“To let things slide for the sake of peace and friendship when a person has clearly gone wrong, and refrain from principled argument because he is an old acquaintance, a fellow townsman, a schoolmate, a close friend, a loved one, an old colleague or old subordinate. Or to touch on the matter lightly instead of going into it thoroughly, so as to keep on good terms. The result is that both the organisation and the individual are harmed”. p. 31 Chairman Mao.
The above statement by Mao urged me to respond to statement made by Mr Pilane and the letter submitted by his party to the Registrar of society. I listened to Mr Pilane’s interview on radio and also read a letter submitted by his party. Mr Pilane’s interview raised many issues, notably; 1) that UDC is an electoral arrangement and not a political party, 2) the Constitution submitted by comrades Boko and Saleshando is not the proper one (unlawful), and the proper one is that produced by constitutional stream, 3) big brother mentality, 4) the BNF Conference resolutions at Rakops have no bearing in UDC, 5) the UDC Congress was a gathering of friends and 6) that the operational of Constitution of UDC is the one registered on the 23rd August 2012. These are some of the issues he discussed on the 18th July 2018 at Duma Fm.
I now wish to respond accordingly and put to rest a lot of misleading statements made during the said interview. I state from the onset that, I was a member of the Constitutional stream under the UDC banner. I also want to concede upfront that the operational Constitution of UDC is the one registered on the 23rd August 2012 until the Registrar of Societies approves the one submitted by Presidents Boko and Saleshando. I will start with the genesis of the UDC Constitutional amendment and thereafter deal with Pilane’s misleading statements.
GENESIS OF UDC CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
It is imperative to state that UDC NEC agreed in February 2016 or thereabout that the operational constitution be amended and set up terms of reference with the following objectives:
A constitution that is simple, clear and practicable, and conducive to cultivating an efficient, effective and excellent political entity and organisation. Conceive, crystalize and draft a comprehensive constitution of the UDC that is a significant improvement of the current one. Advance a revised constitution that is conducive to the ideals and values of the UDC over the long term, one that will stand the test of time.
The said UDC NEC meeting also resolved that the draft constitution be completed by 15th May 2016 whilst final draft was envisaged to be ready by 30th August 2016 and UDC Constitutional Congress was envisaged to be in September 2016. Unfortunately, the constitutional congress did not take place in September 2016 since the Constitutional stream completed its work on the 15th October 2016 with referrals to the Main Negotiating Team (MNT) to resolve differences arising from the Constitutional stream. Having outlined the background information, I now refute Mr Pilane’s misleading statements one by one.
IS UDC NOT A POLITICAL PARTY?
Mr Pilane contends that UDC is not a political party but an electoral arrangement. The million dollar question that springs to fore is, what is a political party? According to Pilane, an electoral arrangement is not a political party. I beg to differ. Any political formation be it an alliance, merger, coalition or whatever nomenclature it uses to label itself, as long as it contests for the assumption of state power, is a political party.
Section 150(2) of the Electoral Act (cap.02:09) clear states that a political party may apply through its leader or secretary for registration of a symbol to be used by it at elections. The High Court interpreted section 148 (predecessor to section 150(2) above) and held that only political parties (apart from Independent candidates) register to contest state power not non-political formations [see BPP v BAM & others (2002)2 BLR 333 at 340].
Article 3.3 of the Constitution of UDC registered in 2012 clearly states that UDC is a political party. It provides thus; “The Umbrella shall contest elections as a registered political party drawing its electoral support from all sections of the society of Botswana”. The same provision still exists in the Constitution submitted by UDC President and his Vice-President Saleshando and it exists in the one registered by BMD. To this end, Pilane misled Batswana by saying UDC is not a political party and I am at lost what he wanted to achieve by that statement.
WHICH UDC CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT IS VALID?
