Monday, September 29, 2014

Sidjae on Perception

This week's message from ace business guru Sidjae Robinson Walia:
Graphic from
Good day leaders,
In every aspect of business and society, some of the worst and most incompetent leaders have managed to retain their leadership positions and even rise to higher positions. One possible answer to this mystery is that decision makers most likely have a positive perception of these leaders. In politics, voters select the person that they like the most and who they perceive will work best for them; in business, board members choose CEOs that they perceive will achieve the vision of the company. Leaders who present an image that meets the perception of decision makers often retain their position and get promotions.

There are many leaders who are great in the technical aspect of their respective roles, but who maintain a negative perception in the eyes of decision makers for one reason or another. These leaders often feel cheated and misrepresented. As a leader, one of your roles is to manage how you are perceived by your team members, colleagues, and decision makers. Each group has different needs and different expectations. Leaders who are adept at building relationships are able to identify the needs and expectations of the community they serve and to meet them. 

How are you perceived by your peers, team members and decision makers? What steps have you taken to better understand the needs and expectation of the community you serve, and to meet them?
To Your Unlimited Possibilities,

Sidjae Walia
Training that expands your mind and life
"The mind, once expanded to dimensions of bigger ideas, never returns to its original size" - Oliver Wendell Holmes

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*Certified to administer the MBTI for individuals and groups. Give me a call if you are interested in learning how your personality impacts your work, team, and personal life.*

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

For a cleaner, more productive Jamaica

Jamaica Observer column by Jean Lowrie-Chin | 22 SEPT 2014

A street in Barbados ..from
I have to admit I felt a bit envious of those clean streets when I visited Barbados last year.  At frequent intervals, we saw signs warning against littering, and the hefty fines for doing so.  “They watch you, and they catch you,” explained our taxi driver. “They don’t joke!” 
Well, the joke seems to be on us here in Jamaica, where we are seeing not a beautification, but a “buttu-fication” of our surroundings.  In a country where our leaders seems to lurch from one political campaign to the next, the basic business of keeping our country clean gets overlooked.  Now as the ChikV disease claims multiple victims each day, we hear an appeal going up for a clean-up day to destroy mosquito breeding sites.  Does this mean that with 216 parish councillors, this is not an ongoing activity?  
Jamaicans do their part on ICCD
However, we cannot blame the garbage issue solely on the authorities.  We all have a responsibility to keep our environment clean.  Last Saturday on International Coastal Clean-Up Day (ICCD), we saw photographs online of areas inundated with plastic bottles and other types of garbage. 
I recall being at a picnic in Maryland with my friend Joy Rodgers and seeing her send her children to pick up litter.  Then she sent them to an area where we had not been sitting, to pick up more.  She explained to me:  “I want my children to leave places even cleaner than they found them.”  What an important lesson, as her children were being reminded of their responsibility to this planet whose good health will determine ours – physically and economically.
Plastics in particular, are a serious threat to the livelihood of our fisherfolk.  A Jamaica Observer report quotes Nelson Andrade Colmenares of UNEP's Caribbean Environment Programme: "the impact of plastics is not only disastrous but expensive, generating US$13 billion in annual damages to marine ecosystems.”
We are grateful that the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) was able to coordinate such a massive operation for ICCD, engaging 9,000 volunteers in 130 locations islandwide.  Now it is up to the leaders in our communities, to follow up with a maintenance programme so all of this good work is not in vain.
A Jamaican school - Gleaner photo
“Mediocre” schools
Are we racing or slouching towards “Vision 2030”?  We have to ask, having heard that, in a presentation to the House of Parliament last Wednesday, the National Education Inspectorate (NEI) is not seeing any improvement in our school system, based on a recent study of 129 schools in its latest assessment.
Senior Staff Reporter Balford Henry quoted the analysis: "With over 800 schools inspected, it is clear, based on the data that these trends are not likely to change, when the entire baseline study of 954 schools is completed. And this means that we have sufficient evidence to show that the level of performance system-wide is, for the most part, mediocre -- with the primary schools lagging behind the secondary ones."
Children making good progress in Digicel Foundation/USAID/Min of Education Enrichment programme
In the meanwhile, I know that there are dedicated public servants at the Ministry of Education who have been working assiduously to have our schools produce better results, beginning with that all important foundation of early childhood education. The USAID has also joined forces with the Ministry and the Digicel Foundation to roll out a Schools Enrichment Programme focusing on literacy, numeracy and the sciences.
We know that there are still exceptional teachers in the system, but they need to ensure that the less dedicated do not give the profession a bad name. We have to support the Minister in his appeal that teachers take their leave outside of the 190 days on which teaching takes place.  We were surprised to hear that 95 percent of teachers’ applications for leave took place during the time of instruction.  If we do the math, our teachers have another 175 days in which to apply for leave!  For those of us who are limited to two- or three-week vacations, we are dismayed that this is not thought to be a reasonable request from the Minister.
The Ministry of Education certainly has some huge challenges, but our teachers should know that with technology racing ahead, those who will not step up to give better than mediocre results may be replaced by the online virtual classrooms that are already being successfully used in other countries.
graphic from
Flexi-time and Family Time
We understand that the debate in the House on the proposed Employment (Flexi Work Arrangements) (Miscellaneous Provisions Act), 2014 will take place tomorrow.  This is a burning issue for some churches which observe the Sabbath as a day when no work should take place. 
The proposal is that Sundays and Public Holidays be treated as regular workdays, and business operators determine their own opening and closing hours. The act will however stipulate that a workday be capped at 12 hours and that a work week should not exceed 40 hours. 
Bear in mind though, that as long as one is dedicated and efficient, generally employers will show respect for religious and family obligations.  One plant manager explained that he found workers who were Seventh Day Adventists to be the most diligent and honest.  Their work ethic inspired their managers to re-arrange schedules so they could be allowed to observe their Sabbath. Change is difficult but necessary, as we try to boost our country’s low rate of productivity.
Scammers disgracing Jamaica
The latest news that a popular disc jockey, Deon-ville O’Hara aka ZJ Wah Wa will be pleading guilty this week in North Dakota, to charges of  conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering, is disturbing.  Apparently, he decided to change his ‘not guilty’ plea after his four collaborators admitted to the charges. 
A total of 16 Jamaicans have been arrested as part of that ring, and we wonder how these crimes could have been allowed to spread so far and wide, casting many United States seniors into poverty.  In a Jamaica where everybody knows everybody’s business, this widespread criminal behaviour reeks of greed. 
Leaders in all sectors must collaborate in restoring stronger moral values in our people – we have to find out how these well-educated scammers lost their way, so we can help others to make better life choices.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Jamaica Observer lead: £7.5 trillion for slavery

