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Building Botswana through right Education


Well, the year just ended was a momentous year that will be remembered for more wrongs than good that happened in the country. The invigorating election campaigns by our three political parties with the results that surprised some and left many seriously wounded across the political divide was one of the highlights that merit some comment.


Some disturbing features of the election included some leaders instead of engaging their opponents on issues, chose to be vicious and personal in a manner that left many wondering as to where we were headed to as a nation.  Some even talked of war and instability that will happen if opponents were to win the elections. 

Immediately after the election results, instead of party leaders and activists burying the hatchet and congratulating the winners, another round of war of words ensued to try to discredit some ‘winners’. The social media, the print media and the freedom squares became the battlegrounds for mud slinging and insults instead of them becoming plough fields for planting developmental ideas to build the country going forward.


As we start the year we must say no to insults and unnecessary self praise that some have found to be useful tools for silencing those who do not agree with them. Remember self praise has no commendation. Some would say it is only acceptable when used by entertainers, comedians or clowns. Generally those who use derogatory language do so to hide their ignorance and or to hide from some self inflicted pain mostly emanating from malicious or untruthful statements made in public by perpetrators and their cronies.

No one has the monopoly of knowledge. We must be willing to live and learn from one another regardless of our educational background or political inclinations.  I urge all our politicians to engage positively to address pertinent national issues that continue to bedevil our republic, thus limiting our ability to attain the level of development we deserve. 

We have lots of issues to address, ranging from education, employment creation,  agriculture and food security, land availability, industrialisation, health care, tourism, sports, entertainment, the performing arts, including our electoral system that has managed to allow the minority to be the majority in the last general elections. This system yearns for a review by our parliament, don’t you think?  With this long list we should all be searching frantically for solutions rather than engaged in unproductive negative talk in public forums.


My intention this year is to continue to share, probe and ‘nudge’ with a view to stimulate debate and perhaps contribute my ‘pennies worth’ in shaping the way forward towards 2019 and beyond. We must accept that this country needs significant change to become a modern country that can compete with the very best in the world. There is no reason why we cannot strive to be the best.

There is no reason why we cannot be globally competitive. We must start by accepting that we need to change our attitudes; that we need to start cleansing our governance practices; that we must continue to expose and isolate corruption in all its manifestations and that we must promote best practices in all spheres of our personal and public lives.

Those who continue to benefit from corrupt practices and continue to steal from public coffers by whatever means must know that the people are watching; one day they will be asked to account and may face relentless raging wrath of undefined magnitude from the people.


Let me go into my topic of today. I want to begin the year by talking about education, appropriate education I must emphasise. I believe appropriate education is the cornerstone that will anchor any significant development in any country.  It is through appropriate education that we can become the best that we can be. I want to assert that everything we do as a nation is as good as the education we have given to our people. As the global village mantra becomes even more virulent, countries with substandard educational practices and poor governance practices will be found wanting. They will be rejected or left behind; even well meaning citizens will leave their country for better pastures elsewhere.


What is education? There is no single or simple definition. What is true though is that education is not defined only in terms of the number of years of schooling and the fluency in English as many people in this country seem to believe but more importantly it is defined in terms of the practical and usable skills and practices that are acquired during the schooling years.

This is what I would term appropriate education. Appropriate education must equip the recipient to be industry ready on completion of the chosen line of education, whether in teaching, whether in manufacturing, whether in mining, whether in agriculture, whether in tourism, whether in journalism, whether in whatever field! Imagine a medical Doctor who completes his medical studies without any practical skills! I do not even want to imagine what kind of doctor this will be.

I am sure none of us would like to be seen by such a doctor for medical care.  I believe that’s why doctors spend seven years or so training before they can practice. It is a legal and professional requirement.  In the military, would you expect our military men to get some classroom theoretical education and then send them to the battle field to defend our country? Would you? Why do we then expect people in other professions to be given classroom schooling and then expect them to practice as engineers, lecturers, artisans, accountants, human resources practitioners, managers etc?  Why?


Our education since independence has been described by industry, general public and the opposition parties as both inadequate and inappropriate to meet our developmental and business needs. Although our government has also acknowledged this anomaly, addressing this inadequacy seems to be a serious challenge. Some say, it is due to lack of political will.  This maybe somewhat true, but perhaps it is mainly due to lack of deep appreciation of the root causes of this inadequacy.

