Sunday, November 21, 2021

Really men?!? Haven't we been tokenised enough?

International Men's Day [IMD] passed recently and I was ONLY made aware when i received the greetings via social media from well meaning females. This got me thinking. 

As I thought, a number of questions came to mind which would probably bring me under scrutiny of both sexes. (I really don't care what you identify as, that's your business not mine). That's for another time. 

I began to search and here's what I found when checking for the origins and its significance. 

Earlier I mentions the questions that came to mind. I'll share them since they may cause you to think about things more deeply rather than just at the surface level that many of us have become accustomed to of late. 

Think on them, discuss them, really delve into the meanings for you and your society so that the next time IMD comes by there would be some meaning, some significance, and we would be prepared to truly celebrate men. 

Here are some questions, you may have more. 

  • What is International Men's Day about and how does it concern me as a man? 
  • Why did it begin? 
  • When were men going to be informed? 
  • How are we celebrating men internationally and its not even known at the local level? 
  • Is man fulfilling their God given role and purpose? 
  • Do we as men know what that is or we just ignorant of our roles and purposes? 
  • Why do some women think we need validation by them? 
  • What contributions would have been made to life having lived? 
  • Is it about conquering or developing a lasting legacy? 
  • Why despite all that men do they are heavily criticized for what they didn't do? 
Sure they are other questions that come to mind, however I will leave those for the inputs of others so inclined to comment. 

Dr. Jerome Tealucksingh of UWI Trinidad and Tobago in honoring his father's birthday commemorated it by creating something that serves men and boys through a global initiative. How do we as men take it to another level of significance? 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

I studied hotel management - Here's why.

Coming out of school can be a process that has you being fairly uncertain as to what you're now going to do with the shiny CXC certificates. You come out into the wider world realizing that unless you go into another school system a number of things will change. 

  • No three vacations a year
  • You have to literally earn your keep to sustain your livelihood
  • Uncertainty of whether you'll see your school friends again and when
  • Making choices about studying further or going to work, both of which can seem daunting. There's no natural progression. 
The world has a lot of choices which can be overwhelming since no amount of visiting the guidance counselor in school can ever prepare you for. You have to think about what you would consider fair remuneration should you work. Ongoing school has a plethora of choices, many of which you never heard about since it's not as easy as choosing a subject area. 

I kind of stumbled onto hotel management at Barbados Community College. When I went to the interviews I was still uncertain as to what I wanted to do. When I learned about the program I asked what it entailed and I learned about the practical attributes coupled with the theory. This intrigued me since the time at which I came along experience and qualifications were played off against each other by many employers; if you had one they wanted the other. The game still continues I've learned - frustrating to the applicants who just want to work. 

Internships are where the theoretical information comes together. You learn that though you studied formally, there is still a lot to be learned from those who have no formal training but loads of experience. Internships allow you to learn how to function within a practical setting. 

My firsthand exposure via internships enabled me to become a believer in their significance afterwards. They proved invaluable permitting me to work in every single area of the hotel both large and small. This permitted exposure to areas that I would not have had should I have followed the conventional route if study. 

We built networks of colleagues from around the region both here in Barbados as well as in The Bahamas. When faced with issues, I personally was told, hotel management is not just what happens in the classroom, it is a way of life which must be handled accordingly. Talk about preparation, we never received any pampering/sheltering of any sort within the work force. Therefore we were more equipped for the transition to the world of work. 

Our studies were intense, and doing field research were often told that we were functioning at a level higher than our qualifications we were pursuing. We committed to excellence and professionalism. Like anyone else, we face challenges within the workplace, but our experiences allowed us to function at a greater level of maturity. 

I would recommend it to anyone who is searching and uncertain of their career paths. You gain insights that can only auger you well in you chosen area(s). 

Since 2020 we have formally founded the UWIAA CHTM where we are a virtual, global network of people with very diverse backgrounds within and outside of the industry. We are a resource that tourism entities across the region may draw upon for assistance. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

Too often we miss it

Life can be an adventure particularly when you are functioning in the world of business. People around the globe generally try to keep their work / personal lives separate and distinct. There are instances however that cause the two worlds to meet. They are quite real and often will not be denied recognition by those who are experiencing the situations at the times they take place. 

Very often, if left unchecked we can get into the setting of what was once described as PLOM disease. [Poor Little Old Me] It's when the odds seem stacked against you and mentally you become a victim due to the frequency of the mishaps taking place.  

