.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Chronicles from a Caribbean Cubicle


Constructive Criticism of Outlook

Over at my time management blog, I have written a 5 part series in which I speak about the fact that Outlook was never designed as a time management software, but as an email manager.

However, it could be radically improved if it were re-designed with a time management purpose in mind.

Here is a link to the most recent post in the series:
Outlook's Shortcomings 5 - Scheduling

Labels: ,

Read more!


When You're "Being Networked"

A colleague of mine who is extremely well-connected in the world of broadcast media recently gave me a lesson in what it's like to be "networked."

When you meet someone for the first time here in the Caribbean the first decision that's usually made subconsciously is whether or not this person will become a personal friend.

A skilled networker, however, goes an extra step and asks themselves whether or not that person should be a part of their professional network.  I believe that the answer should almost 
always be "Yes."  So did he.

Once that decision is affirmed, there are a series of next steps to perform that will enable that person to become a part of your network, and hopefully help you to become a part of theirs.  I was on the receiving of my colleague's networking skills, and it was interesting to see him go through what I consider to be a standard set of steps that are worth repeating here for anyone who wants to build a professional network.

Step 1 -- Gather their contact information.  Make sure to get their personal email address, cell phone number

Step 2 -- Enter the information in a place where it's not only safe, but it can be effectively backed up

Step 3 -- Reach out with  social networking offers.  Through your Facebook, LinkedIn and Plaxo accounts, invite them to connect with you and share contacts, plus select personal information

Step 4 -- Point them to your published content.  (It doesn't have to be written, and could include photos, music, websites, mashups etc.)

Step 5 -- Interact with them by asking for feedback, sharing notes about your networks, requesting comments on your blog, etc.

Step 6 -- Ask them to subscribe.  Request that they join the list of subscribers to your RSS feeds, newsletters or any other frequently published content

Step 7 -- Stay in touch with them as they move around.  This takes work, but try to keep the channels of communication open as they change jobs, move homes, change relationships, etc.

It's important to note that this is not about getting more friends.There are lots of people that we work with, and would work with again that we have no interest in becoming friends with.  Having them in our network is not the same as having them as friends, and while some of the steps might appear to be similar as to the ones we'd take with friends, the motivation for taking the 7 Steps above is quite different. 


Read more!


FirstCuts30 - Action the Obama Way

The latest issue of FirstCuts, my bi-monthly newsletter is available at the following link:


It starts with the following introduction:


I don't know how Obama would do if he were an executive in our
region, and I don't know if he has ever worked in our part of the

However, after writing this month's issue I now have an idea
of what he'd have to do to address the plantation slavery
work-ethic that has prevailed for over 500 years.

It's not that we ourselves don't have a clue, but I have found
that the clearer I understand the world in which I operate, the
better I am at succeeding within it. Some of the most exciting
moments I have ever had, have occurred when I learned something
new about something I had been doing for some time.

Perhaps that's not a bad way to describe what I have been trying
to do for my readers in each issue of FirstCuts, and especially
in this issue.


To subscribe, send email to firstcuts@aweber.com


Read more!


NewHabits Programme in Kingston, Jamaica

Recently, on my blog and ezine, I wrote about the scary economic news,
and how it's deepened the need for productivity solutions. During this recession, we are forced to find ways to do the same or more withmuch less. That goes for companies, and it also goes for careers.

Less people, smaller budgets, little time, a lot of really bad news...

Well, I actually have some good news for those interested in doing the course in Kingston.

I have undertaken a revamp of NewHabits-NewGoals, my (formerly) 2 day programme that has been offered here in Jamaica and in Trinidad.

>>> To jump to the details, see http://fwconsulting.com/newhabits

With this new design, I decided to incorporate what I learned from the feedback over the past year, and am offering a "hybrid" for the first time.

The new programme consists of a single day of classroom training, which tackles the Essential Fundamentals, plus 12 weeks of online e-learning including live conference calls to review the Essentials and get into the Advanced Fundamentals.

This matches my experience in Kingston and Port of Spain, in which the materials that participants got the most value from came on the first day.

