Nature Vs. Nurture

Effective Leadership for Improved Workplace Productivity

The topic of genetics continuously presents a fascinating conversation to us. It is one in which perhaps an end may never be determined. Facets of our everyday lives throw us into contact with a potpourri of characters and personalities in the people that we interact with.   The work place being no exception.

While the many variances in personalities and orientation may foster breakthroughs in innovative and diverse approaches and ideas, this diversity of breeds and thoughts can undoubtedly present the possibility of a chaotic atmosphere if not contained.

In a contained and controlled setting, these clashes may foster passionate exchanges of ideas that lead to innovation, improved productivity and stronger teams. In these instances, participants avoid personality-focused comments. When however, workplace conflict becomes personality-driven, it becomes destructive. It polarizes the workplace, distracts from the work, wastes time and energy and forces talented employees to leave.

In identifying these differences and their effects on workplace productivity, the NCPC ponders the question, “Are we prone by nature through our engraved genetics to be more productive than others or can our “productivity gene” be nurtured and groomed towards becoming more effective, productive and efficient in the work environment? 

The NCPC takes the all assuming stance that while nature plays a significant role in the workforce productivity, nurture has the upper hand!

We can agree that Effective Leadership may very well be the catalyst to creating more conducive atmospheres for teamwork and creation of new leaders.

Excellent leaders know that identifying and nurturing leadership qualities in the team helps to increase productivity and presents people who are ready to step up to the plate when organizational changes occur, making new leaders necessary. Within the workplace, a good practice is to identify a number of people to whom certain functions can be delegated, these may include leadership roles.

With this in mind, it is important that leaders seek to avoid the trap of the “Crown Prince Syndrome” where the focus is on the development of only one individual. The development of all team members is important to the success of the workplace and will provide the organisation with a talent pool while also ensuring a viable succession plan in the event of unplanned employee departure.

Here are four characteristics of essential leadership qualities worthy of nurturing for continuity of the work plan and increase in workplace productivity:

Good Interpersonal Skills:
Excellent interpersonal communication skills are essential for a leader of any size team. If you notice that an employee is able to communicate effectively on different levels and adjust the conversation to the needs of the person they are communicating to, you have a potential leader among your staff.

Good Time Management Skills:
Leaders must be able to manage their own time and meet deadlines, especially those that impact on other team members’ tasks. Give your staff tasks and see who manages their own time effectively to complete the tasks. These are good leaders in the making.

Ability to Take the Initiative
Leaders must be able to respond quickly to solve problems and to take the initiative to prevent problems proactively from occurring. Anyone who not only can work unsupervised and still produce excellent work, but who will take the initiative to come up with a solution or solve a problem is well worth nurturing.

Ability to Work with Others in the Team
Every leader has to work with a myriad of personalities in a team environment. If you have staff members who consistently produce their best work when collaborating with others, you could have potential leaders. Good teamwork is a key leadership skill.

Now it is time to NurtureIdentify the potential leaders in the team, encourage the individuals to take on some small leadership roles, mentor and support the person to grow their leadership skills, and provide training in specific areas of leadership. Identifying and nurturing potential leaders in your team takes some time and dedication, but in doing so the workplace is provided with skilled individuals who are ready to take on the challenges of leadership when needed!

About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit;, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to



Productivity and Patriotism

productivity-rectangleThe Oxford dictionary defines patriotism as a ‘vigorous support of one’s country’. The word is also defined as ‘A devotion or cultural attachment to one’s homeland’. Patriotism simply put, signifies ‘a love for country.’ It is a desire to see one’s country grow and develop whereby citizens can enjoy a higher standard of living. Therefore, patriotism demands good citizenship. It requires that individuals contribute to the well-being of their community and country as a whole. When citizens care about the good of society, they are encouraged to perform at their best thereby contributing to the welfare of their organisation, community and country at large. Thus, being a patriotic individual calls for greater commitment and dedication which can have a positive impact on the productivity of the organisation that one is employed with.

Each person within a society has the ability and potential to contribute to the process of building a productive nation. Likewise, every employee in an organisation (public or private sector) can contribute to the success and thus the increased productivity of that organisation. A lack of acknowledgement for the well-being of the wider society or having no reverence to one’s country can negatively impact society both directly and indirectly. For example, persons who collectively litter contribute to the pollution of the natural environment. This in turn can cause an infestation of rodents which can lead to an outbreak of diseases in the community.  The spread of diseases can result in a high rate of absenteeism in the workplace. This can result in unfinished tasks, lost business, unsatisfied customers and delays in workflow processes because of the time spent out of work due to illnesses. On the other hand, a patriotic citizen who cares about the country’s wellbeing, understands the repercussions of his actions and how it affects the nation’s productivity and prosperity. Thus a true Saint Lucian patriot is one who is productive. Patriotic citizens do not see work as just another job but understand that performing their duties to their best capabilities can positively impact the wider society.

