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A response to Matambo’s budget

In this week's piece I wish to share with my readership the views I expressed in parliament on the budget. 

Mr Speaker I wish to begin by registering a complaint and citing a major weakness in our democracy. When the head of state speaks in parliament, his speech is broadcast live on BTV and Radio Botswana.

When the budget speech is presented, the same applies but surprisingly when the leader of opposition presents an alternative program, he is not accorded the same privilege. This is a clear sign that ours is indeed a dictatorship that continues as a democracy.

May be before you gloat about your image next time, be reminded that there are vibrant and functional democracies out there. In fact, I can't help but wonder, if you are so confident about your democratic credentials, if you confident about your ideas and performance in parliament, why don't you broadcast parliament live and allow Batswana the right to access to information- so they make informed choices.

I also want to make this important point that you honourable minister successfully paints a gloomy picture of our economic situation and then abandon us there. You do not provide or chat the path out of this gloom. I would have expected you to offer the nation an aggressive recovery plan of how you intend to help the economy through the difficult times. I will return to this point. Let me first deal with an important point of the budget as a policy tool.

There is a misconception that the budget is simply about allocations of funds. Thomas Dye defines policy "as everything a government does or does not do" and therefore a budget speech as a spending plan should reflect government priorities for the following year. Budget as a Policy Tool would mean that the budget is a statement of the policy priorities for a particular year.

So at a macro level, for example we need to know how much is earmarked for the notorious ESP. For example with regard to education, the minister has been allocating more money to education but instead of improving, the results have been forever plummeting. In my constituency, we concerned with the results of Segoditshane, Boikhutso, Notwane Primary Schools. In this same vein, allow me to congratulate camp primary school for their sterling performance despite difficult conditions such old and dilapidated houses for teachers.

Minister I want to argue that Because of a missed opportunity to use the budget as a policy tool, we have confusion in our education policy direction.

As a result of this, there is what I would call a systematic attempt to destroy the pride of Batswana- the University of Botswana through a drastic reduction in sponsorship of the arts. Global educational thinking is moving towards multidisciplinary, to produce well rounded graduates, who would aid our developmental efforts and take them to the next level.

The confusion in policy manifests also in the form of mixed priorities – for example the BDF expenditure on weaponry.

As Hon Molao was speaking I couldn't help but wonder how did we get here. To a situation where the people who make it into position of power struggle to make head or tail of very basic concepts.

You spoke of 2014 bringing babies to parliament and I was tempted then, not now, then, to say that it might be better to have babies in Parley cause there is room for growth n improvement. I think you would agree with me that it would be more tragic to have babies tramped in adult bodies because that would mean doom and gloom. You quoted one MP from the opposition saying we need a small and professional army. That is the point. Getting to know exactly what our army needs. Our army needs helicopters not fighter jets.

Our disciplined forces need us to address the welfare of our men in uniform at the police, BDF and prisons. 

Answering my question in this house last year, The responsible minister told this house that a consultancy looking into the salaries of the police, BDF and prisons will have completed the job by end of February last year and he expected the officers to begin enjoying the new structures in April last year. We moving to another April, another round of salary negotiations is ongoing and these men and women are left behind.

I am always brought to tears when I remember the Dilapidated and inhabitable houses in prisons at village camp and at the former police college. I am reminded of an officer with 5 years of service, five years of wearing our uniform proudly at SSG camp in Maruapula staying in a tent for those five years. How will buying fighter jets help these men and women in uniform.

How will it improve their morale.

I want to also posit that there is Lack of a clear developmental philosophy that informs the thinking in this budget. You do not show honourable minister that you are indeed in touch with global thinking on development. The proposal on Local Economic Development (LED) is welcome.

But the proposal raises a lot of questions. Why is the government talking about LED only now? Your commitment as a government is suspect. Your government is centralizing instead of decentralization. 

We know why the government is centralising rather than decentralising development management. It is consolidating state capture.

Centralisation has nothing to do with government efficiency and effectiveness and everything to do with government tenders. When ministers and civil servants are free to do business with government, state capture intensifies. Prove us wrong. Take LED seriously and move expeditiously on decentralisation. In fact, let his honour the Vice President tell us that as the man in charge of poverty, employment creation and economic diversification, he shall personally ensure that government moves fast and purposefully on LED.

