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Use your company culture to gain competitive advantage



Culture represents the beliefs, ideologies, policies, practices of an organisation. It gives the employees a sense of direction and also controls the way they behave with each other.  Organisational culture can be a valuable source of a firm’s competitive advantage since it shapes organisational procedures, unifies organisational capabilities into a cohesive whole, and provides solutions to the problems faced by the organisation, and, thereby, hindering or facilitating the organisation’s achievement of its goals.

Culture impacts on how the organisation performs. Culture is the key to good performance. This was proved by researches carried out on a number of organisations with different cultures.  It was concluded that such organisations will not yield the same results from implementing same strategies because those organisations with a positive and strong culture made an average individual perform better whereas a negative and weak culture could demotivate outstanding employees leading to underperformance and end up not achieving organisational goals.

Therefore organisational culture has an active and direct role in performance management.
Research has also shown that if employees have the same norms and values as the organisations have, this can increase the performance toward achieving the overall organisation goals.

It’s therefore vital to ensure that the individual’s values and beliefs are aligned to the organisation’s values.
It’s therefore very important that recruitment policies are structured in such a way that they will attract and engage incumbents with the same beliefs and values that constitute the organisation’s culture.

This will ensure that new employees will fit into the organisation culture much faster and thus further strengthens the corporate culture.
If an organisation has to improve performance it is essential that organisations align their corporate cultures with performance management systems.
If the organisation culture is aligned to performance management systems employee behaviour will result in the achievement of organisational goals.
Employees will be motivated to achieve the goals. If the performance management system rewards certain type of behaviour, employees will then behave likewise thereby encouraging the required culture.

If the culture of an organisation is to impact positively on the performance of the organisation it’s very important that the culture creates a conducive working environment.  The culture of the organisation controls the way employees behave amongst themselves as well as with people outside the organisation. A healthy culture encourages the employees to stay motivated and loyal towards the management and therefore employees will do their best to perform better.

This will create a healthy competitive environment wherein fellow workers want to perform more than their compatriots and earn recognition and appreciation of the superiors.  However the organisation must have set guidelines for the employees to work accordingly.

Every employee should be clear about his roles and responsibilities in the organisation and know how to accomplish the tasks ahead of the deadlines because there will be set guidelines, policies and rules. A culture that will motivate employees to perform exceptionally well should make employees feel that they are treated equally and no one should feel neglected or left out. Everyone should feel part of a big family regardless of background.

The work culture should unite all the employees giving the employees a sense of unity at the workplace. An effective organisation empowers its people.  As a result executives, managers, and employees are committed to their work and feel that they own a piece of the organisation. People at all levels feel that they have at least some input into decisions that will affect their work and that their work is directly connected to the goals of the organisation.

Thus every employee is clear with his roles and responsibilities and strives hard to accomplish the tasks within the desired time frame as per the set guidelines.  Implementation of policies is never a problem in organisations where people follow a certain culture.
The work culture promotes healthy relationship amongst the employees. A good healthy work culture will extract the best out of each team member ensuring that the organisation’s objectives are met.

An organisation culture binds the employees together and provides direction for the company. This aspect can be an advantage or a limitation in times of change when the organisation needs to implement a certain strategy in response to the environment.
Changing the culture of an organisation can be a big challenge depending on what type of a culture the employees are already accustomed to.
Employees tend to take time to change to new ways of doing things.

A highly bureaucratic and well-structured organisation typically follow a culture with extensive controls where employees follow standard procedures. Such an organisation will take time to adopt new ways of doing things.
However an organisation that is used to operate in a competitive environment may not be restricted by hierarchies but would rather follow a competitive culture which responds to external forces in time to take advantage of changes in the environment.
In a turbulent world that is being experienced these days organisational culture should be adaptable to environmental changes especially those driven by customers. Adaptable organisations continuously change and improve their systems with the main aim of providing value for their customers.
Performance is enhanced in organisations in which employees are like-minded and hold similar beliefs and ethical values that align with business objectives.

In such organisations employees are encouraged to build teams that are performance oriented and work towards achieving the objectives of the organisation. An organisational culture that does not promote team work can demotivate employees.
A culture which makes other employees feel not part of the organisation will not encourage employees to work harder to achieve organisational goals because they consider themselves not to be part of that corporate culture.

