Corporate governance has been talked about for so long giving birth to many blueprints that have been questioned on their applicability and factual substantiation.
The bottom line is that there is no business that will succeed without proper/good governance. That is the same reason why we must find a lasting fit between our entrepreneurial drive and good corporate governance.
No wonder why some big organisations in Zimbabwe from health to power distribution have been publicly questioned on their governance (as they reflect poor corporate governance/management in every perspective) to the extent of asking if the board composition is out of good faith or greediness.
A story for another day. It is unfortunate that the most innocent stakeholders are the ones who suffer more from mismanagement especially the employees and customers.
They do not get salaries and quality services respectively. In this discussion we try by all means to be proactive and nip in the bud before these sprout to be the reasons for infant mortality of our SMEs.
It is my hope that we are now in the same mode and prepared to reform for lasting good corporate governance. Thanks to discussions made so far in this school of thought.
We are here to stay as we build and add on to what we have started. In the previous edition we introduced this subject matter in search of clarity as to know where we might be doing it wrong as aspiring corporates.
Through this inaugural assessment “transparency” came to be a founding element that can influence our existence, brand visibility and living the promise(s). As witnessed in all levels of our living, people want to do business in honesty.
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No wonder why some have resorted to machines based on artificial intelligence so as to eliminate the likelihood of transparency disappointments.
In this progression it is then critical for our entrepreneurs to escalate into other governance matters of accountability; fairness and responsibility.
Surely these have been well defined in various blueprints such as our local ZimCode and other international guides including the Cadbury Report, King Reports and many others.
Like informed previously all these have a commonality which makes it safer for our entrepreneurs to adopt and systemise.
Accountability is a key element that has defined the way good corporate governance should be done across all sectors and types of businesses.
Someone should be answerable through compliance with regards to this matter. The environments (both ecological and Vuca), stakeholders and societies we work with need some answers from us at various points of engagement. All we have is in the form of a Corporate Trust where we are left to be accountable.
The investors/shareholders have trusted us with their finances and it should be proven when we provide reports on performance (whether for profits or losses). Our SMEs are always caught wanting as most even fail to account for their own personal expenses; worse not paying suppliers on time.
At the same time due to capital scarcity we rely on venture capitalists for our take-off and growth. When we are not accountable it’s like eating the hand that feeds you. Something must be too wrong. There should be clear nodes for clarity with regard to Returns on Investment (ROI) as when needed by relevant stakeholders.
It has, however, been shared in various fora (but with little acknowledgement by our SMEs) that accountability is mainly anchored on four (4) pillars which are people, purpose, performance and progression. How best can we make these measurements for accountability be answered in our enterprising? We try to deepen our gauge in this discussion.
As aforementioned people do business with people such that we should become more accountable to matters of ubuntu in our enterprising. This has been challenged in the operations of many of our SMEs as the owners themselves fail to recognise the effort of their employees and any other stakeholders in the spirit of ubuntu.
The most encouraging is that various corporate governance blueprints in their development and existence have considered ubuntu as a common pillar for good governance. Especially those born out of our local African heritage/ecology (mainly the King Reports).
There is now need to embrace the same in our operations by coming up with values and policies to support a smooth run of SMEs that are people-supportive driven by ubuntu philosophy doctrine.
In all we do we should find a purpose for existence as has been alluded to in our various settings, taking us to another element of accountability in corporate governance.
Of course this is defined in our formation documents (from the business plan to company registration). However, there is need to make it public in one way or another.
Most SMEs have skipped this as part of their growth. The vision, mission and values of the business can help in this achievement through saying them loud in all possible platforms (both locally and externally through various network systems).
It is in the vision where our governance informs any interested party our purpose in the very longe-run of the business. Investors want to know how their monies will multiply in the future of your business.
That is why we are always doing financial business modelling in order to see if our purpose is aligning with both the vision and expected ROI. Same with the mission statement of the enterprise it should be talking to our day to day purpose of existence.
Where we, as promising entrepreneurs, share through doing and displays how our daily activities talk to the purpose. All these matters clearly inform that corporate governance is broader.
Which then goes on to the values that define our overall engagement from time to time at all levels like the spirit of ubuntu. Till then I leave you to reflect as we escalate.
- Dr Farai Chigora is a businessman and academic. He is the head of business science at the Africa University’s College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance. His doctoral research focused on business administration (destination marketing and branding major, Ukzn, SA). He is into agribusiness and consults for many companies in Zimbabwe and Africa. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted for feedback and business at [email protected], WhatsApp mobile: +263772886871, Website www.fachip.co.zw