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De Ole Dawg – Part 21: 2017: Renewing the Caribbean’s leadership culture

De Ole Dawg – Part 21: 2017: Renewing the Caribbean’s leadership culture

How can we renew our region’s leadership?

BRADES, Montserrat, July 14, 2017 – If we go back to May 10, 1940, the day when Hitler’s Panzers thrust out across Belgium, France and Holland, we will find the UK in leadership crisis. The Neville Chamberlain government had just collapsed due to the Norway fiasco. And, the only serious candidate to replace him was a most unlikely figure, the then much derided and doubted Winston Churchill.  Sure, he had spent the 1930’s warning of the gathering Nazi storm, but his track record in 1915 was that of disaster at the Dardanelles. To many, he seemed to be utterly unsuitable. And yet, those desperate days of the Battle of Britain after the Fall of France and the hard, bloody, painful, tear-stained years that followed cemented him in history as one of the greatest leaders of all time.

From this, we can know that the leadership we need in the Caribbean may come from unexpected directions, and may be under a cloud (especially given the habit of big frogs to spit “cocobeh” on those they don’t like). But, sound leadership is marked by courage and almost prophetic insight as to what is coming; which is bound to be controversial or even unpopular. Also, that if we are to have good leadership, we must be willing to be led, even by people we may not like. Envy, selfish ambition, utter disrespect for truth, fairness and the right, etc. will block or undermine any leadership. Disaster lies down that road, big frogs. And, leadership “cocobeh” can be cured.

We already know that ground zero for renewing Caribbean leadership and curing the “cocobeh” plague is our churches, and wider civil society: that is where our people already are. We know that sound ethical vision and example are critical – leadership is visionary, transforming service by example, not just empty words. We know that we have to educate and train leaders, and that sound, godly character makes a big difference. We know, we want a participative, community based approach, but this implies a major public education effort to renew our vision. There are too many myths and misunderstandings out there, too many manipulators. That also means we need plumb-line tests that let us know who we can trust, and who will lead us into marches of folly.

All of this already points to the pivotal role of newspapers with sound, brave editors. This is the only medium of mass communication that provides record, reach and always available access. It also implies that we need people to rise up with the courage, insight and will to stand in the gap, not just in prayer and teaching the scriptures or the like, or teaching sound history, but providing sound and even prophetic insight so that we can understand the signs, opportunities and challenges of our times as a region and thus be strategically guided as to what we should do.  Yes, good old SWOT analysis has its place: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

 Such immediately shows that we also need educators willing to train our people in leadership, committing themselves to writing on a regular basis, speaking, presenting, holding workshops, supporting church leaders, clubs, schools, and so forth, across the community.  (And yes, some of these should be providing training in business leadership, starting with how to start and run a successful small business.)

I would go beyond that. We are in an era of tablet computers, smart phones, low-cost laptops, online libraries and distance education by Internet.  Our churches, collectively provide the widest network of community-based facilities suitable to support education services across our region.

So, why not, let us create an online based, local centre-supported Associate Degree programme, with a concentration in Caribbean themed-, Christian Discipleship and Gospel Ethics based-, transformation- oriented leadership and service? Why not, let’s put as a major component in that, equipping our people with IT, Computer Science, high tech agriculture, small business, management, electronics and other technical skills? Why not, support this with a secondary completion and bridging programme that helps a good slice of the 80% of our youth who do not have good exam certificates, access such a programme with a good change of success?  Why not, associate this with short courses, workshops and the like that allow our people to build up specific skills they need? Why not, create an associated Graduate/Professional Diploma and Masters programme in education, to help build up the technical and professional muscle to back up such an initiative?(Surely, such an initiative can help make a key difference.)

Similarly, I think our churches, newspapers, media houses and civil society organisations need to provide widely accessible training in straight thinking, public speaking/presenting, sound persuasion [as opposed to manipulation], and in proper procedure for organising groups, running meetings and managing small projects – including business development projects.  In this work, let us look at the modern versions of Robert’s Rules of Order and similar guides to sound organisation and procedure.

There is also a place for sponsoring and supporting church and civil society based think tanks and organised reform movements.  In turn, this calls for a new spirit of volunteering of time, effort, skills and yes adequate money.  Investing – it is indeed an investment – in leadership is one of the keys to building a sound future for this or any other region.  Thus, we must ask: if not now, then when? If not here, then where? If not us, then who? And, where will that end up? END

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How can we renew our region’s leadership?

