Taurai Changwa Business Forum
IN societies and economies that are not solidly founded on meritocracy, but rely mainly on privilege, it is not uncommon for the highly talented to be constantly frustrated out of jobs and positions that they should ordinarily feel ‘entitled’ to. Over time, coalitions of the weak are formed to fight the able.
It is a disease that is contributing to the mutual destruction and degeneration of societies.
Often, when fledgling entrepreneurs are about to make a break, they are haunted by tax authorities and other government agencies, which is both very discouraging and demotivating.
This is counterproductive.
Instead of finding fault in aspiring businessmen, embracing and supporting them is much more rewarding and productive.
There is now a trend where budding entrepreneurs are increasingly establishing their businesses in foreign jurisdictions since they provide them with the assurance they need to operate at ease.
Recently, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates announced a new visa system that aims to attract entrepreneurs, pioneers and talented minds in the medical, scientific, research, IT and intellectual sectors.
“Future prosperity”, he said, “lies in the creative minds of our people. Investing in people is an investment in our economy and success. The UAE is a country of vast opportunity, we aim to provide a tolerant environment that can nurture potential and support outstanding talent”.
The UAE has been able to leverage on both vision and talent to develop itself from a desert into a world-class country.
The same can happen to Zimbabwe.
However, for this to happen there is need to deliberately disregard the negatives and accentuate the positives.
Negative attitudes and dispositions can only hold us back.
Creative individuals should be given maximum support, and they need it.
But in Zimbabwe, the more an individual becomes successful, the more they go under the radar for fear of being victimised by those who like to corruptly share in the success of fledgling firms.
It is undoubted and indisputable that Zimbabwe is full of talented people.
If given a platform, they can really shine and make a difference.
Clearly, the future of Zimbabwe lies in the creative minds of its people.
From an institutional perspective, there is need to unlearn the current culture where executives who are fearful of being dislodged by energetic and dynamic new staff members resort to stifling their perceived competitors.
In these circumstances, even when talent is identified, it is not developed but is frustrated instead.
This is one of the reasons why key skills are lost to countries that are ready to embrace them.
Australia, for example, employs a number of good engineers from Zimbabwe.
Also, Cayman Islands, England, UAE and South Africa are flooded with Zimbabwean accountants, doctors and many other professionals.
The disturbing trend is that Zimbabwean entrepreneurs are now following suit as well.
It is however not easy to take such a decision because home is best.
Policy makers therefore have their work cut out.
Creating an accommodative environment is key to nurturing potential and talent.
Looking out and propping each other should be an ideal starting point.
Good leadership is also a pre-requisite.
Leaders are responsible for developing talent in their organisations.
And with good leadership, corporate culture isn’t forced but it is developed.
It is quite easy for good leadership to be felt throughout the organisation.
Promotions within organisations should be based on merit and only those with the requisite skills and experience should be considered.
Good leadership naturally engenders high morale, good employee retention and sustainable long-term success.
Dwight Eisenhower once said: “Learn as much as you can from those who know more than you do, who do better than you, who see more clearly than you.”
This is a value and virtue that must be inculcated in many professionals in Zimbabwe. The I-can-do-better-than-you attitude should only be embraced if it is noble and conducted in a competitive spirit.
However, used wrongly and divisively, it can be very damaging.
Regardless of personal differences, professionalism should be maintained all the time.
Good leaders coach and continuously develop their people.
At the very minimum, everyone knows what areas they need to improve, and for those with particularly high potential, career tracks are developed that give them a sense of where they can go inside the organisation.
Overall, talent needs to be nurtured and not destroyed.
Human capital is very important in any business and economy. It is important to acknowledge that it is the people who drive the economy and run businesses. If treated unfairly and harshly, they can also respond likewise.
It is time to embrace talent and give space and room to those who can create wealth and employment for the country.
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