In making this change, I have tried to match the pace of learning -- a lot of new stuff in the beginning, with the more advanced stuff coming later, in more digestible chunks. This makes it much easier to accomplish the goals of the programme -- to give those who attend
the tools to create a customized time management that fits their life, and their lifestyle.

>>> For details visit http://fwconsulting.com/newhabits

The best news of all is that I am able to offer the programme on February 13th at a significant reduction in price, which I know that you'll appreciate given the times we are in.

What I _cannot_ promise is that the price will remain at J$14,000 (GCT inc.) after the next programme.

In addition, I also can't promise that the Early Bird or Corporate discounts for registering before January 31st (J$12,000) will be there for everyone who asks for them, as they are limited in number, and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

So, act early, and claim your seat today. Click on the link below and request an invoice today.

>>> Find programme information at http://fwconsulting.com/newhabits

Hope to see you in the class in Kingston, Jamaica,


P.S. Of course, you might also decide to take the 12 week online
programme by itself. If so, the price is being kept at US$99 /
J$8.2k for now, so you can see why NewHabits' price is good value
for money.

P.P.S If you have questions, you can ask them at my blog at:


Read more!


A Time Management System for Entrepreneurs

An article I wrote on the reasons entrepreneurs need to develop their own time management systems was recently carried on one of my favorite sites: Entrepreneur's Journey.

The work I have been doing in this area was inspired by my move to Jamaica, in which I discovered that the time management system I was using in the U.S. would not work here in Jamaica. I had to make some changes fast, in order to keep my head above water!

Here in the Caribbean, we simply cannot use the time management systems that were not developed with us in mind in full. They assume that the reader or user is just like them -- living in a developed country with a culture and way of thinking that is the same.

Those of you who read Chronicles may recognize that I first started writing about the topic here in this blog, an eventually started a new blog when it started to take things over. It's not only turned into a new blog, but an entirely new business.

In the article mentioned here, I focus on time management systems for entrepreneurs. Yaro Starak, the owner of the blog, offers a course I took some time ago called "Blog Mastermind" in which I learned how to take my love of writing, and turn it into financially sustainable.

To tell you the truth, many other Jamaican bloggers have fallen off the radar and closed their blogs after they ran out of interest. This new dimension has given me a reason to keep going, even if it's only because it's so intriguing.

Blog Mastermind was a real eye-opener, and if you're interested in learning more about the program, there is a tremendous free e-book called BlogProfits Blueprint that is available at Yaro's website.


Read more!


The Not-So-Diverse Caribbean Workplace

The Not-So-Diverse Caribbean Workplace by Francis Wade

This issue addresses the challenge we have in creating workplaces
that are truly diverse, and I go after a hot-button -- how we
treat gays in the Caribbean workplace.

September 2008 Issue 27 colour: http://urlcut.com/FirstCuts27
Audio Podcast: http://fwconsulting.podomatic.com
Feature Article
Subscriber Q&A and Feedback
Tips, Ads and Links
General & Unsubscribe Info

Approximate time to read: Just over 10 minutes
This has perhaps been the most difficult issue of FirstCuts to

The issue of gays in our workplaces is one that we would just
rather not talk about in public. This is THE topic that we
hope would just go away and leave us alone. Most of
us in the Caribbean experience deep feelings ranging from
hostility to sympathy on the topic.

It's something I should probably not be writing about.

For a moment, however, I set aside my fears to deal with the issue
from a business point of view, and I trust that you'll be able to
set aside some of your own strong feelings to do the same. If
not, I understand (or at least, I think I do.)

I can say with some confidence that this issue is not going away,
and that part of being a good manager or executive is to foresee
a future that is likely to happen. For those companies that
do business outside the region, that may be a current reality,
and I'd love to hear your feedback if that's indeed the case.


P.S. To discuss this issue, I am creating a link on my blog for
anyone to add in their comments.

P.P.S. This could be an interesting issue to pass along to a

The Not-So-Diverse Caribbean Workplace
Global opinion is growing: the Caribbean is increasingly seen as
one of the least inclusive, intolerant and unsupportive regions of
the world as it relates to the matter of “differences.” The term
“difference” is a fairly new one to the Caribbean workplace and it
generally applies to obvious aspects such as race, gender, age,
religion, physical ability, etc. However, our international
reputation is largely being tainted by our strident relationship
to gays and homosexuality.

