Only strategic leaders will survive 2020

Posted by: KSG-admin Post Date: September 14, 2020

Only strategic leaders will survive 2020

By Gabriel Odhyambo

Institutions do not grow beyond the capacity of their human resource. Capacity development of the human resource base, therefore, is fundamental for organizational sustainability as HR plays a key role in developing, reinforcing and changing the culture. A human resource with requisite knowledge, education and technology is considered a great capital for the organization.

These are the views of Nyandarua County Governor, Mr. Francis Kimemia, who opines that HR is superior to other resources and calls upon public service officers to embrace strategic management that plans for the future.

Mr. Kimemia, a discussant during the Kenya School of Government seminar on Leading in a Time of Crisis, came out categorical that the future belongs to knowledge driven organizations, singling out those that leverage on Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

“We may never want to imagine bad things, but as leaders, we must become realistic and get strategic with our plans, operations and expenditures so that we are not found off guard. We must, therefore, ensure that our staff are well trained and skilled,” said Mr. Kimemia.

The Governor pointed out that county governments have put in place several measures to deal with the Coronavirus disease and its effects. Nyandarua County, for instance, involved the people in the production of masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).

From this, they earned a living while assisting in the fight against the spread of Covid-19.

The County Government, he added, has also put in place measures to feed the vulnerable especially those internally displaced and those that had lost their sources of livelihood and are adversely affected by this pandemic.

“Effort has also been put in place to avail drugs to those with chronic ailments so that they are not affected by the closure of boundaries as they are at high risk,” explained Mr. Kimemia.

He went on to report that counties had complied with the Ministry of Health COVID-19 preparedness and the protocols that require at least three hundred beds for isolation of Coronavirus patients.

He added, “We need to reorganize the health management plan for a systematic utilization of health facilities to leverage on the limited health providers that we have.”

Governor Kimemia challenged the Kenya School of Government (KSG) to work with the Council of Governors (CoG) in ensuring that deliberations and interventions of the three day training, which he noted were very rich and insightful, are customized to fit the unique characteristics of the various counties with recommendations implemented.

Challenging the participants to prioritize food security, he noted that Kenya’s greatest threat is not terrorism, but food insecurity. The government needs to supplement the food basket areas to produce more so as to avoid having a country of hungry people post locust invasion and the Coronavirus pandemic.

In his presentation, Prof. Francis Kibera, former Chairman of the KSG Council, underscored the need for organizations and businesses to develop strategies to operate in the new normal and understand the current needs of their clients.

“As leaders, be up-to-date by conducting research and carrying out market surveys to know the needs of your customers and to learn from others to remain in business. Always keep in mind the key commandments of a business or the marketing function that comprises knowing your customers, your products, your competitors and understanding the changes in the environment,” said Prof. Kibera.

In reference to the words of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, who challenged Americans not to always ask what America can do for them but rather what they can do for America, Prof. Kibera asked the participants to reflect on what they can do to overcome the Coronavirus pandemic and not leave everything to the government.

He went on to explain that there are three types of people in various businesses and organizations; the few who make things happen, the many more who watch things happen and the overwhelming majority who have no idea of what happens.

Prof. Kibera, who is also the former Principal of the University of Nairobi’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, called upon the participants to rise to the first group that make things happen and to provide leadership.

He further urged the leaders to prepare their organizations and to develop business continuity plans to ensure they remain as resilient as possible during crises.

Similar sentiments were echoed by the Managing Director of the Kenya Industrial Estates (KIE), Dr. Parmain ole Narikae, who called upon the
government to give financial support to local industries, support innovations in response to the fight against the Coronavirus disease and to provide an enabling environment for the Small and Medium-size Enterprises (SMEs) to thrive.

KIE was established to facilitate the development and incubation of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) countrywide by establishing industrial parks, providing credit and Business Development Services (BDS) in a sustainable manner.

Terming SMEs as formal businesses that employ up to nearly hundred people, Dr. Narikae says SMEs, world over, are the engine of economic growth.

“SMEs are the backbone of the economy. It is the SMEs that easily create wealth and employment since they do not require a lot of technology and capital to start,” said the Director.

Indeed, according to Kenya Bureau of Statistics 2020 survey, 98 per cent of all businesses in Kenya are SMEs and they contribute 35 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. The SMEs, jointly employ 14.5 million
people.

Noting that these SMEs are the most vulnerable, Dr. Narikae cited a study by Deloitte which shows that whether it is working capital, limited access to markets, poor infrastructure and unfavourable regulatory environment, or even less preparedness in terms of risk management such as disruption by technology and climate change, SMEs are the most vulnerable as they are not formalized.

“When an economy starts doing well, the sub sector that picks up fastest is the SMEs. The converse is also true. When times are bad and the economy is deteriorating, it is the sector which suffers the most. The impact of this pandemic has, therefore, been greatly felt by the most vulnerable Kenyans,” he explained.

He called upon the government to develop more programs to support businesses, and to formalize many informal sector players to the SMEs category. He encouraged other players in the private sector to rebuild the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

According to Dr. Narikae, apart from offering affordable finance for the purchase of machinery, equipment and working capital, either for start-ups, expansion, modernization or rehabilitation, KIE is currently providing capacity development, technical advice, and business advisory services to SMEs to keep them afloat during these challenging economic times.

In his remarks the host of the seminar and Director of the Security Management Institute, Mr. Humphrey Mokaya, noted that leaders who will emerge victorious after 2020 are those who are courageous enough to embrace new dynamics of workforce management, those who optimize the transformed work environment, those that drive innovation, those that foster sustainable partnerships, and those that develop resilient, preemptive disaster, and crisis frameworks.