This question arises from the fact that Pilane said he does not recognise the one submitted by UDC President and his Vice-President, comrade Saleshando, thereby claiming that his, is the legitimate one. There is a reason why Pilane wants a draft rejected by the Constitutional stream. The reason is, he conveniently appointed himself First Vice-President. That is where his interest lies.
Pilane’s interest in his so-called Constitution is captured by Article 8.1(b) of the draft submitted by his party to the Registrar of Societies on the 18th July 2018, which reads that; “the person who, for the time being, is the President of the BMD shall be the First Deputy President of the UDC responsible for Administration and Management and shall be the First Vice-President of the Republic of Botswana when the UDC is in power”.
In the interview Pilane misleadingly said that the constitution of Constitutional stream is the valid one because all four parties accepted the draft whilst the one submitted by comrade Boko and Saleshando is unknown to him. Pilane statement is far away from the truth. The truth is that the final meeting of the UDC Constitutional stream was held in Francistown on the 15th October 2016. From UDC, only BPP and BNF attended and Pilane did not attend and none from BMD attended the said meeting. BCP was duly represented.
In the said meeting BCP and UDC were deadlocked on the issue of staffing of UDC NEC as well as who should be First Vice-President of UDC and the State upon assumption of power. It is imperative to state that the issue of two Vice- Presidents was mooted by BNF representatives during their consultation with the Secretary General in order to break deadlock. Each party Representatives were permitted to seek guidance from their principals on the deadlock.
Upon reporting back, BPP, BNF and BMD agreed on the principle that they be two Vice- Presidents. BCP representatives rejected the proposal of Two Vice- Presidents. Similarly, BCP, BNF and BPP agreed that there were two Negotiating parties, being UDC and BCP, whilst Pilane made it clear that they were four (4) political parties and he represented BMD not UDC.
His reasoning was, if he accepted that the negotiations were between BCP and UDC that would mean that BCP would have half of the positions in UDC NEC as well as constituency allocations. The BCP denied his exposition and explained that it only applies to UDC Presidency but he maintained his stance nonetheless.
After protracted persuasions and prodding, members of the Constitutional stream agreed at Francistown that we were deadlocked and we could not agree on the composition of the Executive of the structure of UDC+ at party level and the composition of the Executive arm at National level upon assumption of power. At Francistown, the Constitutional stream agreed that Nelson Ramaotwana of UDC and Martin Dingake of BCP should author a referral to the Main Negotiating Team capturing the areas of disagreements. We did author a referral, of which its main theme was shared in what’s up group of the Constitutional stream. The said referral was signed by Ramaotwana and Dingake.
For avoidance of doubt, the BCP never supported the creation of two Vice-Presidents at UDC and State levels. The Constitutional stream resolved as follows in relation to the creation of two Vice-Presidents;
“We were also not agreeable on whether or not we should have two (2) Vice-Presidents. The BCP is against the creation of two Vice-Presidents at both party level and national level. For the longest time, as a party, they have taken the position that BDP Government has been creating positions for its members without any justification. In any event, under the current constitutional dispensation, there is only one Vice-President, who by law is entitled to take over the Presidency in the event of inability of the President to discharge his functions.
The UDC representatives say it is logically sound to cede the Vice-Presidency to the BCP in view of the fact that the BCP has ceded the Presidency to the UDC. However, the UDC suggested that in light of the sentiments expressed by the BMD to the effect that it is not willing to concede the running mate-ship of UDC to the BCP, there is need to consider the feasibility of two Vice- Presidents at National Level.
Given the legal hurdles of having two Vice-Presidents at National level, it was agreed that the matter is sensitive to warrant a discussion in the presence of the BMD, which at the last meeting they weren’t, and had asked that the meeting proceed. Given the sensitive and the BMD absence then, the UDC collective then present, thought a referral was best. A referral was therefore agreed upon”. In light of the above referral by the Constitutional stream, it is clear that Pilane once more fed Batswana with misleading tales to suit his ambition- First Vice-Presidency.
