Archive | January, 2011

ATTITUDE: THE WILL OF SUPER ACTION

28 Jan

ATTITUDE: THE WILL OF SUPER ACTION

Behold the final station in the long journey we began of exploring attitude as the main cause of the difference between developing and developed societies. Allow me to introduce this station with a quote from Malcom X, “If you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

Many people begin their lives believing that they stand for something. It may be a belief in ethics, responsibility, respect for the rules and laws, respect for the rights of other citizens, work loving or having the attitude of investment. However; as days, months and years pass by and times get tough, they begin losing grip of what they once stood for. They begin falling for anything. This is a trap that many of us fall prey to every now and then.

The will of super action can be very critical when trying to beat that trap. The significance of this WILL cannot be fully expressed in words. For this reason I would like to bring to your attention, illustrations of people who have through tough times expressed their will to win. Through super action, they have in their own ways contributed to economy building or economic development and continue to do so.

Allow me to introduce to you Johan Nel-Umuntu Media CEO, Brian Matambo– Umuntu Media Country Manager (Zambia)-Editorial and relationship coach and Edson M. Chilala– founder of Change Management Associates and great believers are great achievers.

JOHAN NEL

Have you ever heard of Umuntu Media, izambia and inamibia? Let us meet Umuntu Media founder and CEO; thirty year old Johan Nel. Let us interview him and learn from his will of super action with respect to Umuntu Media.

Economy Building: Mr Nel, It is stated that Umuntu will change the way Africa communicates. How exactly will you go about this?

Johan Nel: Currently, Information in Africa is available in a very disseminated way. Let us take Namibia for an example. If you are living in Namibia and needed to figure out what to do over the weekend, your best bet would be to constantly stay tuned into the radio or try your luck with the local television station. There is no one stop portal where you can find local news, local information, connect with the local community or stay informed online. There are pockets of information available online but not presented in a world class web 2.0 manner. Changing access to information and making sharing and communicating easier for locals in 19 African countries is changing the way Africa will communicate…we wanted to solve everyday problems with communication, access to information and connection between peers.

Economy Building: Have the nineteen African Countries been selected based on any specific market research? Could you provide any statistics on the state of online media in some of these countries?

Johan Nel: Our core selection process is based on Internet growth, Internet penetration, number of internet users and competition in the market. If you combine the internet users in these countries you would sit with a base of 93,227,200 internet users. Our thinking into going into a country like Zambia for example; with an internet population of only 816,700 [instead of South Africa’s saturated market with an internet base of 5,300,000] users is to build something unique to fill a gap in the market, drive it hard in terms of marketing and local flavour and then hopefully be able to gain the majority of readers in that country.

Commenting on what makes Umuntu sites different and hence better than similar and well established competitor’s services, Nel said, “… It is a news portal built on amazing technologies with Jobs, dating, classifieds, [information on] where to stay, where to eat, events etc. But it means more than the components, it is a sign of change, it’s a sign of investment in their [user’s] country.”

Nel stated that they took what has been working over the past fifteen years in the developed world to come up with some direction for Umuntu.

A few years ago, it was uncommon for Africans to engage in internet marketing. Let alone for an African company to offer content to an African audience. However, with Umuntu Media, such an assertion may become history soon. The will of super action indeed.

BRIAN MATAMBO

Brian says that when he started out in his entrepreneurship dream and journey, he never knew what kind of obstacles existed. All he had was the belief that he would make it. Brian further adds that he has an ambitious belief that Africa will make it as a first world continent. His justification for this statement is food for thought. He says that, “…when people begin to think with a first world mentality, their world becomes first world.” This; he adds, is the spirit with which he approaches business, coaching and work.

On being asked what the will of super action entails for him, Brian had this to say;

For me, it has been the battle of the mind and anything I have done; I have done to establish victory in the mind. I have had to develop a mental stamina that refuses to go out without winning. I face the same limitations that are common to everyone. But I think attitude is important to survive the atrocious and unfriendly circumstances that this world presents us at times…Since I completed my secondary education I have fought many mental wars to develop a positive attitude, a good self esteem, self belief, consistency and many other virtues. But the battle is not over because I must win several more.