The world has recognised and embraced the growing and strategic role of cities in economic development. This is an inevitable outcome of globalisation. National borders are becoming more and more irrelevant to the flow of goods and services and farsighted governments around the world are giving cities more space to make polices for their development. Part of the reason we want decentralisation is to accord a sophisticated city such as Gaborone freedom from limiting decisions made at the MLGRD.

Gaborone is fast growing city. The people of Gaborone have the capacity to run a successful and vibrant local economy, if we can allow them to. It has a potentially strong tax base, if fiscal authorities could be creative. If you allowed us we would be able to deal with problems such as bad dusty internal roads, no streets lights, and unemployment that is spiralling out control.

The ESP and economic transformation

Before I speak about ESP, I would like to introduce a concept, actually a propaganda technique often credited to Adolfo hitter termed "a big lie". Hitler believed in the use of a lie so colossal that it would be almost impossible for it not to be believed.

He opined that telling this lie repeatedly and frequently would make it believable. 

Ours is a society in which economic literacy is low even amongst those with tertiary qualifications. We expect leaders to be concerned enough about this to seek to do something about it, not to ruthlessly exploit it for political gain. Yet this is precisely what is happening with the ESP.

The Vice President, some ministers, the Secretary General of the ruling party and party propagandists have to date used every medium they could access to sell the untruth that the ESP is a bold plan to transform the economy.

As it came out in bits and pieces, first through the SONA, then the brochure, and now the budget, it has become apparent that as the LOO has observed, this is irresponsible, cruel and fraudulent, especially to the extent that unsuspecting people have been urged to register companies in large numbers to chase the phantom of broad-based opportunity that the ESP has turned out to be.

There is nothing bold about this intervention, not the idea, not the amounts involved and certainly not the potential. The only thing bold and audacious about it is the dishonesty and deviousness behind it. We have been told that it is a bold plan to transform the economy.

The budget figures tell a different story. There is no fiscal expansion here, no ramping up of demand and therefore no stimulus.

The budget for the ESP is only P2 billion. It is naïve, even if we were to accept the wholly irrational position that money is what the economy needs the most to build momentum towards transformation, to imagine that P2 billion would suffice. This is not sufficient to deliver benefits to the many. It will of course line the pockets of a couple of tenderpreneurs and grease the palms of a couple of corrupt public servants and politicians. More so that it looks like a plan to circumvent normal public procurement processes.

The ESP basically has no design. It is backlog eradication. It is the EDD. His Honour the Vice President said on the floor of parliament in November 2015 that the ESP was brilliantly conceived and brilliantly delivered by the President. With all due respect, your Honour, you are being very unkind to the President. There is no programme design in the ESP. It is as poorly conceived and designed as the monumental disaster that the Poverty Eradication Framework has become.

It should be cause for concern that the person responsible for the ESP is none other than his honour the Vice President.

This is the same man who has led the disinformation on the ESP, perhaps because he does not understand it, has failed dismally on another important initiative, poverty eradication. He has to date failed to deliver a Poverty Eradication Policy he promised the 2009-2014 parliament more than once. He has also failed by the way, to deliver the Freedom of Information Act he promised to deliver within months whilst torpedoing a Private Member’s bill by Honourable Dumelang Saleshando. Can we trust him with an equally weighty assignment such as job creation? I don’t. The disinformation he has started on says we should not. Either he does not understand what is expected of him or he treats this as the vote catching and wealth transfer gimmick it is.

Local Economic Development Decentralisation
 The proposal on Local Economic Development (LED) is welcome. But the proposal raises a lot of questions. Why is the government talking about LED only now? Its commitment is suspect.

LED has been on the table for about four years now, confined to a department within the Ministry of Local Government, the Botswana Association of Local Authorities and a few enterprising local authorities. The rest of government, including the MFDP, has not shown any real interest in this initiative, which may explain why it has stalled.

The MFDP should henceforth ensure that as a coordinating ministry, it engages the MLGRD and helps it mobilise the rest of government to ensure that government moves beyond talking on LED.

We also doubt the Government’s commitment to LED because, as the LOO has correctly observed, the government is not interested in decentralisation.

You cannot pursue LED effectively through local authorities that have no power to make decisions that matter. Central government still appoints their CEOs and operational personnel, determines their strategies and in fact influences every sphere of their operation. In fact, over the last few years, the government has been centralising functions and decision making (water and health are cases in point) with serious adverse effects on the delivery of services.

