Living Up to Our Promises

I’ve worked in the private sector as a journalist, consultant, small business owner, editor, and intern with a global venture capital firm.

I’ve walked the halls of academia as a student, research associate, teaching assistant, and adjunct professor.

I’ve spent time in the public sector as a Foreign Service officer and diplomat.

As the founding chief executive of state-owned Investment Promotion Agency Invest Barbados, I’m no stranger to the quasi-governmental sector.

I’ve sat on the boards of public corporations and professional associations as well as on the International Advisory Board of a centre for research and innovation in the Middle East.

Only one thing creates the trust to drive successful delivery:  living up to our promises.

I’ve been a member of the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, and currently serve as the country’s Special Envoy and Special Advisor to the Minister and Ministry of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology.

During my career as a consultant, I’ve crafted position papers, policies, strategic plans, course materials, and delivered training in information and communications technology (ICT), telecommunications and digital media, e-Government and innovation, investment and export promotion, the cultural and creative industries, public communications and information, public broadcasting, and public diplomacy, national brand image, the global trade in services, tourism and the visitor economy.

Someone Has to Deliver

I’ve spoken to audiences around the world about the impact of digital technologies and emerging business models on how people live, work, invest, engage, have fun and do business.

Yet, traditional consultants can only diagnose and advise. Someone has to implement effectively to move a concept from thought to reality.  Someone who understands how to unleash great ideas, visions, policies, strategies, and training has to turn up and deliver.

The reality is that global disenchantment is rising because many leaders have not lived up to their promises to bring about transformation that puts people at the heart of economic growth and development.  Many leaders promise but they simply don’t deliver.  

Only one thing creates the trust to drive successful delivery:  living up to our promises.  We must align words with actions, doing what we say we’ll do when and how we say we’ll do it.  If we can’t do what we promise when we promise how we promise, we ought to say so and manage people’s expectations.

In Beyond the Nation Brand:  The Role of Image and Identity in International Relations, Simon Anholt suggests, “… places require new and dedicated structures to coordinate, conceive, develop, maintain, and promote … an unbroken chain of proof. None of the traditional apparatus of trade or government is fit for such a purpose.”

Restoring Trust

Still, a belief persists that anyone with a vision powerful enough to capture people’s imaginations can simply will that vision to reality.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The one who comes up with an idea isn’t necessarily the one who can successfully take it to market.  And even if the right leadership and talent exist to achieve success, if the wrong structures and processes persist, that’s enough to derail any effort at genuine transformation, particularly when transformation involves the application of new digital technologies.  As I once heard it said, “culture eats digital for breakfast any day.”

Thinking critically and aspiring to new frontiers, designing compelling policies that capture people’s imaginations, crafting effective strategies that provide roadmaps to success, delivering appropriate training that excites teams to action, leading through the complexity of genuine transformation, these are discrete skills not often found in a single individual or team.

I’ve spent my professional career studying these nuances and delivering at each level.  In my next post, I explain my Matrix of Trust and how it can help people and organisations realise their promise by living up to their promises.

More to explore

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They say it’s not what you know but who you know that counts. Neither idea could be further from the truth …

Why Values Matter

What we do is important but how we do it matters more. A start-up once engaged me to get its form, functions

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