By extension, Caribbean companies and executives are not exactly
seen as world leaders in the context of business tolerance.

The fact is that many of our territories’ populations have
relatively little day-to-day exposure to people of other races,
nationalities and beliefs. The tendency is to speak single
languages as relatively few of our companies conduct business in
other countries, even within the region. A few weeks ago, I had
the opportunity to spend a few nights in a hotel in the vicinity
of Times Square and I was reminded of what it was like to be
surrounded by people of backgrounds different from mine and
languages from all corners of the globe. We simply don't have
the kind of diversity that is influencing the way the world's
most admired companies relate to people who are "different."

It might be no mistake that the CEO of Jamaica’s largest company,
the Government, recently announced to the international public
that he is unwilling to accept gays at the highest levels of his

When asked in a recent BBC interview if he would allow gays to
take up senior government positions, the Prime Minister of
Jamaica, the Hon. Bruce Golding, replied emphatically, "Not in my
cabinet!" I might be wrong in thinking that he is not the only
CEO/Prime Minister/Chairman to have these views in the region.
While he may be the only CEO with these views, the effect of his
words are far-reaching, as presumably they must have some impact
on the entire Government of Jamaica, which coincidentally is the
largest employer in Jamaica. (The link to the interview is given
in the next section.)

Clearly, his idea of an inclusive, diverse workplace has its

If he is seen as a typical representative of a “regional CEO,”
what are the pros and cons to companies when executives adopt this
approach either publicly or privately? What does it mean for
business and what is its impact on stock-holders, employees,
customers and other stakeholders? Even though the societal
impacts are many, here in FirstCuts I will only focus on the
impact his words and our attitudes, may have on the financial
success of our corporations.

Enlightenment Under Pressure
Recently, Diageo plc., the owners of the Red Stripe brand in
Jamaica, withdrew their sponsorship from local dance hall events
stating that they would no longer sponsor events that allowed or
encouraged violent lyrics directed against women and homosexuals.

In Jamaica, this withdrawal was met with derision and many felt
that little or nothing would be lost at the end of the day. The
general feeling was that there would be other sponsors.

Diageo, in its role as a progressive, global company, had no
choice but to disassociate itself from any lack of tolerance. In
their 2008 Corporate Citizenship Report, they reported that:
[start of quote]
Over the past four years, the proportion of women
in senior management – a key diversity indicator –
has risen from 20% in 2003 to 25% in 2008.

In the USA, Diageo scored 95% in the 2008 Corporate
Equality Index. The Human Rights Campaign
Foundation, part of the USA’s largest advocacy group
for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT)
Americans, produces the index annually and ranks
corporations based on their policies regarding their
gay and lesbian employees and the GLBT community.
[end of quote]

Diageo prides itself on being a company that lives by its values,
one of which clearly states, “WE VALUE EACH OTHER – we seek and
benefit from diverse people and perspectives.”

This might all be corporate propaganda but the fact remains that
they are taking actions to ensure that diversity is tolerated as
endorsed by their publicly stated commitments.

I imagine that their example has served as quiet encouragement for
other multinational companies conducting business in the region.
Can a local CEO of one of these companies “pull a Bruce Golding”
and decide to establish a local diversity policy that violates the
company’s international policies?

It is just not likely to happen.

I could, however, imagine that local executives may decide that
they know better than those folks in the overseas parent company
and will seek to follow the letter of the policy while neglecting
the spirit. They might determine that it is better for business
to do as little as possible to encourage diversity of that
particular kind.

I predict, however, that Caribbean branches of progressive
multinationals will not be allowed to be different for very long.
A CEO who insists that he is, “different from CEO’s in other
countries” might very well find himself on the receiving end of a
rigorous bout of diversity training along with a stiff warning.

In essence, he will be told to conform or else. Diageo and other
global companies that are successful and widely admired are well-
known for their best practices in this area. As a result, they are
unlikely to retreat from the strides they have already made in
order to accommodate a handful of executives in the Caribbean who
think differently.

