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News Article

March 19, 2012
Eleuthera Chamber cancels event due to poor response

On February 8, 2012 we, at the Eleuthera Chamber of Commerce, extended an invitation to all six political candidates for the Island of Eleuthera to participate in a proposed question and answer reception. Three of six candidates confirmed either verbally or via email, one communicated with a commitment to follow up with his party's leadership for authorization, and two did not respond at all.
Under the circumstances and remaining true to the Eleuthera chamber's goal of unbiased, informative and constructive mature dialogue, it is with great regret that the Eleuthera Chamber of Commerce advises that the event has been canceled.
The format for the proposed event would have included all of the political candidates for Central & South Eleuthera and North Eleuthera who would be asked to respond to a list of business related topics which impact the start-up, operation and expansion of business in Eleuthera and The Bahamas. The goal was to provide an indication of the candidates' knowledge of the challenges businesses face, and how each candidate and/or political party would address these challenges if they were to be elected as a member of the governing party. The question and answer event was to be moderated by national and local press and the topics were to be supplied in advance for each candidate's consideration.
The questions, which are still very relevant as we move into the heart of the political season, were as a follows:
(1) Investment in Eleuthera
a. What means will you employ to encourage domestic investment for the island of Eleuthera?
b. How do you intend to attract foreign investment to Eleuthera?
(2) Enhancement of the Eleuthera business environment
a. What existing programs do you feel are beneficial to Eleuthera's businesses?
b. What new programs would you implement to improve Eleuthera' s business environment?
c. What programs would you implement to drive visitor stopover arrivals to Eleuthera?
d. How do you intend to create an environment to grow the fisheries industry and revitalize farming on Eleuthera?
(3) Expanded airlift into Family Islands directly from the U.S.
a. How do you plan to address this?
(4) Expanded and improved healthcare and Emergency Services
a. What is your understanding of the healthcare needs of Eleuthera?
b. How would you address these needs?
(5) Labor and training
a. How would you address the skills shortage faced by businesses throughout Eleuthera?
b. What is your plan for expanding tertiary education opportunities on the island?
c. What is your plan to improve primary and secondary education, as most persons would
agree that this would enhance the future labor pool on Eleuthera?
(6) Energy and technology
a. What is your view on the prospect of creating a third industry, should oil be found in The Bahamas?
b. How would you address the challenges businesses face with the escalating cost of energy and unreliable service, which plagues Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Spanish Wells today?
(7) Questions from high school students with the assistance of principals
It is hoped that throughout this season the candidates will address these issues and will inform the people of Eleuthera of their documented plans with respect to these important matters.

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News Article

October 07, 2013
Developer: Tax conviction 'water under bridge'

