the region, and seeks out sources
of news and information that may give her a competitive edge.

How does a manager make the transition? In our work, my colleagues
and I have identified three characteristics that can be learned by
regional professionals: learning to collect different and varied
first-hand experiences, using heartfelt interests as a tool for
natural networking and being willing to identify and surrender
mind-sets that are obstacles to becoming Caribbean Managers.

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A Collector of Different Experiences
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Perhaps the first part of the transition that a manager must make
is to become committed to having a variety of different experiences
across the region. While there is a great deal that can be learned
from reading books and using the Internet, nothing does more for a
manager than direct experience of other countries in the region.

I can vividly recall my first trip to the Point Lisas Industrial
Estate in Trinidad. When I surveyed the number of heavy industrial
companies in the area, I immediately understood that Trinidad had
a very different economy than Jamaica’s, and that seeing the estate
was very different from reading about it.

The Caribbean Manager yearns for experiences such as this one,
because they help him to understand the deep underpinnings of
business in a particular country. He is never satisfied with an
understanding of his own society, and in fact finds that travelling
to other English-speaking countries in the region help him to
understand his own country.

These experiences cannot be scripted, as trips to different
territories become opportunities to combine markets, suppliers and
products in ways that cannot be determined from merely doing market
research. These unique combinations can only be created by
business-people who understand the region and its needs from
direct experience.

Some examples of unfilled opportunities include the lack of a real
jerk restaurant or patty shop in Port of Spain, and the fact that
authentic Trini roti is impossible to find in Kingston. These are
both waiting to be filled but can only been seen by those managers
who can see the need based on their experience.

Also, travelling across the region in search of these experiences
help to teach a budding Caribbean manager how to manage the people
in each country.

In a recent study conducted by Framework, Trinidadian executives
admitted to being surprised by the degree to which Jamaican
business culture differed from that of Trinidad. They may have
been better prepared if they had simply spent more time working in
Jamaica , managing Jamaicans, before accepting their assignments.

Travelling and working across the region gives the Caribbean
Manager valuable insights into another culture, but they can also
learn a great deal about their home culture. Furthermore, they
can also learn to adapt themselves to the strengths and weaknesses
of the Caribbean management style.

There are too many managers across the region who are, at best,
local managers with very narrow interests. They have not visited
another Caribbean country, do not read regional newspapers, and
are more acquainted with Miami than any of the region’s capitals.
They do both themselves and their companies a disservice.

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A Networker Who Builds on Natural Interests
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The idea of regional networking fills most professionals with a
feeling of dread. The idea of hob-nobbing with a power-elite
over golf or tennis at the country club seems foreign to everyone
other than the few who are already members.

We have found that the savvy Caribbean Manager builds networks
around areas of authentic interest. They start with what they
are already interested in, and broaden the scope of their interest
to include the entire region, way past the limits of their
country’s borders.

For example, a collector of exotic orchids who happens to work in
a bank, could decide to build their network around this particular
hobby. Using this pastime as a starting point, and the Internet as
a tool, they could engage in the following activities:
– find contact information for orchid growers across the Caribbean
region
– join paper and electronic newsletters and mail-lists
– join or start electronic discussion lists
– travel to attend orchid shows, and pass send around
trip reports
– become knowledgeable about the laws regarding the import and
export of orchids

Taking these simple steps (based on my absolute dearth of knowledge
in this area,)could enable someone to become a regional expert on
orchids, simply by pursuing their interest in a wider geographic
sphere.

How does this apply to the Caribbean Manager?

It turns out turns out that developing an expertise in a single
area can be just as effective a networking tool as any other. As
one’s expertise grows and deepens, the likelihood increases that
relationships will be created with other experts in the field
across the region. These other experts will themselves have
connections with professionals in each field, including banking.

All without learning how to serve, and without trying to perfect a
back-swing.

Caribbean Managers have found that the relatively small size of our
societies lends itself to authentic networking, and that business-
people are as likely to be found on the golf-course, as they are
to be found at a local pan-yard, race track or orchid show.

