May 2019 Update 
What Cuba Has to Teach Us On Infrastructure  

I’ve traveled to over 30 countries and this April I had the privilege of staying a week in Havana, Cuba. My first impressions were of a country in a time warp resulting from little investment in infrastructure over the past 40 years. Castro came to power in 1959 and his revolutionary manifesto implemented free education, literacy, health care, minimum wage, inexpensive utilities and basic staples. These were huge changes and many have endured.

What hasn’t endured is ongoing investment in infrastructure, government wages have been unchanged for 30 years, damaged road and footpaths remain unrepaired, housing is crumbling, plumbing is rudimentary, garbage collections inadequate and power cables are chaotic.

With restricted internet and wifi, visitors and locals queue for daily staples, changing money, and buying internet time. These disadvantages result from a government increasingly out of touch with what people now want. The context has changed. Cuba has a strong history of international collaboration, and a chance to flourish with its impressive record of socialism.  

How might Cuba retain its distinctive beauty and culture and enter the 21st?  

Three advantages are evident:

1. Entrepreneurs flourish 

Householders have set up restaurants, rooms for rent, and varied transport to supplement their basic income and provide employment. There is no systemic mindset allowing entrepreneurs to flourish and infrastructural developments (plumbing and electrical) are piecemeal.  

2. Artisans and construction flourish 

There is a huge capacity for restoration, renovation and rebuilding. Habana has a profoundly beautiful architecture with Spanish, English, Arabic and French influences. Building use is changing, from tobacco headquarters to hotels.  

3. Proud and positive citizenship 

Everyone I met was friendly, circumspect and beautifully presented. Subsistence living fails to restrain the joie de vivre of the people, their pride in their country and city, and their acceptance of their history. They know the problems they face as a nation and express hope for a vibrant future.  

What does investing in infrastructure mean? In my business, this means investing in three areas:  

  • Developing my business by specifically marketing and improving systems 

  • Continually producing fresh value and new IP for clients

  • Developing my own personal and professional abilities 

What does investment in infrastructure mean to you and your business? 

Leadership Thought:

The illusion that a leader’s personal life is separate from their professional life creates a false sense of identity, as their capacity to learn from their experience is overlooked. Early educators used the “nature or nurture” paradigm for understanding our capacity to learn. Leadership theorists ask, "Are leaders born or made?" What is now apparent is that such one-dimensional perspectives are inadequate paradigms to have conversations on how leaders learn. 

- Diana Jones, Leadership Material p 116

Recent Reads: Maris O'Rourke's memoir Zig Zags and Leapfrogs

Born into turbulent family life in Scotland, Maris O'Rourke was a former Secretary for Education in New Zealand then Director of Education at the World Bank. Her contribution to education over many years is significant.

I loved this book. O'Rourke's writing is intimate, brave, informative, compelling, generous, and wise. She has done the hard work of reflection and making sense of life events and she has shaped these to share. O'Rourke is telling an amazing story of a life honed by hardship and shaped by a profound capacity to trust in what might be possible. If you ever thought of a career as something logical and planned, this book rejects that with both title and content. The book is a wild mix of narrative, poetry, and reflections and gives life and vibrancy to what might have once been a faceless bureaucrat. Honored my book Leadership Material is included in Maris’ reflections.


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Executive Presence 

for experienced GM’s and Directors - July 2019
If you want to increase your confidence, influence, impact with peers, senior leaders and Ministers, then enrol in this programme.
Diana’s Executive Presence programme is quite profound. I really challenged my thinking about myself and what is really important in being a leader. Diana is great at delivering the programme - she challenges, confronts, and really pushes you outside of your comfort zone. But all in a constructive and empathetic way - it really is a great way to learn.

Programme outline and dates here - Click here to view.

Compelling Executive Presence 

for Deputy Chief Executives July – August 2019
This programme is specifically directed to Deputy Chief Executives who want to expand their influence, alliances, visibility and gravitas as they make system-wide interventions. Enrol with Diana. Programme outline and dates here - Click here to view.

The Organisation Development Company
Wellington, 6011 New Zealand

Diana Jones May 2019 © 
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