“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” – 1 Corinthians 12:7
Sustainable economic growth is necessary for our socio-economic survival and is dependent on enterprise development and business success. In spite of this, we keep on paying little more than lip service to the low average global rate of survival of start-up businesses in the first five years, which continually hovers at 10 percent.
One of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals was to reduce the under-five child mortality rate to at least 2.5 percent by 2015. The actual result was around 96 percent survival by the end of the target year. The relative success of this goal allows us to develop our human resource, our most important resource, to the fullest.
In pursuit of the goal in 1990, the World Health Organization intervened with four main strategies: (1) appropriate home care and timely treatment of complications for newborns; (2) integrated management of childhood illness for all children under five years old; (3) expanded programme on immunization; and (4) infant and young child feeding.
Why have we not aggressively introduced similar effective strategies in the enterprise development sector? Having spent many years researching and testing the problem, my conclusion is that we need to implement the following Shepherding strategies: (1) an appropriate innovative incubator system for all start-ups with potential for growth; (2) an integrated management of business systems culture for all businesses under five years old and beyond; (3) an expanded programme of preventive business health fuelled by business experience and contacts to engender “mind-set” change; and (4) a timely injection of appropriate advice and financial investment to facilitate growth.
There are six key stakeholders fundamental to the development of these four strategies. The “stakeholders” and the benefits from the ManOBiz process are, respectively: (1) “Entrepreneurs in the making” – To feel confident in making the decision to shift from employee to entrepreneur; (2) “Entrepreneurs” – To systematically follow a path to sustained profitability; (3) “Shepherds” – To effectively mobilize individual and collective experiences as business persons to help entrepreneurs clear obstacles along the journey to business success; (4) “Investors” – To show how ‘Shepherding as Collateral’ mitigates real business risk and hence leads to a more attractive return on investment; (5) “Board Members” – To understand the Board’s regular systematic planning and monitoring role in expediting the growth process; and (6) “National Policy Makers” – To understand the intricacies of the enabling environment needed to increase the rate of national economic growth.
The ManOBiz™ Matrix Shepherding tool is depicted, at a high level, in the accompanying graphic as a wheel with five concentric circles (management functions) and five spokes (business systems) rather than in the more traditional tabular form. The wheel is a reminder that, at the 25 intersections of the circles and the spokes, there are 25 joints which, if not continually lubricated, can inhibit business success.
Let us think out of the box and establish a World Business Health Organization to effect the above four main strategies, manifested by the Spirit, and to give every man an opportunity to profit and hence reduce the wealth divide.