A developer in the final stages of receiving government approval to invest in a key Exuma property yesterday stated that a previous sentencing for tax evasion in the United States has been disclosed to the government and need not stand in the way of him moving ahead with his investment in The Bahamas.
Guardian Business understands that concerns had been raised with the prime minister that John McGarvey, who has been touted as having "amazing" plans for Exuma via the redevelopment of February Point, has a prior conviction for tax evasion in the U.S. and that what his company has spelled out as its intention for the properties to investors in the project appears to differ in scope from that described in public statements to date.
Details have emerged of McGarvey's plans for the February Point property, which indicate that the Florida-based developer has committed to investors that once he acquires February Point and nearby 815 acre Flamingo Bay using funding which includes $700,000 of his own cash, he wishes to make a "front end" capital investment of only $2 million in "vertical construction funding".
Supplemented by cash from anticipated sales of land, this would be used to construct five condominiums, in addition to a sales office, a pool and restaurant, and conduct some road, entrance and marina improvements.
While not insignificant, the description of the intended investment falls short of the plans highlighted in media statements by McGarvey's attorney, Thomas Dean, of law firm Dupuch and Turnquest, who had suggested that McGarvey's plans would amount to a $40 million investment that could "revolutionize" Exuma, and would include the development of a hotel and commercial village.
Back in March, the prime minister described McGarvey's intentions for the February Point project as "amazing" and likely to lead to an "expansion of development" that would have economic spillovers for Exuma.
According to an "executive summary" of the proposed investment prepared by McGarvey Development Company, a significant portion of McGarvey's plans revolve around the "aggressive marketing" for sale land and "hotel sites" within the target properties to "qualified developers".
McGarvey identifies himself as someone who has been successful at buying "distressed" properties, "holding" them for a period of time and re-selling them for a significant profit.
On Friday, McGarvey Development Company's executive vice president of Asset Management Bill Price said funds from land sales in February Point and Flamingo Bay would be "continually reinvested" into the development.
With respect to tax fraud, a 1991 article in the Lehigh Valley Morning Call newspaper highlights the conviction of John McGarvey of Moorestown, New Jersey, who was sentenced to a year in federal prison and a $100,000 fine for failing to pay taxes on more than $1 million.
According to the article, McGarvey pleaded guilty on June 17, 1991, to one count of tax evasion and one of filing a false corporate return for 1985, having been charged at the age of 42 with three counts of income tax evasion and two counts of filing false corporate tax returns.
Federal prosecutors had been seeking a two year term for McGarvey, arguing that he was "dishonest in defrauding the Internal Revenue Service and he took steps to cover up his cheating by getting innocent people to lie for him."
"Unfortunately, the government must conclude that McGarvey did this out of pure greed," they stated in a memorandum.
Yesterday, Price said that while McGarvey "is not proud" of the conviction, it is something of which the government is fully aware.
"There's been a lot of water under the bridge. It occurred 30 years ago and since that time there's been nothing similar and we've been able to convince alot of people we are good people to do business with.
"John made a mistake, and John paid for his mistake, and we never hide behind that or never said he didn't make a mistake, but it was overblown relative to the context. The bottom line is disclosure and the passage of time," said Price, adding that McGarvey Development Company had been involved with "probably half a billion dollars" worth of business since that time.
With respect to access to financing for February Point, McGarvey, who has been said since the mid part of this year to be in the final stages of receiving approval from the government to acquire the property from the Hart Family, told Guardian Business on Friday that he cannot access funding from investors for the purchase of the property until he receives approvals from the government.
Stating that "money isn't an issue" for his company as it relates to the deal, and he has "nothing to hide", he revealed that government approvals are critical to the release of funds from a "stable of investors" he is said to have secured.
McGarvey told Guardian Business: "We have in place our investors, but we're waiting for the government to provide approval. The investors are willing to invest providing the representations made in the proforma are accurate. Will the government approve the marina, etc. Everyone's in a holding pattern until we have the government say 'Yes, what you've applied for we can give you'. Then we can finalize the investment from investors."
His comments came in light of information being passed on to Guardian Business with respect to a proforma issued to potential investors in relation to February Point earlier this year.
In that document, the McGarvey Development Company highlights a goal of raising $12 million, of which would include $7.2 million towards the purchase price and acquisition costs of February Point and nearby 815 acre Flamingo Bay, and $2 million and $2.8 million respectively in construction funding and working capital.
The proforma - described as an "executive summary" of the McGarvey Development Company's plans for February Point - is also said to suggest that the developer will "explore opportunities for the development or sale" of nearby Flamingo Bay, and adds that a portion of the property "will likely be donated for a community sports complex in return for governmental cooperation in the overall development plans."