It is clear that the BCP at the Constitutional stream rejected the notion of two Vice-Presidents. After referral to the Main Negotiating Team (MNT), our draft was improved by removing plus (+), Secretary General Post. The MNT also added Congress as a structure. The Presidents of BCP and UDC also debated the feasibility of two Vice- Presidents and BCP compromised by allowing it for progress sake.
The above explanation takes me to the next issue raised by BMD objection to the Registrar of Societies dated 18th July 2018, especially paragraph 16 thereof; which reads thus;
“The only new constitution of the UDC which was negotiated and unanimously agreed by the Constitution Stream and improved by the Upper Negotiating Body comprising equal representation of all 4 parties is the only one we accept as legitimate and as worthy of approval and registration by the Registrar. We attach that Constitution hereto”.
I have already demonstrated the debates and disagreements of the Constitutional stream above and there is no need to repeat same here, save to say the BMD letter is fallacious. The Constitution submitted by BMD at the Registrar of Societies is exactly the same with the one, the Constitutional Stream disagreed about. No improvements are contained in BMD constitution as submitted at the Registrar of societies, except the absence of plus (+) in the name UDC. What a disgrace?
The BMD conveniently omitted to state that the Main Negotiating Team included the UDC Congress as the Supreme Body and same was discussed and agreed to by the Presidents of UDC and BCP. BMD also conveniently omitted to tell the nation that the process started at streams, through MNT and ended with UDC and BCP Presidents. This then takes me to confidently answer the question, which constitution is valid? The answer is, the one submitted by Boko and Saleshando on the 13th July 2018.
REASONS WHY BOKO AND SALESHANDO’S CONSTITUTION IS VALID
When negotiations were commissioned in August 2016 at Oasis Motel, all four parties agreed that the negotiations were between BCP and UDC.
All four parties agreed that there were three layers, commencing with streams, through MNT and at the apex being BCP and UDC Presidents.
All four parties agreed that the main purposes of streams were to gather data to enable MNT to speedily conclude talks.
It was also agreed that where the streams were deadlocked there should refer the matter to MNT and in turn if MNT was deadlock, it would refer the matter to UDC and BCP Presidents for finalisation and/or resolution.
In this vein, the constitutional stream disagreed and deadlocked and referred the matter to MNT. MNT as the main negotiating team, had power to overhaul, what the lower stream proposed and in this case, it included Congress as a structure of UDC.
The Presidents of BCP and UDC also agreed on two Vice-Presidents of equal status as announced by comrade Nehemiah Modubule late last year in a UDC Press conference addressed by Presidents of UDC and BCP, in the presence of BMD and BPP.
The final product of the constitution of UDC is what BCP and UDC Presidents agreed upon and same was tendered to UDC NEC and in turn UDC NEC convened UDC congress to settle the draft once and for all.
Again Pilane and his BMD submitted a constitution that was rejected by the constitutional stream, MNT and Presidents of BCP and UDC. To say Pilane’s draft constitution was the correct one is a fallacy? Assuming I am wrong; is there any other authoritative source that backs up my explanations above. Before, I deal with authoritative sources, let me bring to your attention another BMD and Pilane’s fallacies as contained at paragraph 11 of their letter dated 15th July 2018 submitted to the Registrar of societies on the 18th July 2018 which reads;
“In addition to that, the new constitution which they claim is of the UDC is unknown to the BMD, the BMD has not participated in its preparation, the BMD now knows but does not agree with what it contains, the BMD does not know who prepared it and on whose instructions, the BMD does not agree to the approval and registration of that constitution by the Registrar, and the BMD opposes the approval and registration of that constitution”.
Is it correct to say that the BMD does not know who prepared it? What a joke? Comrade Modubule sat in the MNT where it was agreed to remove first and second Deputy President and replaced same with just two Vice-Presidents of equal status. An addition of Congress as a structure was also made by MNT. The said agreements were then submitted to the BCP and UDC Presidents to endorse and they did not agree to them.
