Inspired to lead

by George Alleyne

Members, managers, tutors, and care-givers of a number of organizations dealing with the welfare of disabled persons, have graduated from a leadership and development training course with confidence in their ability to better direct their groups.

In fact, so inspired was an executive member of one organization that he has led his group into an ambitious project aimed at bringing over 5,000 Barbadians into the association for which they are qualified for membership and participation.

“There are a number of athletes that we want to reach. There a lot of people who are not taking part in any programmes for whom we have to do an outreach,” said Roger Dyall of Special Olympics of Barbados.

Exposure to the training, he added, “helped to open up a lot of ideas that we did not focus on before”.

He went on: “We have about 7,000 persons in Barbados with mental disabilities. And we have approximately 1,000 persons on our books, which means that there are about 6,000 persons out there that we don’t interact with . . . We have to go to them and try to get them involved.”

The Leadership and Succession Planning series of workshops were held over a number of weeks at the Barbados Council for the Disabled (BCD) office at Harambee House, The Garrison. Twenty-two persons took part in the training sessions, led by Caribbean Catalyst Inc.’s Master Coach Rosalind Jackson. They received their certificates during a ceremony on Saturday.

The training focused on reality-based rules of the workplace; analysis of the state of the participants’ organizations and building trust within them while fostering collaborative competition and helping organizations to develop plans to build succession thereby  ensuring sustainability.

Sonia Pile of the Challenor Creative Arts and Training Centre said that she learnt a lot from the sessions, “mostly how the organization could benefit more from what we the staff could do to change ourselves”. She added that she was so inspired by the workshop that she entered other training programmes for self-improvement.

Since completing the course that ended in July, Sean Cooke of the Paralympics Association of Barbados said he has led his organization towards updating its constitution and is seeking to expand to other areas of sport.

“It allowed me to open up more. I had a big problem with opening up and speaking to people and going out,” he said. “It gave me a sense of accountability, that I should not blame anyone, look at myself first. That alone gives me a sense of fulfillment.

“It opened up the gap for me to express myself better. I’m definitely more confident now in doing things that I would not do in the past,” he added.

Noting that leadership and succession planning is vital to the growth and development of these Barbados organizations which were represented at the training, BCD Vice President, Patricia Padmore-Blackman, urged participants to “use this opportunity to further your information base . . . in terms of the many areas that are associated with leadership, and succession planning”.

Stressing that “succession planning is part of capacity training,” she said that it is essential to non-governmental organizations because, “the NGO movement requires this. That is part of the mandate that we are called upon to give from our donors, persons who want to fund our organizations, our particular programmes”.

Training facilitator Jackson, a member of the Society for Human Resource Development of the USA and a graduate of a Harvard Business School Human Resource Strategic Management Programme, emphasized the importance of succession planning for dynamic organizations.

She urged her charges to “not resent these young people because they have a degree [and] they feel they know everything, but see what they are bringing to the table that you can help develop so that you are not the president of your organization for 40 years.

“Anybody who has a president for 10 or more years, the same person, they’re not building any succession,” she said. “If the same person is always the president, when you look around the boardroom, it is the same old faces, you are dying, not growing, and you need to be bringing young people on board.”

Jackson spoke of reality-based rules in an organization such as accountability and buying into collective board and organization decisions.

“We have to stretch ourselves to grow, so if we’re not prepared to say ‘yes’ to things that take us out of our comfort zone, we’re going to stagnate and have no future potential.”

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