Welcome back: 51 weeks of opportunity to grow your business and the economy.
2018 was a gruelling, eye-opening year for many South Africans. By now, you have probably already read about the emerging technology trends, the increasing shortage of good software developers, looming retrenchments and the adoption of cloud everything.
Relax, this article is not about these topics! Let us start 2019 by taking a moment to reflect and to take stock of how the South African business landscape has and is changing, says Anujah Bosman, CEO at Chillisoft Solution Services.
In reviewing 2018, the following quotations really stood out for me:
"The fact that more men occupy high-profile executive posts is tremendous not because of gender, but because of appetite for workload and extreme performance requirements at that level.
"The reason why women do not occupy these positions is that women choose to have the flexibility to dedicate themselves to more important enterprises like family and raising of children than to be at the beck and call of shareholders who will wake you up in the middle of the night to attend to shareholder aspirations." Manglin Pillay, former CEO of SAICE, https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/daily-dispatch/20180809/281861529329086
"It felt like loyal customers like my mom and I were sacrificed to mad-cap visions of imported executives who didn't really know their market." Ferial Haffajee, https://www.fin24.com/Opinion/ferial-haffajee-is-this-why-edgars-is-in-so-much-trouble-20181219
"If the board of KPMG was diversified and had people who understand the culture and the networks in South Africa and the risk of being caught up in factions... we would not have found ourselves entangled in the state capture, the Guptas and so on." Wiseman Nkuhlu, https://www.fin24.com/Companies/Financial-Services/the-sunday-read-kpmg-on-transformation-missing-red-flags-and-rebuilding-a-brand-20181216
At Chillisoft, some of these quotations have raised our collective ire and all of these issues have provoked a lot of thought about the underlying issues of transformation, understanding where your market is at, culture alignment, ethics and the strategic role of CEOs and CIOs. Chillisoft is a values-based company, so we take these issues seriously and will ensure we learn from the issues raised above.
Planning a new year of tangible actions is extremely daunting, particularly if it is in an unchartered territory or in areas that are nebulous, like "cultural alignment, ethics, transparency and collaboration". This is why I find it useful and grounding to remember that business runs on energy, energy that everyone brings to or depletes from your organisation.
Output energy is made up of energy that individuals bring to work to add value.
Plus: Discretionary energy (depending on motivation and commitment).
Minus: Energy that is consumed in keeping the organisation running.
Minus: Cultural entropy (energy that is required to overcome organisational dysfunction).
In planning our year, I find it is useful to examine work done in terms of energy that it consumes or generates.
Here is to a brand new year, 51 weeks of opportunity. Let's be great together.