Individuals and Private sector must collaborate to solve SA’s problems

Successful business leaders know they need a solutions-driven mindset to overcome business challenges and to strategically solve problems, but individuals in South African along with the Private Sector are not optimally using their skills collectively to help solve the country’s problems, says Nicol Mullins, Chartered Reward Specialist and Executive Committee member of the South African Reward Association (SARA). 

“It’s easy to complain about fraud and corruption – and thereby contribute to the wave of negative messaging that makes people so despondent – but it takes critical thinking, creative problem-solving and innovation to overcome many of the challenges we face. South Africa already has these skills centred in its people. SARA is calling on the private sector to start pooling its intellectual resources and collaborate to solve issues of national importance,” says Mullins.

Don’t look for safety. Create it.

Mullins quotes author and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek, who famously said that instead of looking for the perfect place to work, you should create the perfect place to work. When it comes to politics and government, says Mullins, contributions made to the solutions in South Africa have – for the most part – been lacking, with many individuals sitting on the fence and taking an outside-in view on the country’s problems. He says this approach isn’t going to contribute to a better South Africa, and that instead of looking for safety, we need to start creating a space of safety in South Africa. We can all do so, and through our action create pockets of excellence.

“The electricity crisis, for example, isn’t an Eskom problem – it’s a South African problem. The sooner we face that it’s going to take more than a single organisation or the government to get the country back on track, the sooner the road to recovery can begin,” says Mullins.

Stretching resources will lead to innovation

Many companies currently have limited financial resources with which to compensate their staff. As a Total Reward Professional, Mullins says he knows how far and wide these resources need to be stretched to engage staff, but this is the sweet spot where innovation happens. The effect that COVID-19 will have on the global economy will be long-lasting, South Africa is not insulated from this impact. This unprecedented time in South Africa will bring with it uncertainty but allow people to think out of the box. Our future will be shaped by our ability to stand together in unity and our ability to solve problems with fewer resources, in a smarter manner.

“When you have limited resources, you are driven to innovate and think within the boundaries forced upon you. With unlimited resources, however, you tend to squander and drift from your strategy. South Africa’s current situation is an opportunity for all of us to be a part of the solution. Collectively, we can solve our country’s problems and make things work again,” says Mullins.

Mullins concludes by saying that enabling and mobilising the country’s skilled resources will unlock the collaboration that is needed to start acting locally instead of waiting for the situation to change.

“Many people are talking about immigrating, but my question to them is: where in the world are things going great at the moment? South Africa has its challenges, but also so many things going for it. The change needs to start with us on an individual level. We need to shift our energy from criticism to collaboration. Instead of looking towards other people or government to solve South Africa’s problems, we need to start thinking about what we can do. How can each one of us contribute meaningfully to an already incredible place? Let us work together to #LiftAsWeRise as a collective.


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