Sometimes performance is affected if an organisation has two or more different cultures operating in one company: the sales department might have a culture where each member participates in decision making and can speak his mind whereas in production employees might not be allowed to be outspoken.

In such a case the two cultures will impact performance differently: the sales personnel will feel part of the decision making and hence will be motivated to achieve organisational goals whereas in the production department employees will feel alienated and therefore will not perform at the highest level possible.

For an organisation to harness the efforts of all its employees it should ensure that its culture is consistent, coordinated and integrated throughout the organisation. You can use your organisation culture to set you apart from your competitors. Use your culture to create a differentiated brand, or to attract and retain loyal and motivated employees, and build strong relationships with your customers, suppliers, and partners.
Your culture represents your unique core values, beliefs, ideologies, policies, and practices of your organisation which your competitors cannot replicate. Remain true and committed to your core values that represent your company culture and you will have competitive advantage.

l Stewart Jakarasi is a business and financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy (ACCA P3), advanced performance management (P5) and entrepreneurship.  He provides advisory and guidance on leadership, strategy and execution, preparation of business plans and on how to build and sustain high-performing organisations.

For assistance in implementing some of the concepts discussed in these articles please contact him on the following contacts: or WhatsApp +266 62110062.


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Three youth-run businesses win funding



MASERU– THREE companies have won M10 000 each for their best outstanding project plans under the Youth Development Project this week.

The companies are Qalakheng Evergreen Funds, Happy C&J Village Farms, and Our Verbal Farm.

The Youth Development Project is sponsored by the Sekhametsi Consortium, Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation (BEDCO), and Lesotho Post Bank.

The BEDCO CEO, Tšepang Tlali, said his organisation’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025 focuses on contributing towards the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) II through the first key priority area of enhancing inclusive and sustainable economic growth and private sector job creation.

“Through this strategy, BEDCO aims to address inclusive and economic growth and private sector job creation,” Tlali said.

“BEDCO has a target of 10 000 jobs per annum through the establishment, development and growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs),” he said.

The strategy has also taken into consideration the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the growing youth unemployment rate in the country.”

He said the Youth Development Project was initiated to specifically focus on entrepreneurship development of youth.

“The Youth Development Project builds on the BEP (Bacha Entrepreneurship Project) and PED projects by facilitating the establishment of enterprises among the youth through various interventions towards creating sustainable job creation for Basotho youth,” Tlali said.

He said the project has been following streams to access the finance incubation mentorship.

He said the project targets existing youth-owned and managed businesses and non-youth businesses in the agricultural sector which intends to prioritise youth for employment opportunities.

Tlali said businesses should demonstrate high potential for growth and sustainability and their need for funding to accelerate their growth.

He said the agricultural sector is one of the NSDP II priority sectors which have been chosen because it was seen to be a more resilient sector especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said farmers often struggle to meet the required production standards, required quantity, and good quality products because of lack of resources and business skills.

Tlali said the project therefore aims to enhance sustainability and competitiveness of enterprises that support youth development either through employment or entrepreneurship.

He said the project will provide interest-free revolving loans annually starting with M300 000 in the first phase of the project and follow the process.

Sekhametsi allocated M300 000 in a bid to support youths directly or indirectly through other businesses that could make more impact than channelling funds directly to the youth.

Tlali said the funds will be paid out by the bank into the incumbents’ bank accounts upon approval and authorisation.

“The funds will be monitored by an incubator during the incubation programme,” Tlali said.

’Mabasia Lepota from the Ministry of Trade said she was grateful to all those who made the initiative a success.

Lepota said she was thankful to those who have been championing the development of the private sector through the numerous programmes that have successfully been implemented over the past few years, especially for the youth.

She said she was overwhelmed by the contribution that Sekhametsi Consortium was playing in the national agenda to eradicate unemployment and poverty among the youth.

“The government of Lesotho is indeed indebted to you,” Lepota said.

She said they could only hope and encourage other large local businesses through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to contribute to the growth of the private sector, promotion of competition and innovation as well as contribution to economic growth.

