For the last 11 days, I have been in Costa Rica with my wife, Wendy. We came here as guests of Sun Life of Canada. I had a speaking engagement at the Sun Life Premier Partner Conference at the beautiful JW Marriott Resort and Spa in Guanacaste.
People often ask me how I chose the name The Covenant Group for our company. When I started The Covenant Group in April, 1995, I had been involved in training and development for 20 years. It occurred to me that the most rewarding relationships during that period were covenants. A contract has its roots in law and is designed to protect the interests of parties to an agreement. A covenant is a sacred trust. It is an agreement to promote the interests of all parties. The name, The Covenant Group, captures the essence of what is most meaningful to me in business – relationships. Relationships are based upon a covenant, formal or informal. The setting for Sun Life’s Conference in beautiful Costa Rica seemed very appropriate. The Costa Rican people can teach us a lot about covenant relationships.
- Costa Ricans have a covenant with nature – This country is one of the most environmentally friendly places in the world. Over 27% of the land is protected. While Costa Rica is a tiny country, it is home to 5% of the world’s bio-diversity. People from all over the world travel here to enjoy this diversity. The people of Costa Rica are justifiably proud of their beautiful country and committed to protecting the environment. This dedication to living in harmony with nature serves as a lesson for all of us. Given the importance of the environment to everyone, this covenant with nature is a gift to the world.
- Costa Rica is committed to the well being of its people – In 1949, the constitution of Costa Rica dismantled the country’s armed forces. The country is known as “the only country that doesn’t have an army.” Instead, the focus of government spending has been on education and health care. Costa Rica has the highest literacy rate in the world. They have had universal health care for 40 years. In general, the people of Costa Rica are healthy and well educated. The political climate is turbulent in many parts of Central and South America and there are high levels of crime and violence. Costa Rica is an oasis of calm amidst all of this turbulence. One of the best ways to promote a civil society is to foster the growth and development of all citizens. This is a country of opportunity where people feel as if they are cared for and have the potential to improve their lives. We can all learn from their example about where to focus our money and resources to create a better today and tomorrow.
- The Costa Rican people are warm and gracious hosts – We have been blown away by the commitment to service and the kindness of the people. There are four sub-climates in Costa Rica and, as a result, four distinct regions. We were able to visit three of them. While each area is quite unique, the common element is the warmth and generosity of the people. Tourism is a very important industry. The people who live and work here show their appreciation for the contribution of tourists to the economy.
The Information or Knowledge Age began about 1950 in the US and has shaped our lives for the last 60 years. We are at the dawning of the next great age, the Ecological Age. We must learn to live in harmony with nature to ensure the sustainability of our environment. The people of Costa Rica lead the world in demonstrating that environmental and economic sustainability go hand in hand.