Many Christians struggle with the issue of tithing. It is perhaps one of the most divisive issues in the modern Church world, and perhaps unnecessarily so. But then again, money is always a touchy subject. It might be a fair conclusion to say that the issue of tithing is so divisive that the Church world is split in half over it; half for it and half against it.
And, a sizeable number in both camps have no settled stand. Both sides have potent scriptural basis for their doctrinal position. If circumcision was a hot potato in the early Church, tithing is our modern day equivalent.
Money will always be an emotional subject. It is inherently so. This powder keg is not helped by the fact that in some churches giving is over-emphasized. I've been born again for twenty years. And I can confidently say that I have heard more sermons on tithing than on any other subject. Yes, sir!
The sermons came and still come in different flavors; from impassioned, borderline begging pleas, to threats of curses, to manipulation, and whatever else could possibly tug at one's heartstrings. All too often it's been thinly veiled emotional and spiritual blackmail! I wouldn't be entirely too surprised if I got to hear one day that a man of the cloth preached on the tithe gun cocked and pointed at the congregation! It's that serious.
Much has been made of tithing and offering, and rightfully so. But at times the overemphasis has not helped matters, especially if not clearly presented and taught without emotion and an attempt to place the hearer under duress.
At the same time, many Christians refuse to submit to the biblical exhortations about making offerings to the Lord. Tithing/giving is intended to be a joy and a blessing. Sadly, that is all too often not the case in the Church today. But why is the subject of the tithe so divisive? Why does it elicit such passionate emotions, whether for or against it? What is the tithe?
The first biblical mention of tithing is found in Genesis 14. After four Mesopotamian kings had taken Lot captive, Abraham attacked them and recovered all the booty. After his victory, the king of Sodom came out to meet him, and so did Melchizedek, an enigmatic priest of God mentioned once here in Genesis and in only two other places in the Bible.
Melchizedek blessed Abraham, and then Abraham “gave him a tenth of everything” (Genesis 14:20). This Melchizedek is mentioned as a priest long before priesthood was introduced or even understood. Who instituted his priesthood? Through what means? What liturgical order did he follow? Encoded in what?
These questions are not easy to answer. The text does not tell us whether Abraham had ever tithed before, or ever tithed afterwards. Perhaps it was a custom of his culture. Perhaps not. Nothing can be conclusively inferred from the text.
Abraham was generous, and gave the rest of his booty to the king of Sodom (verses 23-24). Abraham kept all of God’s laws that were relevant in his day (Genesis 26:5), but Genesis does not tell us whether tithing was a law in Abraham’s day.
And unsurprisingly so. In Abraham's day there was no written legal code. It was the dispensation of conscience following a patriarchal tradition of handing over revealed divine instructions from one generation to another. Many of God’s decrees and requirements were built around the nation of Israel and the Levitical priesthood and tabernacle.
Abraham could not have kept such decrees and laws. He may have tithed regularly, but we cannot prove it. Abraham lived near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite (Genesis 14:13) at Hebron (Genesis 13:18). Hebron is about 15 miles south of Jerusalem.
The Genesis account says Abraham pursued Kedorlaomer north “as far as Dan” (Genesis 14:14), which is about 100 miles north of Jerusalem. When Abraham and his men caught up with Kedorlaomer at Dan, Abraham divided his men and attacked during the night, giving chase as far north as Hobah (north of Damascus) which is 30 miles north of Dan (Genesis 14:15-16). Abraham’s pursuit took him about 145 miles north of his home in Hebron.
Following his victory over Kedorlaomer, Melchizedek came out to meet Abraham in King’s Valley (to the east of Jerusalem) as he returned from Hobah (Genesis 14:17-18, Hebrews 7:1). Abraham’s home in Hebron was still another 15 miles to the south of King’s Valley.
Unless Abraham carried his household possessions with him to Dan and back (about 290 miles round trip), Abraham gave to Melchizedek only out of the spoils – plunder he carried back from his victory over Kedorlaomer (Hebrews 7:2,4). In that sense, it was Kedorlaomer, the enemy, who paid the tithe! I'll give you a minute to pick your jaw off the floor. There are important elements to consider in the story of Abraham's victory over Kedorlaomer.
