Trends are changing. Technology is mutating unstoppably and unavoidably. Company executives at times have to abandon what they used to call a 10-year plan, because it is no longer applicable and relevant.
Zimbabwe is in a capricious situation in terms of business. Allow me from the outset to say, if ever there was to be a positive transformation or change in the business world, there are things that we should unlearn to learn new trends. Secondly, there are some impediments we put for ourselves that we should break so as to break through into a better world that everyone could be envisaging. I must say, if you are an executive, it is no longer business as usual.
We have entered into an era we could call the “Big Data Era”. Information is criss-crossing the Internet via social media networks. The mind of the people we intended selling to is constantly stuck on the e-thing, which has become the in thing. We have to chase the customers because that is where our money is.
Most organisations are absolute and some getting to that zone. This is a painful truth, but very important to know, appreciate and think about seriously. Think of an organisation that was closed. It could be because it was left out in the streams of events and the product it was trying to sell was not consumed anymore by consumers. As an executive or leader, if your company is doing well now, think of it tomorrow. Will it still be doing what it is doing now with a profit?
For example, the banking sector has seen so many changes. There is now e-banking and free bank transactions. Banks that didn’t effect quick change to technology are losing most of the new generation. This generation does not want to waste time queuing and they understand technology more. As a result, a platform that makes them access their money more easily and quickly is what they want.
Treat everyone like a volunteer
People come to make a special contribution as employees. They don’t only bring their technical skill, but their intellectual skill too. Peter Brucker (1999:117) in the book Leader to Leader said: “Accept the fact that we have to treat almost anybody as a volunteer. They carry their tools in their heads and can go anywhere. And we know what attracts and holds volunteers. The first thing is a clear mission. People need to know what their organisation stands for and what it is trying to accomplish. The second thing is responsibility for results, which means appraisal and review. And the third thing is continuous learning.”
Come down to the customers
Executives should spend most of their time listening to what their customers need. Most of them would not want to hear this now, but they will wish they implemented it, especially after losing revenue. In Zimbabwe, we need consumer surveys and we use the data to learn consumer trends.
Recently, I was in South Africa and I discovered that most communication entities are always asking questions. The questions we ask will determine the answers we get and ultimately the cash we need. With some people, what they need to do is just change the questions they ask and that will improve their results. Here are two questions that have extremely different results.
Question one: Who is my customer? What do my consumers want?
Don’t stay the same
I have talked to a lot of employees in my corporate speaking engagements and their greater feeling will be: I have stayed in the organisation for a long time, and I know everything there is to know and it has become so mundane and monotonous. What I enjoy is the pay check at the end of the month and I feel there is more that should be done in the organisation. This is what is killing most organisations. Sameness brings the same results, so as a leader challenge employees to perform more. Raise the performance bar.
Excellence has no substitute
Vusi Thembekwayo, a South African motivational speaker, once wrote: “Excellence is about being unforgiving in the pursuit of greatness. The challenge with many leaders is that they have forgotten to insist that their people be excellent in everything they do. That means they must be driven to be the best and that they must look to themselves for inspiration.”
Make great things happen in 2016
The year is coming to an end and we have to take stock as individuals and as leaders. Secondly, 2016 cannot change as long as you don’t want to change. If your results have not been pleasing in 2015, you have to take strides to make things happen in 2016. As we get into 2016, great leaders will “…show an exceptional willingness to push themselves out of their comfort zones, even after they have achieved a great deal.
They continue to take risks, even when there is no obvious reason for them to do so. And they are open to people and ideas, even at a time in life when they might reasonably think — because of their successes — that they know everything. Often they are driven by goals that are bigger than what any individual can accomplish, and that gap is an engine pushing them toward continuous learning”. (John P Kotter 1999: 78)
lJonah Nyoni is an author, success coach and leadership trainer. He can be contacted on 0772 581 918 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org