"The truth is, our immigration system is worse than anyone realizes. But the facts aren’t known because the media won’t report on them, the politicians won’t talk about them, and the special interests spend a lot of money trying to cover them up.
Today you will get the truth….
We also have to be honest about the fact that not everyone who seeks to join our country will be able to successfully assimilate. It is our right as a sovereign nation to choose immigrants that we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish here.
Then there is the issue of security. Countless innocent American lives have been stolen because our politicians have failed in their duty to secure our borders and enforce our laws. Countless Americans who have died in recent years would be alive today if not for the open border policies of this Administration. This includes incredible Americans like 21-year-old Sarah Root. The man who killed her arrived at the border, entered federal custody, and then was released into a U.S. community under the policies of this White House. He was released again after the crime, and is now at large…
Hillary Clinton, for instance, talks constantly about her fears that families will be separated. But she’s not talking about the American families who have been permanently separated from their loved ones because of a preventable death. No, she’s only talking about families who came here in violation of the law… We will treat everyone living or residing in our country with dignity. We will be fair, just and compassionate to all. But our greatest compassion must be for American citizens.
Now that you’ve heard about Hillary Clinton’s plan – about which she has not answered a single substantive question – let me tell you about my plan. While Hillary Clinton meets only with donors and lobbyists, my plan was crafted with the input from federal immigration officers, along with top immigration experts who represent workers, not corporations. I also worked with lawmakers who’ve led on this issue on behalf of American citizens for many years, and most importantly, I’ve met with the people directly impacted by these policies.
Number One: We will build a wall along the Southern Border
On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable physical wall on the southern border. We will use the best technology, including above-and below-ground sensors, towers, aerial surveillance and manpower to supplement the wall, find and dislocate tunnels, and keep out the criminal cartels, and Mexico will pay for the wall.
Number Two: End Catch-And-Release
Under my Administration, anyone who illegally crosses the border will be detained until they are removed out of our country. Number Three: Zero tolerance for criminal aliens
According to federal data, there are at least 2 million criminal aliens now inside the country. We will begin moving them out day one, in joint operations with local, state and federal law enforcement.
Beyond the 2 million, there are a vast number of additional criminal illegal immigrants who have fled or evaded justice. But their days on the run will soon be over. They go out, and they go out fast.
Moving forward, we will issue detainers for all illegal immigrants who are arrested for any crime whatsoever, and they will be placed into immediate removal proceedings. We will terminate the Obama Administration’s deadly non-enforcement policies that allow thousands of criminal aliens to freely roam our streets.
Since 2013 alone, the Obama Administration has allowed 300,000 criminal aliens to return back into U.S. communities – these are individuals encountered or identified by ICE but who not detained or processed for deportation.
My plan also includes cooperating closely with local jurisdictions to remove criminal aliens.
We’ve admitted 59 million immigrants to the United States between 1965 and 2015.
Many of these arrivals have greatly enriched our country. But we now have an obligation to them, and to their children, to control future immigration – as we have following previous immigration waves – to ensure assimilation, integration and upward mobility.
Within just a few years immigration as a share of national population is set to break all historical records.
The time has come for a new immigration commission to develop a new set of reforms to our legal immigration system in order to achieve the following goals:
To keep immigration levels, measured by population share, within historical norms
To select immigrants based on their likelihood of success in U.S. society, and their ability to be financially self-sufficient. We need a system that serves our needs – remember, it’s America First.
To choose immigrants based on merit, skill and proficiency
And to establish new immigration controls to boost wages and to ensure that open jobs are offered to American workers first.
We want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally and properly-vetted, and in a manner that serves the national interest…" – Donal J. Trump, Immigration Speech, Phoenix, Arizona (August 31, 2016).
I've just given you an excerpt from the speech given by the Republican Presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump last week in Phoenix, Arizona, hot on the heels of his much vaunted meeting with the President of Mexico. It was a much anticipated speech, for many reasons. Once and for all, the American electorate wanted to hear in clear and concise terms exactly what Donald Trump's policies were.
Most importantly, uncomfortable Republicans were waiting with bated breath to see if Trump's divisive, hardline, and even racist politics were going to be finally toned down in order to persuade the minorities whom he had consistently insulted since announcing his candidacy in June 2015. And, if his meeting with the Mexican President was anything to go by, hopes were high that Trump would finally play by the rules if he had any serious hopes of making 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue his home from January 2017. Alas! How wrong everybody was!
The subdued, cordial and affable Trump of a few hours earlier in Mexico City was nowhere to be found that evening in Phoenix. It was a classic case of Jekyll and Hyde! Instead of following the advice even if those within his inner circle to deliver a speech that would not aggravate and bastardize immigrants, Trump chose to double down on his rhetoric that saw him bulldoze 15 other candidates in the Republican race. He came with all guns blazing. I was watching the speech. I'm not an American. I'm not a Republican.