The savvy Caribbean Manager sticks to their areas of interest, and
trusts that their passion for the area will be attractive to
others. Their only duty is to stay true to their heartfelt
interests, honouring their passions while avoiding the dark
thoughts that they should buy a set of clubs in order to meet this
quarter’s sales goals.

The practical side benefit of following an interest are easy to
see. While the banker described in the example above is visiting
Georgetown at the annual Orchid Festival, it might be quite
easy to stay an extra day or two in order to meet the President of
the Guyana Association of Bankers (who just happens to be an old
school-mate of the Vice President of the Orchid Society.)

I benefited tremendously from an extra three days in Trinidad
after recovering from Carnival 1996. After meeting with a few
businessmen, I realized that not only could I do business in
Trinidad, but also that the talk in Jamaica about Tricky-dadians
was overblown — “old talk.”

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Willing to Surrender Mind-Sets
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A mindset is simply a way of being, or a lens, that
colours the way we see other people, countries or
situations. We, more often than not, don’t realize
they are there, and come to believe that the way we see
life is the way that life is. The problem comes when we
are wrong, and fail to see what is in front of us, or in
other words, what is in our blind-spots.

The talk among business-men in Jamaica about “Tricky-dadians”
and the inability to trust them is still widespread. Today, it
stops some Jamaicans from even attempting to do business in the
twin-island republic.

Caribbean Managers are able to transcend such limiting mind-sets.
They realize they exist, but they are willing to question them,
and to compare them to actual, first-hand experience.

This process of constant checking is more than just some parlour
trick — it is the key to seeing possibilities and opportunities
where others cannot see them. In business terms, it is the key to
finding new sources of profit.

How does a manager improve her ability to shed mindsets? There are
a variety of commercial approaches that are available for the
individual who is interested in being trained, and the one I most
recommend is based on the work of Byron Katie, which can be found
at www.thework.org.

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Summary
===============================================
Companies that are the first to develop a cadre of Caribbean
Managers will gain an undeniable competitive edge. Unfortunately,
I am unaware of any company that has put in place a systematic
programme of training, exposure and awareness to bridge the gap.

While it is clear that not having Caribbean Managers is costly to
regional firms, there is no easy prescription on how to put these
programmes in place. A Caribbean solution is needed.

Perhaps the Cricket World Cup might provide the impetus
we need to develop more than just regional cricketing
talent.

The FirstCuts Bottom Line: Start developing yourself as a
Caribbean Manager TODAY.

*

What are some of the things you are doing to develop yourself as
a Caribbean Manager? Let us know at the Framework blog by following
this link: http://tinyurl.com/y2z9qs

Useful Stuff

Tips, Ads and Links
Framework’s One-Page Digest has been launched and can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/y9b6ev. It includes a list of links to information that I think is invaluable to Caribbean executives. Subscription details can also be found at the link above.
Update: I plan to release a new issue every 2 weeks

Back Issues of FirstCuts can be found at http://tinyurl.com/pw7fa

We are on the lookout for possible contributors to FirstCuts. If interested, send email to francis@fwconsulting.com to be included in a future mailing.

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Dem Too Tief

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It is a frequent cry in the commerce of the Caribbean. When confronted with what seems to be an unreasonable price, my people claim that the person selling it is a thief.

What is this all about?

Is this just a matter of ignorance about capitalist economics? Do we not understand and appreciate that profits are important for shareholders to continue to create companies, and jobs?

Perhaps we do not understand the principles of supply and demand economics. We are free to buy or to not buy. When we do not buy en masse, the prices adjust themselves to meet the demand of the market.

Maybe the problem lies someplace else entirely. This could be just a matter of “workplace emotional maturity,” in which a deeply held feeling is expressed loudly, but inaccurately.

It could be that “Dem too tief” is an expression of hurt (turned into an attack) in which the underlying sentiment is really something like “I am hurt because it seems to me that you care more about taking my money, than giving me real value, and that would mean that you do not care about me as a person, but only the money in my pocket. When I have this thought, I feel devalued and less than human, and the best I can cry out is ‘Dem too tief.'”