THERE’s never been a time in Zambia’s history like now, when there’s arisen the need for professionals to exhibit traits of ‘a value-driven professional’ in both the private and public sectors of the economy.
Last week’s article noted that the levels of professionalism in the private and public sectors of the Zambian economy have reached an all-time low.
Many a reader may ask, what is it that professionals in various trades and professions of the economy grapple with?
What is it that is making their professionalism stoop to an all-time low?
Does the ecosystem have role models or scenarios that exemplify how a value driven professional should stand out and contribute to national economic development?
In this discourse, I would like to share extracts from one of the themes of my first book, “Making A Nation’s Economic Growth, Corporate Business Strategies Workable”
In this book I have shared my research of various corporate business organizations and their underlying economies like Zambia, their successes and of course how they have failed to harness systematic strategy in achieving their growth.
Thankfully, the book goes on to lay out how these undertakings could address their shortcomings through systematic strategy.
Additionally, as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) 2020 Media Advocate of the Year award winner, I wish to contribute to inspire the development of professionalism in Zambia, particularly to the young generation.
In my twenty-five years experiences of hands-on research, I have found out that most businesses and economies face Janus- faced or two-faced business practices.
This means that many organisations take two forms: appear to operate legally while carrying out unlawful and unprofessional – underground practices.
These underground practices overtime develop into acceptable organisational or wide-spread practices which become embedded as unwritten national work ethic.
For once think of Kobe Steel, a leading Japanese steel manufacturer.
Essentially, Kobe steel between September 2016and August 2017 systematically created an unlawful environment that falsified Inspection certificates to meet order specifications such as tensile strength, for over200 companies, including Toyota automobiles and Boeing Aircraft Corporation.
Imagine being a professional Lawyer, Chartered Certified Accountant, Engineer, Procurement Specialist, Security Personnel, and Administrator, or any other role, in an Organization like Kobe Steel.
I’m sure it becomes a “If you can’t beat them, you join them” work-place ethic!
Think of the ultimate impact of such an ‘occult professional system on the company and the entire national economy.
Following on, think of what such a practice does to the moral fibre of a nation!
Following on, think of the final outcome of such a nasty system: the Directors of Kobe Steel making a public confession that they were deeply sorry for having done all the wrong!
Meanwhile, the damage had been done to the professional’s images and the global economy!
As earlier alluded to, businesses don’t do such practices for fun.
In a highly competitive business world, KobeSteel began to face pressures to keep their costs down so as to remain competitive and profitable.
In the same way, public sector organisations and professionals too, inevitably face intense pressure to bow to politicians short-term objectives at the expense of long term organizational and
They therefore have to circumvent every rule, every law, ethic, value while appearing to operate lawfully.
The K1 trillion question for this discourse is how should a professional carry himself or herself in such environments?
What traits are essential for professionals to thrive in such circumstances?
To exemplify the traits of a value-driven professional, lets re-visit a high profile case study of former Bank Of Zambia (BoZ) Governor Dr. Denny Kalyalya.
In his last press briefing on the state of the Zambian economy in late August last year, he chose to tell the truth that the economy wasn’t performing well and further outlined the remedial measures.
Earlier on, on 18 September 2019, the BoZ, under his leadership, made not- so- easy-to -make submissions to the Constitution Bill Number 10 Parliamentary select committee.
In this case, the BoZ proposed changes to Section 13, 65 among other sections of the Bill.
These included Article 63 of the Constitutional Act which proposed deletion of provisions requiring National Assembly oversight over contraction of public debt and ratification of international agreements and treaties.
The BoZ argued against the proposed the deletion of Article 184(2)(d),which in the current constitution makes Permanent Secretaries to be responsible and accountable for the proper financial management and expenditure of public monies appropriated.
The BoZ under Dr. Kalyalya further advocated for the strengthening of the independence of the Central Bank, in keeping with the provisions in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) model law for Central Banks.
That’s not an easy task, is it?
Think of what these professionals including Dr.Kalyalya had to put up with!
What were the benefits of all this professionalism? – The business organization and the entire nation rakes in the clear benefits of the outcome of his integrity, hard work, courage, objectivity, honesty and selflessness.
Is there anything that professionals, particularly the young generation in Zambia can learn from Dr. Kalyalya’s professionalism?
Remarkably, Dr. Kalyalya’s case study illustrates that a value-driven professional is expected to be passionate for his or her job, be diligent, objective, exercise integrity, honesty and offer just, fair and objective advice to one’s employers or customers, no matter the situation.
Truth be told, professionals too, in most cases stay longer in any organizational or economic system and therefore are likely to have “subtle soft-power” that is even more powerful than political power or that of the C-suite level managers.
If corporate business organizations, or indeed a nation,including Zambia, have to succeed in implementing its growth strategies, they inevitably need to create enabling environments for professionals to exhibit value- driven professionalism.
For comments e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile +260977403113, +260955403113
The author is the Managing Consultant at G. N Grant Business Consultant, a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA), a Master of Business Administration(MBA) holder, with a Specialism in Strategic Planning, and a candidate for the Herriot Watt University (Scotland) Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)