I'm not a Democrat either. But I was gobsmacked. Trump went on to give what was one of the darkest and most chilling speeches I've ever heard. Don't get me wrong. He scored very well on delivery. It was the contents of his speech that were dark and ominous. I had visions of Hitler's Nuremberg Rallies, whipping crowds into a frenzy with nationalistic propaganda crafted by Josef Goebbels. His phraseology rang eerily close to the language of despots.
Phrases like "Only people who love us" and "ideological tests" are the staple of dictators. Only dictators are obsessed with being loved and ensuring that everybody subscribes to their narrow ideologies. His hardcore base lapped it up. But the discerning, even within his own party, were properly repulsed. In fact, several of his leading Latino supporters resigned immediately after the speech. Even Republicans who were hoping to be persuaded, who had given him the benefit of the doubt for over a year, said he now gave them enough reason to disregard him as worthy of their vote.
In his speech, Trump pretty much outlined a fascist policy that would bastardize and demonize immigrants. His feverish nationalist agenda was no different in passion, conviction, and tone to the preamble leading up to Hitler's ascendancy to being the Fuhrer of the Third Reich. Just like Hitler exaggerated Germany's problems and laid the blame squarely on the Jews, Trump, last Wednesday, blew the American immigration situation way out of proportion, exaggerating and coloring facts, and blaming it all on illegal immigrants.
You'd swear that America is overrun with illegal immigrants on the rampage murdering people! And that's the picture that Trump painted last Tuesday. And, to cap it off, he paraded mothers who had lost their children to murder perpetrated by illegal immigrants. It was a powerful optical message; putting a face to problem his campaign rides on. But that was manipulation and emotional blackmail.
Pure and simple. More people have been murdered by American citizens than by illegal immigrants. Of over the supposed 11 million illegal immigrants in America, less than 3 percent have been convicted of crimes, whether felonies or misdemeanors. But to listen to Trump, you'd think there are 11 million murderers of Latino descent on the loose in America!
Here in Botswana, we have an identical immigration problem with Zimbabwean illegal immigrants. But it will be reckless to exaggerate the situation so much that we blame Botswana's economic performance on Zimbabweans, and claim that there are countless Batswana who would still be alive if it weren't for Zimbabweans! Imagine the clown who can come proposing that the answer lies in building a Great Wall from Kazungula to Martin's Drift to keep Zimbabweans out! It's absurd! I'm not going to question or insult the intelligence of Republican voters, but it beggars belief how Trump is the nominee with his ridiculous promises of a "Great Wall," a wall that would cost in the region of $25,000,000,000 to build! Yes, Trump has won the nominee card by promising to build a wall stretching 3,200 kilometers! To listen to him speak, you'd swear he's running for Emperor! He seems to forget that there is an American Congress and House of Representatives that needs to sign off such a project; and there are many Republicans who neither like him nor his proposed wall. There are so many near insurmountable challenges to building such a wall, not to mention its futility. There are physical and legal hurdles to be overcome before such a wall can become a reality. As things stand, I think that Trump finds his back against the wall, no pun intended.
Most disturbing of all, however, is his promise of mass deportations. I'm not in anyway saying illegal immigrants must be treated with kid gloves and handed citizenship. But Trump's politics fly in the face of the very fabric of American civilization and history. Like it or not, America is a nation of immigrants; immigrants who went there in search of opportunity and a new start. Even the Caucasian majority is not monolithic; there are many subsets that don't even speak English. Trump's wife herself is still not mastering English. Her East European accent is unmistakeable. She's from Slovenia. A lot of Trump's buildings that have made him a multi-billionaire, rose on the backs of illegal immigrants, most of them Latinos whom he has called "thieves, murderers, and rapists." Everybody seems to conveniently forget that the "real" Americans are the Native Americans (Indians), those poor souls who were swept under the rug of history by the "Manifest Destiny" doctrine of White settlers. If everybody is to be sent home because they came illegally, then everybody Caucasian must pack. Only the Indians, who can now only be found in pockets of reservations here and there, banished to a lifetime of drunkenness and gambling, would have the right to remain. Everybody else but them is not "native" to America if we go all the way back to the first arrivals at Plymouth Rock.
Let me close quoting from Chauncey DeVega, a politics staff writer for Salon, "Last week the chattering classes and “smart people” were excited about Trump’s promise to launch an “outreach” campaign to African-Americans and Latinos. On Wednesday Donald Trump travelled to Mexico to meet with President Peña Nieto. Voices in the American corporate news media then fawned over Trump. The trip allowed him to look “presidential.” He was "softening" his position on illegal immigration. The great “pivot” had finally arrived. Trump could now be put into the familiar and comfortable “horse race” model of American campaigns and elections; he was now a “normal” presidential candidate.