When things happen with us

Life can through is into situations where we are presented with "the curve ball". It's when circumstances happen to us that we can't necessarily explain or even understand. The can comprise of a variety of elements that impact us. E.g. Illnesses, relationship changes, financial storms, are said to be around the usual suspects. 

Often we are in the mode of minding our own business totally oblivious to the experiences of another who can be right beside us. The are plagued with uncertainties and doubts which can hamper their productivity at work. 

How we interpret it? 

People are so strange that when you observe various behaviours it's important not to necessarily take it personal. Sometimes the individual being observed may be going through some challenges that stem from a variety of areas that have absolutely nothing to do with you. Don't be so quick to "write yourself into the script".  

Situations from people's childhood, another life they once lived and a myriad of other experiences can manifest themselves in your current environment. They impact you, but you are not the cause of it and it's important that you recognize it early or that relationship can go on the rocks of non-recovery because of the intolerance of the parties. 

The need to get out of our own way 

If you have been around in life long enough. You'd hear the older people say things like "Be still", "Peace be still", "It's in God's hands", and other such sayings. They are meant to comfort you, however in many instances you may not understand what they are trying to convey especially if your experiences or readings are limited. You may not have the experience base on which to draw. 

That's alright. It's not necessarily your fault. As a people we try to apportion fault to situations too much. It is our way of trying to understand what's going on; to make sense of situations. We take things quite personally often projecting anticipated behaviours of interactions that may never take place. 

Learn to accept everything on its own merit. You may not be the only one receiving a particular treatment. We may be too defensive from our personal viewpoint when the other person may need help and just NOT know how to ask for it. 

Now that celebrities have shown their own vulnerabilities, some are actually being more aware of and have enhanced their tolerance of mental issues. Pressures that impact behaviour are not always about you, though it may be difficult don't take it personal. 

Moving ahead 

Can you really say that you know someone? Can you be a character reference for them and they for you? Often people live within the same house, work within the same environments; yet there are behaviours that arise that surprise everyone completely since they are completely left field. 

I'm not identifying any situations since they are so widespread and can impact the same individual in different ways. Though I am not formally trained in Psychology, these are observations made over an extensive times. 

It's not a license to behave as you like, neither is it to say that you must accept all behaviours that go outside the norm of what you've become accustomed. However, you must be aware so that you can better navigate the stages of the relationship(s) with people that you interact with. Some, including you, may have quite a bit of baggage to attend as you deal with the issues you confront. We don't ever really know. 

Here are somethings that you can employ to help you better function in your interactions with people:
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Courtesy
  • Fairness 
  • Enhanced tolerance levels 
  • Being non-judgmental
  • Understanding you can only address your personal issues since you can't change anyone else
  • Listening
These eight (8) are not the total list, but it's a start. I'm sure you will encounter others as your awareness grows. 

Walk a little faster, give someone a compliment to brighten their day, smile (one that is genuine and goes up to your eyes), decide to be a winner and not a whiner. Stop complaining, focus on solutions and don't dwell on a problem. You have what it takes - be a difference maker. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

Getting into business, not into bed


One would imagine that business like most other things would have boundaries. However, when one gets to see close up what people in business have to experience, some revelations come out.

Within my practice, most of my clients tend to be female. We tend to meet either online, which I have been doing long before COVID, or in some public domain areas e.g. a Cafe.

Over time clients confide some things as they get to know you. One thing that comes out repeatedly are the qualities of professionalism, cordiality, my listening skills, my analytical acumen, and my knack for spotting solutions in business which are then developed to the clients' benefit.

There is another element that comes out. Why aren't other men, a generalization I believe, not like me. When I inquire as to what they mean; to put it subtly, they are constantly hit on with all types of propositions to help them advance their businesses, all they would have to do is......

Really?!? With all the Me Too movements going on people would still do that? Men, there was a time when we would be more discreet and not knock ourselves around. However this brazen behaviour is becoming far too common place, and it's not suited for developing strong businesses. Is this why businesses within the Caribbean have grown only so far and no farther? Not every situation needs to have a degree of carnality introduced to it.

In business, we should be seeking growth of the business; not of the notches in ones measurement device of how many people one beds. It almost seems so juvenile. People are out there writing "cheques" that their bodies can't cash. Sadly, for the females who embark on the experience(s) they are left disappointed.

Therefore I ask, are we getting into business or into bed. The rules are quite different, so are the outcomes. Not everyone needs to know what you are like under every circumstance. It's time for our standards to be raised.