What would be the best closing remark on Brian’s will of super action? His own words would pretty much sum up everything and give the rest of us something to think about. Brian says;

…success is a way of thinking. By surrounding yourself with success content from success oriented people, that is how you begin to develop a success mentality and become successful. Africa is being changed by people who just have a different way of thinking. And that is what Africa has been missing-a different way of thinking.

EDSON M. CHILALA
Another person who’s will of super action is inspirational is Change Management Associates and Great believers are great achievers founder, Edson Chilala. For most, he is a public speaker. For others, he is a calm, collected and very innovative person. Seeing is believing. Therefore, read more from him here.

In the series on attitude, we have looked at various attributes that can help align people’s actions towards a positive attitude for economic development. Some examples have been given of people who are contributing to economic development through their will of super action. With all that having been said, the least that can be done is to urge everyone to go out there and contribute to economic development. Economic development starts with you. Do it with your will of super action.

Do you have a success story that you would want to be shared here? Do you have any queries? Email: byrnek09 (at) gmail (dot) com
Economy Building: Development in prospect.

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THE ATTITUDE OF STRIVING FOR INVESTMENT

22 Jan

THE ATTITUDE OF STRIVING FOR INVESTMENT
How many times have you heard these? “Japan has a strong economy because most people invest as much as 70 percent of their earnings.” “He is rich because he has a number of investments.” What about the argument about which investors are better for a country like Zambia? How many times have you heard it? Maybe you even have your side; is it the Chinese, the Lebanese or the Americans?

If you are a citizen of a developing country and chose one of the above nationalities, then (with all due respect) you must check your patriotism to your nation and I hope your decision making capabilities will be improved by the time you finish reading this post. Today, I will address three questions:

1. What is investment?
2. Why is investment important?
3. Who are the best investors for a nation?

Let us begin with the first one.

WHAT IS INVESTMENT?

The word investment is itself derived from the word invest. According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, to invest is to “put money into financial schemes, shares or property with the expectation of achieving a profit.” Investment therefore involves devoting resources towards another resource or set of resources with the expectation of obtaining or yielding more than the devoted resources.

WHY IS INVESTMENT IMPORTANT?

For people with an economic, accounting or finance background; it is not hard to understand and appreciate the importance of investment. This may however not be the case for the others. To understand how important investment is, think of this: If much of your private earnings and government taxes were invested through the financial markets in productive companies like Zambeef, Shoprite and so on, those companies could purchase more equipment and machinery. Such purchases would increase the CAPACITY of these firms to produce more. Provided there is enough market for the output (which is usually the case in developing countries), the firms will need to compensate the increased capital with other factors of production. That is, they need to employ more people (labour) and become more innovative (enterprise) in order to capture as much of the target market as possible. In short, investment has three major advantages;

1. It increases the productive capacity of firms.
2. If the firms manage the investments well, employment is increased.
3. It reduces a country’s dependence on other countries through imports.

That having been said, lack of proactivity towards investment is still a problem in many developing countries. Instead of taking a lead in investment, most people would rather just comment on the political aspects of investment. For instance; in Zambia, people have been busy politicising the sell of companies like Zamtel and ZANACO which they did not even have shares in. However, the stories of minority Zambian shareholders in Zain being made to accept small premiums for the lose of their holdings in the company remained quiet. This was probably because of the lack of political steak in the issue.

WHO IS THE BEST INVESTOR FOR A NATION

And now my favourite question on the topic. Who is the best investor for a nation? Let us take Zambia as an example. Who is the best investor? Is it the Chinese, Lebanese or the Americans? To answer that question, think of the late 1990s when copper deposits seemed to have run out in Zambia. What did foreign investors do? How about when huge profits are made by investors of certain nationalities, where do they build some of the world’s largest Universities?

The best investors for a developing country are the CITIZENS themselves. Do not say you do not have enough money. Remember investment is always made with the intention of profit. Therefore, spare that little bit and invest it in something you anticipate will earn you profit. Before you know it you may be going back to make bigger investments.