Any doubting Thomas is referred to the report of the BNF President delivered to the BNF Central Committee on the 16th January 2018, which report covers all processes from streams up to the BCP and UDC Presidents, especially paragraphs 19-27 thereof. The said paragraphs are surmised as follows:
“When all lower stages of the process were concluded all matters from these were referred to the Presidents who were to meet and render their final decisions on all matters and aspects of the process. The meeting of the Presidents was held in Francistown and were attended primarily by the UDC President for the one part and the BCP President, for the other part.
The President of UDC brought along … the then President of BMD as well as the President of BPP. No agreement could be reached at that meeting. The UDC then convened its NEC to discuss the developments. At this meeting all the outstanding issues were resolved by the UDC NEC and contact was made with BCP immediately to seal the agreement and it was duly sealed. … at the stage at which we are, the report of the Transition Team has been submitted to the Presidents who have discussed it generally and have moved the NEC to convene a Constitutional Congress to extensively discuss and settle the Constitution before submitting it to the Registrar of Societies for Registration. The Congress will be held on the 23rd February 2018 in Gaborone”.
The answer as to who gave instructions is contained in Boko’s report. UDC NEC concluded all outstanding issues and negotiation with BCP was sealed by the UDC President and BCP President. The instruction came from the said two Presidents as mandated by their respective parties, namely, UDC and BCP. Having debunked Pilane and BMD fallacies, I now turn to refute another fallacy relating to the status of UDC Congress held on the 23rd February 2018.
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” Carl Sagan
Corruption is a heavy price to pay. The clean ones pay and suffer at the mercy of people who cannot have enough. They always want to eat and eat so selfishly like a bunch of ugly masked shrews. I hope God forgives me for ridiculing his creatures, but that mammal is so greedy. But corruption is not the new kid on the block, because it has always been everywhere.
This of course begs the question, why that is so? The common answer was and still is – abuse and misuse of power by those in power and weak institutions, disempowered to control the leaders. In 1996, the then President of The World Bank, James D. Wolfensohn named the ‘C-Word’ for the first time during an annual meeting of the Bretton Woods Institutions. A global fight against corruption started. Transparency International began its work. Internal and external audits mushroomed; commissions of inquiry followed and ever convoluted public tender procedures have become a bureaucratic nightmare to the private sector, trying to fight red tape.
The result is sobering corruption today is worse than it was 25 years ago. There is no denying that strong institutions help, but how does it come that in the annual Transparency International Ranking the same group of countries tend to be on the top while another group of countries, many African among them, tend to be on the bottom? Before one jumps to simple and seductive conclusions let us step back a moment.
Wolfensohn called corruption a cancer that destroys economies like a cancer destroys a body. A cancer is, simplified, good cells in a body gone bad, taking control of more and more good cells until the entire body is contaminated and eventually dies. So, let us look at the good cells of society first: they are family ties, clan and tribe affiliation, group cohesion, loyalty, empathy, reciprocity.
Most ordinary people like the reader of these lines or myself would claim to share such values. Once we ordinary people must make decisions, these good cells kick in: why should I hire a Mrs. Unknown, if I can hire my niece whose strengths and weaknesses I know? If I hire the niece, she will owe me and support my objectives.
Why should I purchase office furniture from that unknown company if I know that my friend’s business has good quality stuff? If I buy from him, he will make an extra effort to deliver his best and provide quality after sales service? So, why go through a convoluted tender process with uncertain outcome? In the unlikely case my friend does not perform as expected, I have many informal means to make him deliver, rather than going through a lengthy legal proceeding?
This sounds like common sense and natural and our private lives do work mostly that way and mostly quite well.
The problem is scale. Scale of power, scale of potential gains, scale of temptations, scale of risk. And who among us could throw the first stone were we in positions of power and claim not to succumb to the temptations of scale? Like in a body, cancer cells start growing out of proportion.