Apart from the global companies in the region, there are many more
regional companies that conduct business with global companies.
While Caribbean companies might argue that their internal
practices are no-one’s business but their own, recent history
shows that large companies are imposing greater requirements on
firms that do business with them than ever before.

It is not too hard to imagine that a firm would be reluctant to
conduct business with a Caribbean company that has revealed itself
to be lead by bigots.

For example, I imagine that the Prime Minister’s emphatic words
instantly closed all sorts of doors to business opportunities
around the world. Owners of gay businesses probably took note of
his stance.

Two years ago, I had my first inkling that this may occur when
friends of mine living abroad started to decline invitations to
visit my wife and myself in Jamaica.

They were not declining because the timing was bad or because they
were short of money. Instead, they were declining because of our

As one friend put it, “I don’t like Jamaica… my brother and his
partner (who are gay) can’t even come… they are my family… they
can be killed down there… why should I come?” Another said “I
only came to your wedding because of you… I would never come there
again.” Yet another said “I’ll never come… you have to come visit
me... I know about the homophobia there.”

In other words, they were declining to do business with Jamaicans
because of our perceived prejudice. I sensed that for them, their
boycott was similar to avoiding a pleasure trip to South Africa
while apartheid was still in force. In their case, the thousands
of dollars they might have spent in Jamaica would instead go to
Hawaii, Mexico or Fiji.

From a business perspective, there might be an incentive for
executives to govern their companies in a way that encourages
compatibility with the global business-space. At the
moment, a company or country that declares itself to be openly
bigoted runs the risk of isolating itself from the much larger,
influential group of companies that espouse global best-practices.

Many in the Caribbean would say with a touch of defiance, “If ah
so, ah so” (transl. “If that is the way it needs to be, so let
it be.”) They would argue that the chips should fall where they
may and that they are able to live with the consequent loss in

How their shareholders might feel about all this could be another

Tolerance and Diversity as a Profit-growing Policy
Although the external pressure is likely to increase, there are
also practical consequences to be incurred by local companies that
limit diversity by demonstrating prejudice against gays. These

1. Limits on Creativity
Recent studies by Richard Florida (author of The Rise of the
Creative Class) have made a clear connection between a city’s
“tolerance level” and its economic growth. Apparently,
creativity in business requires an ability to allow differences of
opinion to flourish and turn into business opportunities.
Tolerance of homosexuals is one way of measuring the degree to
which differences are encouraged.

Florida’s heavily data-driven books are being used by cities and
even countries to guide their thinking about economic growth.

2. Clarity of Company Policy vs. Personal Feelings
The ramifications of the Prime Minister’s words are quite unclear
and the resulting confusion should give any CEO pause for thought
before making such “policy” statements in public.

One interpretation is that Mr. Golding was merely playing politics
and lining up voter support. If that is the case, then it hints to
a propensity for governments to attack small, weak and virtually
invisible groups for their own political gain.

Another interpretation would be that Permanent Secretaries and
other Government officials should take his stance as official
policy and not allow homosexuals to work too closely to the Prime
Minister or become a public figure that works in the Government.
Mr. Golding and his executives (the Cabinet) should be shielded
from gays that might be working in the government or conducting
business with the government.

Yet another interpretation would be that the Government is not a
welcome place for homosexuals and that they are being discouraged
from trying to begin a career in the public service. By this
logic, managers in the Government should seek to actively root out
homosexuals once they have been identified. Or, to put it more
mildly, homosexuals “should be encouraged to pursue other

A fourth interpretation would be that anyone who declares him or
herself to be homosexual and happens to be a Cabinet member or
occupying a critical Government position, should immediately
resign to avoid being fired.

It is all very confusing, and the nature of his statement leads me
to think that his announcement was not pre-meditated (but of
course, I could be wrong.) If these statements were unplanned,
then it would mean that the Prime Minister announced a substantial
policy based on his personal feelings and opinions.

He would hardly be the first CEO to do so.

Yet, this is always a risky strategy and one that usually leads to
more harm than good. On this particular topic, his utterances on
tape and his subsequent letter to the press clarifying his
position are likely to have created a great deal of trouble for
gay, Jamaicans who work for the Government. All of a
sudden, they now find themselves with the wrong kind of diversity.
They are probably wondering to themselves, “Now what?”