Please click on the links to any of the three major stock brokers or the other important websites to learn more on what you can invest in. If you have any other queries direct those to this email
address: byrnek09 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Economy Building is development in prospect. Let us make it a reality.

THE ATTITUDE OF LOVING WORK

21 Jan

THE ATTITUTE OF LOVING WORK
INTRODUCTION

Are you a work loving person? How does that attitude affect economic development? The Hindus say “work is worship,” and you can see that creed in the way most Indians work. In every successful society, there is a certain attitude towards work. People love the work they do. Be it a high or low post; everyone knows their significance in the TEAM and love playing their role.

In most developing societies, people think low of their own and other people’s roles. People are scorned if they do certain jobs and they feel bad about it. Consequently, they do not do what they do to their fullest potential and productivity is reduced. The reason for all this is simple. Most people do not love their work. They get into work for the sake of having a sustained source of income and surviving basically. They seem to lack innovation and cannot convince their employers to pay them well because they are convinced within them that their role is insignificant or useless.

HOW TO BE A WORK LOVING PERSON

Having stressed the importance of being a work loving person, it is essential to put that into reality. There are a number of things you can do in order to be a work loving person. You do not have to be seated in that office and environment and groan about how unappreciated you are or how boring your work is. The advice I will provide below is a mixture of points that relate to both those who are employed and those who are not. They are not conclusive but are a stepping stone to the long run sustainable and work loving journey.

1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT CAREER

The first point to note is that you have to choose the right career at the earliest stage possible. For you to be very productive, the career you choose should be related to the activities that you do for fun in your everyday life. For instance, there some people who are ‘gamers’. Why can’t you find yourself in a field where you can create those games? You know what gamers like and what they do not in the game. Care must be taken however to ensure that you also have interest in the related skills like programming that are needed to succeed.

2. LEARN TO SHARE YOUR WORK TARGETS AND DREAMS WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE

After you choose a career or work target, it is imperative that you share your ambition(s) with the right people. Usually, family members and likeminded friends can provide you with information on the possible ups and downs in the field. Be ready for the challenges.

3. ACCEPT VARIANCES AND BE READY TO BEND A BIT

When you share your dreams, some people may not like to see you do something. For instance, if you want to be a building scientist, some influential people in your life may prefer that you become a Business Administrator. Making the right choice at that moment is one of the biggest struggles for many. There is need to balance between what makes you happy and what makes those who matter in your life happy. Any extreme choice will lead to some dissatisfaction and hatred for your work. A balance between the two should be found and something that has components of both would be amicable. For instance, real estate management could bring into play components of both building science and business administration. This is not an ideal example of negotiation but I hope it brings out what I am trying to say. Build consensus among people close to you about the goodness of what you want to pursue in life. Let them appreciate it as much as you do. They will then be able to encourage you later on in life as things get tough.

There are also times when you cannot proceed with your desired dreams due to certain limitations. For instance; in academics, many universities would place a number of programs in one stream and quarter you based on your performance. If a certain programme is competitive; even if you pass, you may find yourself doing a programme you never wanted to do. For most, that becomes the end of interest in work and their behaviour becomes dysfunctional. The wisest thing to realise is that success is a journey. If it cannot happen now, keep moving on with what you can do now with all the love and wait for a later opportunity to do what you want. This is frustrating but it is good for economic development. After all, the knowledge and qualifications will be yours.

4. AVOID THE NORMALCY BIAS

The normalcy bias is a psychological term referring to a state of mind. This state of mind causes people to deny the possibility of an event occurring and the effects thereof. People with a normalcy bias are likely to have certain prejudices that may make objective decision making difficult. The adverse events that follow may make a person detest their own work. Therefore, avoiding this problem may help you handle past, present and future adverse events relating to your work.

CONCLUSION

In order to achieve the highest performance, you need to love what you do. Love the work you do, stick to it when things are tough and propose new improvements. Before you know it, you are building the economy and becoming motivated to do more.

