23 March, 2008

Squandering the Resposibility of Leaders

When Directing the Business Development Lab at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga it became apparent that business growth in Latvia suffers from Professor-itis. Professoritis is the tendency for a lot of thinking and not much doing. Have a good humoured look at the web page of The Latvian Presidents Commission for Strategic Analysis - great photo with a list of professors below it http://www.president.lv/pk/content/?cat_id=1147 and check out the Latvian National Development Plan for 2007 to 2013 http://www.nap.lv/eng/ .
In these websites you will see documented proof from the highest Latvian offices that there has been a lot of thinking referring to business objectives that should already be well down the track. But these objectives will never occur timely enough to be of much value for the people of Latvia. This is mostly because of what you see on TV - Latvian leaders wasting time shaking the hands of foreign diplomats instead of progressing specifics on how steps will be achieved.
Over the last 17 years the Latvian Investment Development Agency has been struggling to educate Latvians on business development. As far as I am aware The Latvian government knocked back all applications from LIDA for entrepreneurial funding regardless of the fact that it is well known that 1 euro invested by a government to increase entrepreneurship returns at least 11 taxable euros to an economy within 5 years. Only in the last 2 years EU funds for entrepreneurial development are getting through thanks to EU leadership.
The Foreign Investors Council in Latvia that represents the largest private businesses in Latvia have failed to attract one substantial manufacturer to set up exports from Latvia.
All just another example of Latvia placing more value on Hierarchy than the ability to get things done and no vision for the future of Latvia that the people in Latvia believe in.
Contrast this with what is happening April in Australia - the Prime Minister of Oz has gathered top business leaders together to formulate specific objectives to enable Australia to maintain its competitiveness http://www.australia2020.gov.au/ .
In this summit real-time information (Not Data) will be collected from the people that have specific experience and knowledge on what exactly needs to be done by particular departments and particular people.
However, in Latvia there is one Minister that has the ability to get things done and he holds the respected Hierarchy. Ainars Slesers can be directly credited with making Latvia the largest recipient of Norwegian foreign investment and pushing Latvia to become an aviation hub. But he is not held up as a shining example for others to emulate because he concurrently has let his entrepreneurial zeal get away from him and undermine the responsibility entrusted to him. Maybe an improved legal system in Latvia would discourage runaway cronies.

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