A map in my Bible suggests the location for Sodom and Gomorrah near Zoar (Genesis 13:10), south east of the Dead Sea, which is about 50 miles from Hebron where Abraham lived. News was spread by word of mouth. It took time for word of Kedorlaomer's conquest of Sodom and Gomorrah to reach Abraham in Hebron. It took time for Abraham to assemble an army of 318 trained men from his household (Genesis 14:14).
All the while, Kedorlaomer was making his way north with Lot, his family, and the plunder of Sodom and Gomorrah, presumably making his way northward in the plains area east of the Jordan River, Dead Sea and Mt. Seir.
The mileage figures I used in the paragraph above, assume Abraham and his men headed due north from Hebron, on the west side of the Jordan River and Dead sea, converging on Kedorlaomer at Dan. If Abraham turned south from Hebron and went around the south end of the Dead Sea, through Zoar and Sodom and Gomorrah, it would be necessary to add at least 80 miles to the round trip figure above.
My point with all the discussion of mileage and geography, is that a small army of 318 men, in pursuit of a powerful army with a substantial 'head start', must travel light. I assume Abraham and his men pursued Kedorlaomer on foot, and carried only swords and shields, minimal food and water. A 'light infantry' going off to war, does NOT carry their household possessions with them, their silver and gold, nor did they drive their flocks and heards before them when in pursuit of Kedorlaomer.
Undoubtedly Abraham and his men ran in marathon-like fashion to catch up with Kedorlaomer. Their northward pursuit was over 115 miles of hilly terrain west of the Jordan and Dead Sea. If they turned south and followed Kedorlaomer's tracks from Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham and his men would have run nearly 200 miles before catching up with Kedorlaomer.
That Abraham's home was still 15-20 miles south of when he met up with Melchizedek in the King's Valley, shows a clear distinction between giving a tenth out of the plunder of war that Abraham brought back with him from Dan, and Abraham's personal wealth and income which remained at Abraham's household in Hebron. Interestingly, Genesis 13 says Abraham was already wealthy with silver, gold, and livestock, before he even moved to Hebron.
It's important to highlight that Abraham did NOT tithe out of his income. That's an incontestable fact. There is a distinct difference between Abraham's one time voluntary thanksgiving offering out of the plunders of war, and what was later instituted by the Law of Moses as the ongoing tithe for the Levitical priesthood.
Yes, later, when the tithe was incorporated into the Law, one was to tithe from their increase. But, in Abraham's case, what he gave the tithe from was NOT his income or his increase. It was from the plunders of war. To say that Abraham gave the tithe from his wealth would be a gross violation of clearly stated scriptural fact.
I believe that difference is the reason the NIV Bible translates the word "ma'aser" (Strong's Reference #4643) in Genesis 14:20 as "tenth" and not "tithe". The next mention of tithing is in Genesis 28:20-22. Jacob had a supernatural dream at Luz, which he later renamed Bethel. In the morning, Jacob vowed to give a tithe if God helped him during his journey.
He was trying to make a bargain with God. He wanted special help, and in return for that help, he was willing to worship God, and to tithe as a part of that worship. It is not clearly stated WHEN and HOW Jacob did finally honor his vow. What we have in the text is only a promise, and a conditional one at that.
The Genesis account goes on to show that Jacob did in fact go on to prosper in his journey and during his sojourn with Laban. So we can safely conclude that he did honor his promise and redeemed his tithe. Tithing may have been part of the common worship practices of that time and culture, or it may have been an extra-special vow for those who desperately desired divine help. This has to be the case because tithing was not coded into any written law.
Jacob had to have learned it from his grandfather, Abraham, or his father, Isaac. If that be the case, then perhaps we won't be too far off to truth to assume that tithing was a known practice in Jacob's day. It goes without saying that tithing is an Old Testament concept. But I want to go a bit further and say that tithing was, and is, a spiritual or revelational concept.
The tithe was a requirement of the Law in which the Israelites were to give 10 percent of the crops they grew and the livestock they raised to the tabernacle/temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes—one for the Levites, one for the use of the temple and the feasts, and one for the poor of the land—which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent! Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system. That makes perfect sense.