 I had to post this revolutionary lead in today's Jamaica Observer! - Jean Anita
from The Jamaica Observer

Reparations commission says Ja would be due £2.3 trillion of total for Caribbean
BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter
Tuesday, September 23, 2014     54 Comments

THE National Commission on Reparations (NCR) says Jamaica would be due at least £2.3 trillion (approximately J$416.3 trillion) from any slavery reparations paid by Britain to the region.
This money would be able to pay off Jamaica’s national debt of $2 trillion and set the nation on a new economic path.
The figure was based on the NCR’s calculation of Jamaica’s 30.64 per cent of the £7.5 trillion calculated by British academic theologian, Dr Robert Beckford, as being owed by Britain to its former colonies.

Read more here ...

  • When will we start to focus on the real problem. If Jamaica got the whole 7.5 trillion, we would be back where we are in a few years.
    We have wasteful corrupt politicians who put party before country and a lazy corrupt populace who give them undying support/
    The PM's mouth slipped: We are spending MORE to do LESS....and everyone at the stadium applauded!

  • I seriously hope that Britain, does not even glance at anything named reparation to any failed BLACK state like ours. Jamaica failed because Jamaicans allowed it to fail. The reason why Jamaicans cant even go to Britain freely is because of Jamaicans. When will Jamaicans and people of African descent, start admitting that the reason why our states cannot escape failure, is because we still think we are enslaved and continue to blame colonialism for OUR failure

    Our present situation stems directly from slavery, to say otherwise would indicate grave ignorance. Everything that occurs leads to some kind of consequence, be it good or bad. Slavery has set us back tremendously and that's very obvious. If I'm wrong, ask yourself if we would be in the same situation today if slavery didn't happen. The answer I'm sure will be NO!

    I applaud and support any move for any empire that benefitted financially and otherwise to pay reparations. Folks who hear " Reparations" immediately sees and thinks $$$.....and why not?? The JEWISH people were paid (still being paid) for their pain and suffering. Apologies have come to them from all angles and I salute those brothers/sisters for being resolute in demanding their reparations which has come in words and deeds. What people has failed to understand and grasp pis the long-term damage that slavery has wreaked on generations of people of African decent. Countries like Franch and Britain et al must be held "accountable". If that means zeroing out the Caribbean's National debt then so be it. The fight for Reparations should be a national and regional battle cry. It should be a matter of pride. REPARATIONS MI SEH!!

    I like your post. The jews suffered for 4 Years. FOURS!!!!!!. We suffered for over 600 years.

    They claim it was a bit longer than that.
  • No money can compensate for any.form of human. Bondage

    The people feel that it fair that their country be compensated for the free labor.

    Good luck collecting anywhere near that amount...didn't you hear Britain is so broke they are borrowing from China? Good luck iyah. I will work for mine..
  • Yes sireee!!! Story a come to bump. Hmmmmm so if this is owed by Britain to Jamaica I wonder how much the Spanish owes Jamaica?