McGarvey is understood to have described his business model since 2008 in the document as one which involves purchasing distressed real estate - initially in the Florida market - and later re-selling it at a significantly higher price once the market has recovered.
"Successful turnarounds include the purchase of the bankrupt Quail West Golf & Country Club in March of 2009 for $13.5 million. After a three year hold, the project was recently sold in a transaction valued at over $32 million," the summary is understood to read.
In a financial breakdown, the proforma anticipates just over $36 million in gross revenue from land sales within the targeted Great Exuma properties alone over seven years for McGarvey and his investor group, as property values gradually increase over the period by an expected 50 percent.
This revenue would be joined by a $7.3 million investment in community upgrades, and $13.3 million in eventual construction costs, over a four year period, funded in part by reinvestment of funds from property sales.
McGarvey would eventually collect a 30 percent "developer fee" of $7.8 million, while investors would take 70 percent - an $18.3 million take, with an internal rate of return (IRR) for investors of 24.9 percent.
"McGarvey has identified The Bahamas, and particularly The Exumas, as the next market likely to recover. The acquisition of assets such as February Point, at below replacement costs, put them in an excellent position to take advantage of the recovery," the proforma is said to read.
Guardian Business understands that the proforma recently began circulating in the Exuma community and has raised some concerns among residents regarding McGarvey's financial means and development plans for February Point.
Yesterday, a concerned Exumian speaking on condition of anonymity, suggested that the plans described in the document fall short of the type of development that has been proposed in public statements by the prime minister or McGarvey's representatives to date which suggested McGarvey intended, among other things, to develop a hotel and commercial village in the area.
He added that the proforma suggests that selling February Point and adjacent land to McGarvey could be unwise when there are a significant number of "potential quality investors" who could possibly add greater value to the area.
"I am not sure why we are entertaining him when there are wealthy people out there. A group of Bahamians could put together what he is proposing."
Responding to the fact that the document makes no mention of any plans to construct a hotel or commercial village, as had been suggested was part of McGarvey's plans by his attorney, Price said that this discrepancy arises because it is "very difficult to project" whether the construction of the commercial village would take place as it would be demand based.
In relation to the mention of hotel development, Price clarified that McGarvey's plans are for the sale of the hotel site "to a competent developer".
"We are not hotel developers. We've learned early on that if you are not a developer, you are better off selling the site to someone who knows how to do it," he told Guardian Business.
His comments may surprise some, given that McGarvey is also said to have received final approval for a development proposal on Stocking Island, in which it was at least initially suggested that he would construct a boutique hotel.
Price said that the February Point proforma document with its plans for condos and other upgrades describes a "base" of development on top of which "future development" is contemplated. McGarvey added that the proposal submitted to the Bahamas Investment Authority for February Point is "two to three inches thick".
"Once we acquire February Point with the main group there's also downstream developments, such as the hotel and golf courses," added Price.
With respect to the commitment in the proforma to "start vertical construction on five condominium buildings", Price said that McGarvey Development envisages building 25 condominiums ultimately, but "prudence dictates" that coming out of the economic downturn the group should at first focus on building just five.
"The expectation is we'll roll from one group of five into the next group of five," he added.
'There's a rolling amount of money that is being created by the sales that are continually being reinvested until we get the vertical going. Twelve million dollars is just the front end number."
In McGarvey Development Company's proforma document, there are said to be six potential investors listed who have to date promised or committee funding towards the project including "Harrington", "Marino", "McGarvey", "Whitehead", "Toker" and "Dean". It is not clear if the Dean highlighted would be McGarvey's Bahamian attorney, Thomas Dean.
McGarvey is personally listed as having an "expected" personal investment of $700,000, and to be bringing $2 million in "expected" investment from outside investors. An adjacent column listing "actual" investment shows personal investment again listed at $700,000, and $0 investor-based financing attained.
As to whether he himself ultimately intends to keep his equity in the project to $700,000, McGarvey told this newspaper on Friday that it "depends on a lot of variables" including "where we get to with the proforma," again indicating that the question of financing has yet to be resolved.
Pressed to respond to concerns about whether he has the financial wherewithal to add value to the Exuma property, McGarvey told Guardian Business that he has a history of completing projects.
"Every project I've started, I've finished, except for one where the market crashed."
On Friday, Guardian Business was informed by a source close to the matter that McGarvey has obtained approval in principle for his February Point plans and has recently received final approval for the purchase of Stocking Island.
McGarvey began being highlighted as a potential purchaser of February Point this year after major Canadian resort company Talisker Corporation pulled out of its initial plans to acquire the property in February.
Minister of State for Investments Khaalis Rolle did not return messages seeking comment on McGarvey's conviction or development plans up to press time.