So, before we call out for new leaders – experience shows they are rarely better than the old ones – we need to look at ourselves first. But how easy is that? If I were the niece who gets the job through nepotism, why should I be overly critical? If I got a big furniture contract from a friend, why should I spill the beans? What right do I have to assume that, if I were a president or a minister or a corporate chief procurement officer I would not be tempted?
This is where we need to learn. What is useful, quick, efficient, and effective within a family or within a clan or a small community can become counterproductive and costly and destructive at larger corporate or national scale. Our empathy with small scale reciprocity easily permeates into complacency and complicity with large scale corruption and into an acquiescence with weak institutions to control it.
Our institutions can only be as strong as we wish them to be.
I was probably around ten years old and have always been that keen enthusiastic child that also liked to sing the favourite line of, ‘the world will become a better place.’ I would literally stand in front of a mirror and use my mom’s torch as a mic and sing along Michael Jackson’s hit song, ‘We are the world.’
Despite my horrible voice, I still believed in the message. Few years later, my annoyance towards the world’s corrupt system wonders whether I was just too naïve. Few years later and I am still in doubt so as to whether I should go on blabbing that same old boring line. ‘The world is going to be a better place.’ The question is, when?
The answer is – as always: now.
This is pessimistic if not fatalistic – I challenge Sagan’s outlook with a paraphrased adage of unknown origin: Some people can be bamboozled all of the time, all people can be bamboozled some of the time, but never will all people be bamboozled all of the time.
We, the people are the only ones who can heal society from the cancer of corruption. We need to understand the temptation of scale and address it. We need to stop seeing ourselves just a victim of a disease that sleeps in all of us. We need to give power to the institutions that we have put in place to control corruption: parliaments, separation of power, the press, the ballot box. And sometimes we need to say as a niece – no, I do not want that job as a favour, I want it because I have proven to be better than other contenders.
It is going to be a struggle, because it will mean sacrifices, but sacrifices that we have chosen, not those imposed on us.
Let us start today.
*Bokani Lisa Motsu is a student at University of Botswana
Parliament, the second arm of State through its parliamentary committees are one of Botswana’s most powerful mechanisms to ensure that government is held accountable at all times. The Accounting Officers are mostly Permanent Secretaries across government Ministries and Chief Executive Officers, Director Generals, Managing Directors of parastatals, state owned enterprises and Civil Society.
So parliament plays its oversight authority via the legislators sitting on a parliamentary committee and Accounting Officers sitting in the hot chair. When left with no proper checks and balances, the Executive is prone to abuse the arrangement and so systematic oversight of the executive is usually carried out by parliamentary committees. They track the work of various government departments and ministries, and conduct scrutiny into important aspects of their policy, direction and administration.
It is not rocket science that effective oversight requires that committees be totally independent and able to set their own agendas and have the power to summon ministers and top civil servants to appear and answer questions. Naturally, Accounting Officers are the highest ranking officials in the government hierarchy apart from cabinet Ministers and as such wield much power and influence in the performance of government. To illustrate further, government performance is largely owed to the strategic and policy direction of top technocrats in various Ministries.
It is disheartening to point out that the recent parliament committees — as has been the case all over the years — has laid bare the incompetency, inadequacy and ineptitude of people bestowed with great responsibilities in public offices. To say that they are ineffective and inefficient sounds as an understatement. Some appear useless and hopeless when it comes to running the government despite the huge responsibility they possess.
If we were uncertain about the degree at which the Accounting Officers are incompetent, the ongoing parliament committees provide a glaring answer. It is not an exaggeration to say that ordinary people on the streets have been held ransom by these technocrats who enjoy their air conditioned offices and relish being chauffeured around in luxurious BX SUV’s while the rest of the citizenry continue to suffer. Because of such high life the Accounting Officers seem to have, with time, they have gotten out of touch with the people they are supposed to serve.
