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The many examples of what we know but don’t apply (1)

In last week’s article, we reviewed some of the pitfalls of not applying the knowledge we already have in enterprise or business. Today, we’ll look at a number of situations that exist in Nigeria today that can only be a direct consequence of deliberate refusal to apply what we already know.

Human Resource Management- The basic function of human resource leadership is to recruit and train the best candidates or employees for any job position.

It is common knowledge that organizations stand to benefit the most when the most qualified and competent people are employed and retained. Although this is a well known fact, in many organizations, people charged with the responsibility to recruit, train and develop the human resource capital end up failing, albeit intentionally, to do the correct thing. More often, you find selections and promotions based on tribalism, nepotism or some other terrible basis. The negative impact of this practice does not show up immediately.

It may take months and sometimes years, depending on the size of the organization for the real damage to become visible. And when it does, it rarely gets recognized as the culprit because other factors often get blamed for the failure.

The non-detection is further exacerbated if the perpetrators of the lopsided recruitment practices are in the top executive level of the organization. Some of these practices can be so sophisticated that it operates at multiple levels with clear lines of responsibility among the ‘gang members’. Although the position may have been advertised in the national media, people who screen the resumes ensure that 90% of the invitees are from a particular tribe. The next step will be to send invitations late to candidates from other tribes, further ensuring that the favoured group enjoy more monopoly. In the interview panel, the kingpins of the tribal warfare prepare for the final battle. Candidates from the other tribes or interest area who miraculously make it to this stage must be 5 times better than the others to stand a 50-50 chance of being employed.

Many non-intended candidates who pass oral interviews are sent offer letters using dubious courier companies. At other times, the offer letters are mailed very late to ensure they are not received on time.

This allows the terrible gang to recruit the preferred candidates on the lower ranking.  Similar designs are implemented during promotional assessments. Ultimately you breed an atmosphere of discontent and play acting. It is not uncommon to find that employees from a particular tribe are in the majority when the directors or owners are from that tribe.
Inevitably, incompetent people are made to supervise more competent co-workers. The result; gross inefficiency, worker dissatisfaction, lowered productivity and policy application inconsistency that eventually impacts on the bottom line. The practice also leads many to believe that hard work counts for nothing while connection counts for everything. I have met people from many tribes in Nigeria who are exceptionally intelligent, gifted and skilled. It is really a huge shame that this nonsense continues in our society.

Banking Services- Banks primarily exist to serve customers by providing customer friendly products and services. In almost every bank advert, there’s a phrase or sentence that suggests that the bank exists for the customers.

Or that the bank is a trusted partner in business. Or the bank is committed to exceed the customers’ expectations. In human behavioural science, we all know that people trust and value our friendship if we show our hand of fellowship first. It is for this reason that the saying, “a friend in need is a friend indeed” is derived. We all appreciate people who truly care and are willing to go the extra mile for us. People who are able to demonstrate their love for us measurably become our friends. Better still, we are more inclined to reciprocate the affection or interest of those who not only say they care but really show it, even at their inconvenience. Selfishness, therefore, is a trait that most of us hate in others. It doesn’t matter how good your promises sound to others, they make no sense or have very little value if they are not translated into positive, measurable action.
Our bank executives know this fact too well. Unfortunately, rather than adopt the complete spectrum of two-way expectations in healthy relationships and customer service, they choose one aspect and attempt to make up for the other half by deception. It never lasts.
Our banks start out by promising so much to potential customers.

They use all sorts of sophisticated models to hoodwink customers. Their only motive is simple; customer deposits! Smart dresses, polished manners, sophisticated use of English, vain promises are tricks of the trade.

Bank workers will readily confirm how difficult if not impossible it is to convince a manager or top executive to spend time and money to really study and understand customer needs as a way of achieving lasting market penetration. They simply want immediate profits while conveniently forgetting to apply what they know represents the only way to sustainable profitability.

As a result, they appear to have exhausted all short-term, get-rich-quick strategies to generate funds. From share price manipulation, use of female deposit weapons to Promo and lottery campaigns, the end of the self-delusion game is here. Of course, like I warned some weeks back, they have quietly increased bank charges from regular transactions. Even my trusted bank is guilty of this practice. Check your recent bank transaction statements to verify this. But like all short-sighted measures, the ‘benefits’ from this will soon dry up. These days, bankers, who erstwhile were proud professionals, appear so sheepish and are devoid of any of the traditional charisma or panache. Even the marketers have lost hope. There’s nothing new to say.

The game is up. The very good thing about this condition is that some banks will learn the hard way and come up stronger by doing the right things; facts they knew all along. The slow to learn or stubborn ones will surely face the consequences. Our people have a saying “ You don’t have to tell a blind man that the war has started”. Disasters have a history of wakening us up to reality. May God help us all.


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