I remember when I was in school, whenever we wanted to analyze a business problem, one of things that we would do is use a SWOT analysis. In case you aren’t familiar with this acronym; it stands for Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats. We are basically supposed to tabulate those four aspects of a business and once we lay it out, we can see how to turn a weakness into a strength and a threat into an opportunity… well, that is according to my memory
Now, I have two major issues I deal with in my everyday life: I over think and over analyze EVERYTHING! And that is why I think I can’t be a business owner because I will get fixated on making sure it is perfect before I hand it over to the world for consumption and criticism. Unfortunately, perfection is unattainable! I also tend to go off on a tangent… So let me just get to the point.
I was sitting with some interesting people the other day and they were telling me about the challenges of their business (for privacy reasons, I will not go into detail the nature of their business), and one of the issues is that they often encounter futile excuses such as, ‘While you sell a high grade and affordable product, we cannot engage in a partnership with you because my sister outsources and repacks that product for us and that will leave her redundant if we enter a partnership with you!’ – sounds futile right? Does that even make business sense? How can a market thrive on such mentalities? …. I agreed, until I had time to over think!
Abantu culture promotes collectivism; it stands firmly on the notion of ‘I am because we are!’ while the western culture is predominately operated on individualism, whereby the focus in on more on ‘I’ not ‘We’. It is without question that we have seen some powerful duos (from the west) that have brought about significant change to their respective disciplines such as the Wright brothers, Larry Page and Sergey Brin and we cannot forget Sonny and Cher; however, there has always been an approach from an individualistic standpoint.
Now, the people I was having a discussion with have had ‘foreign’ education, much like myself and a lot of what we were taught in skill and knowledge was designed diligently by the Anglo Saxon man. It was more so designed to engage with our thought processing ability. It is often that we were told ‘there is nothing like right or wrong’- there was no standard answer as long as we stuck to the factual and fundamental principles. There was an element of scholastic liberalism that we are ‘encouraged’ to adhere to, so in short we were taught to have a mind of our own! However, one thing that humanity forgets that though we are embedded in our heritage by our physical appearance, culture is taught- nurtured though our surroundings. Therefore, though we are wrapped in the privilege of dark skin our mental processing may not be.
I don’t like the term brainwashed because it often has negative connotations and yet ‘we’ have carried over aspects of individualism into our being. Our very existence!
When I think of the principles of the Bantu culture; instead of seeing the futility of the business decisions made by those raised more on culture than formal western education or a dead end….I see a challenge that can be changed into an opportunity through the marriage of the two schools of thought. IN MY OPINION, the line of thought in this matter, is for one to think; ‘How can I empower the sister, to empower me so that we are all empowered?’
Now I don’t have the solution to this query, as there many factors to consider when finding a mutually beneficial solution but the answer lies in the way we think.
….Just a random thought!