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BACK TO THE FUTURE
Now that the year is about to end, the perennial institutional reviews kick in.
Leaders are wont to take stock of the wins, misfires, and those things in-between.
With COVID-19, moderate gains are applauded for the reason that things have been tough on many fronts. Going through the year unscathed is an impossibility.
With tighter controls back again since March, the economy will continue to fluctuate based on the reading of the vaccine situation.
Are you prepared to face 2021 with a short-term bridging plan to tide you over until the situation stabilizes?
Are you using your pre-COVID19 strategies to get you by?
Are you being opportunistic and proactive about what's going on and using levers you can use at your disposal?
Are you secured in the belief that it will become better and acting on this hopefulness?
Are your team members aligned with you in your strategies and in the intention to keep looking at the opportunities in this crisis?
If yes, to all of these, 2021 could be a transitional phase for all its intents and purposes. A great year for emergence and renewal.
The old baggage is thrown away, new ideas are welcomed, and being persistently mindful of taking care of ourselves and each other.
What have you learned this year and made you realize that life is what you make of it, not what happens to you?
This applies to everything!
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THE VACCINE POLITICS
The politics on vaccines is another issue that can potentially escalate into another time-bomb.
We have several vaccines that have promising results for the prevention of the COVID-19 virus. We know that these can take a few months before initial groups of people are monitored and the side effects of the drug are taken into consideration.
We'll have the vaccines as our (Canadian) government committed to this a long time ago. Other countries have to wait until it becomes affordable and that preliminary results come out. No one wants to be the guinea pig, I suppose.
Vaccines are one thing but the equitable distribution, affordability, accessibility and appropriateness of these vaccines to differentiated needs of different populations come into question. Another issue is about protecting consumers who have elected to use these vaccines under development, which calls for regulation and complete transparency for public welfare.
We live in ambiguous times. We cannot trust our health systems and authorities that are overwhelmed and overworked to decide for our health, well-being, and safety. Like all systems, when it's saturated, it either collapses on the sheer weight of its load or dissipates into mediocrity or irrelevance.
We also cannot turn a blind eye on the suffering and hardships that are experienced by our neighbors in the developing South. That's why we call on health equity across the board. Those that have multiple vulnerabilities and needs must be given equitable priority and attention and consulted adequately.
Be your own health advocate and become a health advocate for others around you. The world is hyperconnected to risk being the weakest link.
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RUPTURES WE DON'T NEED
As I am preparing for my presentation next week on Diversity, I thought about what's not diversity.
Diversity is not a thing that can be slapped artificially for the sake of political correctness or guise to protect from lawsuits;
Diversity is not silencing the majority and forcing everyone to think the same;
Diversity is not perfecting preferential treatments or quotas or taking revenge from a century-old injustice;
Diversity is about respecting and celebrating human differences in all of its forms-not just RACE, CLASS, CASTE, ETHNICITY, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, RELIGION.
Inclusion is about accountability that leads to great bottom lines: more revenue, less negative conflict, more innovation.
Inclusion is fostering a culture that respects, honors, and values diversity in all of its manifestations.
I was in a diversity training room almost a decade ago. A guy spoke up about diversity and inclusion in the office and he said, that I can only 'tolerate.' I'm still not there yet and please, respect that! There was silence in the room. No one commented or made a reaction to it.
I simply recalled this reaction because it also meant respect. Some people believe that it's just a political correct thing. Some are putting a strong push-back against it because they're maligned by it. This is also because some of the way diversity projects are forced into your consciousness are appalling. It doesn't earn respect, it earns more resentment, antagonism, and conflict.
I hear that side of the story too! Aren't we all diverse in on our ways?
It's about time we start treating one another as human beings, not a QRSSTW or a theirs, them, and other identifiers. Cultural intelligence is not some lunch and learns and lip-service HR projects. It's about embracing the full breadth of talents, knowledge, passions, and backgrounds that make the world a better and more interesting place. Pitting one group against the other on the basis of these differences aren't sustainable. It's like saying, 'we are going to riot until we defund the police' which is selfish and irresponsible.
We can't afford to rip apart the society and put it back again magically without further aggravation and dire consequences for the future generations. It's time to look at the overall objectives of our politics and try to find balance and harmony, not tribalism and inept leadership.
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A CONFIDENT LEADER
I was walking in the snow with my daughter today.
She's leading and would want me to follow her tracks.
When I'm feeling tired, she asked me to push on.
When we get to the top overlooking the yard, she asked me not to look down, whatever happens, or else I might slip.
If I feel am slipping or getting stuck, she would hold my hand and steady me.
She asked me to follow the tracks closely and not to deviate.
She also reminded me not to make my own tracks because she's the bus driver.
She also reassured me that she knows where she's going and that I need to trust her.
When she's doing the loop-to-loop, that means that I have to just go along with the loop.
When it's time to go home, she will lead me home.
She tells me to enjoy and have an adventure.
If you have a firm and confident leader like that, there's nothing you can't do!
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GROWING AND FRAGMENTING
Yesterday, I presented a special lecture with Prairie College Business Management students on Fair Trade. As I have been updating myself about this topic, a few headlines grab my attention:
Kitkat withdrawing from Fair Trade
Fairtrade : Is it really fair?
Shocked but not surprised: Fairtrade responds to report of widespread child labor in West African cocoa industry
The system is not perfect but it is working for a lot of farmers, artisans, and producers in the South. The current labelling and certification process for fairtrade has become a million dollar industry. Ethical consumers are beginning to vote with their purchases and this trend will be going to continue in the next 10 years. The question for the actors is that how can we prevent consumer confusion with all these competing claims in the marketplace?
The fairtrade sector is growing at an accelerated rate from $ 1.5M in 2005 to $9.8B in 2018. Yet, fragmenting in many ways due to the crowding of claims within and outside of the ethical/fair markets.
There has been tremendous harmonization of fairtrade. All actors understand, agree, and commit to its principles and standards. In the future, actors must as well agree and commit to growing and evolving fairtrade without compromising its foundational principles but at the same time, honoring its commitments to the broader marketplace.
The heart of true fairtrade lies in the producers and farmers. If they're not benefitted from these initiatives, why would fairtrade exists?
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CONTRADICTIONS OF OUR TIME
Isn't Dickens amazing? He was able to describe the times we are living right now!
We have the best of times, we have the worst of times
It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness
It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity
It was the Season of Light, it was the Season of darkness
It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair
We had everything before us, we had nothing before us
We are all going direct to Heaven, we are all going direct in the other way