    • How much do the Jamaican government (past and present) owe Jamaica.. WE are our worst nightmare... Slavery was horrific I do agree, but we were on a path of progress after we gained independence... Could you please tell me what happened?

      • What happened is that slavery didn't actually end, it just transcended to what it is now.

      • What happened was that people were delusional thinking we were on some path to progress in 60s. From looks of it some people still are. Path to progress LOL!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jamaicans among South Florida's Most Influential

Here's a message from Attorney-at-Law and Immigration expert Dahlia Walker-Huntington, who with three other outstanding Jamaicans, were recently honoured:
Dahlia (right) with fellow awardeees
Humbled, honored and proud all at the same time - thank you Legacy Magazine for the honor of being named one of South Florida's 25 Most Influential & Prominent Black Women in Business & Leadership for 2014. Congrats to my fellow awardess: Catherine Foote Malcolm of Jerk Machine, Rep Hazelle Rogers and Joy Thomas of Grace Foods.
To God goes all the glory Horace Ward, Georgia Robinson, Beverly Findlay and Allison Smith - thanks for your support and Glen Huntington, my rock, much love

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Jamaica needs more ‘Indecoms’

by Jean Lowrie-Chin | Jamaica Observer column | published 15 Sept 2014
I look at every Commissioner of Police with so much sympathy!  Past scenarios have rumours swirling and before you know it, “Commish” falls from someone’s good graces and the taps begin to sound. We do hope that Commissioner Carl Williams will be able to weather the many storms he must face in this rigorous post.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds (right) presents the baton to new Commissioner of Police Dr Carl Williams signalling the change of command at the installation ceremony yesterday at the Police Officers’ Club for the new Commissioner. (OBSERVER PHOTO: MICHAEL GORDON)
It is a fact that there are some terrible rogues in the JCF, but Jamaica should know that those are in the minority.  Most of our police officers are dedicated, hardworking Jamaicans, some of the most courageous and disciplined you would meet anywhere in the world.
This is why we must never read or listen to the news in a vacuum.  This is why we should ask probing questions like … why is it that there is an Indecom for wayward cops, and no similar organisation for wayward politicians?  Why is it that a semi-literate can build a shack, put a cross on it, put on a pastor’s collar and dupe poor people into buying him/her house and car while they walk miles to church?  Where is the church’s version of Indecom?  Why do teachers continue to resist any form of performance assessment, while police officers must look sharply at Force orders and are closely scrutinised before each promotion? Who reviews these top-heavy public boards of directors who attend retreats at posh resorts, the tab picked up by struggling taxpayers who are treated with scant regard by the very organisations these boards are supposed to lead?

So you see, my dear reader, that with only so many column inches and hours of news, it suits many that Jamaica has an official beating stick – the criticized, vilified police force!  Worse yet, we have heard from several respected, retired officers how they have suffered from the machinations of corrupt fellow officers, manipulated by even more corrupt politicians.  One such distinguished gentleman related how he was accused of visiting the house of a top politician in an opposing party when he did not even know where that person lived.  Before he knew it, he was virtually ostracized by the very organisation which he had served with distinction all his life. 

David and GoliathNow, if we really want a Jamaica where ‘justice, truth be ours forever,’ how can we continue to be so sheep-like in our public opinion?  Every study shows the terrible burden of crime and corruption on a country’s economy.  On almost every newscast we see the sub-human conditions under which our fellow Jamaicans are living.  This, in a country with 63 Members of Parliament, 216 Parish Councillors and a hefty Cabinet of 20. They preside over ministries and councils that are to ensure that this tiny little rock can be well-run.  Where is the ‘Indecom’ to ask why citizens must have sewage running through their streets and mountains of uncollected garbage? Who can a poor taxi man turn to, when potholes send him to the garage to replace expensive parts almost on a monthly basis?
If you read Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, ‘David and Goliath’, you will understand why we can do nothing efficiently under this top-heavy system. That well-aimed slingshot by a smart and courageous shepherd boy brought down a giant made slow and foolish by his heavy armour. We need the courage and smarts of a David to fight this persistent poverty of our people.  Interestingly, I see some promising ‘Davids’, male and female, joining both the PNP and JLP.  Let them not be drawn into this ‘conspiracy of mediocrity’ that is holding us back.  I have coined the phrase ‘conspiracy of mediocrity’ with good reason, and very soon, it will be the subject of a book by a wonderful Jamaican thinker.
Yes, we are glad there is an Indecom to help keep our police officers honest, but let us not believe that this alone will address the injustice that is enslaving our people.  We wish Mr Williams a successful tour of duty and all other leaders the courage to step up, so they can withstand the level of scrutiny to which Mr Williams will be subjecting himself.