In South Africa, we use the term “ubuntu”. It doesn’t just apply to business but every aspect of life. It is a social contract based on the philosophy that if my community thrives, I thrive. Other African countries use different words to describe ubuntu, but the spirit is the same: I am because we are.
Since it describes the uniquely African approach of embracing mutual prosperity, it inevitably also encompasses our way of doing business. We’re in business for each other, and long-term relationships are favoured over making a “quick buck”.
So it’s no wonder that building rapport and strengthening bonds socially is a highlight of doing business in Africa. One must be prepared - and enjoy the occasion - to spend a good amount of time discussing personal matters, like one’s family life, health, opinions, values or beliefs, before getting down to the deal.
“There’s never been a better time to invest in executive talent,” says Annelize van Rensburg, Director at Signium Africa, the local member of global executive search giant, Signium.
That may seem counterintuitive given current circumstances but there’s sound logic behind it. Below are several reasons why spending on upper management makes perfect sense.
Great executive talent is coming
Almost in unison, economists warn that many jobs will be lost, and executives are not immune to this unfortunate fate. It’s also safe to assume that those who remain employed will be more open than usual to accepting a position with a stable employer.
“In short, some of the best executive talent around may soon be very accessible,” says van Rensburg
At the same time, it’s reported that certain industries are, in fact, enjoying growth in the midst of the pandemic, like tech, pharmaceutical or ecommerce. As such, their executive hiring plans remain largely unchanged, with some even increasing their recruitment spend.