Trump, the consummate showman, carnival barker and professional wrestling villain would swerve the American corporate news media once again. Several hours after returning from Mexico to a rabid crowd of supporters in Phoenix, he would give one of the most violent, vicious, vile and repugnant speeches in modern American political history. It was the political equivalent of watching a toilet or cesspool overflow, where instead of running away in disgust, Trump’s supplicants enthusiastically wallowed and frolicked in the waste.
His speech in Phoenix followed the standard script. Trump would speak in a stream of consciousness where one semi-related thought flowed into another. Facts are disregarded. The truth is made malleable. Lies are effortlessly told. The crowd responds with howls about killing Hillary Clinton or in anger at President Barack Obama or in support of the American Il Duce Donald Trump and how he will “make America great again” by not allowing “us” to be “bullied.”
There was an added intensity to Trump’s Phoenix speech. He premiered his ominously named “10-point plan.” His vague promises about how best to punish “illegal immigrants” would now be given a laser focus. Trump will apparently create a Gestapo-like force that on the day he formally becomes president will somehow immediately remove millions of people from the United States. The country’s police will now be turned loose and taken off the chain to purge illegal immigrants from the body politic — a chilling thought given how America’s militarized police already brutalize people of color.
In Trump’s plan, refugees from the Middle East all are terrorists and a potential third column with a knife at the heart of America. “Illegal immigrants” are rapists, gang members, child molesters, thieves and killers who steal jobs from hardworking Americans. These two groups of evildoers will be confronted by Trump’s “great American wall” and a resurgent military and national security state that, under his special leadership, will protect the country.
Trump crescendoed by introducing family members of Americans who have been killed by “illegal aliens.” Now christened the “Angel Moms,” they proceeded to captivate Trump’s audience with horrific stories of murder and mayhem. This was Trump’s “Willie Horton” moment. In 1988, George H.W. Bush featured a notoriously racist campaign ad about a black man who was a convicted rapist and murderer. It was extremely effective in winning over racially resentful and anxious white voters. Almost 30 years later, Trump and his advisers have simply updated the Republican Party’s racist Southern strategy to now include “terrorists” and nebulous brown “illegal immigrants” from Latin and South America.
The "Angel Moms” are the immediate human embodiment of (white) victimhood. Instead of presenting abstract discussions about “illegal immigration” and “crime, the children of the “Angel Moms” must be avenged if justice is to be done. Moreover, if the state and the police have failed the “Angel Moms,” then it is Trump and his supporters who must fill the void of safety and security that has been denied the American people.
This is a not too subtle appeal to vigilante violence: It is the logical outcome of Trump’s persona, a man who boasted that he can shoot people in the street without consequence, who imagines himself to be Dirty Harry or Charles Bronson in a 1980s action movie and who believes that the United States’ inner cities are dystopic hellholes overrun with illegal immigrants and black criminals.
Many think pieces, articles, “hot takes” and essays have pondered if Trump is a fascist. He satisfies many of the criteria.
Trump does not believe in freedom of the press. He wants to overturn standing political norms, values, traditions and institutions in order to return to a fictive past. Trump is a militant nationalist. Trump’s movement is based on social dominance behavior and authoritarianism. He is a strongman and leader of a cult of personality that emphasizes action, strength and hypermasculine energy. A direct appeal or encouragement to violence against the Other was one of the few remaining criteria for fascism that Donald Trump had not yet fulfilled. His speech in Phoenix has finally checked off that empty box.
The situation is no longer funny, a moment for liberal schadenfreude at the expense of a broken Republican Party and its rubes and bigots or an entertaining political car wreck and spectacle. Matters are deadly serious.
Trump’s rhetoric is eventually going to get someone killed. The mainstream corporate news media that enabled his demagoguery and rise to power will have blood on their hands. The “decent Republicans” who voted for Trump will have blood on their hands. Trump and his minions will most certainly have blood on their hands.
The rise of Trump and the full-on conversation of the Republican Party into the country’s largest white identity organization represent a nadir in contemporary American politics.
I have never before seen a lynch mob on television. That changed after I watched Trump’s rally in Phoenix on Wednesday night. I was left wondering, Are we not better than this? I have no doubt that our better angels will ultimately prevail. But Donald Trump’s ascendance is a reminder that, to borrow from Sinclair Lewis and Theodor Ardono, “Yes, it can happen here.”"
Asked about his grand plan for this fantasy wall he so feverishly sells like snake oil to the gullible, he simply answered that if the Chinese could build a 13,000-mile long wall 2,000 years ago with far less sophisticated technology and cheap labor, then America can certainly pull it off in the 21st century. And, get this, he says Mexico will pay for the wall. I guess we await to see "The Great Wall of America." But I'm not crossing my fingers.
After all, he first needs to win the elections in November. And, as things presently stand, the only wall he has managed to build so far is a Great Wall between himself and the Black and Latino voters he desperately needs in order to have any shot at beating Secretary Clinton in the race for the White House.
“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.