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News Article

December 30, 2011
80M Emerald Bay profitable by 2014

Sandals will see a return on its $80 million investment in Emerald Bay by 2014, the resort's CEO has said, as the company seeks to capitalize on the location's natural assets.
Adam Stewart told Guardian Business that the Exuma property is now one of the most beautiful and desirable vacation spots in the world - and it's a matter of time before the public recognizes that.
Up until this moment, he said Emerald Bay "has not made a single dollar yet".
"Do I think 2012 will be the year we break the back of it? Yes I do," he added. "We will have a fairly good winter and our reputation in the marketplace is getting better. With a little luck, the world economy will start to behave. 2013 and 2014 show that it was a good buy and it will contribute to the bottom line."
The resort, acquired by Sandals in August 2009 from the Four Seasons, has undergone a near total transformation in recent years. Sandals has pumped tens of millions into the development and marketing of the remote resort, spanning 500 acres with a one-mile stretch of beach.
It boasts five restaurants, five bars, two pools, 150 slips, 183 accommodations and an 18-hole golf course. The company added 66 rooms this year after picking up a residential building adjacent to the resort to pull off the expansion.
More than 100 permanent employees have been added to the roster.
Stewart said the company wouldn't have made the investment "if we didn't think the future was bright for Exuma". He told Guardian Business that the mystique and natural beauty of the landscape will appeal to tourists seeking a luxurious experience off the beaten track.
"When you land, you feel as if you're in the middle of nowhere," he said.
However, the key will be balancing the appeal of a remote location with appropriate airlift and adequate marketing. Acknowledging that airlift is "not easy", Stewart said the government has been very supportive so far. Sandals has taken considerable risks by putting money forward to guarantee capacity for the airlines coming into Exuma so they don't succumb to losses.
It's a precarious business model for the resort chain, but one Stewart believes will pay off.
Marketing is the other essential ingredient to success, he pointed out.
"We have to be behind the gateway, making sure the demand is high enough so the airplane seats are full. This is not an easy task," he told Guardian Business. "You get the services, you put your reputation on the line and then you market the heck out of it. The facility is gorgeous and the hotel has what it needs to be the best in the Caribbean."
This month, the popular U.S. game show Wheel of Fortune was invited to film a series of shows at Emerald Bay. Stewart said this promotion, and many others like it, have reached a quarter of a billion people, serving as invaluable exposure and marketing for the property.
Given the higher price tag of Emerald Bay, part of the strategy of the resort will be to "push weddings hard", the CEO said. Sandals recently unveiled its new wedding program whereby clients can more fully customize their experience.
The program is in collaboration with Martha Stewart, the celebrity lifestyle guru.
With tens of millions on the line, Stewart said the company is absolutely focused on ensuring the high-priced acquisition is a success.

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News Article

March 20, 2012
A new dawn at Sandals

By DANA SMITH

dsmith@tribunemedia.net

AFTER a six-month, $17.5 million renovation, Sandals Royal Bahamian Resorts celebrated the official opening of its Balmoral Tower yesterday.

Damaged in Hurricane Irene, the former Manor Building has come back under a new name and was fully refurbished with "contemporary" rooms, a penthouse fitness centre with ocean views, personal butler service for every room, ground-floor rooms with patios, and sea front rooms with balconies.

On hand for the ceremony was Tourism and Aviation Minister Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, who praised Sandals for being an "enormous contributor" to the tourism industry, offering "high quality experiences" and ad ...

