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AWRIGHT DEN: Could it be fear?

Corey Worrell

AWRIGHT DEN: Could it be fear?

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For years, many have said that we as Barbadians are all bark and no bite and in some instances, there is some truth to the statement. If there is one thing we do well is talk and complain, but when it is time to take action or make a stand, it doesn’t seem like a natural talent for us.
I have observed through various experiences, listening to radio programmes and following trends online that after raising an issue, within seven to ten days we quickly lose motivation and interest. I have never done any research on the topic, neither have I seen the results of any, so my contribution today is merely opinion.
Three weeks ago, I posted an unsatisfactory experience I encountered with customer service from a local provider. The following week, I wrote an article in which I shared the same experience and informed the readers of my intentions of creating an online petition against the organisation. Last week I followed through on that intention and created, launched, signed and shared the petition. Within the article, I shared the following reasons for conducting the petition and here is a snippet from last week’s article.
I have a medium, through this article, to share my frustrations . . . but you don’t and as a result, the petition was created to allow you the opportunity to express those feelings. It is my goal that through the success of this petition:
“1. Customer service and experience is revolutionised.
2. [It] becomes a better and more efficient and profitable company.
3. Other customer service-driven companies would realise they could be next and would seek to put their houses in order.
4. Citizens would understand that collectively, we have the power to influence positive change.
Today, Tuesday, May 13, as I write this article, is one week that the petition was launched; it has a total of 70 signatures.
As I sat and reflected on what may have caused the petition to perform so poorly, I came up with a few reasons: poor advertising and lack of knowledge, customers are satisfied, customers view the petition as a waste of time, and customers don’t want to have their names on a public petition out of fear of being victimised.
From here on, I am sharing in a general sense and not specifically to this company.
I believe a spirit of fear governs this country and it is used to control us. Victimisation is a reality and although hard to prove, it does exist. Our culture should be one that creates an atmosphere and a safe environment for people to communicate their concerns and issues in a respectful and professional manner without the fear of victimisation.
As a former teacher, I can tell you that this fear exists. I sat in staff rooms and heard the numerous concerns and issues many teachers were experiencing, yet during staff meetings those issues were not raised. One common reason is: “I am not appointed and I ain’t want to lose my job.”
This type of mindset is consistent throughout hundreds of businesses in Barbados and is hindering our growth, magnificence and productivity. I would go even further and say that this is not just a Barbadian issue but also a Caribbean one. While serving as the Commonwealth Youth Ambassador (a position, disappointingly, that the Ministry of Youth has not filled as yet, even though I resigned since August 1, 2010), I also saw evidence of this fear throughout the islands.
Many organisations are at a disadvantage if they rob their employees, clients and customers of the opportunity to contribute to their development by offering feedback. This also applies to relationships within the family. Parents and spouses need to create an atmosphere where children and loved ones are encouraged to give feedback.
Managers, supervisors and directors need to create an atmosphere where their employees and customers can be honest about their experiences without the fear of victimisation. This is also true for ministers and leaders within Government, but can only be achieved through trust, something that is easily lost, although hard to achieve.
• Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.