Lies, Culture & Grass

Lies, Culture & Grass

Lies, bad culture, and people that don't smoke the grass...

"How many people in the room are doing business with someone that won't return your calls and they owe you money?"

Everyone's hands went up in the air. It was a room of 250 people.

I get it everywhere I go in Africa. Someone is always chasing someone down for blood and it affects new relationships. It's hard to blame the person that's always been burnt for being shy of the fire.

Southern Africa has a culture of lies. And a lie in this definition includes half-truths. This is where many people rinse their consciences of guilt. “Well it was partly true.”

A private banker who left Zimbabwe seven years ago came to visit his local home. I had a short meeting with him and the first conversation he put on the table was, "I don't recognize my own country. It's full of greed and lies."

Lies breed distrust, distrust means things take longer to navigate or innovate. When things take longer to innovate we get left behind.

The Grass is greener on the other side. Don’t smoke it.

Many people in Africa think they are in training. "I'm in training here for my real job, when I get to Europe or the States."

Where does this come from? Lies maybe.

The sense of being left behind so let's get ready to go into the real world where things are happening.

Bad Culture

A lot of this is theory so don't take it the wrong way. You're reading this blog because at some point you've agreed with our trial and errors and maybe this blog post is an error.

There's nothing worse then a bad culture—a bad working culture or business culture. Where suits and ties are more important then truth and quality. Where love takes a back seat and status. Where pictures in the newspaper are regarded as validity. Where we expect the best service or product in the world from local SMEs or startups, but we want to rip them off and pay cheaply.

The grass has got to be greener inside of our world.

Let's not take big breaths of international grass before we address the bad culture and lies that cripple the genius.

Let's not let it cut the legs of supporting local talent and getting the love back into business.

  • More things happen when no one cares about who gets the credit.
  • Innovation explodes when the landscape is easier to navigate.
  • Good culture triumphs over good strategy (Zim Asset is great but we need the culture first. For those not familiar, Zim Asset is a long, grammatically correct set of white papers with large intentions, structured proposals, and grandiose schemes.)
  • Truth and honesty breeds brothers and sisters. Not patrons and clients.

And reversing bad culture starts with you. What are you going to do about it?

(photo via carlo scherer)