Managers who suspect that an employee is gay might have the same
confusion – should they discourage the employee from continued
employment or not? Does the talent, performance or the commitment
of the employee have a role to play in all this? Is it just a
matter of time before all homosexuals are eliminated from the
civil service?

3. Fighting the Inevitable

Throughout the history of the Caribbean workplace, the exclusion
of a group has always been a tactic that management has used to
maintain power and to drive fear into the hearts of the workers.
Modern management best practices dictate that empowerment of
workers requires creating an environment that encourages
alternative thinking.

100 years ago, Blacks, women, Indians, Chinese, Rastafarians,
Amerindians and others were systematically discriminated against
in our societies. Over time, a greater tolerance of differences
has subsumed much of this prejudice and the society is
demonstrably better as a result.

In some ways, we have learned that to disagree or dislike someone
does not necessarily equate to an inability to work together in
order to create profits.

It is predictable that the same will occur with homosexuals,
despite what many of us might feel, and in spite of the laws are
currently on the books.

To argue that it will not happen here is to join company with
countries that simply do not share our democratic ideals
or enjoy the fruits of open markets. We are societies that are
built on the idea of giving all of our citizens an opportunity and
it is not likely that Mr. Golding’s sentiments will set off a new
discriminatory trend within the corporate Caribbean.

If anything, the Caribbean culture is prone to celebrate the small
farmer, small business-person, small trader, etc. We like to
support those we perceive to be defenseless against victimization.

Perhaps it is not too much to imagine that we will come to realize
that gay Caribbean people are at the moment a small, mostly
invisible, scared, victimized group that is frequently attacked
verbally (and sometimes physically) by our singers, preachers and
others. Maybe we might one day rally to the defense of their
rights following the trend of virtually all the democracies that
we admire around the world.

In my opinion, although the Jamaican society may never condone the
lifestyle, full acceptance of gays as members of the society is
inevitable. As good business-people, we need to plan for this
eventuality and prepare our companies for the global mainstream.

To avoid doing so is to exercise poor judgment and irresponsible

Tips, Ads and Links
If you'd like to discuss this issue of FirstCuts, you can add a
comment at my blog: Chronicles of a Caribbean Cubicle.
Simply look for the FirstCuts post dated Sep 30th, 2008.

Share this issue of FirstCuts with your colleagues and friends, on
a topic that is critical for Caribbean business-people to contend

Here is a link to the portion of Bruce Golding's interview in
which he answers the questions I referenced regarding Jamaica's
treatment of gays: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cQx-zmHgg8

This month, I released the MyTimeDesign programme to the public.
This 12 week programme uses the multimedia lessons to help
create your own time management programme. See
http://MyTimeDesign.com for details. There is an early-bird
discount of 40% to be enjoyed by those who enroll before Oct 10th.

For Human Resource practitioners, the CaribHRForum 2008 survey is
now underway and already has responses from over 15 countries.
The 35 question survey focuses on the improvement of our regional
HR conferences. If you are an HR practitioner who has not
completed the online survey, or suspect that some are missing out,
simply send me email and I'll send you the link via email.

The New Networking e-book is still available for free download
at http://fwconsulting.com/newnetworking - get to work on
doubling the size of your regional network today.

Back Issues of FirstCuts can be found at http://tinyurl.com/pw7fa

To manage this ezine, we use an excellent programme called
AWeber that you can explore here:- http://www.aweber.com/?213577

Subscriber Q&A and Feedback
None this month... (but I suspect that that will change after this

General & Unsubscribe Info
FirstCuts © Copyright 2008, Framework Consulting, except where
indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. Reprint only
with permission from copyright holder(s). All trademarks are
property of their respective owners. All contents provided as is.
No express or implied income claims made herein. Your business
success is dependent on many factors, including your own
abilities. Advertisers are solely responsible for ad content.

Issues of this ezine in colour may be accessed online at:

To subscribe to this monthly ezine, please send email to

To contact us with feedback, questions or praise, send email to

If you do not wish to receive FirstCuts or have received it in
error, simply click on the link below to be unsubscribed. Also
click on this link if you wish to change your email address.