Persons should be encouraged to contribute to society and be a productive citizen. This can be done by helping to improve the community as well as the wider country. A simple way to do this is by being a committed worker. Regardless of vocation, working hard is an important part of being a productive citizen. When employees work hard, they provide important services to the public whilst earning a living. Additionally, a hardworking and dedicated staff highly contributes to the increased productivity and thus success of the organisation. A country of successful organisations will add to the greater development of the economy which in the long run will contribute to increased economic growth. Hence a collective impact is made towards the prosperity of the country.

A good citizen remains up to date on current news events. It is important to be aware of the news and stay fully informed of the issues that affect the country. Also, sharing good fortune is another positive step to being a productive citizen. The contribution need not be in monetary terms. Sharing knowledge and the giving of time for example, are just as important. There are many associations and community groups in operation throughout the country who are in need of volunteers.  Additionally, persons can make a positive influence on the lives of others through mentoring.  For instance, adults can give up of their time to mentor the youth and pass on important experiences that could contribute to the development and further empowerment of young persons.

There are several other ways that individuals can be both patriotic and productive. They include promoting the growth of our local businesses by buying local, conserving water and energy, supporting and working with our fellow Saint Lucians, promoting our country as a tourist destination when we travel etc. Patriotism is truly an integral part of being a productive citizen.  It involves having love and displaying loyalty to the country, respecting and obeying the nation’s laws and honouring the country’s national symbols.

Responsibilities of being a good citizen have to be accepted, like staying informed of national issues, volunteering, voting and serving the country to the best of one’s abilities. The outcome of which would be the growth of a productively active nation. A true patriot would not want anything less.  Are you patriotic and do you contribute to national development through your actions?

About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit;, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to

Keep December Productive

holiday-productivityThe holiday season takes place at the same time every year. However, most of us are still caught off-guard when December rolls around. With so much to plan for and to execute, the whole experience sometimes proves overwhelming. This becomes even more apparent when an everyday work life is added to the mix. Usually, by the first week of December our brains have begun conjuring up thoughts of presents, decorating and entertaining at home. Therefore, when at the office it can prove difficult to switch off and focus on the day to day tasks that we are faced with. However, a little thought and planning can aid in preparing for Christmas and the New Year without infringing on work assignments.

Plan Ahead- To remain productive at work whilst preparing for the season, your time must be scheduled properly. Design your strategy at home. By doing this in advance, it simply remains for you to put your plan into action. Everything will not go the way that you want it to, but at least this way you will only need to deal with the one or two mishaps that arise from time to time.

Put Your Lunch Hour to Work- During the month of December, it might be a good idea to work through your lunch hour, this way you can then leave work an hour early to run errands. If leaving work early is not an option, be proactive and use your lunch hour to write holiday cards, address gifts or to shop for small, easy to find items.

Dedicate After-Work time To Online Shopping- Shopping on foot for the season takes up a lot of time.  Shop online during your out of office downtime. This in turn will result in you having extra time on your hands that can devoted to other tasks.

Focus on Work, Not on Your Time Off- Even though the holiday spirit may have already taken a hold, try to stay on target. It is very easy to allow your mind to wonder this time of year, but if that happens turn your thoughts to what could go wrong if you do not complete tasks. Those images should keep you on track.

Ask for Favours- We all get a little stressed out from time to time. If you feel this happening to you, there is nothing wrong with asking for help from friends and family. If they are out on the road, ask them to pick up certain gift items. If they are having certain food items prepared, ask them whether their caterer will be able prepare some dishes for you also. You will be surprised at how many people are willing to go that extra mile during the season.

It is important to find a balance between work and preparing for the holidays. Supervisors will not look too favourably on an unfinished project that remains incomplete because you had to go gift shopping. On the other hand, you do not want to be spending extra time in the office on Christmas Eve completing tasks that you continuously kept putting off. Choose to be productive- you will be surprised at how much you are able to get done.