With all the best political will in the world, can meaningfully transformation of our education system be effected without a deep appreciation of what is wrong and what is causing that which is wrong?  Therefore, there is perhaps a need to unpack the pertinent educational issues so that we can begin to understand what makes our education what it is.  


Someone long ago defined education ‘as a process by which a person begins to learn how to learn’. This sounds like the truth to me. Without understanding the need to learn, one can never learn. Once this understanding is instilled in the individual then learning will be easier and continuous. Education is a never ending process. It does not end when one receives a certificate; the certificate is just the beginning that opens the door for real life learning to start.


Education is officially defined as schooling, teaching, learning, tutoring, instruction, edification and culture. Real education must have all these seven elements to produce a well rounded person who is ready to conquer the world on acquiring this education.

Culture is very important; it is the way of life, the way we do things here, the way we behave here, the way we talk to each other here, the way we work here; basically our work ethics. Without the right culture the work relations and the business suffer.

This is a fact that we do not seem to appreciate as a nation.  Instruction; being instructed and taking instruction are things we often take for granted but this has to be taught during the schooling years, can you succeed in any industry if you are unable to take instructions? Tutoring implies an element of training to horn on specific skills needed; all jobs require specific skills to be learned. 

Learning implies owning the knowledge you have acquired. Once you are well taught the knowledge becomes yours forever. Edification is all these things bundled together.  In our current education system, we emphasise the number of years of schooling and the number of certificates acquired. The result is what we see. Quality and relevance are more important features of any education.


If the education we provide defines the kind of country we desire, then we must define the education that will move us towards being the best destination as pronounced by our national motto or tagline ‘Botswana my pride, your destination’. If we want to build a world class educational system we need to first define what a world class educational system is and what it will do for us.

What are the ingredients of a world class education system? The educator from preschool to tertiary must be well educated, well resourced, well supported, well paid and well motivated.  Without these elements forget about world class education. It is the educators that we must entrust to provide this world class education.


An educator at university, at technical/professional school, at a secondary school, at a primary school, at a preschool must be well educated from both a theoretical and practical point of view. They must possess a certificate that shows that they have acquired enough appropriate theoretical knowledge and a certificate of competency that shows that the individual has acquired enough practical skills to be able to impart knowledge to the recipients.

Despite, the fact that we are talking of educators, we must acknowledge that the education of these people is different and must be appropriate to the area of education they provide. For example, a pre school teacher education cannot be the same as that of a university lecturer.

Both the theory and practice are very different. What is mostly missing in our education is the practical side as alluded to earlier. Practical learning most invariably come from existing institutions, not only nationally but internationally if we want to be global competitive.

University lectures train their student for the world of work and they must have practical knowledge about the world of work. They must have worked in industry to have the practical skills to impart to their students. The students must also be exposed to industry as part of their studies. This is crucial for an effective and complete education.


However, a well educated educator/teacher is not enough; the teacher must be well resourced with a decent classroom, relevant teaching aids and books; a library and computer room for research and continuous learning. Teaching under a tree will not produce the results we desire. The students must also be willing and hungry to learn.

They must be consequences that are clearly defined for both the teacher and the student if learning is not happening as required. The student must also be given appropriate roles to play in helping to run the school. The parent must play a significant role in the school to support the teacher, to support the school and to support the child. The school becomes a second home for the child and the teacher becomes the second parent to the child.  


In addition, they must be a supportive environment for the teacher and the school. The school management must be visible and approachable to the teacher. They must ensure that all her/his teaching and social requirements are recognised and supported. The school buildings and facilities must be regularly maintained. 

The maintenance resources need to be provided and managed by the school to ensure that a clean and conducive learning environment is availed always. Management of schools must be decentralised with the central governing body providing the necessary oversight to ensure compliance with general standards.

The schools must be given autonomy to be innovative and to be creative. More importantly they should be encouraged and a given budgetary provision to compete with other schools nationally, regionally and internationally.