THE ATTITUDE OF RESPECT TO THE RIGHTS OF OTHER CITIZENS

19 Jan

THE ATTITUDE OF RESPECT TO THE RIGHTS OF OTHER CITIZENS

INTRODUCTION

Laws and rules give us rights that other citizens are supposed to respect. However, in order for us to live amicably, we are also supposed to respect their rights. In short, every citizen has rights and duties. The attitude of people towards their rights and duties is essential for economic development. It has often been said that where your rights end, someone else’s begin.

UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

According to the Universal Declaration of human rights, “All human beings are born free and are equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” The declaration provides for everyone the right to life, liberty and security of people without discrimination of any kind with regard to race, colour, sex, language and so on.
However, the big problem in many developing countries is that most people do not respect the rights of fellow citizens. There is a lot of discrimination with regard sex, race, language or tribe in many aspects of the economy. This lack of respect is eminent in employment and education opportunities. We often hear of family trees in organisations and public governance structures because those in authority would rather employ their tribes men than a person who has the necessary competencies.

EFFECTS OF LACK OF RESPECT FOR OTHER PEOPLE’S RIGHTS

This lack of respect for other people’s rights and the ultimate instability has in the past left many countries struggling with wars instead of concentrating on development. Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia and Madagascar are some African countries that have wasted a lot of time solving civil unrest at the expense of economy building and development. In other countries like Zambia, it has led to the failure of various parastatals and the subsequent privatisation of the same.

CONCLUSION

The right to life, the right to freedom of speech and all other basic rights should not be underrated. Respect these rights and people will do it to you in return. The more people respect each other’s rights, the more economic development a country, community or society will achieve.

Economy building is development in prospect: Making it a reality begins with you.

For any queries contact byrnek09 (at) gmail (dot) com anything else like comments can go below. Thank you in many languages.

THE ATTITUTE OF RESPECT FOR THE LAWS AND RULES

19 Jan

RESPECT TO THE LAWS AND RULES
INRODUCTION

So far, we have established that ethics, integrity and responsibility are essential for economic development. The next principle according to Bonnell is that people in developed countries have respect to the laws and rules. Allow me to paraphrase and say they have respect ‘for’ the laws and rules.

WHAT ARE LAWS AND RULES?

Think of rules as the basic guidelines that help individuals and groups conform to certain conduct. Rules are usually grouped together to form a SYSTEM OF RULES that are widely recognised and accepted by a community. This system is what makes the laws. Basically rules have a narrower scope and relate to a smaller group with enforcement being made within the small group. However, laws have a wider scope and relate to a wider community. Breaking of laws has bigger consequences than breaking of rules. Despite the differences between the two, respect for both rules and laws are essential for economic development or economy building.

IMPORTANCE OF LAWS AND RULES

Most people especially in developing countries perceive rules and laws as instruments used by those with authority to suppress the weaker. This is due to the manner in which those in power tend to use the law for the same. However, good laws and rules are important for any society’s economic development. If used in a proper manner, they help maintain order and make predictions easier. In a society full of law abiding citizens, people are able to plan in advance. For instance, they know that they can trust whoever they do transactions with to deliver the promised customer value.

NEGATIVE ATTITUDE TOWARDS RULES AND LAWS

How many times have we heard people especially our national leaders being accused of not having respect for the rules and laws? We are busy criticising those on top forgetting that there are some things we are doing at our own level that are not in line with the rules and laws. Various examples exist. However, the following are some of them.

SOME EXAMPLES

Think of the clearly written labels: No parking. You do not even need the Highway Code for you to realise that you are not supposed to pack at the stated point. How about the phrase “no through way” at some residential premises? How many times are these ignored by people who want to use short cuts to get to where they are going? There are also the “keep the city clean” signs on packets of products and beans around the city. How do you dispose off your waste? Ignoring a simple rule such as, “keep the city clean” can and has led to diarrhoea diseases like cholera. Instead of national resources being directed towards other economy building activities, lack of adherence to a simple rule causes the funds to be redirected to health care. How about the simple rule: “Do not drive while drunk.” Premature death on the spot is usually the consequence. Maybe that is even a better outcome. This is because in the worst case scenario, someone may end up physically disabled for the rest of their life. The expenses towards their treatment might also have been used for investment.

