Isn’t the belt tight enough?
Are you feeling the crunch? Well I can speak for myself and say that I am feeling the crunch.

Stats SA announced on the 4th of September that the country’s real gross domestic product had decreased by 0.7% in the second quarter of 2018. This follows a revised fall of 2.6% in the first quarter of the year. (Excerpt from News24, September 2018).

In my work as a Key Account Manager, my job is to assist my clients in finding solutions to their organisational and people challenges – recently with less time, less money and less resources. Although our business challenges remain (in some cases have increased in threat and urgency), the argument for investment in these areas have to be rock solid as well as prove direct business value!

Primarily I speak with Human Resources (HR), Learning and Development (L&D), Organisation Development (OD) and Organisation Effectiveness (OE) Practitioners when designing these solutions for the organisation.

Quite a few times my strategic and growth project proposals have been put on the back burner and business has said “let’s just pull through this patch first and then we will get to the strategic stuff when things have calmed down”.

I believe that in today’s world we are facing ever increasing levels of complexity, disruption and the squeeze of slowed economic growth while the world and the organisations in it try and figure out how to create some level of stability.

That being said, the more mature (levels or maturity) organisations realise that when the times are tough, we need to invest in the things that will help us be more resilient, execute strategy, align leaders as well as seek optimisation/efficiencies where realistically possible, without putting too much strain on the system.

If we run too lean, we run the risk of either burning our people out or in the case of unplanned [insert your own current organisational crisis here] the system is less likely to be able to take the shock.

We as HR, L&D, OD and OE practitioners need to hone our skills by effectively articulating the business case and value of our projects to our organisational leaders.

We should be mindful of where the business is creating and losing value, and with precision, identify areas where the requisite investment will give the greatest short-term gains and bring some breathing room into the system.

This systemic view will enable short-term wins while keeping an eye on the strategic priorities of the organisation.

If we invest wisely in our people now, even though things are tight, it will be money well spent.

I speak from my own bias here (and some of what I have learned along the way); when an organisation invests in/works on leadership and culture with absolute purpose and resolve, that the human beings in that system find a way to weather the storm. They find a way to thrive in the face of adversity and they remain a more resilient, coherent unit that works and wins together.

I suspect we are in for a tough patch South Africa.

My call to all of the organisations out there, is to think carefully and purposefully about where you are able to invest in people and culture projects so that you not only survive this, but come out more resilient, wiser on the other side, whilst accelerating towards sustainable growth.

Article by Roy Fletcher