Poor management and leadership is sinking Jamaica

It has often being said where there is no vision the people perish and this is so true.  I keep asking the question, why  is Jamaica  doing so bad today , despite the plethora of persons in management and positions of leadership with higher and  higher levels of  education ?

What is the correlation between higher education and improved performance of various organizations.

Apart from Banking and the Insurance industry, both of which appears to be doing well, why are other areas in particularly manufacturing  doing so bad.

I will posit that the reason the banking and insurance sectors are doing so well is NOT solely due to the brilliance of the MBA and PHD’s folks who are behind these organizations, but it it’s due mainly to the lack of awareness of the folks doing business with these institutions and our unwillingness to be very inquisitive.

Cash Plus, Olint, Worldwise, May Daisy and all the other ponzi operations where able, despite the absence of well establish business plan, MBA and PHD’s graduate make billions of dollars from Jamaicans over a very short period of time. So ” good” were these guys at making money, that the established banks became very nervous, as these ” hurry” come up, fly by night institutions were luring away there customers with carrot stick of making money ,no problems.

Given the major differences between a ponzi scheme operations and a well establish bank, why where the ponzi operators were able to rake in so much cash and get so many Jamaicans to “invest” with them?

Let’s look now at manufacturing, this is an area where you have to make a physical product, that must meet certain very specific requirement and you must come in at a certain price point to make a profit. Manufacturing requires very detail plans, it requires innovation and vision and those leading the organizations have to be committed to the process to be successful.

Many managers and leaders in the manufacturing sector, will tell you their employees are their greatest and most important assets, but in speaking with many of the line workers, you get the exact opposite, which is the Management team only takes care of itself.

I have been told of cases where employees have been encouraged( not verbally) to use unsafe practises to keep the production process going, because the company has to save money and cannot afford to spend money on what is needed to ensure manufacturing can take place in a safe environment. On the other hand the employees will tell of the same managers spending thousands of dollars to repair their fleet of expensive SUV’s , which must all be immaculately maintained at all cost.

Many Jamaican manufacturing plant today continue to run with outdated manufacturing equipment despite their heavy repair and maintenance cost, their poor energy efficiency levels and overall poor operating efficiency , despite being lead by a cadre of managers with MBA from top universities both at home and abroad.

In another 5 yrs or less many company’s in Jamaica, will see the departure of top tier leadership due to retirement and one has to ask, is there a succession planning in place?

Are the senior managers in these organizations taking the next few years to put systems in place to ensure continuity of the organization when they leave, similar to how those before them ensure a system was in place when they left ?

If the answer to that question is no, then there is only one outcome possible, when these guys move on.

I have three main philosophies in managing.

  1. When I leave an organization , it must be in a better position that when I joined it.
  2. If no one in the organization can do the job I was doing, when I decide to go, then I would have done a very poor job at my job.
  3. If the systems in the organization are dependent on me being at work at all times for them to work, then I would have failed to create a true system.


The idea is as follows

  1. I must add value to the organization, its more than collecting a salary, enjoying the overseas trips and perks , connecting with socially upwardly mobile folks and trying to be featured on page two of the local papers.
  2. I must have a plan in place to ensure that those below my position can be elevated within the organization. This can be achieved by first unclenching your fist and be willing to share information, that will help those below you to be in a position to make informed decisions. If I am the only one who can make a decision and the job of everyone else is to follow those instructions without questioning them at time, then I had better be Jesus Christ because God help us if I make a wrong decision.
  3. A system should NEVER be dependent on the person in position of leadership for that particular area of the organization. We cannot suggest that we have a good and working system in place, which cannot operate in our absence. If you feel proud that you have created such a system in your organization and that the organization cannot now do without you, then you would have failed miserable as a leader. It’s never about you, or should I say it should never be about you . Your job ought to be creating systems that are close to being flawless and operate smoothly whether you are their or not.


There are so many of us who like to feel so important that when we are out the phones keep ringing and we come back smiling ” Oh that’s the office calling, they cannot seem to do without me”.

If you happen to be one such manager, then you need to do a reality check.

I was out one time having lunch with other managers and while their phones kept ringing and disrupting the proceeding, there was no such thing on my end. I was asked ” Jay, how you phone never rings, what, you don’t have a cellphone”.

My curt response was ” I do have one, however I make sure to teach, train and empower my people to make decisions.  In my absence , they won’t have to keep on calling me for a decision and approval on everything,  I find it really works”.

I will leave you with this.


It simply means, you need to let go off the things in an organization you hold close to your chest. You know the little tricks you happen to be the only that knows, which are required to get a lot done, yes those.

By letting go, you begin the process of teaching other the skills you have , so you will be in a position to acquire new skills and grow in the process. You would also have allowed the other person to acquire new skills and so would be growing in the process, so as you can see by letting go, you allow growth to take place and it’s a win win situation.

How many of you have manager who will never let go, or how many of you are managers who will NOT let go, because you cannot allow anyone to know as much as you do.

We call it job security, but oh, we are so wrong about that.







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