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News Article

December 01, 2011
Vanderpool-Wallace: AA bankruptcy will not affect service

Although senior aviation officials insist American Airline's recent filing for bankruptcy protection won't impact travel to The Bahamas, at least one local executive sees it as an opportunity for domestic airlines to take a greater role in travel to the Family Islands.
Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace told Guardian Business that American Airlines filing for Chapter 11 is not at all unusual, as they were the last to hold out of all the trump carriers.
The restructuring, he said, will run its course with minimal disruption.
"We're fairly certain this is not going to affect us in any way," he said.
"We do not expect disruption to service from American Airlines or American Eagle."
On Tuesday, not only did American Airlines file for bankruptcy protection, but it also replaced its chief executive. The crux of the matter, according to reports, hinges on labor issues and the 88,000 employees at the company.  American Airlines has also assured the public there will be no disruption to its normal flight schedule.
As of Wednesday morning, American Airlines had seven flights leaving for Miami. The carrier does brisk business to The Bahamas, in addition to service through its subsidiary American Eagle to the Family Islands.
The president and CEO of Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), Stewart Steeves, echoed the sentiments of the Minister of Tourism, saying the filing for bankruptcy is meant to give the airline flexibility to cancel or change contracts as part of its restructuring.
American Airlines does not have a contract with Lynden Pindling International Airport, he noted, and instead pays fees on a flight-by-flight basis.
"I don't expect that they will scale back their flights," he told Guardian Business.
"We expect overall service to continue as they sort out their labor contracts."
But Randy Butler, the CEO of SkyBahamas, did not express quite so much optimism concerning American Airlines in The Bahamas. In particular, he felt American Eagle, the subsidiary flying to the Family Islands, could be first on the chopping block if cutbacks occurred down the road.
"This speaks further to why the government should support their national airlines and give them the right mandate," he explained.
"American Eagle is a service where we are connecting ourselves to the Family Islands. I think you might have more effect there than anything. How are we going to develop these islands?"
Butler felt it was an example of how local carriers could step up and not be at the mercy of swings among international companies.
With more than 122 locals employed with SkyBahamas, he said the local airlines must be more "empowered" and given more responsibility and incentives.

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News Article

April 12, 2014
Firt Leadership Development Institute Class Halfway to Graduation

150 Students Preparing For Opportunities At Baha Mar. Today, students in the inaugural class of the Leadership Development Institute (LDI), a non-profit training institute supported by Baha Mar, celebrated an important milestone completing half of the journey to graduation. Approximately 150 students, chosen from 3,500 applicants, were selected to enter the challenging program to receive training...

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News Article

April 05, 2014
IAAF officials pleased with stadium progress

The new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium has impressed International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) officials so far. Press liaison for the organization, Anna Legniani, as well as Stefan Phies, who is the director of event media services for the Local Organizing Committee, recently toured the new stadium and are pleased with the media set up as well as the overall development of the stadium.
Phies also traveled all the way from Germany to work with Olympic gold medalist Tonique Williams-Darling who will serve as the event media services director for the upcoming relays.
"They were here for a press site visit, looking at all of the facilities that we have set up for them and to review the procedures to take when the press comes to town. They expressed that they were very pleased with the way we have progressed, seeing how the IAAF has such high standards and we are meeting those standards," said Bahamas World Relays Communications Director Earl Thompson.
The IAAF is one of the largest governing bodies of track and field in the world, and building up the stadium to meet its tough standards now could also prove to be helpful down the line, in terms of attracting big events to the country.
"They make sure that the press tribune is of a high quality, they also look to make sure that the mix zone is properly constructed and that the press can easily gain access to it and that it has all the amenities that they need," Thompson said.
Some of the other things that they looked for were Wi-Fi Internet access, copier access as well as properly constructed camera placement areas that are of high quality.
Not only is the press tribune being built up to standard, but also the rest of the renovations to the stadium and surrounding areas are coming along swiftly. Everything looks to be falling in line with the time frame that was given.
"The overall stadium development is going quite well, the track repaving is going well and they are doing renovations to the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium now. Also renovations to the pool area of the Betty Kelly Kenning National Swimming Complex have commenced and are going quite well," said Thompson.
"Everything that needs to be done is being done on a timely basis. The drive up to the warm up track is being redone. We are coming along nicely and everything looks like it will be completed in time for the World Relays."
The refurbished stadium will be judged not only by the IAAF next month, but also by thousands from all over the world.
Tickets sales have been going well so far, the ticketing office has been busy since the passes went on sale, and that does not include those who purchased tickets online.
"Sales have gone exceptionally well, especially if you consider the standards by which Bahamians buy tickets, this is unprecedented. Bahamians have always waited until the last minute to buy tickets; we have sold well over 6,000 tickets," said Thompson.
"All of the gold tickets are now sold out, most of the silver tickets are gone and a considerable amount of the bronze tickets are gone. So this is amazing seeing the way that things were done in the past."