An example; when appearing before the recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Office of the President Permanent Secretary, Thuso Ramodimoosi, looked reluctant to admit misuse of public funds. Although it is clear funds were misused, he looked unbothered when committee members grilled him over the P80 million Orapa House building that has since morphed into a white elephant for close to 10 successive years. To him, it seems it did not matter much and PAC members were worried for nothing.
On a separate day, another Accounting officer, Director of Public Service Management (DPSM), Naledi Mosalakatane, was not shy to reveal to PAC upon cross-examination that there exist more than 6 000 vacancies in government. Whatever reasons she gave as an excuse, they were not convincing and the committee looked sceptical too. She was faltering and seemed not to have a sense of urgency over the matter no matter how critical it is to the populace.
Botswana’s unemployment rate hoovers around 18 percent in a country where majority of the population is the youth, and the most affected by unemployment. It is still unclear why DPSM could underplay such a critical matter that may threaten the peace and stability of the country. Accounting Officers clearly appear out of touch with the reality out there – if the PAC examinations are anything to go by.
Ideally the DPSM Director could be dropping the vacancy post digits while sourcing funds and setting timelines for the spaces to be filled as a matter of urgency so that the citizens get employed to feed their families and get out of unemployment and poverty ravaging the country. The country should thank parliamentary committees such as PAC to expose these abnormalities and the behaviour of our leaders when in public office. How can a full Accounting Officer downplay the magnitude of the landless problem in Botswana and fail to come with direct solutions tailor made to provide Batswana with the land they desperately need?
Land is a life and death matter for some citizens, as we would know.
When Bonolo Khumotaka, the Accounting Officer in the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, whom as a top official probably with a lucrative pay too appears to be lacking sense of urgency as she is failing on her key mandate of working around the clock to award the citizens with land especially those who need it most like the marginalised. If government purports they need P94 billion to service land to address the land crisis what is plan B for government? Are we going to accept it the way it is?
Government should wake up from its slumber and intervene to avoid the 30 years unnecessary waiting period in State land and 13 years in Tribal land. Accounting Officers are custodians of government policy, they should ensure it is effective and serve its purpose. What we have been doing over the years, has proved that it is not effective, and clearly there is a need for change of direction.
His Excellency Dr Mokgweetsi EK Masisi, the President of the Republic of Botswana found it appropriate to invoke Section 17 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana, using the powers vested in him to declare a State of Public Emergency starting from the 2nd April 2020 at midnight.
The constitutional provision under Section 17 (2b) only provided that such a declaration could be up to a maximum of 21 days. His Excellency further invoked Section 93 (1) to convene an extra- ordinary meeting of Parliament to have the opportunity to consult members of parliament on measures that have been put in place to address the spread and transmission of the virus. At this meeting Members of Parliament passed a resolution on the legal instruments and regulations governing the period of the state of emergency, and extended its duration by six (6) months.
The passing of the State of Emergency is considered as a very crucial step in fighting the near apocalyptic potential of the Novel COVID-19 virus. One of the interesting initiatives that was developed and extended to the business community was a 3-month wage subsidy that came with a condition that no businesses would retrench for the duration of the State of Public Emergency. This has potentially saved many people’s jobs as most companies would have been extremely quick to reduce expenses by downsizing. Self-preservation as some would call it.
Most organisations would have tried to reduce costs by letting go of people, retreated and tried their best to live long enough to fight another day. In my view there is silver lining that we need to look at and consider. The fact that organisations are not allowed to retrench has forced certain companies to look at the people with a long-term view.
Most leaders have probably had to wonder how they are going to ensure that their people are resilient. Do they have team members who innovate and add value to the organisation during these testing times? Do they even have resilient people or are they just waiting for the inevitable end? Can they really train people and make them resilient? How can your team members be part of your recovery plan? What can they do to avoid losing the capabilities they need to operate meaningfully for the duration of the State of Public Emergency and beyond?
