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Successful people have a character


The essential thing is not knowledge, but character – Joseph Le Conte

The above quote introduces the central theme to today’s MoneyMind column. Every other thing be it talent, skill, knowledge is inconsequential without the foundation of character. If you possess skill and knowledge they will come to nothing if they are not fortified on principles, good habits and values.

I am sure you will know of talented people across various disciplines whose talents only, were not sufficient to give them success.

Stephen R Covey in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People discusses one of the essential elements that defines a person. When you come to think about it, it so fundamentally true yet thousands and thousands of people are guilty of being personality focused as opposed to being character focused. . We spend more time concerned about what people think about us instead of doing the right thing.

More often we tend to think that when we do good, we are doing it for somebody else but the reality is that our actions are supposed to benefit us. The dispensation of applying principles because we think that is what is right is a commendable but scarce commodity.

There are certain values that are desirable in human interaction; everyone will like to interact with an honest person, an ethical person, a person of high integrity all of which culminate in trust.  As a leader or entrepreneur you want to be able to trust your team to deliver. But that cannot happen if you do not drum the values and principles that ultimately builds trust.

Companies that are successful understand that central to any strategy should be value. The value gives a company character. Apple has character, Microsoft has a character, fundamentally because their teams understand why the company exists and that is embodied in the values.

Trust is reciprocal, if you trust me with a task and I know that you trust me with that I will want to deliver so that you keep on trusting. A human being is emotive and finds fulfilment in being trusted. The issue of trust focusses on the character than the personality, todays movement should be towards building the character and demanding that a team must abide by certain values. Decision making become easier even when you are not there and success an eventuality.

Society construes and misconstrues a lot of subjects and we end up as reactionaries to issues rather than apply a principle test. This has led to obsessions over personalities and Stephen R Covey describes personality as a tip of the iceberg.

Character is part of the iceberg that is under sea, the larger determining factor which is made of a set of principle, values, habits and ethics. We only see carefully managed characteristics of people which are meant to tally with societal expectations.  In Covey’s words He say, “We want to appear to be instead of actual being”.

Interesting and thought provoking, during the times when leadership was character focused more principles in any subject or discipline were founded. These principles are still true today.

The most important part of human interaction is the character because it determines whether they would be peace or instability. We should spend more of our time building our character than personality traits. When one builds character their life is guided by a set of principles that are applied consistently over time. People who build character apply the same principles whether people are watching or not. It is not about people it is about the principle that you devote your life to and ingraining them in your DNA.

If you develop character, then you develop the inexpendable characteristic of trustworthiness;  there is a sense of predictability about the way you handle your issues, the outcome of your decisions are consistent because they are a set of principles that guides you all the time.

Principle must be the core of the character. The question is why would one want to dwell on building character?

Character is formed by habits that you practice over time. Your habits determine your effectiveness or ineffectiveness. Because character is determined by habits you can choose habits that heralds effectiveness.
Change your habits, change your character and become more productive in all facets of your life.

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P230 million Phikwe revival project kicks off

19th October 2020
industrial hub

Marcian Concepts have been contracted by Selibe Phikwe Economic Unit (SPEDU) in a P230 million project to raise the town from its ghost status.  The project is in the design and building phase of building an industrial hub for Phikwe; putting together an infrastructure in Bolelanoto and Senwelo industrial sites.

This project comes as a life-raft for Selibe Phikwe, a town which was turned into a ghost town when the area’s economic mainstay, BCL mine, closed four years ago.  In that catastrophe, 5000 people lost their livelihoods as the town’s life sunk into a gloomy horizon. Businesses were closed and some migrated to better places as industrial places and malls became almost empty.

However, SPEDU has now started plans to breathe life into the town. Information reaching this publication is that Marcian Concepts is now on the ground at Bolelanoto and Senwelo and works have commenced.  Marcian as a contractor already promises to hire Phikwe locals only, even subcontract only companies from the area as a way to empower the place’s economy.

The procurement method for the tender is Open Domestic bidding which means Joint Ventures with foreign companies is not allowed. According to Marcian Concepts General Manager, Andre Strydom, in an interview with this publication, the project will come with 150 to 200 jobs. The project is expected to take 15 months at a tune of P230 531 402. 76. Marcian will put together construction of roadworks, storm-water drains, water reticulation, street lighting and telecommunication infrastructure. This tender was flouted last year August, but was awarded in June this year. This project is seen as the beginning of Phikwe’s revival and investors will be targeted to the area after the town has worn the ghost city status for almost half a decade.

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IMF projects deeper recession for 2020, slow recovery for 2021

19th October 2020

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has slashed its outlook the world economy projecting a significantly deeper recession and slower recovery than it anticipated just two months ago.