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News Article

October 30, 2014
VAT penalties severe

The government has indicated that it will not shift from January 1, 2015 as the date to institute the value-added tax (VAT) regime, and, with the November 31, 2014 deadline for registration looming, the possibility of hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and even possible jail terms for non-compliance is growing more and more concrete.
Guardian Business understands that the government may take a hard line in this matter.
The VAT Act and the attendant regulations allow the government to impose fines or jail terms - in some cases both - for a bevy of offenses, both administrative and otherwise. The government has even given itself a "just in case" option: Section 38(5) of the regulations provides that the government is allowed to fine a person up to $10,000 or imprison that offender for up to two years for contravention of, or failure to comply with, "any provision of the act or regulations for which no penalty is described under this part".
General offenses
The VAT Regulations 2014 allow a fine of up to $50,000 or a prison term of up to two years for "wilfully" evading VAT; improper collection and advertisement of VAT; impeding the comptroller or a VAT officer in the administration of the act or for failure to comply with a requirement of confidentiality.
Persons can be fined $1,000 for each false statement or failure to disclose information in a misleading manner (Section 92).
Other offenses
VAT registrants who contravene the VAT-inclusive pricing regime feared by the Bahamas Federation of Retailers (BFR) - or break other pricing rules - face up to $100,000 in fines, as much as a year in prison or both a fine and jail term. Failure to display a valid VAT registration certificate in a conspicuous place carries a maximum fine of $50,000 plus a year in jail.
Failure by taxable persons to register, face a maximum fine of $100,000 plus a year in prison. The same applies for a taxable person who leaves or tries to leave The Bahamas for an extended period without settling the VAT bill, and for a hotel or other person responsible for administration of condos that form a pool or other collective rental arrangement and fails to register.
Unregistered taxable persons who collect tax or issue VAT invoices, or fail to pay and account to the VAT department for VAT on taxable supplies and imports, face a maximum fine of $250,000 plus a year in prison. The same goes for an importer of taxable goods or services who fails to declare and pay in the prescribed time and for submissions of improper declarations.
The first schedule of the Value Added Tax Regulations 2014 contains 50 offenses for which the government can levy fines described as either "minor", "serious" or "very serious".
Section 96(h)(i) of the Value Added Tax Act 2014 sets a limit of $500,000 for penalties levied against those acting in contravention of the act, or not in compliance with it. For those who contravene or fail to comply with the VAT rules, the law allows a penalty of up to $300,000. Administrative fines are not to exceed $150,000.

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News Article

February 15, 2012
In 2012 give employees an ultimatum - grow or go!

Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius. - Fulton J. Sheen.