The above questions have forced companies to reimagine the future of work. The truth is that no organisation can operate to its full potential without resilient people. In the normal business cycle, new teams come on board; new business streams open, operations or production sites launch or close; new markets develop, and technology is introduced. All of this provides fresh opportunities – and risks.
The best analogy I have seen of people-focused resilience planning reframes employees as your organisation’s immune system, ready and prepared to anticipate risks and ensure they can tackle challenges, fend off illness and bounce back more quickly. So, how do you supercharge your organizational immune system to become resilient?
COVID-19 has helped many organisations realize they were not as prepared as they believed themselves to be. Now is the time to take stock and reset for the future. All the strategies and plans prior to COVID-19 arriving in Botswana need to be thrown out of the window and you need to develop a new plan today. There is no room for tweaking or reframing. Botswana has been disrupted and we need to accept and embrace the change. What we initially anticipated as a disease that would take a short term is turning out to be something we are going to have to live with for a much longer time. It is going to be a marathon and therefore businesses need to have a plan to complete this marathon.
Start planning. Planning for change can help reduce employee stress, anxiety, and overall fear, boosting the confidence of staff and stakeholders. Think about conducting and then regularly refreshing a strategic business impact analysis, look at your employee engagement scores, dig into your customer metrics and explore the way people work alongside your behaviours and culture. This research will help to identify what you really want to protect, the risks that you need to plan for and what you need to survive during disruption. Don’t forget to ask your team members for their input. In many cases they are closest to critical business areas and already have ideas to make processes and systems more robust.
Revisit your organisational purpose. Purpose, values and principles are powerful tools. By putting your organisation’s purpose and values front and center, you provide clear decision-making guidelines for yourself and your organisation. There are very tough and interesting decisions to make which have to be made fast; so having guiding principles on which the business believes in will help and assist all decision makers with sanity checking the choices that are in front of them. One noticeable characteristic of companies that adapt well during change is that they have a strong sense of identity. Leaders and employees have a shared sense of purpose and a common performance culture; they know what the company stands for beyond shareholder value and how to get things done right.
Revisit your purpose and values. Understand if they have been internalised and are proving useful. If so, find ways to increase their use. If not, adapt them as necessities, to help inspire and guide people while immunizing yourself against future disruption. Design your employee experience. The most resilient, adaptive and high performing companies are made up of people who know each other, like each other, and support each other.
Adaptability requires us to teach other, speak up and discuss problems, and have a collective sense of belonging. Listening to your team members is a powerful and disruptive thing to do. It has the potential to transform the way you manage your organisation. Enlisting employees to help shape employee experience, motivates better performance, increases employee retention and helps you spot issues and risks sooner. More importantly, it gives employees a voice so you can get active and constructive suggestions to make your business more robust by adopting an inclusive approach.
Leaders need to show they care. If you want to build resilience, you must build on a basis of trust. And this means leaders should listen, care, and respond. It’s time to build the entire business model around trust and empathy. Many of the employees will be working under extreme pressure due to the looming question around what will happen when companies have to retrench. As a leader of a company transparency and open communication are the most critical aspects that need to be illustrated.
Take your team member into confidence because if you do have to go through the dreaded excise of retrenchment you have to remember that those people the company retains will judge you based on the process you follow. If you illustrate that the business or organization has no regard for loyalty and commitment, they will never commit to the long-term plans of the organisation which will leave you worse off in the end. Its an absolutely delicate balance but it must all be done in good faith. Hopefully, your organization will avoid this!
This is the best time to revisit your identify and train your people to encourage qualities that build strong, empathetic leadership; self-awareness and control, communication, kindness and psychological safety. Resilience is the glue that binds functional silos and integrates partners, improves communications, helps you prepare, listen and understand. Most importantly, people-focused resilience helps individuals and teams to think collectively and with empathy – helping you respond and recover faster.
Article written by Thabo Majola, a brand communications expert with a wealth of experience in the field and is Managing Director of Incepta Communications.