Multifaceted social and economic challenges are apparent and around us. Strategies and practices that were effective, and worked in the past, appears to be ineffective and redundant today, leading to national, organisational and individual disappointments.
Therefore, today’s desperate times require desperate measures, not the ones we might be accustomed to in the past. This is where the issue comes to the fore of radically changing people’s mindsets and rethinking training models to respond to today’s complex social and economic challenges. Affirmative redistribution and repossession might be good interventions but reshaping people mindsets, inclinations and tendencies to respond to current challenges could be true decolonisation of the mind and eternal emancipation.
It is high time to design context-specific solutions and targeted training interventions to respond to the unique Namibia-specific realities and challenges. Context-specific solutions, for instance, might incorporate solutions that targets specific realities in a specific context, e.g., the Namibian context. But the question is this: What in the current Namibian context requires context-specific interventions and targeted training so as to advance societal and economic advancement? There could be many things. However, the next high-lighted might be pertinent:
The “everydayness of politics”
The “everydayness of politics” refers to the dominant effects of politics on all spheres of everyday Namibian life. Such to the extent that politics have domineering influences on all social and economic domains – sports, family relationships, business management, academe, the list is endless. Therefore, it might be necessary to entrench cultures that promote clear separation of politics from other spheres of life. Especially in private and public sector business management, this is necessary in protecting the balance between accountability and autonomy required for an effective principal-agent principle regarded as a golden standard for “good corporate governance”. Truth be told, the “everydayness of politics” is all around us. Therefore, all layers of society, including Government, the private sector, academic institutions, communities and civil societies, should be thinking about developing models and strategies to moderate political nuances from having domineering influences on business and communal life.
Perceived, or real, fear in expressing opinions
Bottled up in Namibian’s hearts and minds might be valuable ideas that could unlock social and economic advancement. However, these ideas remain unspoken and hidden on account of perceived, or real, risks in expressing them. To illustrate, it is not unusual to sit in management or board meetings where, clearly, people with valuable expertise and insights are silent on specific matters (on which they have know-how). This, in the main, could be due to the perceived, or real, fear for the consequences of expressing themselves. However, the failure to express views could negatively affect national and organisational progress. Good business management practices and the overall betterment of the country could be compromised because of the silence of people with expertise. In this regard, questions arise: What is the fear all about? How could the fears in expressing opinions be removed from the face of Namibia?
Within the above context, all layers of society should be thinking about developing models and strategies to encourage constructive debates that might result in overall societal, human and economic progress to benefit the current and future generations. The complex challenges of the 21st century requires inclusitivistic approaches, not passive and exclusitivistic approaches.
Everybody should be involved in contributing to finding national and organisational solutions to complex current challenges. In this context, fear to express constructive opinions is retrogressive; detrimental to national and organisational progress. Nations and organisations that encourage people to express authentic views and opinions by engaging in robust and constructive debates are likely to achieve competitive advantage than those that do not.
Ability to engage the human fundamentals effectively
Unlike in the developed economies, such as the USA, Japan and Continental Europe, that are classified as high on the human development index, Namibia is classified as medium on the human development index (WEF, 2015a:46-50). This is where the ability to engage the human fundamentals effectively comes to the fore so as to harness all available human resources in the country. We have to establish who is good at what, and where, so as to deploy all available human resources effectively.
The ability to engage the human fundamentals effectively also entail the ability in championing the virtue of working well with others. Within this regard, good people management practices and humanistic values of deeply engaging the human fundamentals could be important bases for business training and leadership training in Namibia. The emphasis on “science” subjects is noble. However, training efforts that emphasises soft aspects, such as people skills, cultural intelligence, and being “human” to others in the organisation, could equally be noble to nation building, positive identity construction and societal and economic development. Factional fights and destructive groupings might be costing African nations and organisations substantial human and capital resources.
There could be many other aspects that require targeted interventions as responses to the seemingly unique Namibia-specific realities and challenges. However, the above high-lighted could be some areas which might requires pertinent focus. Africa’s gift to the world, in general, and Namibia, in particular, could be humanistic values and management by human relations philosophies.
Therefore, unnecessary politicking in inappropriate spheres, the concerted national and organisational effort of encouraging robust debates without fear, the promotion of being “human to others” in daily interactions, and the ability to work well with others, could be bases for designing interventions, models and strategies that contribute to the envisaged future developed Namibia.
The author holds a PhD in Business Management and Administration from Stellenbosch University with organisational strategy, culture, African-, ethical- and moral leadership as areas of specialisation.
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