We know why the government is centralising rather than decentralising development management. It is consolidating state capture. Centralisation has nothing to do with government efficiency and effectiveness and everything to do with government tenders.

When ministers and civil servants are free to do business with government, state capture intensifies. Prove us wrong. Take LED seriously and move expeditiously on decentralisation. In fact, let his honour the Vice President tell us that as the man in charge of poverty, employment creation and economic diversification, he shall personally ensure that government moves fast and purposefully on LED.

The world has recognised and embraced the growing and strategic role of cities in economic development.

This is an inevitable outcome of globalisation. National borders are becoming more and more irrelevant to the flow of goods and services and farsighted governments around the world are giving cities more space to make polices for their development. Part of the reason we want decentralisation is to accord a sophisticated city such as Gaborone freedom from limiting decisions made at the MLGRD.

Gaborone is fast growing city. The people of Gaborone have the capacity to run a successful and vibrant local economy, if we can allow them to.

It has a potentially strong tax base, if fiscal authorities could be creative. If you allowed us we can address challenges such as Bad, dusty internal roads, streets lights that seldom lay work and unemployment that is spiraling out of control.

Youth unemployment
Of all our failings, if there is one we can ill-afford, it is to fail our youth. To fail them is to fail the country.

The cost of a poor education system and failure to engage young educated people today will reflect decades from now in our decline down competitiveness rankings and a downward spiral that will be difficult to reverse. The band aid being proposed now in the form of special initiatives with no prospects long term sustainability and delivering results will shortly be proved inadequate.

There are no short cuts. We must commit to:

a) Economic transformation as a matter of agency: We in the UDC will roll up our sleeves and challenge experts in and outside the UDC to help us develop one but we will be even happier to join the government in finding a pathway out of the current trajectory of slow and jobless growth.

b) Regulatory reform: The LOO has spoken at length about this. It is a matter we must keep emphasising and we urge business, civil society and the youth to join us so that our voice becomes louder and more difficult to ignore as we call for burdensome regulation to fall. This is not rocket science. Stop vetting investors. Stop DIS from harassing investors. Make business regulation generally more efficient and less cumbersome.

Do away with the archaic work and resident permit procedures that stand in the way of FDI, business growth and employment creation. Work towards faster contract enforcement mechanisms. 

These measures and investment in high speed internet access, will spur growth and create jobs. 
c) Empower the youth and create opportunity: Unemployment is not simply a problem of lack of skills. I would argue that it is in fact more a problem of lack of opportunity. Employers will, for the most part be able train educated youths they employ to suit their specific needs. That does not mean that public policy should not deal with skills. It should. But we have a problem in this country.

Much of the training that we avail today is useless because regulators are allowing ill-equipped profit seekers to profit from the misery of our youths and unemployed people. Let us look more closely at the rapidly growing population of entities providing training and satisfy ourselves that they are meeting our requirements. 

In conclusion I wish to speak to workers of this country.

Like the prophet of old has said you have nothing more to lose than the chains in your hands. Beware of the wolf in sheep skin in your midst. Beware of unions and union leaders who have hijacked the workers struggle yet they are tools in the hands of the enemy to offset your march to victory. Remember unity is key. Let me also speak to friends on the other side of the aisle. We are mismanaging labour relations. Tensions breeds inefficiency. The current stalemate at the bargaining council is a case in point. It cannot be right to treat our workers like this.

You still have a chance to be on the right side of history. When there was talk of an event where you queued up to receive ESP projects I thought of tshepo tshola"s song "waiting for my name to be called" I hope it isn't true because it would be sad if Government resources were shared like gangsters would share the loot after a successful night out not after a good in the office.

To you minister Matambo a future historian will have to record that it was under your tutelage that our economy was ransacked and mismanaged.

Say NO to the ever expanding Botswana Democratic Party patronage network. Say NO to the Khama oligarchy and chose Botswana and Batswana. Stop making a butchery of your conscience. Be like the biblical Shadreck, Abednico and Meshack who chose to go into the furnace of fire instead of worshiping the golden image of king Nebuchadnezzar. May God help you and may he bless our country abundantly. I rest my case

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Can we cure ourselves from the cancer of corruption?

28th October 2020
DCEC DIRECTOR: Tymon Katholo

Bokani Lisa Motsu

“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

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Accounting Officers are out of touch with reality

19th October 2020

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.

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Is it possible to make people part of your business resilience planning after the State of Public Emergency?

12th October 2020


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.

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