FirstCuts31 – Accepting the Plantation


The latest issue of FirstCuts is now available in a very new format.

Gone are my struggles with ASCII files that Microsoft Outlook would mangle into an unrecognizable melange.

Now, there’s a magazine-like interface that allows a user to read through the ezine much as they would a paper periodical.

Receiving FirstCuts on a regular basis is easy – -simply send email to and click on the link in the confirmation email.

In the meantime, click on the icon below to be taken to this month’s issue of FirstCuts.  The audio version can be heard by clicking here — Podcast of FirstCuts31

Here is a short excerpt.  Also, I welcome any comments you may have here on the blog.


Accepting the Plantation

One of the gifts that expats bring to a job in our region is a view of what it would be like to work in an environment that’s free of the tragic history that plagues the Caribbean workplace.

Expats remind those of us who work in the region that our workplace is a unique one that’s been unable to escape its past. It’s uniqueness comes from the fact that it’s the only workplace in the world that remains staffed by a majority of citizens whose ancestors were brought to the region as slaves or indentured servants.


To continue reading, click on the icon below.

Updating The New Networking: Caribbean 2008


I’d love to hear from Caribbean readers on what kinds of challenges they face in building professional networks across the region. I’m thinking about updating my e-book, The New Networking, for a 2010 release.

So, here is the question of the hour: “What is the greatest challenge you have in building your Caribbean network?”

Consultants Doing “Free Estimates”


carrot-and-stickI just read the following article at Michel Fortin’s blog and found it provocative, to say the least.

Here is an excerpt:

Ultimately, I would never, ever, meet with a client until and unless they pay for my expenses. After all, if they’re not willing to at least pay for my expenses, then…

  • They are unqualified;
  • They are going to haggle;
  • They will nitpick my work;
  • They will demand more, likely for free;
  • And they’ll avoid paying for regular, project expenses, too.

This post should be required reading for all consultants.  It’s that important.  Here is the link to the post “How Far Are You Willing to Go to Land the Sale?”

Foolproof: SuperNanny and the Dog Whisperer


dog-whisperer-cesar2There are a couple of television shows that I find fascinating in their ability to demonstrate powerful coaching.  They are fool-proof, simply because their coachees are demonstrating which techniques work, and which don’t.

In both cases, the subjects being coached aren’t acting, because they simply aren’t able.  In the case of The Nanny, the coachees are young children, and in the case of the Dog Whisperer, they are canines of all kinds.

I recommend both, but not because I have either kids or puppies.

Instead, both coaches have had to develop a certain level of expertise that is unique, and the successes highlighted in each show can only happen because they have a fine grasp of the tools of their trade.  They are masterful in how they approach each challenge, and when they are around the novice parents and owners that they work with, it’s obvious that they see each situation quite differently from those they are helping.

The response from their advice is immediate and visible, and each show takes pains to show the change that happens in vivid images.

Kudos to them for what they accomplish (even if the utter failures end up on the cutting floor.) They still demonstrate insight and understanding in action, and the results they are able to show in 30 minutes is fascinating to watch.

Click here for more information on BBC’s “The SuperNanny.”

Click here for more information on the “Dog Whisperer.”

When You’re “Being Networked”


