VALUE-driven leadership is the surest way of ensuring global and Zambia’s economy and its underlying corporate business organizational success.
Research shows that many of the challenges that corporate businesses and national economies face world-over are caused by corporate leaders, policy makers and economic managers themselves!
In other cases, the way corporate leaders, policy makers and economic managers handle every day’s ordinary business life surmounts to how they eventually handle a crisis.
Other than crisis management, ordinary business life is essentially a battle field and not a play-ground.
Remarkably, businesses have to kill to survive.
Indeed, the origin of the underlying word strategy is derived from strategos from the, Greek military analogy which literally means to attack – destroy homes, factories, and bridges of an enemy army.
Therefore the real intended meaning that corporate business and economic activity is a fierce battle and no playground for little boys and girls.
That is why; it calls for more than just leadership but value driven-leadership to achieve a corporate business’s or national economic objectives.
Remarkably, the intensity of the demands of modern day business or economic management inevitably exerts pressure on corporate businesses to hit the bottom line and in so doing report favorable financial and operational results.
National economic managers’ too, increasingly fall under pressure to achieve short –term political outcomes at the expense of long term results.
In corporate businesses this inevitably results in cutting corners to bring down operational costs, and thereby indulge in pseudo corporate governance practices; corruption and Janus- (or two) faced business and economic practices.
Once again, think of the Directors of Kobe steel, who four years ago publicly admitted that they had been fabricating and falsifying data pertaining to its clientele’s quality specifications for aluminum and copper products.
Additionally, the company altered Inspection certificates to purport to meet order specifications such as tensile strength, for over 200 companies, including Toyota automobiles and Boeing Aircraft Corporation.
In Zambia too, in the recent past months seen media reports of incidences of companies supplying expired drugs and condoms.
In other cases, a named beverage manufacturer is alleged to have added Viagra in its Power energy drink.
On the other hand, several mineral water bottling companies were penalized by the Ministry of Health and Zambia Metrology Agency (ZMA) for literally packaging untreated tap water for sale to unsuspecting customers.
Truth be told, the ongoing shop looting chaos that is happening in South Africa’s economy is an aftermath of the absence of value driven leadership.
Around late 2018, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed that the Eskom and South African Airways (SAA) quagmire were caused by corruption in the company’s leadership that was connected to political power of the day.
Further, SAA management’s recently revealed that a board member allegedly got $4 million in insider-dealing circumstances.
The South African case study confirms increasing evidence that most of the challenges that corporate businesses and national economies face are either created by policy makers, economic managers and corporate leaders themselves.
On the other hand, as a result of these leaders failing to manage their undertakings, other subsequent challenges aggravate their existing challenges.
Essentially, Value –driven leadership entails that the corporate leader, policy maker or economic manager must lead from a deep sense of conviction, purpose and a demonstrated commitment to life-affirming values, such as honesty, integrity, hard work, courage, genuine humility, trust, and care for the undertaking’s people.
A core function of leadership is to translate the business or national economic strategy to achieve the corporate business or national economic objectives, while upholding life affirming values.
In fact, these life affirming values are not a means to an end but are an end in themselves.
The pursuit of an objective while taking into account leadership values enhances an undertaking to achieve its desired results.
What do leaders who are not value driven do?
What are the tangible results on a corporate business or a national economy which has fallen prey to non-value driven leadership?
Remarkably, in such corporate set-ups such as SAA the company since the late 1990’s experienced a rise in operating costs, inefficiencies in aircraft departure times and ultimately cash flow shortages.
The company began to awarded contracts to politically connected individuals at above an economic cost and the like.
Non- value- driven leaders don’t care to make optimum use of resources and would rather mis-place human resources thereby leading to sub-optimization of resources.
Think of what happened in Jacob Zuma’s reign in 2015 when he fired Finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and replacing him with Alec Hogg.
Alas, the domestic bond market nose-dived by 16.2 per cent!
For once, think about a corporate leader that decides to package tap water in the guise of mineral water? That’s reckless leadership, isn’t it?
In any case this only depicts a tiny fraction of how careless corporate leaders could be.
In other cases, this platform has highlighted corporate businesses scenarios where individual leaders have been appointed to rise to the helm of the undertaking without possessing the attributes required in such a position.
Four years down the line, in a named undertaking, such a leader devised a business strategy that could not be supported by any rule of reason!
Surely, how does a company devise a strategy where it obtains monies from the public and promises to pay them higher interest rates than what the company and the national economy was able to earn?
When all is said and done, it’s imperative on corporate business leaders, policy makers and economic managers to increasingly re-think value driven leadership so as to achieve the ultimate intended objectives of their respective undertakings.
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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)