The New Testament nowhere explicitly commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says gifts should be “in keeping with income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving. However, silence on a matter is never to be interpreted to mean license on a matter.
Silence is not license. Some objections to the tithe is that it cannot possibly be applicable to us since there is no temple to which the tithe is to be taken, nor is the Levitical priesthood in existence since we, the Church, are now ALL become the priesthood. In other words, since there are no full time priests in our day and every believer is a priest, of necessity, the requirement to support priests is null and void.
This argument sounds potent on face value. But it conveniently omits the fact that even though every believer is a priest, there are still those God has set aside from amongst the rest to serve the rest. Ephesians 4:11-12 KJV  And he gave SOME, apostles; and SOME, prophets; and SOME, evangelists; and SOME, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ… It is my humble submission that it is these SOME who presently stand as "priests among priests."
Just as Israel was required to take care of the Levites, so is the modern Church required to take care of these "some" whose entire lives may be dedicated to ministering to the saints. I find the argument that we shouldn't tithe to support Churches and Pastors as decidedly unconvincing since a greater part of its premise is that, as we are now all priests, there are no "special" priests to receive our tithes.
A thorough examination of the totality of the New Testament punches holes in this argument. Paul's writings clearly show that there is still need to take care of those set apart for ministry, just as the Old Testament Levites were being taken care of.
The argument that we are all the same also doesn't hold in the evidence of New Testament hermeneutics or exegesis. While we must desist from categorizing believers into classes or even perhaps shy away from severing the Body of Christ into clergy and laity, it still is vividly clear that there are those set apart, distinctly so, from the rest of the Church. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 KJV  And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 
And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves. Could it be any clearer than this? If we are all the same, then who are these who are to be "known?" Who are these who "labor" if we are all laborers? Who are these who are "over you" in the Lord if we are all on the same footing? Who are these who are to be "esteemed very highly in love for their works' sake?"
Clearly, in my opinion, these are the modern day Levites! These are the ones who in our times are to receive the tithes. These are the full time Pastors/Bishops whose entire lives, like those of the Levites, are dedicated to the service of the Lord. Someone might say, "I hear you on that point, but what about the storehouse that Malachi spoke of? The temple system has been abolished, so there is no temple to take them to. Moreover, we, the Church, are now the temple!" This sounds like a fair question. However, we cannot separate the Levites from the temple.
Tithes were taken to the temple, yes; but they were received by the Levites. So, following from my earlier argument, where are the modern day Levites to be found? Why, at Church of course! But, you say, we are the Church! The temple is no longer a building! Correct. It is not. But there are still physical buildings we gather at where the Pastors minister to us as the Old Testament Levites ministered to Israel.
Although people are THE Church, we call the buildings where we worship "churches." Another objection from some is that the early Church actually met in homes and there were no recognized and institutionalized buildings serving as churches. Given that, we should not tithe because there are no temples. Again, while there is truth to this argument, it's not the whole truth.
The Book of Acts tells us that the believers habitually gathered at Solomon's Porch at Herod's Temple. This was their meeting place for corporate worship and to receive teaching. They were not at anybody's house! Moreover, take the in-gathering of 3,000 souls after Peter's sermon in Acts 2. Whose house would accommodate such a number?
Later on, 5,000 more men were added to the Church! Yes, there perhaps were multiple "cell" groups in Jerusalem, but there clearly was a massive Jerusalem Church led by the apostles. Again, I cannot be convinced that Paul's letters to Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, etc, were written to circulated around homes! Can you imagine Paul's letter "To The Church In Gaborone," and it's actually written to be read around multiple homes? I receive it and read it to my cell group in Broadhurst, then I pass it on to be read to another cell group in Maru a Pula and I tell them that after reading it, they must ensure that they pass it on to the cell group leader in Extension 9! I'm tempted to write "LOL!"
These were not chain letters! They were addressed to local assemblies that gathered in specific locations for corporate worship under pastoral leadership. There might have been "cell" groups meeting in various homes in those cities, but it cannot possibly be plausible to imagine that Paul's epistles were written to any other addressee except major, central assemblies in those places. It cannot be otherwise. So then, these would be the "temples" or "storehouses" of those cities and the Pastors therein would be the "Levites" who received tithes.
“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.