A colleague of mine who is extremely well-connected in the world of broadcast media recently gave me a lesson in what it’s like to be “networked.”
When you meet someone for the first time here in the Caribbean the first decision that’s usually made subconsciously is whether or not this person will become a personal friend.
A skilled networker, however, goes an extra step and asks themselves whether or not that person should be a part of their professional network.  I believe that the answer should almost
always be “Yes.”  So did he.
Once that decision is affirmed, there are a series of next steps to perform that will enable that person to become a part of your network, and hopefully help you to become a part of theirs.  I was on the receiving of my colleague’s networking skills, and it was interesting to see him go through what I consider to be a standard set of steps that are worth repeating here for anyone who wants to build a professional network.
Step 1 — Gather their contact information.  Make sure to get their personal email address, cell phone number
Step 2 — Enter the information in a place where it’s not only safe, but it can be effectively backed up
Step 3 — Reach out with  social networking offers.  Through your Facebook, LinkedIn and Plaxo accounts, invite them to connect with you and share contacts, plus select personal information
Step 4 — Point them to your published content.  (It doesn’t have to be written, and could include photos, music, websites, mashups, etc.)
Step 5 — Interact with them by asking for feedback, sharing notes about your networks, requesting comments on your blog, etc.
Step 6 — Ask them to subscribe.  Request that they join the list of subscribers to your RSS feeds, newsletters or any other frequently published content
Step 7 — Stay in touch with them as they move around.  This takes work, but try to keep the channels of communication open as they change jobs, move homes, change relationships, etc.
It’s important to note that this is not about getting more friends.There are lots of people that we work with, and would work with again that we have no interest in becoming friends with.  Having them in our network is not the same as having them as friends, and while some of the steps might appear to be similar as to the ones we’d take with friends, the motivation for taking the 7 Steps above is quite different.

FirstCuts30 – Action the Obama Way


The latest issue of FirstCuts, my bi-monthly newsletter is available at the following link:

It starts with the following introduction:


I don’t know how Obama would do if he were an executive in our
region, and I don’t know if he has ever worked in our part of the

However, after writing this month’s issue I now have an idea
of what he’d have to do to address the plantation slavery
work-ethic that has prevailed for over 500 years.

It’s not that we ourselves don’t have a clue, but I have found
that the clearer I understand the world in which I operate, the
better I am at succeeding within it. Some of the most exciting
moments I have ever had, have occurred when I learned something
new about something I had been doing for some time.

Perhaps that’s not a bad way to describe what I have been trying
to do for my readers in each issue of FirstCuts, and especially
in this issue.


To subscribe, send email to

NewHabits Programme in Kingston, Jamaica


Recently, on my blog and ezine, I wrote about the scary economic news,
and how it’s deepened the need for productivity solutions. During this recession, we are forced to find ways to do the same or more withmuch less. That goes for companies, and it also goes for careers.

Less people, smaller budgets, little time, a lot of really bad news…

Well, I actually have some good news for those interested in doing the course in Kingston.

I have undertaken a revamp of NewHabits-NewGoals, my (formerly) 2 day programme that has been offered here in Jamaica and in Trinidad.

>>> To jump to the details, see

With this new design, I decided to incorporate what I learned from the feedback over the past year, and am offering a “hybrid” for the first time.

The new programme consists of a single day of classroom training, which tackles the Essential Fundamentals, plus 12 weeks of online e-learning including live conference calls to review the Essentials and get into the Advanced Fundamentals.

This matches my experience in Kingston and Port of Spain, in which the materials that participants got the most value from came on the first day.

In making this change, I have tried to match the pace of learning — a lot of new stuff in the beginning, with the more advanced stuff coming later, in more digestible chunks. This makes it much easier to accomplish the goals of the programme — to give those who attend
the tools to create a customized time management that fits their life, and their lifestyle.

>>> For details visit

The best news of all is that I am able to offer the programme on February 13th at a significant reduction in price, which I know that you’ll appreciate given the times we are in.

What I _cannot_ promise is that the price will remain at J$14,000 (GCT inc.) after the next programme.

In addition, I also can’t promise that the Early Bird or Corporate discounts for registering before January 31st (J$12,000) will be there for everyone who asks for them, as they are limited in number, and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

So, act early, and claim your seat today. Click on the link below and request an invoice today.

>>> Find programme information at

Hope to see you in the class in Kingston, Jamaica,


P.S. Of course, you might also decide to take the 12 week online
programme by itself. If so, the price is being kept at US$99 /
J$8.2k for now, so you can see why NewHabits’ price is good value
for money.

P.P.S If you have questions, you can ask them at my blog at: