The Sunday News
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
BULAWAYO businessman and educationist Mr Clemence Kunzekweguta says there is a need for business executives to thrive on mastering the art of dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty to enable them to keep the prospects of their businesses afloat during economic challenges.
In his keynote address as the guest of honour at the Zimbabwe Institute of Management (ZIM) 2018 National Leadership Excellence Awards in Bulawayo last Thursday, Mr Kunzekweguta said one of the greatest challenges, which was being faced by modern day business leaders in their quest to turnaround their enterprises was inability to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty in the economy.
“In my view the highest attribute of leadership excellence is adding value when the situation is vague, ambiguous and uncertain. Leadership excellence is about embracing uncertainty, taking calculated risks that may even disrupt existing business models and leapfrogging beyond tried, true and tested leadership and management styles,” he said.
Mr Kunzekweguta said there was a need for business executives to be able to turn a catastrophic situation into a springboard to reach new heights.
“As business leaders let’s face it, business won’t be getting any easier or slower or less complicated and the business environment won’t get less uncertain and unambiguous, unless human nature and civilisation undergoes a radical reversal in which case it becomes totally cataclysmic.
“We need to develop thinking tools that will totally change our mindset, to think on several levels at once and to be able to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty in a manner that turns any situation into an opportunity that can be developed into the betterment of our people’s lives and the bottom line,” he said.
Mr Kunzekweguta said through navigating a maelstrom of risks and uncertainty, a number of companies are learning to value adaptability and flexibility.
“The way you think is a crucial part of leadership excellence. While the future will always be uncertain, there are certainties which are universally true and will never change. These truths therefore should be our compass all the time, even in turbulent times.
“Sound values, general principles and acknowledged virtues can provide a more sustainable, stronger basis for our reasoning and behaviour. Among these are fairness, honesty, trustworthiness, humility, love, justice and faith to mention a few,” he said.
Mr Kunzekweguta said perceiving risk and opportunity as two sides of the same coin was the culture shift that characterises leadership or business agility.
“Let us stop crying about things we cannot do and give explanation about how we are able to fail. Let us begin to introspect and do what we can and what is in our ability to change. In a turbulent business environment like Zimbabwe, mastering uncertainty will be in great demand and I hope that the pragmatic tools I have shared with you are not just academic insights but working models that will help you in your business endeavours,” he said.
ZIM awards were established in 1978 by the organisation to recognise, develop and promote management leadership excellence at all managerial levels. The awards are held annually and it was the first time for the ceremony to be held in Bulawayo since its inception.