Please do NOT send unsubscribe notices by responding directly to
this email unless the above method does not work. Thanks.

Please feel free to use excerpts from this newsletter
as long as you give credit with a link to our page:

FirstCuts: An Online Newsletter From Framework Consulting Inc.

FirstCuts is an opt-in ezine available by subscription only. We
neither use nor endorse the use of spam.

Thank you!

Framework Consulting Jamaica Ltd., Kingston 8, Jamaica


Read more!


CaribHRForum Survey Enters Its Last Week

Sponsors of this year's annual CaribHRForum's electronic survey expect to reach over 3000 Human Resource Professionals across the CARICOM region this year, easily becoming the most wide-spread effort to gather information from a single profession.

The 2008 survey which was released on Monday September 15th, 2008, focuses on the single topic of regional HR conferences and the role they play in bringing together HR professionals.

It is being conducted by a volunteer team at CaribHRForum, the online forum that was formed in 2003 by Francis Wade, a management consultant who recently moved home to the Caribbean.

According to Wade, "the survey has grown in leaps and bounds since it was inaugurated last year, and the team now comprises a Jamaican, a Trinidadian, a Kittician and a Bahamian who have only met in cyber-space. We got to know each other through CaribHRForum and have worked together for months to put this together, mostly using Facebook, an online social networking service."

CaribHRForum, with over 200 members, is the largest professional networking group of its kind that is built on cyber-services such as a discussion list, a blog on CaribHRForum.com and a news ezine - CaribHRNews.

In fact, the idea of a large, all-encompassing regional conference was first discussed at length within CaribHRForum's list, which sometimes sees up to 20 emails per day in a region-wide

"Sometimes the conversation gets heated, and there is a great deal of participation from many members who share their perspective, while learn from each other." A recent group
conversation on the industrial relations climate in the region is still generating some sparks after more than a week," said Wade.

It was another hot conversation on CaribHRForum that provided the theme for this year's survey. While Jamaica has the largest conference each year, with some 500 participants, there are other territories in the region that don't even have an organization formed. Many are unaware that conferences and organizations like CaribHRForum exist and end up practicing in isolation from their colleagues.

"Hopefully," Wade says "the results of the survey will do much to help us bring the professionals of the region together. We should learn a lot about what people are looking for in attending a
conference, and help make our own conferences compelling."


Read more!


Giving Away to Get

In an interesting article entitled Can Freeconomics Work in African Markets?[Part 1] by Jonathan Gosier, the author makes the point that African business people are learning the value of giving away items for free in order to gain customer loyalty.

It's as if he were describing the Caribbean.

He talks about how tough economic conditions lead business-people to a short-term, gimme now mentality, that works against their success.


Read more!


Launching Networking Message Board

Good news to those who downloaded the e-book "The New Networking: Caribbean 2008."

I am launching a message board for everyone who has received the e-book, to act as a place for Caribbean professionals to meet and greet others who are also interested in expanding their networking skills.

If you have downloaded the e-book, you should already have received some instructions on how to enter the message board. If you haven't yet received your copy (it's currently free) simply visit
http://fwconsulting.com/newnetworking and you will receive the instructions a few days after receiving the e-book.


Read more!


The New Networking is Still Available

A note from Francis
I want to remind you that my e-book "The New Networking: Caribbean Professionals 2008" is still available for download for free.

Simply visit the following page and you can claim your own electronic copy within a few minutes. You'll be joining over 200 other Caribbean professionals who have requested the e-book.

Click here to claim a copy

If you have other friends who would benefit from owning this 37 page text, you can notify them of the page to visit by visiting the following page and entering their email addresses. An email will be sent to them with the link:

Send this link to 2 friends

Thanks for being a part of my network!


P.S If you act quickly, you might be able to take advantage of a free offer I am making to take my 12-week online time-management programme valued at over US$50. The offer expires at the end of September, and will be sent to you 3-4 few days after you receive the e-book. I am limiting the number, so act quickly if you have an interest.


3 networking pic


Read more!