On Wednesday when delivering its World Economic Outlook report titled “A long difficult Ascent” the Washington Based global lender said it now expects global gross domestic product to shrink 4.9% this year, more than the 3% predicted in April.  For 2021, IMF experts have projected growth of 5.4%, down from 5.8%. “We are projecting a somewhat less severe though still deep recession in 2020, relative to our June forecast,” said Gita Gopinath Economic Counsellor and Director of Research.

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Botswana partly closed economy a further blow of 4.2 fall in revenue

19th October 2020

The struggle of humanity is now how to dribble past the ‘Great Pandemic’ in order to salvage a lean economic score. Botswana is already working on dwindling fiscal accounts, budget deficit, threatened foreign reserves and the GDP data that is screaming recession.

Latest data by think tank and renowned rating agency, Moody’s Investor Service, is that Botswana’s fiscal status is on the red and it is mostly because of its mineral-dependency garment and tourism-related taxation. Botswana decided to close borders as one of the containment measures of Covid-19; trade and travellers have been locked out of the country. Moody’s also acknowledges that closing borders by countries like Botswana results in the collapse of tourism which will also indirectly weigh on revenue through lower import duties, VAT receipts and other taxes.

Latest economic data shows that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2020 with a decrease of 27 percent. One of the factors that led to contraction of the local economy is the suspension of air travel occasioned by COVID-19 containment measures impacted on the number of tourists entering through the country’s borders and hence affecting the output of the hotels and restaurants industry. This will also be weighed down by, according to Moody’s, emerging markets which will see government losing average revenue worth 2.1 percentage points (pps) of GDP in 2020, exceeding the 1.0 pps loss in advanced economies (AEs).

“Fiscal revenue in emerging markets is particularly vulnerable to this current crisis because of concentrated revenue structures and less sophisticated tax administrations than those in AEs. Oil exporters will see the largest falls but revenue volatility is a common feature of their credit profiles historically,” says Moody’s. The domino effects of containment measures could be seen cracking all sectors of the local economy as taxes from outside were locked out by the closure of borders hence dwindling tax revenue.

Moody’s has placed Botswana among oil importers, small, tourism-reliant economies which will see the largest fall in revenue. Botswana is in the top 10 of that pecking order where Moody’s pointed out recently that other resource-rich countries like Botswana (A2 negative) will also face a large drop in fiscal revenue.

This situation of countries’ revenue on the red is going to stay stubborn for a long run. Moody’s predicts that the spending pressures faced by governments across the globe are unlikely to ease in the short term, particularly because this crisis has emphasized the social role governments perform in areas like healthcare and labour markets.

For countries like Botswana, these spending pressures are generally exacerbated by a range of other factors like a higher interest burden, infrastructure deficiencies, weaker broader public sector, higher subsidies, lower incomes and more precarious employment. As a result, most of the burden for any fiscal consolidation is likely to fall on the revenue side, says Moody’s.

Moody’s then moves to the revenue spin of taxation. The rating agency looked at the likelihood and probability of sovereigns to raise up revenue by increasing tax to offset what was lost in mineral revenue and tourism-related tax revenue. Moody’s said the capacity to raise tax revenue distinguishes governments from other debt issuers.  “In theory, governments can change a given tax system as they wish, subject to the relevant legislative process and within the constraints of international law. In practice, however, there are material constraints,” says Moody’s.

‘‘The coronavirus crisis will lead to long-lasting revenue losses for emerging market sovereigns because their ability to implement and enforce effective revenue-raising measures in response will be an important credit driver over the next few years because of their sizeable spending pressures and the subdued recovery in the global economy we expect next year.’’

According to Moody’s, together with a rise in stimulus and healthcare spending related to the crisis, the think tank expects this drop in revenue will trigger a sizeable fiscal deterioration across emerging market sovereigns. Most countries, including Botswana, are under pressure of widening their tax bases, Moody’s says that this will be challenging. “Even if governments reversed or do not extend tax-easing measures implemented in 2020 to support the economy through the coronavirus shock, which would be politically challenging, this would only provide a modest boost to revenue, especially as these measures were relatively modest in most emerging markets,” says Moody’s.

Botswana has been seen internationally as a ‘tax ease’ country and its taxes are seen as lower when compared to its regional counterparts. This country’s name has also been mentioned in various international investigative journalism tax evasion reports. In recent years there was a division of opinions over whether this country can stretch its tax base. But like other sovereigns who have tried but struggled to increase or even maintain their tax intake before the crisis, Botswana will face additional challenges, according to Moody’s.

“Additional measures to reduce tax evasion and cutting tax expenditure should support the recovery in government revenue, albeit from low levels,” advised Moody’s. Botswana’s tax revenue to the percentage of the GDP was 27 percent in 2008, dropped to 23 percent in 2010 to 23 percent before rising to 27 percent again in 2012. In years 2013 and 2014 the percentage went to 25 percent before it took a slip to decline in respective years of 2015 up to now where it is at 19.8 percent.

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