like the air we breathe – when it’s present, nobody really notices. When it’s absent, everyone notices.– Warren Buffett (1991, Salomon Brothers Bond-trading Scandal).
COVID-19 threatened further, the struggling economy of the African continent, especially Southern Africa (See here). Far beyond the crash in Nigeria’s oil price (here); the weak investor sentiment in South Africa (here), even the current state of the United States and European economy (here and here), the issue of trust has existed. Businesses even now, are losing customers, partners and investors. In a post-covid19 world where collaboration is key to growth, trust becomes indispensable.
Business owners, now than ever, would have to build an honest relationship with partners, customers, investors, and other stakeholders alike. Governments, now than ever, should be transparent, supportive and honest to the people.
An investor and friend have observed the Nigerian community for over 3years. One day she asked me ‘how well is the subject of ‘Trust’ treated in universities, especially, in business administration? Or are business owners and managers simply ignoring the lessons?’
The question came after she observed the hospitable and wonderful personalities of Nigerian people. In her words, ‘but when it comes to business, it is often hard to decipher who to trust. It seems that many Nigerian businesses are trying to outsmart their partners.’
Whilst the government may need to enable businesses, cut down tax ambitions, and support every sector and SMEs, including the informal sectors, enterprises would have to learn the importance of trust and the crumbling effect of dishonesty and greed to itself and to the economy.
For instance, many Nigerians wonder about the transparency and calculation of data consumption by network service providers (here); the varying meters used by fuel stations (here); embezzlement claims against the executive, legislative and judicial arms continue to rise (here); the massive fraud hovering around government awarded contracts (here); the dishonest attitude of some entrepreneurs to their investors – the list is endless.
A story is told about the old Anam (Anambra-West Local Government Area, Nigeria). The people of Anam are known among the Igbo community as loyal and trustworthy people. It is said that should you walk with an Anamite and ask the person to wait for you at a place, the Anamite would be waiting for you at the same spot throughout the entire day. Against all odds, the Anamite would wait, trusting the agreement reached. The Anamite is one that will never steal a penny despite a hunger strike. The Anamite is one everyone looks up to as a credible witness and a worthy business partner.
In a world, where greed and avarice have taken over, trust in our daily businesses and lives is inevitable. Every business owner must take from Anamites, the lesson of trust. We must trust you to give us quality food in our consumption. We must trust you to send the right invoice. We must trust you to perform the terms of our agreement. We must trust you to do your job. We must trust you to pay for work done… when trust is absent, don’t be fooled, everyone notices, and once betrayed, it is seldomly revived.
So, are you trustworthy? Have you been betrayed? Let your voice be heard below.
By Emmanuel Okonkwo – De Critic. DeCritic are Copywriters, Critics & PRs awarded one of Nigeria’s top 10 best by Sortlist International. Born from a near-death experience over a bad product/brand, De Critic was born to do two things – 1. Critique on brands, lifestyle, music and movies, and 2. help good brands with their copywriting and PR needs. De Critic – turning words into gold for you. – firstname.lastname@example.org