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The Sky Is Not The Limit Published: Sunday, January 18, 1998 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

The challenge for 1998 is to continue overcoming barriers to success using breakthrough strategies to transcend limitations and constraints for maximizing sectorial and institutional performance. Regardless of ideological affiliations, we have to share the proposal (which has been a core message of the last few years) that limitations and barriers that commonly get in the way of success can be overcome with knowledge, imagination, goodwill and a strong bias for hope.

In the overall, there were many positive things in 1997. Like it or not, there was significant economic revamping, followed by a tax, incentives, capital markets, health, education, labor, welfare and housing reform. The achievements for previous years (1992-1997) are right there: 4-point drop in the rate of unemployment; 24.7% increase in retail sales; 46.6% increase in number of tourists; 10.2% increase in recorded exports; 20.2% decrease in the number of welfare recipients; and 39.3% decrease in violent crimes. These are fairly soundable facts. Unfortunate data sometimes doesn`t go hand to hand with social perception.

Breakthrough strategies like many other social ventures seem impossible at the beginning. We place so many limits on ourselves (sometimes neglecting the contributions of others) that lead us to believe that tomorrow will be pretty much like today or even yesterday. But it isn`t, as we can see if we look back over the past year or decade. Change occurs all the time, and these changes affect our live and the society in very significant ways. There are many people and few institutions that don`t believe today should be like yesterday, and they go about seeking to change their milieu for the better. These people believe that breakthroughs can occur, that the sky is never the limit, and they work hand questioning the status quo to prove their case.

Everything that affects us today has been significantly altered by a technical breakthrough that occurred within the past several years. If we look at a day in our life: home air conditioning; garage door openers; high performance automobiles; reliable commercial aircraft; personal computers; television; video recorders; home exercise machines; antibiotics for sickness and fast food franchise, among others. These are mostly the result of hard work, human creativity, and a strong drive to achieve breakthrough. There is no question that creativity and innovation are part of a framebreaking process. But contrary to popular thinking, innovation is the end of the process, the reward or outcome of all the activity that precedes the breakthrough venture. Because innovation represents a leap into the unknown, its the one part of the process that it can`t be control very well. This is the base for learning. However, much of what is necessary to achieve such a condition can be influenced, stimulated, inspired, encouraged, developed, and fostered. Breakthrough strategies don`t happen by chance. They are the result of organized activity: important purpose, clear goal, challenge, team effort, empowerment, excitement, contribution of everyone involved, strong commitment, persistence, fun, trust and hard work.

We should all help the government in its effort to develop and expand the competitiveness strategic approach for enhancing growth and building societal wealth for the future. It requires a breakthrough action. We should all take the perspective that a society can be thought of as managing a complex institutional system, and we all can benefit from adopting the mentality that the sky is not the limit. This is not to ignore the great cultural, political and economic complexities in managing a society. Nor is this to imply that injecting direction into the society is something like a planned economy. Nothing, nothing like that. The strategic competitiveness approach is a continuous self-correcting process that consistently considers where the society should be heading and how best it can get there. Thus, if we have a discrepancy with a particular policy, it is our knowledge responsibility to contribute with self-correcting measures. Just simply saying, that it would not work doesn`t add any value. Our experience with the Rosselló administration in this key aspect has been very positive. Whenever, we have thought we can contribute and have articulated in a respectful and healthy way a concrete policy proposal, we have found great institutional attention and receptivity.

For 1998, we should all contribute to the immodest agenda of facing the challenges of societal competitiveness; polishing the strategic vision for the society as a whole; developing strategic postures, policies, industrial and business portfolios; and supporting company and institutional growth and prosperity. It is very important to help organizations understand the sensitive linkages between company - institutional strategies and the society`s competitiveness-building strategy. Indeed, the sky is not the limit and we should support breakthrough leadership by captivating challenges, open focus, competitiveness collaboration, boundary flexibility, sectorial commitment and organized adventure.

 


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