9 Mar 2019

Final News Letter – Part Two:

Management Practices for a new generation of Business Leaders!

The first chapter in Part Two, is headed “Dualism as a concept for greater understanding and awareness.” It is a way to establish the truth and to reaffirm the right values.

In this final newsletter, one would dearly like to say something inspirational and helpful to support the “new dawn.”    

Recent Dualisms that focus us on a better understanding and awareness

It is not reasonable or fair for a manager in business leadership to discriminate against staff based on race. One Race, the human race and the practice of management complement each other. Management being used to achieve an outcome based on race, does not stand up to the Universal principles of management practices. What would Tom Peters or Henry Mintzberg say about such legislation? It embarrasses us internationally.

The “High Road” and the “Low Road” from Clem Sunter’s scenarios before democracy.  We are back there again. It is dualism, Politically, Cyril Ramaphosa is banking on Unity of the ANC to take the ANC to a clear majority. There is, however, a menacing dualism between the Zuma and the Ramaphosa faction. Will the revelations of extreme corruption from the Zondo Commission affect election results?  

Political policies, statements, attitudes are either divisive or inclusive. Are the political manifestos of our political parties divisive or inclusive? AA and BEE, when they first surfaced, looked like a good idea, but not anymore. It is divisive with the unintended of consequence, contributing to keeping GDP growth hovering around 1%. when we need 6%. The unintended consequences go further including the exodus of highly skilled and productive people both black and white.

Donald Trump and other world leaders including some of our own politicians are giving opinions and believing them to be factual. Often these opinions are based on dangerous prejudices, it is the dualism of Fact or Fiction. Social media is often used to spread fake news.

Following and Leading is a dualism. You can’t be a good leader if you are not a good follower. Ask a leader, who are the five most influential people in their life? That will tell you if they are worth following or voting for in the election.

The future of our SOEs. State monopoly or Private enterprise for SOEs. An enterprising business model for SOEs would give opportunities to individuals, unions, corporations and state entities. They would become capital generating enterprises. Compare this to absorption of capital from tax payers and the abuse of state assets.  

Land expropriation without compensation (EWC) versus Land Reform; Land reform must take the gap, the seemly unholy alliance between the Zuma faction and the EFF, led by Malema, does not engender confidence. Valli Moosa and Albie Sachs have been the latest to voice concerns. The Constitutional Court is likely to have the last say.

 “One Race, The Human Race, Now!”  speaks to the better future we will all have when we turn our back on racism. Multicultural and diverse communities are succeeding everywhere, this is most visible in sport. The World Soccer Cup in 2018 being won by France is a good example. SA is part of a modern world and there is no future in race-based policies and attitudes.

“The evidence is mounting that geographical openness and cultural diversity and tolerance are not by-products but key drivers of economic growth.” Quote from Thomas Friedman.

Chapter three of the book is a summary of Friedman’s latest book on up-dating us on the modern world we live in.

The future lies in making the best use of existing resources, be they skills, talent, experience, expertise or capital……this regardless of historic consideration, where people were classified as Advantaged and Disadvantaged.

All must now become advantaged. Strangely enough it does not happen by reversing history …or strangling the previously advantaged. It takes time and there must be no window dressing. Advancement must be based on hard work, honesty and real ability. It mostly takes the assistance of another unthreatened knowledgeable person to assist, maybe a coach or a mentor, teacher or lecturer. 

In the modern world freedom of opportunity for all, is the first consideration, it is a pillar of our Constitution. The harder part and where we need to be rational is to make it possible to take up these opportunities.  This becomes the responsibility of society.

The peace that democracy created for the country was vital for us to develop individuals and provide the means to take up the opportunities provided by our democracy.

I don’t think some of our politicians, even academics, understand this need for peace. Some fantasize about a race war or getting back at the previously advantaged. It is understood that at all levels of those previously disadvantaged from the poor to the traditional leaders, there are opportunities to be taken up that were missed before democracy. It now needs peace, dignity and rational thought, the absence of anger, violence, intimidation and insults.

The Economy is the other area not understood by some academics and politicians. I wrote extensively about this in the book.  When the economy is growing at descent levels, much becomes possible.

In the growth of the economy and in the transfer of skills and expertise to advance transformation, it does not make sense that the previously advantaged are systematically prevented from giving their full contribution to growing the economy.

I am not going to repeat the factors, but even the President in this time leading up to the elections, when he spoke at the BBC (Black Business Council) was full of what black business must achieve. The how black business gets there and sustains itself, he did not mention. He hinted regrettable at more legislation. The practice of management was not mentioned or the partnering and success of new farmers that had been supported and coached by previously advantaged farmers.

Mmusi Maimane spoke at the same Black Business summit at Midland on 1st March. Maimane is often spot-on in his analysis of South Africa’s political landscape.

Below are two quotes from Maimane

“And out there is an entire industry that has arisen around BEE compliance – armies of consultants and lawyers who only exist to guide companies through the maze of codes and legislation. BEE has been good to them too”.

“We need to put our country and its people first. That means dismantling the system that rewards the few at the expense of the many and replacing it with one that truly broadens inclusion.”

Maimane is also a believer in the “whole of society approach”, which means using people for what they are good at. If the country has experienced business people, who can build much needed capital, you use these skills. This to build the economy, to pass their skills onto others, to the disadvantaged, to form partnerships to build more businesses etc. Compare this to people coming up with White Monopoly Capital and the discouragement of AA and BEE that pushes people out.

Let us tap into the goodwill of the people, our civil society, use and trust our magnificent Constitution, drop the “without compensation” in land expropriation. That signal is damaging in a country where we have the means to overcome poverty entirely through our potentially thriving mixed economy.   

The large number of people involved in BEE, what of their future?  There is a bigger future in the Universal World of Management. A great deal of training is needed in this Practice of Management.

This is a quote from Gary Hamel, a leading authority on management, he had this to say in his book “The Future of Management”:

After all, management has contributed immensely to society. Taken cumulatively, modern management theories are “one of humanity’s greatest inventions – right up there with fire, written language and democracy.” Management has allowed society to draw maximum benefit t from the productive capacity of the industrial age. Management organizes workforces and splits “complex tasks into small, repeatable steps,” while creating multiple options for consumers”

I have said in my book that one of the by-products of apartheid is that Blacks missed out on management. The growth years of management were precisely during the apartheid era where people of colour were denied management positions or allowed to own their own businesses to manage.          

The reality is, we need to grow our economy at four times the present GDP. This to obtain the possibility of achieving a descent GDP per capita to stem poverty, all in my book. We are falling back on some basic levels of competence in the running of our businesses. Essential that our institutions and businesses focus on their value chains and become Centres of Excellence.

We need new businesses, everyone with that special ability to make things happen who can create capital must be supported. It is arrogant and totally wrong to say they must be black. The Brian Joffe’s of this world are scarce and can go to any country. Yes, we will have a black Brian Joffe, we have a few already. But we won’t sustain top flight ones if the protection of AA and BEE continues. Please read my book.

I intend to devote the next two years to writing a book on my family coming to South Africa in the early 1890s. This is my last newsletter on this subject. I probably will be sending you quotes from time to time from Tom Peters new book “The Excellence Dividend” or notes of support for the real possibility of the “new dawn”.…. CR did call for suggestions. I am not going to let my pale face stop me.

Neil Wright