I N S I D E B U S I N E S S A F R I C A Organisation & People July 30 - August 13, 2017 Three Secrets of Organizational Effectiveness How the practices of "pride builders" can help you develop a high-performance culture. by Jesse Newton and Josh Davis Illustration by Lars Leetaru W hen the leaders of a major retail pharmacy chain set out to enhance customer satisfaction, market research told them that the number one determinant would be friendly and courteous service. This meant changing the orga nizational culture in hundreds of locations-creating an open, welcoming atmosphere where regular customers and employees knew one another's names, and any question was quickly and cheerfully answered. If you're trying to instill this kind of organizational change in your company, then you face not just a logistical shift, but a cultural challenge as well. Employees will have to think differently, see people differently, and act in new ways: going the extra mile for shoppers, helping them articulate what they're looking for, and working harder to keep items from getting out of stock. Employees also need to continually reinforce the right habits in one another so that the customer experience is on their minds everywhere, not just at the pharmacy or checkout counter, but in the aisles and back room as well. Conventional efforts to make this happen by "changing the organizational culture" in a programmatic fashion won't get the job done. One method that can help is known as pride building. This is a cultural intervention in which leaders seek out a few employees who are already known to be master motivators, adept at inspiring strategic awareness among their colleagues. These master motivators are invited to recommend specific measures that enable better ways of working. It's noteworthy that pride builders in a wide variety of companies and industries tend 42 u t q to recommend three specific measures time and time again: (1) giving more autonomy to frontline workers, (2) clearly explaining to staff members the significance and value (the "why") of everyday work, and (3) providing better recognition and rewards for employee contributions. These are, of course, widely appreciated management methods for raising performance. But they're rarely put into practice. Perhaps it's because they feel counterintuitive to many managers. Even the leaders who use them, and whose enterprises benefit from the results, don't know why they work. So the value of these powerful practices is often overlooked. That's where neuroscience comes in. Breakthroughs in human brain research (using conventional experimental psychology research in addition to relatively new technologies like CT scans and magnetic resonance imaging) are revealing new insights about cognitive processes. With a little knowledge of how these three underused practices affect the brain, you can use them to generate a more energizing culture. Autonomy at the Front Line At the pharmacy chain, the pride builders were employees with a knack for exceptional service. When asked how to spread that knack to others, they suggested giving clerks more leeway to do things on their own. For instance, the clerks could resolve customer complaints by issuing refunds on the spot, and they could try out their own product promotion ideas. In the past, store managers had been quick to step in and correct mistakes in an abrupt and sharp- tongued manner. Now they would be more positive, collaborative, and interactive with customers and colleagues. The company set up a pilot program to train some store managers and track results. Almost immediately, there were encouraging comments from the front line: "[My store manager is] now open to suggestions, big or small. I know that my opinion counts with her." Customer ratings and the amount spent per visit also rose, perhaps because giving employees the freedom to stretch and to shape their work directly improved the customer experience. I N S I D E B U S I N E S S A F R I C A Business Notes July 30 - August 13, 2017 comes as the president’s approval ratings are beginning to wobble. Partnership for growth A tale of two presidents When President Magufuli won the 2015 elections he quickly went to work to rid Tanzania of state corruption. He cancelled air travel expenses for government officials, conducted impromptu inspections of hospitals and removed thousands of ghost workers from the government payroll. The moves garnered praise from Tanzanians and the international community alike. However, the introduction last year of repressive legislation, including laws that banned political rallies and penalised criticism of the government, have soured the view for many international observers, although he remains popular with some parts of Tanzanian society, according to Gordon. “Magufuli’s reign so far is viewed differently at home compared to the outside world,” says Gordon. “Whereas some donors and investors view him as going from darling to despot, many Tanzanians approve of the measures he has implemented, but others have begun to turn away from him.” A poll taken by advocacy group Twaweza in June 2017 found 71% of Tanzanians approve of the job Magufuli is doing. While this is very high, it is a drop of 25% compared to last year. The drop was mainly the result of yo u n g a n d u r b a n Ta n z a n i a n s disapproving of some of the president’s actions. But in what could be signs of a rupture forming in the country, the elderly and those living in the rural areas still approved of Magufuli by over 75%. But while the president continues his war on “corruption and waste” he will remain a formidable force in the country. But if jobs from the mining sector begin to be cut because investors withdraw from the country, then it could undo much of the anti- corruption work that has already been done, says Gordon. Taku Dzimwasha - Africa Busines Asia-Africa Report: It’s not only about China M uch has been made of China’s rapid ascent in Africa, and for good reason. From a virtual standing start in 2000 China has for years been the continent’s biggest trading partner, with annual bilateral trade hitting $300bn in 2015. Large-scale infrastructure and resource extraction projects have become synonymous with China’s presence on the continent, helping to fuel a growth boom across Africa in recent years. It is a relationship that is also evolving to encompass everything from entrepreneurship to development finance and aid. China has also just opened its first ever overseas military base on the continent, in Djibouti, and through its landmark One Belt, One Roa d initiative, looks set to reshape the global trading landscape. Yet while China undoubtedly dominates Africa’s relationship with Asia, while China undoubtedly dominates Africa’s relationship with Asia, it is far from the only game in town. For decades other major regional economies, most notably Japan and India, have had strong and growing commercial and diplomatic ties with African nations. 7 u t q it is far from the only game in town. For decades other major regional economies, most notably Japan and India, have had strong and growing commercial and diplomatic ties with African nations. In recent years, both have significantly ramped up their respective engagement strategies. India is already Africa’s second biggest trading partner, with a goods trade of $59bn in 2015 and overall trade expected to exceed $100bn by 2020. Japan, which has historically taken an aid-led approach to Africa, has pledged $30bn of investment over the next three years, with two thirds expected to come from the private sector. The two have also recently joined forces to launch the Asia-Africa growth corridor, a direct competitor to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative to drive investment and development between the two regions. The growth corridor could bring smaller nations such as Myanmar and Singapore into an integrated trading system with the continent. The move reflects the strategic and ambitious nature of Asia’s approach to Africa, which arguably contrasts with a more risk-conscious perception in the West, which seems preoccupied with security concerns and controlling immigration.