The above will not be enough. A teacher must be well paid with a salary package that is commensurate with our expectation of a globally competitive teacher. There is no reason why our teachers should be paid less than their counterparts in industry or across the border. We must benchmark and find the right package that will keep our teachers motivated to provide the best education for our children.  We need to have ‘win – win’ relationships for success in this area.


Having described the educator we need, we need to define the human resources we need to produce? We want teachers, we want technicians, we want artisans, we want accountants, we want business specialists, we want builders, we want road engineers, we want computer specialists, we want water and electricity engineers, we want all the human resources that support our economy; we want people to support our hospitality industries; we want a lot of different specialisations.

Those entrusted with the management of our education must systematically and holistically look at all our human resources needs including sporting, music, and the performing arts and design a well researched and matching educational system.


These are not new concepts. The first world and the developing world have already developed and defined appropriate educational systems. We do not need to reinvent the wheel. We need to be smart like the Chinese, the Singaporeans, the Brazilians, and the Japanese etc. We need to adopt and adapt to survive. We should not waste our resources doings things that have already been done by others.


In closing let me give an example of a failure that I believe was a result of our poor educational system. BEDIA was formed with good intentions of bringing direct foreign investment in our country. If we are honest with ourselves we will acknowledge that we have invested millions of our hard earned money into bottomless pits in our effort to attract this allusive direct foreign investment through BEDIA now BITC. There are a number of reasons why we have not attracted the investment we wished for.

The reasons include among others poor infrastructure, poor governance processes, poor services, inadequately trained human resources. Chief amongst these will be inadequately trained human resources as this will not only impact directly on the business itself, but it will also impact on the other inadequacies that we continue to battle with.


Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Company was established in Botswana in 1992 and folded around 2001. Why? I really do not know but I have a good idea. The official reason you normally get for such failures is never the real reason.  Hyundai is a car manufacturing company from South Korea with manufacturing bases outside of South Korea including Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, India, Russia, Turkey and the U.S. amongst others. 

There is a US$1.7 billion assembly and manufacturing plant in Alabama in the USA which employs over 3000 people who are responsible for bringing to life all the Hyundai modern car designs to the American market and beyond. 

This is a significant investment in one factory.  I do not know how much Hyundai had invested in Botswana. However, the reason they left would have been an unattractive business environment punctuated by poor infrastructure, poor services, unfriendly regulations, unkind processes and so forth. We lost a golden opportunity to be an exporter of the Hyundai dream cars. Whether we like it or not, the chief reason for failure would have been poorly trained human resources. This would never have been given as an official reason; you will only hear about it in the corridors and within closed doors.


A car manufacturing factory is a highly specialised industry that requires diverse skills.  You will need automobile engineers in the electrical and electronic field, mechanical engineers specialising on car manufacturing, specialised welders and painters, computer specialists, designers, planners, accountants, marketing specialists, human resources practitioners etc.

These specialists must understand the uniqueness and intricacies of the motor industry. Have we trained these people and are they available for us to start or support an automobile industry? No. Are you surprised then that the Hyundai car assembly factory failed?


If a foreign company has to rely on foreign experts in large numbers to start a business, they will be significant cost implications in bringing these experts, social implications, accommodation constraints, inadequate schooling for foreign children, industrial relations issues etc. These companies might be attracted by what they read and hear from the likes of BEDIA, but when they start operating here the reality on the ground is different and paining and many of them if not all will leave. Examples abound.


Therefore my take is that if you want a lasting direct foreign investment in car manufacturing industry you must first invest in appropriate education and training. Establish a car manufacturing academy to train your people in all areas of car design, manufacturing and maintenance. Some of these people will establish their own car manufacturing companies.

Some will find work in other companies, even abroad. When large companies want to invest in Botswana they will find ready made people in the country for their business. The foreign investor will only need to bring their core staff thus significantly increasing chances of success.


This example will apply to any areas you need foreign direct investment in the country.  Let us therefore work towards adopting an appropriate educational system that will produce well rounded individuals who will in turn promote best practices, unlock many doors for our prosperity and attract much needed international investment and expertise.


I hope these thoughts and insights are helpful.  Let us look forward to a more successful and more positive engagement as the year progresses.

Email: bernard.busani@ gmail.com Cell: 71751440

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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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Opinions

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

THABO MAJOLA

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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