Whilst the concept of the team is often an important tenet in the pursuit of successful leadership it is not uncommon for some leaders to succeed purely by virtue of the sheer weight of their own personalities and their own particular leadership qualities so that much of what emerges as policy within an organization may well be the result, by and large, of the thinking of one man or woman.
One does not get the impression that the latter circumstance accounts for the manner in which leaders in our local business support organizations emerge. It may well be that a particular candidate might, for some strategic region, be thought of as possessing particular qualities thought to be suitable to leading an organization at a particular point in time though, by and large, one gets the impression that the emergence of a new leader, Chairman or President of one of the three main private sector business support organizations, comes out of a prior collective consensus (that has to be with him or her being a team player) rather than through the rough and tumble of a combative elections process. Put bluntly, it is a precaution against the emergence of mavericks.
It would seem that that has been the case with the new Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Mr. Desmond Sears, not known, commonly, to be one of the household names or prominent personalities in the private sector, but yet, for some reason seemingly worked out beforehand amongst the handful of mostly experienced hands that comprise the collective leadership of the organized private sector, fitting the aims of the PSC in the period ahead.
What is known of Mr Sears as a public person has much to do with his association with the shipping and scrap metal sectors, both of which have, for different reasons, been ‘in the news’ so the speak in recent years. None of the major problems confronting either of these two sectors – the desilting of the channel and the improvement of the harbour in the instance of the shipping sector and the regularization of the scrap metal trade in the latter instance – have been addressed to finality. In fact, both have been pending for far too long though one hastens to add that in both instances, the complexities of the problems are sufficiently substantial as to remove from the shoulders of Mr Sears responsibility for a lack of resolution.
The point to be made at this juncture has to do with whether or not, given the priorities of the business sector and the state of relations between the private sector and the government, Mr Sears is the best pick for the job. Some may see that as a moot point given the customary practice of collective decision-making within the PSC. Still, as the ‘front man,’ so the speak, it is the Chairman of the organization, through the timbre of his advocacy that plays a key role in laying the foundation for a relationship between the public and private sectors, which (whatever else we may delude ourselves into thinking) is arguably the PSC’s most important role.
Mr Sears takes over the leadership of the PSC at an interesting time, a time during which issues like taxation, foreign investment, the state of the economy, oil and its local content dimension, taxation and unreliable power supply are very much part of the public/private sector agenda. At the same time there have been, in recent months, not only a marked reduction in the decibel level of the now customary falling outs between the government and the private sector volume but, as well, instances of joint initiatives in the product promotion and sectorial development which may not have borne any meaningful fruit up to this time but at least provide some indication, perhaps, of things to come.
Mr Sears’ chairmanship, therefore, comes at a time when the public/private sector is laden with difficult issues but at a time, as well, when it seem that the conviviality of the relationship between the politicians and the businessmen and women is probably as good as it can be expected to be. As an aside Mr Sears can, perhaps, now anticipate a fresh round of lobbying from the scrap dealers about fixing the trade, the protracted on-off nature of which, continues to be altogether unacceptable, the validity of the argument about the importance of regularization notwithstanding.
So that since there is every reason to believe that Mr Sears has an understanding of both the climate that coincides with his election to the chairmanship of the PSC and the private sector’s particular priorities at this time, he must surely understand that quite a bit will be expected of him in the period ahead.