Choosing the right leaders


Monday, October 14, 2013

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HOW can one explain this US shutdown? Is it the constant repetition of the word 'Obamacare' that got to the House Republicans; like a child who gets angry when his parents insist on something that he finds unacceptable? Is the word Obamacare a trigger for defiance, just as "eat your vegetables" could be to a resisting youngster?

It could very well be, and perhaps the first step towards reopening America, would be for the White House and press friends to call the Act by its correct name: The Affordable Health Care for America Act. It seems that, for members of the 'Tea Party', the name Obama stirs up anger — whether it is a matter of racism or just political manoeuvring, we cannot tell.

Friday's poll results may very well encourage conciliatory moves by the Republicans. The New York Times reported: "With Washington inching towards a resolution to the budget stand-off, Republicans grappled with new polls showing that the public overwhelmingly blames them for the fiscal dispute. In an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey released Thursday evening, 53 per cent of the public blamed Republicans, while 31 per cent blamed Obama. Just 24 per cent of those surveyed said they had a favourable opinion of Republicans."

It goes to show the delicate balance in today's world, and the importance of choosing the right leaders. Thank goodness for these scientific surveys which have a wonderfully deflating effect on politicians' egos.

Chris Zacca on Leadership

We recommend the address on leadership made by PSOJ President Chris Zacca at the launch of
the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica's annual conference. This is a field that is a lifesaver for companies big and small, and Jamaica has some of the finest HR managers. I will never forget the late Herb Lewis, who was industrial relations manager at Wray & Nephew, a man who took his values of Christianity into his dealings with all levels of workers. One night his car broke down in a certain community and he was held up by gunmen. When he spoke one of them realised that it was he who had helped several members in the community to get training and move up in their jobs. Their threats quickly turned into apologies.

Chris shared with us five of ten key areas for developing ethical leadership, recommended by The Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics, an independent US entity that works with CEOs of leading corporations:

— Articulate and embody the purpose and value of the organisation

— Focus on organisational success rather than personal ego

— Find the best people and develop them

— Create a living conversation about ethics, values and the creation of value for stakeholders

— Create mechanisms of dissent

The fourth is of particular significance because, as Chris says: "Too often business executives think that having a laminated values card in their wallet, or having a purely compliance approach to ethics has solved the ethics problem. I'm sure Bernie Madoff, maybe even Cash Plus and other troubled companies had these systems in place."

"What they didn't have," he continued, "was a conversation across all levels of the business where the basics of value creation, stakeholder principles and societal expectations were routinely discussed and debated".

In these tough economic times, folks may allow panic to take hold and not focus on the importance of these five key elements for leadership. They should understand that it is now even more important to pause, plan and ensure that they are fit, proper and ready for the tsunami of challenges that is already building in this country.

New ECJ Chairman Dorothy Pine-McLarty

As she delivered the Rose Leon Memorial Lecture in March of this year, Beverly Anderson Duncan singled out Dorothy Pine-McLarty in the audience and reflected that she would make a fine Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ). This materialised earlier this month when the selected members of the ECJ voted for their new chairman, following the resignation of Dr Herbert Thompson.

A distinguished attorney-at-law, Mrs Pine-McLarty has served on the ECJ as an independent commissioner, since its inception in 2006. She has also given exceptional service in other areas of public life, as well as in community and private sector development. She was appointed a member of the Order of Jamaica in October 2007 for outstanding public service.

The Jamaican people should know that the lady at the helm of the ECJ, the governing body for the conduct of Jamaica's elections, is Chairperson of the Access to Information Appeals Tribunal and serves in various voluntary positions. She was admitted as a solicitor of the
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in 1995, and
while there she served on
the boards of several organisations including Charities Evaluation Services Board of England and Wales, and The Jamaica Basic Schools' Foundation (United Kingdom) Limited.

Strong bonds with Spain

Ambassador Celsa Nuño and her husband Alex Crowther hosted a splendid Spain National Day event at the Mona Visitors' Lodge, UWI, last Wednesday. Ambassador Nuño reminded us that Spanish entrepreneurs "had invested heavily in Jamaica, and had a solid commitment to corporate social responsibility." The Spanish-Jamaican Foundation chaired by Ambassador Nuño partnered with the Jamaica National Heritage Trust in the restoration of the Seville Great House in St Ann. She continues the initiative of her predecessor Ambassador Jesús Silva, providing significant assistance for the restoration of the historical Holy Trinity Cathedral in downtown Kingston.

Her Government engaged Spanish expert Professor Antonio Sanchez-Barriga, who trained 32 young men in the surrounding communities in art restoration. Professor Sanchez-Barriga will receive the Jamaican honour of the Jamaica Order of Distinction, Commander Class, on National Heroes' Day for his contribution. Foreign Affairs Minister A J Nicholson delivered an excellent toast, remarking on the generosity of the Government of Spain and the strong bond between our people. We were also delighted to hear of the Foundation's Spanish Teachers Competition and heartily applauded the winner Mr Errol Hutton of Meadowbrook High School.




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