At the end of his presentation on motivation of human capital knowledge productivity as one of the vehicles of a knowledge based-economy, Prof Joseph W.M Kessels put an illustration of fish moving in a large group heading in the same direction.
Afterwards he posed a question “do you think this fish has a manager”, this illustration fascinated me and inspired me to ask many my self many questions regarding the whole issue like do fish really have a leader who brings them together and takes them in the same direction, if yes where is she or he, if not then where do they derive that superb cohesion.
I got to realize that actually the fish have a manager (leader) only that he is normally in the middle of the moving group as opposed to and he does more work that the rest as opposed to assuming the kingly position which many managers today crown them selves with in a managerial environment.
Ego centrism, self exaltations and subjectivity have characterized many managers today in work places, this has drawn a rift between workers and management which rift has led to the detriment of many establishments due to lack of organizational cohesion.
Building a skilled human capital is one of the overriding elements in the country’s vision 2020, which is intended to transform the country into a knowledge-based economy, however to achieve this there has to be a completely radical change in the managerial practices of the corporate entities and the leaders in administrative positions.
The visiting professor from the University of Twente highlighted the aspect of respect and creation of a conducive working environment for every worker as key to stimulating innovation, independent thinking and reflection-based actions in the work environment.
What motivates a worker to do his or her work well which is the starting point in building a knowledge based workforce is not difficult, it only takes the manager or leader to embrace the fact that work itself is a long life learning experience, operating in a team work fashion and being respectful of every worker.
This is only how the workforce can be stimulated to better their services, learn and do their work responsibly as opposed to being pushed around and treated as subordinates who are just to be directed on what to do.
However much it’s a process just like any other undertaking involving mindset change, and behavioral alterations, building a knowledge based economy is not as complex as it is perceived, it starts with simple steps like doing work well, value addition of products and services and others.
Many government and private institutions involved in business promotion have invested a lot of efforts in promoting customer care as one way of bettering the service and hospitality industry, but the secret for a service industry with a warm and vibrant customer c are is a fully motivated personnel right from the cleaner to the top managers.
There is no way a customer attendant in a hotel will be courteous to customers when he or she is not treated like a human being by his manager, there has to be an open and mutual relations between the managers and workers, and this environment can only be created through respect, trust and appreciation which totals up to a motivating atmosphere.
The players in building a knowledge based economy are there fore challenged to change the managers mindsets to shift from the aristocratic style of management which has widened the gap between management and employees to a more people centered and inclusive approach which motivates performance and learning.
In an interview with Deogratius Harorimana the RDB deputy CEO in charge of human capital and institutional development he disclosed something that rather positively intrigued me, he said the ultimate state of affairs if the country is to achieve a knowledge based workforce is when there cant be a line drawn between a worker and a senior manager.
This correlates with the moving fish illustration used at the beginning; it’s a state of affairs which manifests the absolute teamwork with which management is supposed to address day Today Company or organizational operations and challenges.
During the two day conference on developing human resource as a pre-liquisite for realization of a knowledge based economy, which was organized by RDB in partnership with Kigali Institute of Management, presenter touched divergent aspects of reaching out and including a wider populace into this framework.
When I asked whether and how the players in this undertaking are going to include the farmers and people from the informal sector who seem to be underprivileged in many ways, Harorimana revealed that there are initiatives established to reach out and empower the local farmers and people from the informal sector in the knowledge based fashion, in this RDB is partnering with other players like the Enterprise Development Office to identify weak SME’s to develop their ideas and capacity.
“We are working closely with various players in reaching out to the local community such that everyone is brought on board, we are working to upgrade and register businesses in the informal sector such that they can be helped” he observed.
He further underscored that RDB and other players in this cause are spending much time in villages working closely with district and local leaders on identifying their needs and strengths with a plan of helping them upgrade their capacities.
Through the IT instrument which is also pertinent in this cause, RDB together with district leaders are attempting to download the products and services which can be provided by a certain district with an objective of linking them to markets and other capacity providers relevant to the development of their activities and products.
For the country to realize this pertinent goal of building a knowledge driven economy, leaders and people in managerial positions should change their personnel management styles by being more inclusive to stimulate participation and innovation and adopt ways of bringing ‘the human side’ to the work environment.