Can we look at the following:
1. How to develop sustainable businesses
2. How to ensure they grow beyond one generation
3. Understanding and growing business through shareholders rather than bank loans when seeking funding for startups and expansions
4. Planning for retained earnings to grow the business experiences, not to purchase doodads.
5. To move beyond the realm of being self employed and become true businessmen and investors. Employing systems that causes round the clock growth.
6. Export and expansion to other countries outside of the country of origin for the entity.
7. Doing business in cross cultural, cross lingual environments harnessing the skills and abilities of many latent assets we have among our human capital that are currently untapped.

I'll stop here and if you feel inclined to provide feedback, you're welcome to do so. Today's the beginning of another week. Let's make it the beginning of new business experiences and environments.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Understanding customer service within your business

Customer service like everything else in business is under revision. It is feeling the pressure of the pandemic and lots of promises formerly made by organizations are failing under the test of the pressure. 

You can no longer reach anyone in most organizations. The reliability of most entities have been put under pressure and they are failing to reach the most basic of expectations. 

COVID has impacted entire departments within organizations where everyone within the said department can be put in isolation/quarantine. This disconnected the organization's ability to be able to deliver on certain basic functions.

With the displacement  caused by  Covid-19  there are many organizations that do not know the experiences of their customers. Simple transactions like document processing, payments on accounts, receivables on accounts, administrative matters, and all else seemed to have gone out of order. 

Lots of organizations are blaming the broad back of COVID, and the occasional bad weather now we are in hurricane season. 

Who is suffering as a result? Well let us start with the elderly, who have having quite the challenge adjusting to using technology with which they are not fully familiar. They try to make calls for clarity only to speak with someone who can offer little more than polite dialogue since they are not even in the same country and don’t know the people within the organization they are supposed to be representing. The elderly will have issues with, among other things; online payments, health and medical insurance claims, seeing the fine print on the screens, being able to speak with someone who can offer solutions that are tangible. The world within which they must now function makes them seem obsolete. 

The youth with education programs that have instructors not fully competent with the technology themselves, but the youth get blamed for not attending class when they spend hours waiting for admittance to the class, or instructors to even show up. How do I know this? I’m a remote worker so I get to observe some of this behaviour through the youngsters in my domain. 

Those in between, who in many instances are now realizing that being able to see and pronounce a word does not necessarily mean they understand what is being communicated. The breakdown in communication is huge, and it doesn’t help when most cannot spell and are unable to adequately use grammar to ensure what is intended is being communicated. 

Can the current situation be blamed on COVID though? I say NO! COVID has caused us to pause and consider what we have taken for granted for way too long. We have not learned the lesson the first time around and COVID makes us repeat the pauses/shutdowns to see if we would identify what we missed and adjust our behaviours to suit. It feels like we are taking 40 years to complete a 30 day journey. [Only some will get this.] 

This is a time of reset in all relationships, public and private. We need to come to a place of empathy where we take the time to understand each other. In this environment, we wouldn’t be listening to respond, but to understand.

Sometimes when you listen to someone express themselves, even when they are thinking, if you don’t interfere with a response but remain silent, you will observe them arrive at the solution themselves. They didn’t need advice but a listening ear. They wanted the support of someone hearing them think. 

The other aspect is when people require the services/products of vendors who provide them. They ask for concessions, they want to negotiate already bottom out prices or they price your work then wonder why you don’t want to take their offer. However the experience has been when situations like this come up is that not only does one do the work, but then they have to beg to be paid. Many of us have learned the hard way and we’re done with it. 

To be clear, if you want to get into business, then have the money to get the business planning done - there’s no such thing as a discounted lawsuit. They don’t say that they got what they could afford but they, the customer, will malign your name and damage your reputation. Be careful when you are doing business. Take every effort to communicate clearly in this era of distorted understanding. Ensure that you put everything in writing since people learn in various ways and therefore relate differently to information. 

What have been your experiences over the past 2 years? Feel free to share. Have a wonderful Sunday. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

We were schooled, now what?!?