CONCLUSION

Economy building begins with you and me. Let us check our attitude towards respect for the rules and laws. Many countries have developed faster than others because of simply adhering to the laws and rules. Laws and rules define your rights but also give you obligations. Everyone needs to have a good creed towards respect for laws and rules. Many people in developed economies always work with the creed “where your rights end, someone else’s begin” How about you? What is your creed?

THE ATTITUDE OF RESPONSIBILITY

16 Jan

THE ATTITUDE OF RESPONSIBILITY
INTRODUCTION

Responsibility is an essential element for development. As each and everyone one of us grows older, wiser and more knowledgeable, it becomes apparent that we need to handle more and more responsibilities. We often hear people say “Take responsibility for your actions,” or “You must behave responsibly.”

WHAT IS RESPONSIBILITY?

One may ask then, what is responsibility? Responsibility is one of the components of accountability. It entails an obligation to control or do something.

HOW RESPONSIBILITY AFFECTS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Let us qualitatively analyse the correlation between responsibility and economy building or economic development. This can be done through the following analogies.

To begin with, think of a home where the parents are irresponsible. The father is a perpetual drinker or drunkard. The mother is a top neighbourhood gossiper who only ties her Chitenge material (long cloth worn by most African women) to her waist and rushes back home to service the demands of a drunken husband. The first thing he will probably say is “where is my meal?” She will most likely answer sarcastically with the question “Did you leave any money for you to demand any food?” This will almost certainly be followed by a harsh verbal exchange and before they know it, the children are witnessing a Mike Tyson verses Lennox Lewis affair. Pyramid Arena ‘in live replay’. The only difference being that this one is unprofessional- Pots, pans, spoons, knives, cooking sticks and anything the fighters can get their hands on will be used against their partner. Of course this is an extreme example but it is a representative one. No one wants to take responsibility. The children are learning the bad manners. Meanwhile, somewhere in a developed nation, a couple is discussing how they are going to diversify their investment portfolio. How that annuity will be executed for that unborn child. Who will develop?

Scenario two goes something like this; a young person walks into that office. They are a fresh graduate and eager to contribute to the development of the organisation. Probably also wishing to be noticed. As soon as the youngster gets to the peak of their activities, the supervisor walks in. “Young man!” he exclaims. “This is not your grandfather’s company. If you want to get noticed, you will just get hated by your workmates.” He poses; looking directly into the lad’s face and continues. “Take frequent breaks from your work and learn to make deals.” The recruit is perplexed that his boss can be so disgraceful but still open enough. He tries to report the matter and everyone acts unconcerned. It is a network of scandalous people he has gotten into. Before he knows it, he is behaving like them.

How about that person who has spent all his time studying or schooling? They get a good job, good pay and decide to buy that dream car. However, they need a driving license. They want to get a license fast. However; to do this, they have to bribe someone in the road traffic department; otherwise they will continue failing the driving test. Next thing you know, road traffic accidents are on the rise.

All these scenarios show how lack of responsibility at every level in society is suffocating the economies of developing countries. The ATTITUDE of citizens towards their own daily lives is causing them to bring upon themselves problems on which priceless time is wasted. All this is at the expense of economy building matters. Take a lead. Have an attitude that avoids these unnecessary problems. Economy building begins with you.

I would like to hear from you. Contact me at: byrnek09 (at) gmail (dot) com

Economy Building
Development in prospect.

THE ATTITUDE OF INTEGRITY

12 Jan

THE ATTITUDE OF INTEGRITY
INTRODUCTION

Some people say President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa was a president of integrity. Issues of integrity are all around us. Think of a young graduate trying to cheat their way to a job, a potential driver trying or being enticed to bribe their way to a driver’s license, a politician trying to bribe their way into a position and many more similar occurrences. Slowly but surely, generation after generation, we accept lack of integrity to hold us captive and hinder economic development.

