As we complete the fourth month of Lockdown in South Africa—arguably the toughest and longest Lockdown in the world—our economy is showing signs of real strain. However, this is not what I want to focus on as I am sure that you like me, are completely “COVID 19” saturated.
A couple of themes come to mind for our team of business coaches as well as for you, our clients and business owners.
Firstly, as a nation we are very used to adversity and research has proven that South Africans demonstrate one of the highest levels of resilience and tenacity in the world. The Lockdown that we have experienced is having a profound impact on how we operate – that is assuming that we are able to operate at this stage. We are being coerced into changing the way we think about business, about moving from survival mode to thriving mode and in many instances re-inventing business models, costs structures and marketing initiatives to name but a few.
Secondly, one of our biggest challenges has been to focus our mindsets on those matters that we can control and to eliminate time wastage on matters that we have no control over. Distinguishing between the truth and fake news has almost become a full-time occupation. Keeping our teams, our families and friends focused on the “right” things is a critical component to surviving in these times. As the saying goes “ Where you will be in 5 years’ time will be dependent on the books you read and the people you associate with”. This has never been more relevant than now – surrounding yourself with people that will feed into your business and family situation is non-negotiable.
Thirdly, the need to ensure that you focus on “mind, body and soul” provides you with a balance that is so necessary to avoid that inevitable “boxed-in” feeling that is associated with the Lockdown.
Fourthly, for myself, I choose to read widely; to keep myself informed on matters that will assist me in my role as a business owner and leader. I go out of my way to get to the facts of what is really going on in the economy and to a certain degree the political landscape. One of the publications that I subscribe to is a newsletter that is published by Prof JP Landman—a political and trend analyst—who has the gift of providing insight into what is actually happening in our dear country. He has the ability to see and comment on both sides of the coin.
In his latest publication, sent out on 23 July, he focuses on the key topic of productivity and how all parties across the political and economic spectrum agree that focusing on productivity is absolutely central to the correct economic policy for SA and that productivity truly matters. The widely used measure for productivity is GDP per hour worked. The graph below depicts South Africa’s labour productivity trends from 1970-2019, a period of 49 years.
Here is the link to the full article to access the full commentary supporting the statistics and what it means for us at this time.
What is important for us as business owners is that despite the general doom and gloom, there are some real signs of opportunity and progress towards reversing our recent decline in productivity and with that per capita income trends that will have a positive impact on the economy in the medium term. I encourage you to read the article in full.
In closing, I would like to encourage you all to focus on that which you have been called to have influence over. To keep your head focused on the right “stuff” and as you do this, the people you interact with, can feed off your energy and passion. As Simon Sinek says in the attached video we need to find something that we believe in (whether the vision is ours or someone else’s that I want to adopt, is immaterial). The output of that is passion. Passion fuels conviction. Our teams and families are looking for someone to follow – a cause that they can believe in and support. Do not underestimate the role that you and I as business owners have been called to do. Watch the full video below here.
I pray the Lord’s protection over your business, your family and your health. May you find that which ignites the passion in you and may you all be blessed. Thank you for your support, it has been a privilege serving you.
Pieter Scholtz, Country Partner Southern Africa