Corporate Zimbabwe should embrace business ethics

It is a fact that a doctor’s mistake will bring the patient to the mortuary, a lawyer’s blunder can see the client to the nearest prison and a teacher’s mistake will bring about street kids and vagrants.

In the same way mistakes by businessmen, corporate executives and managers can ruin an entire country.

We are a nation emerging from the woods and doldrums. The past decade was particularly painful, strange and unique in every aspect. Conventional economics failed. Strait-jacket business principles failed to offer corporate direction.

Executives had to think outside the box through creativity and innovation. But Creativity and innovation devoid of human conscience is disastrous.

Unemployment in the country had ballooned across all previously productive sectors. People had to tighten their belts until there were no more belts to tighten for the greater majority of the citizens.

Disposable incomes were eroded or windswept.

People were being retrenched en masse as companies became comatose.

The desire to build or to engage in any form of business was no longer there.

The Zimbabwean business landscape became ridiculously insensitive. Several professionals quit the country in frustration into the diaspora to eke out a living in countries that were relatively stable economically.

Some even settled for low-paying but stable jobs in foreign capitals. People lost self-esteem and national pride. The future of the country looked gloomy, disconsolate and depressed.

The economy was assaulted by various levels of ruin. High inflation gravitated into hyper-inflation which subsequently developed into unbelievable supersonic inflation.

The political temperatures shot up and the game of politics became a curse. There were cruel and chronic surprises every day. There was no more business ethics or any discourse of sound corporate governance practices.

The instinct to live is what dictated the corporate course of the day. Banks were put under curatorship to bring a semblance of normalcy in the banking sector.

The business terrain became claustrophobic and choking in all spheres of corporate culture.

Under those circumstances we, the business people didn’t lose the desire and instinct to live or engage into business.

We scrounged to see where we would fit. We believed that if an opportunity doesn’t knock you had to make a door and then it would knock.

We knew that it is actually the darkest clouds which yield the greatest rain. We had to draw and redraw our battle plans every day.

One day you will think that you have triumphed and that you are in total control of the sailing oars. You have mobilised sufficient anchorage and the next day is outrageously different.

The weather has changed and all the odds are painstakingly flung against you. And worse still the country had been plunged into sanctions by western powers.

One Chinese thinker once said, “When you lose the battle do not lose the lessons also”. This is what fortified our courage in the “casino economy”. We can now reflect and tell stories in retrospect.

Embracing sound corporate governance practices and business ethics is not only possible but an imperative.

A business landscape where there are no ethics is a gangster’s paradise. Business ethics and corporate governance workshops would help us to sharpen our business intelligence quotient.

Surely if we have gone through the worst we can surely aspire for the best. Journeys of a thousand miles begin with the first step.

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