Are you a person of integrity? How significant is the integrity of others and indeed your integrity to economic development? I have already established that “Ethics as a basic principle” are essential for development. This is because they lead to confidence in stakeholders and increase the volume of transactions occurring between them. We now move on to the next key principle for economic development and this is INTEGRITY.

DEFINITION OF INTEGRITY AND ITS IMPORTANCE
Integrity is one of the fundamental principles of the Association of Chartered Accountant’s (ACCA) code of ethics. It is also an essential way to measure how those who are involved in both corporate and public governance are accountable to those affected. In the context of behaviour, Integrity involves asking questions such as; how morally upright am I? Am I honest and truthful? If you are not a person of integrity, then you are hypocritical.
Now that word; hypocrisy, is something most people in developing countries will identify with. How many times have people given promises that they have failed to deliver? Many people have held themselves out to have certain attributes that they in fact do not have. It happens almost everywhere; a graduate looking for employment, a politician vying for a position, a marketer trying to get that client to buy the otherwise substandard products. The worst part about it is that most of us do not want to admit that there is too much hypocrisy around and within us.

HOW TO INCREASE INTEGRITY
Despite all this, there are a number of things that you as an individual/ we as a generation can do in order to achieve a high level of integrity. These include but are not restricted to the following:

1. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH AN ENVIRONMENT OF INTEGRITY
Like the old saying goes; “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. With the religious backgrounds of most poor countries, it is a saying that most will identify with. However it’s implications must be understood well and applied. No matter how hard one thinks they are, prolonged periods of interaction with people who lack integrity may cause you to begin behaving like them. Hence the biblical teaching, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” With hypocritical people around you, you will most likely in no time begin accepting, giving and taking small bribes until you reach a point where lack of integrity does not seem to be a problem in your view. So, step number 1, identify people, places and activities of integrity and involve yourself in such.

2. REFUSE TO “BE EVERYONE
Most fraud perpetrators and people who lack integrity justify their actions with the phrase “everyone is doing it.” Please be informed that you are not everyone. Refuse to be called everyone. You are a unique individual who gets various attributes from various people and experiences in life. The journey to achieving national integrity begins with you. If you accept to be everyone, that first important step towards integrity may never be taken.

3. IDENTIFY WITH CERTAIN ORGANISED CODES OF ETHICS
Most people who are identified as lacking integrity hold key positions in their field(s) and in society in general. They include; but not restricted to, Economists, Accountants, Lawyers, Doctors or medical personnel and Engineers. Most of these have codes of ethics which include integrity as one of the basic principles. It is important to take these codes seriously. Many codes are not laws but voluntary guidelines that when well followed increase the credibility of a profession.

4. REFUSE TO TAKE AND GIVE BRIBES
Let us together fight against lack of integrity. Refuse to take and give bribes. The taking and giving of bribes works like the economic laws of demand and supply. Let us take the giving and taking of bribes as the supply and demand for bribes respectively. Let us begin with a situation when there is low demand for bribes. If many people are willing to give bribes but a few are willing to take them, the amounts (prices) involved in each bribe may be so low as to discourage bribing altogether- ceteris paribus (all else being equal). The transaction might also not be economically viable for the few who might want to remain morally bankrupt and demand bribes. On the other hand, if you refuse to supply (give) bribes and yet more and more people want to take (demand) bribes- as the situation usually is; the demand curve shifts upwards, making the price paid for each bribe huge and therefore more expensive for anyone who would like to give bribes discouraged from doing so.

However, everything has its pros and cons. An increase in what I would call “bribe prices” would lead to bribe takers being encouraged to do more. A reduction would cause bribe givers to wish to use this shortcut as well. The most important thing however is that if a large number of individuals did the right thing, the moral bankruptcy can be reduced and ultimately eliminated.

CONCLUSION

Integrity is a key principle for development. It makes and breaks individuals, leaders, organisations and nations. There are many proposed frameworks for increasing integrity. However the points stressed above can serve as a beginning point in taking that important step towards improving integrity. Let us all have integrity in order to build the economy.

If you have any queries, you can contact
byrnek09@gmail.com
Economy building is development in prospect. Let us together make it a reality.

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