What will it take for Africa, a land of numerous opportunities, most of them yet to be exploited, to come out of perpetual economic woes, even as most of her neighbors have made reasonable strides in recent years?
Of course, from time to time, all countries may go through some economic problems, but not perpetually. Sometimes it is easy to find comfort in the fact that you are not the only one going through hard times; but going into some difficulties from a reasonably good position is not as bad as from bad to worse.
Sometime back I was listening to a radio business programme, and I learned something very interesting about monkeys. It is said that when monkeys do something right, they remember it and are able to repeat it; but when they get something wrong, they don’t remember. Which had me conclude that they don’t learn from their mistakes. This means that they are likely to keep making the same mistake over and over again, and of course, they are also likely to keep repeating that action that brought them success over and over again.
I laughed myself out on two accounts: When one looks at the problems we are facing, very few of them are new. this means that we have either accepted that there are some issues we cannot overcome or we are not able to remember what mistakes we may have made to get ourselves into problems in the first place.
On the other hand, I tried very hard to think of what we have done very well in the last fifty years or so, which we can do again to replicate that success. For a moment, in this respect alone, I wish we had the abilities of monkeys, to be able to remember and repeat the right things we may have done in our lifetime.
But in life, it is very rare that opportunities for success easily present themselves that much repeatedly. The trick is to be innovative by building knowledge and learning from your mistakes and avoiding them altogether.
I am very sure that there are times when something positive or good may have happened to an organization, but because of poor management information systems, information may not be able to figure out exactly what may have triggered or changed to bring about that success.
When such is the case, that organization may be in a worse position than monkeys, as monkeys, at least according to this particular radio programme, are able to remember the positive things they may have done to trigger success, and so, be able to repeat them.
There are also times when things really get bad and organizations cannot figure out what hit them. In such a case, just like monkeys, this organization becomes vulnerable from its failure to detect the cause of negative results. Many organizations claim that they are learning organizations, meaning that they are able to acquire knowledge and use it to respond to respond accordingly to survive and thrive in a changing and competitive business and economic environment.
Otherwise if not, then the phrase “quo vadis” which literally translates to “ where are you going?” would apply to that organization for it would be like an organization that has left its direction in the hands of fate.