About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit;, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to

NCPC Outreach Seeks to Enhance Productivity in the Public Sector



NCPC Executive Director, Fiona Hinkson with employees of the Dept. of the Public Service

In addition to identifying key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in St. Lucia and  raising awareness on these issues, monitoring productivity growth and benchmarking Saint Lucia’s productivity levels against that of other countries(particularly in the Caribbean basin) is one of the major functions of the NCPC. A rigorous assessment of productivity across various sectors has allowed the NCPC to take a holistic approach in the process of determining the best course of action/solutions to enhance Saint Lucia’s productivity.

Although the term may appear to be fairly simple, productivity gains remains elusive for many organizations. While technological advances have drastically improved productivity in many sectors, much remains to be done.

In Saint Lucia, the public sector is one of the largest employers of the labour force. As a provider of key services, in particular, business services (which affect the cost of inputs) and social services (which affect labour quality), the performance of this sector weighs heavily on national productivity.

As the national body with a mandate to raise awareness and facilitate an environment where productivity and competitiveness can thrive, the NCPC remains committed to improving productivity in all sectors, in particular the public sector.

On November 30th, 2016, Executive Director of the NCPC, Fiona Hinkson met with the staff of the Dept. of the Public Service to discuss productivity challenges facing the sector and find solutions to improving productivity r. A total of 51 employees benefited from this initial session which forms part of the NCPC’s Productivity Outreach Programme.


Saint Lucian Officials Attend Compete Caribbean Stocktaking Exercise

Often characterised by its limited natural resources and extreme vulnerability to natural disasters, the Caribbean region was not immune to the crippling effects of the global financial crisis of 2008. In fact, the period following this crisis was one known for its stagnant economic growth, depletion of vital sectors (in particular tourism) and a significant in reduction in overall GDP. For a region which relies so heavily on foreign direct investment, the road to recovery post-2008 was no easy undertaking.

Compete Caribbean which emerged in 2010, was designed in an effort to support private sector development and promote competitiveness throughout the region. The programme, a joint initiative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Canadian Development Agency (CIDA) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), has benefited over 15 Caribbean countries and resulted in the creation of over 6500 jobs to-date, according to Sylvia Dohnert, Executive Director of Compete Caribbean.

A Saint Lucian delegation led by the Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Hon. Dr. Ubaldus Raymond, along with the Director of Finance, Ms. Cointha Thomas and the Executive Director of the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC), Mrs. Fiona Hinkson, recently completed a visit to Barbados on the occasion of a stocktaking exercise and celebratory event to mark the end of the initial phase of the Compete Caribbean Programme. They were among a group of representatives from the various beneficiary countries and other key regional organizations who all converged in Barbados from November 21 – 22, 2016.


Dr. Ubaldus Raymond, Minister in the Ministry of Finance flanked by Director of Finance, Ms. Cointha Thomas and NCPC’s Executive Director, Mrs. Fiona Hinkson.

The main purpose of this exercise was to highlight the various success stories of the first phase of the Compete Caribbean Programme, discuss lessons learned and to map the way forward for the region as Compete Caribbean prepares to launch Phase 2 of the programme in January 2017.

Research and knowledge management, business reform and innovation and the creation of clusters was the primary focus of the first phase of the Compete Caribbean. Compete Caribbean’s intervention in Saint Lucia entitled “Strengthening Public-Private Dialogue in Saint Lucia”, enabled the creation of the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC). This included  the design of the institutional structure and staffing of the unit. Additionally, it facilitated the implementation of one of the key reforms – the operationalisation of the Commercial Division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in St. Lucia.

Speaking at the gathering, NCPC’s Executive Director, Fiona Hinkson lauded Compete Caribbean for this initiative, she said,“2010 was a very critical period for Saint Lucia. Not only were the lingering effects of the global financial crisis devastating for our economy, but we also had to deal with the unprecedented destruction from Hurricane Tomas. In addition to this, the country had to grapple with the issue of limited funds to undertake key reforms and low productivity. The Compete Caribbean Programme was very timely as it provided the Government of Saint Lucia with the necessary technical assistance and the funds to design and establish the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council in 2013 and similarly the Commercial Court in January of this year. As a result of these initiatives, Saint Lucia has and continues to make several strides where productivity is concerned. We are very happy at the outcome of Phase 1 of Compete Caribbean and look forward to the next phase.”


NCPC Executive Director, Mrs. Fiona Hinkson addresses gathering at Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre

Owing to the successes of the initial phase of the Compete Caribbean programme, the IDB has given the green light for the next phase. Partners, DFID, CDB and CIDA have already confirmed their support of Phase 2. It is hoped that the second phase will capitalize on the successes of Phase 1.