BRADES, Montserrat, July 14, 2017 – If we go back to May 10, 1940, the day when Hitler’s Panzers thrust out across Belgium, France and Holland, we will find the UK in leadership crisis. The Neville Chamberlain government had just collapsed due to the Norway fiasco. And, the only serious candidate to replace him was a most unlikely figure, the then much derided and doubted Winston Churchill.  Sure, he had spent the 1930’s warning of the gathering Nazi storm, but his track record in 1915 was that of disaster at the Dardanelles. To many, he seemed to be utterly unsuitable. And yet, those desperate days of the Battle of Britain after the Fall of France and the hard, bloody, painful, tear-stained years that followed cemented him in history as one of the greatest leaders of all time.

From this, we can know that the leadership we need in the Caribbean may come from unexpected directions, and may be under a cloud (especially given the habit of big frogs to spit “cocobeh” on those they don’t like). But, sound leadership is marked by courage and almost prophetic insight as to what is coming; which is bound to be controversial or even unpopular. Also, that if we are to have good leadership, we must be willing to be led, even by people we may not like. Envy, selfish ambition, utter disrespect for truth, fairness and the right, etc. will block or undermine any leadership. Disaster lies down that road, big frogs. And, leadership “cocobeh” can be cured.

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We already know that ground zero for renewing Caribbean leadership and curing the “cocobeh” plague is our churches, and wider civil society: that is where our people already are. We know that sound ethical vision and example are critical – leadership is visionary, transforming service by example, not just empty words. We know that we have to educate and train leaders, and that sound, godly character makes a big difference. We know, we want a participative, community based approach, but this implies a major public education effort to renew our vision. There are too many myths and misunderstandings out there, too many manipulators. That also means we need plumb-line tests that let us know who we can trust, and who will lead us into marches of folly.

All of this already points to the pivotal role of newspapers with sound, brave editors. This is the only medium of mass communication that provides record, reach and always available access. It also implies that we need people to rise up with the courage, insight and will to stand in the gap, not just in prayer and teaching the scriptures or the like, or teaching sound history, but providing sound and even prophetic insight so that we can understand the signs, opportunities and challenges of our times as a region and thus be strategically guided as to what we should do.  Yes, good old SWOT analysis has its place: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

 Such immediately shows that we also need educators willing to train our people in leadership, committing themselves to writing on a regular basis, speaking, presenting, holding workshops, supporting church leaders, clubs, schools, and so forth, across the community.  (And yes, some of these should be providing training in business leadership, starting with how to start and run a successful small business.)

I would go beyond that. We are in an era of tablet computers, smart phones, low-cost laptops, online libraries and distance education by Internet.  Our churches, collectively provide the widest network of community-based facilities suitable to support education services across our region.

So, why not, let us create an online based, local centre-supported Associate Degree programme, with a concentration in Caribbean themed-, Christian Discipleship and Gospel Ethics based-, transformation- oriented leadership and service? Why not, let’s put as a major component in that, equipping our people with IT, Computer Science, high tech agriculture, small business, management, electronics and other technical skills? Why not, support this with a secondary completion and bridging programme that helps a good slice of the 80% of our youth who do not have good exam certificates, access such a programme with a good change of success?  Why not, associate this with short courses, workshops and the like that allow our people to build up specific skills they need? Why not, create an associated Graduate/Professional Diploma and Masters programme in education, to help build up the technical and professional muscle to back up such an initiative?(Surely, such an initiative can help make a key difference.)

Similarly, I think our churches, newspapers, media houses and civil society organisations need to provide widely accessible training in straight thinking, public speaking/presenting, sound persuasion [as opposed to manipulation], and in proper procedure for organising groups, running meetings and managing small projects – including business development projects.  In this work, let us look at the modern versions of Robert’s Rules of Order and similar guides to sound organisation and procedure.

There is also a place for sponsoring and supporting church and civil society based think tanks and organised reform movements.  In turn, this calls for a new spirit of volunteering of time, effort, skills and yes adequate money.  Investing – it is indeed an investment – in leadership is one of the keys to building a sound future for this or any other region.  Thus, we must ask: if not now, then when? If not here, then where? If not us, then who? And, where will that end up? END