Over the past few years, we've witnessed some things that makes one wonder about what is going on around us, and about our existence. Here are some considerations:

  • We have higher education, yet we are waiting to get jobs so people who only have experience can tell us what to do. We are unwilling to use the education we worked so hard for and paid such money for work for us. We have ultimately achieved the education of mental bondage. 
  • Though we received schooling, we are yet to learn how to think in terms of solutions rather than dwelling on the problem. We are too readily defeated in the battlefield of our minds. 
  • We study for a grade rather than to get paid. We are taught to use our skills and education within the confines of a job. Yet, so few of us realize the benefits of applying our knowledge to our gain. We follow rules that don't benefit us, and have become a herd of sheeple following unquestionably every suggestion that is meted out to us for the gain of others. 
  • We have focused so hard upon passing subjects that we are yet to learn the true value of success lies within our abilities to form lasting relationships with people. 
  • Spas are for boosting wellness, clubs harbour and permit the formation of social relationships, gyms help develop our bodies physically, but the true champion is harnessing a close relationship with our creator; learning purpose, destiny, and how we truly fit in to the requirements this life has for us. Church is not so much where we go to receive but where we go to give of ourselves in service to others - our fellow man for the common good. 
Sure I can leave you thinking about what I mean, however I'll clue you in on where to start the process of thought. We did math yet struggle numerically - in measurements, finances, and in areas requiring calculations. 

Our practice of languages leave us ineffective at communicating with the oral, written and verbal dexterity so necessary for living at levels of comfort many dream of but few attain. Our inability to adequately communicate leads to a myriad of misunderstandings that result in broken relationships, mistrust, disharmony and all the other complications that compromise interactions. 

As a people, our ability to competently use information is key to our successes. As the title says, we were schooled, now what are we going to do given our situations we're facing. Plan to be a winner. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

COVID can't take all the blame

As you know, COVID has been around for some time now. We are all aware of the challenges and trauma it has caused to people of all walks of life. People, businesses, countries all felt the impact of COVID. We know it well. 

As things restart, we are doing business once again for both private enterprise and for the government. Everyone wants their work done, with a matter of urgency. 

Claims of how you come highly recommended are common, along with the other lofty reminders of your reputation - so the marketing seems to work. Then comes the "sob" story of the predicament they are in and why they so desperately need your help. Afterwards the closing arguments of how their situation took up their resources and they will pay you in one/combination of the following ways:

  • they want to negotiate your fees downwards 
  • they want a payment plan that permits installments; which they never stick to
  • they want to offer you shares in their business and they are not even incorporated
  • they want to pay you on the back end of the assignment
  • they even go as far as saying we as a people need to support each other; really
  • now there's a new boy, with broad shoulders that took the brunt of licks in the last year - the COVID-19 pandemic [very specifically] got things hard and difficult
In short, they want you to pay using your own resources to do their work. 

Recently, there was one that was heard: The hurricane damaged their many properties so now they have to fix them and then get back to you - who was on assignment to help them get money in the first place. 

People who sell products are raising their prices like crazy and blaming shipping costs. Services, not so much, since they are not aware in many instances that their costs have increased and in what areas and therefore are, in many instances, unable to justify their increases so they work at a loss. 

There's something all business people seek and it's called success. Yet they seem to miss the point that the businesses they deem as successful also have challenges but instead of dwelling on the problem, they focus on a solution. 

The leadership of these successful entities hold themselves accountable and work towards developing plans and utilizing resources that will enable them NOT to stay in an area of challenge for too long. 

There are many articles written about successful people and the surplus they have accumulated over time. Some articles even make it seem downright unfair that these people are being rewarded in the way they are. Yet those same successful people worked tirelessly, making personal sacrifices of time and energy, and sometimes relationships to build and expand their sphere of influence through their organizations. DON'T GRUDGE THEM. 

They use the same principles available to everyone else who is willing to put the work in and invest the time/resources necessary to GET THINGS DONE. 

Stop the blame game, it's doing no one any good. Get the success habits. They are all over begging to be taken up - but we don't want to read, listen, attend to the details and get the information that encourages success. 

Some of us go the other extreme, watching the successes of mega successful people who told their stories and live in the euphoria that we too will make it. Yet ignore those who are a little more successful and identify what they are doing; often within our own environment that makes them successful. 

Just as there is information on what we can do that is right to succeed, there is information on the wrong to avoid so that we don't fail. We all need to be aware, researching both approaches so that we can step closer to success while avoiding the pitfalls of failure. Someone has made those mistakes before, there is no need to try to make them all over again. 

Now that the world is resetting, this is your time to DO IT RIGHT. Strategize, plan and execute, this way you too can build your legacy. Remember, COVID cant take all the blame. 

Really men?!? Haven't we been tokenised enough?

International Men's Day [IMD] passed recently and I was ONLY made aware when i received the greetings via social media from well meaning...