Irrespective of industry, organization or sector you talk to managers and staff and the cry is the same: Mediocre performers have been allowed to remain in positions year after year, stagnating organizational growth and suffocating genius.  Complaints are levied at employees and customers voice their frustration, yet nothing changes. Why?  Because no one wants to be the "bad guy" .  Nobody wants to pull the trigger. Nobody wants to have the tough conversation, sadly no one has the guts to give the mediocre employee a simple ultimatum - grow or go!
But why not?  Why are managers afraid to give the ultimatum?  Could it be that they have somehow contributed to this madness?  Absolutely!  Many managers have become enablers, and if you want your organization to grow these managers need to be arrested.
How do managers contribute to mediocrity in organizations?
1. They hire warm bodies verses the right individual for the job.  Sadly this is a dilemma recruitment managers face everyday.
Door number one: Quickly hire someone, anyone, as long as he/she is breathing to fill the position before the board, or senior managers decide to freeze or worst eliminate the position all together.  Or door number two: Take the time to search for, train and let's not forget appropriately compensate the right individual to fill the position.  Most hiring managers seem to opt for door number one and in their desperation for a quick hire find themselves stuck with one of three types of warm bodies:
The monkey - often referred to as "the ideal person for you" by the manager of the department trying to "pass the monkey". This individual is introduced to the hiring manager as a "gift", with no regard as to whether or not the monkey possesses the right skills and competencies to function in the new role.
The cruiser - this individual possesses the right skills and competencies to fill the position, but has no interest or passion for the role.  Their main objective is to "cruise" in an easier role, wait for retirement, escape from his or her current manager/team members or to take advantage of some new freedom/incentive that this position may offer.
The directionless - this individual starts out as the right person for the job.  He/she possesses the right skills and competencies, but soon becomes derailed since the organization has no clear infrastructure or strategy to help this individual succeed.  The right individual may be on the bus, but after the first thirty days without basic office supplies (a computer, telephone, business cards etc.) do you really expect this individual to succeed?
Wouldn't it be better to opt for door number two and begin the recruitment process with a clearly defined strategy for the position, a strategy that begins with an actionable and accountable job description that allows you to hire for talent and train for skill?
2. Only hiring people they "can manage".  Managers claim to want a self-directed, empowered team when what they really want is people who will not rock the boat, people who will not shake the organizational power structure, people who don't know how to think, ultimately people they can control.  This is the breeding ground for mediocrity since under these conditions "A level" employees soon jump ship.
3. Lie on employees' performance appraisals - managers who hate confrontation, who want to be everyone's friend, or who may have already blinked out themselves and can't be bothered, grade everyone as fabulous!  Four out of four, excellent, excellent.  Obviously employees cannot fix a problem that doesn't exist!
4. Failing to set high performance standards in their department - if you've read Jim Collins' book  "Good To Great" you know that "good is the enemy of great". If you want your team members to be superstars then you will have to push off the bench!  Set high standards of excellence, build in accountability and ensure that every employee knows that there is a consequence for failing to perform at the expected standard.  Don't accept excuses for mediocrity.  Let's say that a particular job requires an advanced proficiency of Excel, however, the person in the position only has a basic understanding of Excel. They can add columns and texts but cannot create formulas.  They promise to enroll in a course but they never do.  In the meantime you continuously make excuses for the employee and find ways to work around the deficiency instead of having the "you need to enroll in a course or I will transfer you out of this department" conversation.  That employee will always be the weak link and a burden to others in the department, and because there is no consequence for non-performance he/she will never strive to be a continuous learner.
5. When managers themselves do nothing to grow, they "lead" by example - managers lead by example whether good or bad.  If you are a manager and you have done absolutely nothing to perfect or enhance your skills within the last 6 months, you're not growing.  If you're not growing you have nothing new to bring to the table.  Your lack of growth stagnates your team, kills your creativity, and sends a clear message to your staff that mediocrity is acceptable.
 
A word to the highly skilled, forever operating in excellence, but suffocating in a pool of mediocrity
I saw a quote the other day that read, "In the republic of mediocrity, genius is dangerous".  This is so true!  If you're an "A" employee asking "but Stacia, how long will it take for these managers/organizations to realize that when they refuse to give the 'grow or go' ultimatum, they are really doing a disservice to their employees and killing the organization?" I say don't hurt your head for the answer; you'll be long gone by then!
 
Stacia Williams offers keynotes, workshops and personal coaching on a wide range of: Personal Branding, Image Management, Customer Service, Leadership, Business Etiquette & International Protocol Topics. You can contact Stacia Williams at 325-5992 or email Stacia@totalimagemanagement.com or visit staciawilliamsblog.com.

