What have you read, watched or listened to lately that has contributed to your growth and development as a businessperson?
Published in CONTACT Magazine
Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Business Generation,
First Citizens Bank Limited
For the past three years, I have set a personal goal of reading at least one book per quarter. I actively seek out thought-provoking books, mostly biographies and non-fiction. One of my favourites is the memoir Educated, by Tara Westover.
Home-schooled in rural Idaho, she did not step into a classroom till she was 17. Through a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation scholarship she eventually attended Cambridge University, and in 2014 earned a PhD in History.
Despite not receiving a formal education early in life, she became successful because of the way she looked at the world. She brought a fresh perspective to education, especially the way we interpret history.
The history we are taught is determined by the person writing their interpretation of events. History is not simply accepting the facts presented to us: how we distil, analyse and critically examine those facts is essential to understanding and interpreting the world around us.
What this has taught me as a leader is that we need to critically examine information presented to us by scrutinising the context, and dissecting and analysing. It is very easy to accept what is considered to be common knowledge without using common sense or critical thought. We should not be afraid to challenge accepted “truths” in the world – we need to be bold enough to critically analyse, assess and debate as independent thinkers
Chief Executive Officer, Media InSite Limited;
Chair, Nova Committee, Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce
One of the most interesting books I have read was Michael E. Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work, and What To Do About It.
Given that Media InSite is a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) and I am Chair of the Chamber’s NOVA Committee, I particularly recommend this book for SMEs.
The main idea of the book is that entrepreneurs start businesses because they are passionate about something. They have a vision, and can see the big picture. But a lot of business owners tend to lose sight of this, and work in their business instead of on their business.
Successful businesses need three elements: technical, which means operations; managerial (order and systems); and the outlook of the entrepreneur (the vision). So it is important for entrepreneurs to put processes and systems in place so that their team can pick up the manual and run the business.
Reading this book made me realise that I have a vision for my company – to be the global leader in monitoring and measuring Caribbean media content – and that I need to take a step back and let others focus on operations, while I ensure that my vision is realised.
Managing Director, Jade Distributors Limited;
Chair, Tobago Division, Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce
I have always been interested in human behaviour, especially when I consider how business is conducted today. I find that people are often not concerned about their reputations, and delivering work to a high standard. The link between human behaviour and how this impacts business fascinates me.
I am also a strong advocate for gender equality, and I am always pursuing new knowledge in this area. As a woman in the workplace, I have observed many instances of the way we are conditioned to give men a certain amount of respect because of their gender. I believe that respect should be given based on a person’s ability to deliver to the standard required.
This insight into gender relations in the workplace has allowed me to grow to another level where I now have more confidence in myself and my abilities.