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News Article

March 08, 2012
Bishop: Yield to God

During a church service celebrating the Diamond Jubilee anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II, attendees were reminded that all people are called to serve, and that in order for this service to reach its full potential, they have to let go, and throw themselves into the arms of God. This means that all people must yield to God.
On the second Sunday of Lent at Morning Prayer, at Christ Church Cathedral, attended by Prince Harry of Wales, Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd encouraged people not to think only in terms of themselves, but in terms of God and what they can be through God.
"Like a child standing on the side of a pool whose parent stands in the pool and says jump, and because that child trusts mom and dad, he will jump into those arms that they trust and can rely on. Paul's verse challenges us not to think only in terms of ourselves, but in terms of God and what we can be through God. Yield yourselves unto God as people who have been brought from death into life," said Bishop Boyd.
He encouraged people to not let their baser nature and baser elements of sin and death control them. As the reality of human frailty means that all people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and that they have a shallow side, can be negative, and have a tendency to gravitate towards what is bad.
But the head of the Anglican Diocese in The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands said that everyone has a certain amount of power and influence over others and that they need to use that power to do what is right, and produce the right actions that benefit the home, the family, the work place, the school, the community, the country and the world.
But it's something he said that isn't always easy to do because there is a war going on inside of people. He said it's a struggle to determine what is right, and that people then struggle to do what is right. Despite the reality, he encouraged people to press on and never give up, asking God to help them.
Bishop Boyd also reminded people that they have choices they can make, even though they may be bombarded from every side.
"The challenge is always to make the best choice, the right choice in big decisions and in small. Service is one such choice," he said. "Service is choosing willingly, and doing what we are called to do. It is sometimes easy for us human beings to make a commitment to serve at home in school, in the community for government and for country. Committing is one thing, but the real test, the real necessity is the execution of that commitment, the carrying out of that duty every day, every week, every month, every year, in good weather, in bad weather , whether I feel like it, or whether I don't feel like it, that is the challenge," he said.
As Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 60 years of service, Bishop Boyd said the full impact of service could not be seen in one week or even in one year. He said it was not measured simply by the struggle that people have today, or the failure that they have tomorrow, or the falling down that happens next week. He said the full impact of service is measured by people's faithfulness, their perseverance. There dedication to the daily routine, to the weekly drudgery, to the trivial round of the common task. It is for this reason he said that the example of Queen Elizabeth II is valued.
"She has been diligent, faithful, unswerving, steadfast and sure in the execution of her duties and her availability to all who must call upon her. As monarch, she represents in so many ways, the image of leadership, stability, continuity, a link with the past and our heritage, [and] a link with the present and the life we now live, and a link with the future," he said.
Bishop Boyd said the monarchy is also a reminder of the foundations of the country's form of government. And that heads of state and national leaders carry tremendous responsibility.
"We joke about how leaders begin to look older, and how they turn gray quickly, but leaders carry tremendous responsibility. By virtue of holding the office and being the officer, a leader has already done a day's work, even before that leader goes to his or her desk or attends the first appointment of the day. We therefore have to hold up and pray for and encourage our leaders, and we thank God for the queen's model of service to the Commonwealth and to the world, and for all that she has represented," he said.
The Anglican chief said that oftentimes people take for granted the elements and characteristics of Bahamian society and its government. He said in most instances they forget that what they enjoy is a result of history, traditions and institutions like the monarchy, Parliament, senate, religion and government.
"Like Her Majesty, there are so many other leaders who serve in our two countries and the world who give of themselves, more than just the value of a day's wages. These persons give because they love God, because they love life and because they love what they do - because they want to serve, because they want to make a contribution. They accept the calling to which they have been called, and accept at this time, that there is a particular necessity laid upon them to play a specific role. Some leaders if they have the opportunity would choose a different lot, but they serve anyhow because they have no choice but to answer yes to God, yes to country, yes to school, to family, to community. Leaders answer yes because necessity is laid upon them and because they have no other choice but to serve," he said.
The religious leader offered words of encouragement to all people that serve in a leadership role. He said they should always pray and yield themselves to God, and that when all is said and done, and the dust has cleared, that it is really not about them.
"This is about God, about what God has done. About what God continues to do - and the grace that God gives us so that we can do what it is that we have been called to do. In order to offer oneself to God, one has to deny self and put that self into the hands of God. Often as human beings we see ourselves in terms of who we are, what we have done, what we have experienced, what we struggle with. We see ourselves in terms of our pains and wounds, our successes, our accomplishment, and all of these things are important because they form our identity; however on our human journey, we are called not to focus only upon ourselves, but to see ourselves in terms of what God has for us to be and what God calls us to," he said.
For people to reach their full maturity and potential, he said they must go beyond themselves.
"It is not about us. It is about God. Let us keep our eyes lifted high, look to higher ideals, higher standards, higher principals and look to the place where God first ordained for us to be. As we worship God and thank God for the contribution of Queen Elizabeth II and all that she means to us, let us also remember that we have been called to serve, and wherever we are called to give it, it will reach its full potential only if we let go of self, and throw ourselves into the arms of God. We thank God for the privilege of serving. We ask God by His grace to help us all to continue to serve without getting tired, and we pray that we would yield ourselves unto God as those who have been brought from death to life," he said.

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