The Lesotho Post Bank Managing Director, Molefi Leqhaoe, said they appreciate what is done for the three youth businesses and it is their wish to see this project growing bigger and better.

Alice Samuel & Tholoana Lesenya

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Tax Administration Bill back in spotlight



MASERU – SENATOR Seabata Motsamai says the reinstated Tax Administration Bill 2022 will align the administration of tax laws in Lesotho to ensure efficiency.

Motsamai was speaking in the Senate on Tuesday on the Bill which could not be passed in the last parliament when it was dissolved.

He said his presentation followed the gathering of opinions from stakeholders such as the Private Sector Foundation of Lesotho (PSFL), Public Transport Lesotho, and the Lesotho Chamber of Mines.

“Due to instability of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) the Revenue Service Lesotho (RSL) has been forced to improve domestic revenue mobilisation,” Motsamai said.

The Senator said the Bill is a new piece of legislation that is designed to create a unified body of law outlining common procedures, rights and remedies by aligning the administration of tax laws as much as possible.

“The purpose of the Bill is also to achieve a balance between the rights and responsibilities of both the RSL and the taxpayers in a transparent relationship,” he said.

He said the Bill will seek to prescribe the rights and responsibilities of the RSL officers, to prescribe remedies for the taxpayers and RSL officers in accordance with the aims and purposes of tax administration.

Motsamai said the Bill is intended to create the basis for further modernisation of the administration of the tax laws in order to fill certain identified gaps such as introducing a framework for the joined registration of a taxpayer for all types of taxes.

The Bill is also meant to create a framework for supporting the modernisation of the accounting system of the RSL.

Based on all observations made by the stakeholders involved, the Committee recommended that further stakeholders’ engagement is needed, particularly on compliance issues and penalties for non-compliance.

Motsamai said the committee recommended that the Bill be deferred to allow the RSL to engage with stakeholders.

He said the basis for the committee’s recommendations on this Bill was the failure by the RSL to consult stakeholders during the development process of the Bill which needed to be addressed.

Senator Seabata Motsamai said the dissolution of the 10th parliament last year meant that all pending businesses in the House were dissolved.

Motsamai said the House resolved to reinstate the Bill on March 9 this year.

The Bill was referred to the Legislation Committee for review.

Motsamai said the Committee met on March 23 where it invited the Ministry of Finance and Revenue Services Lesotho (RSL) to brief it on the basis and intentions of the Bill.

He said this was done in order to fulfil Standing Order 90(3) which stipulates that the legislation committee may call for papers and hear oral evidence, which may, by resolutions of the Committee be recorded and transcribed.

Motsamai is the chairman of the Senate’s Legislation Committee.

The committee has powers to consult and liaise with government ministries and departments to ensure attendance of any person at a meeting of the committee in terms of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act of 1994.

Motsamai said on March 28 the committee managed to invite interested parties to a consultation meeting where they were given an opportunity to present their views on the Bill.

“The committee analysed the stakeholders’ opinions and observations,” Motsamai said.

He said the committee came up with its own observations and recommendations which it will convey to the House during the Bill’s discussion.

Tholoana Lesenya

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Big debate on pension funds



MASERU-METROPOLITAN Lesotho hosted a roundtable discussion on the implementation of the Pension Fund Act in a bid to promote public awareness about pension funds in Lesotho.
Professor Mtende Mhango, Metropolitan Research Chairman and Professor of Law at the University of Limpopo, said this was part of a series of awareness campaigns that the insurance company is holding.
Professor Mhango said in November 2019 the Pension Fund Act of Lesotho was published four months before the hard lockdown was imposed in March 2020, “which in no doubt affected the pace of implementation of this legislation”.

Professor Mhango said the purpose of the law is to protect patient beneficiaries “to ensure that when people retire, the money that they have saved is there”.
He said the Act’s purpose is also to develop the domestic capital markets by ensuring that the pension contributions that are received by the pension funds, a portion of them is invested in the source.
“This was to ensure that there is economic growth in the country using these pension funds,” he said.

However, he said in order to achieve these goals, it takes time and it involves a lot of complex challenges.
This includes how pension funds ought to be governed, invested, and how the benefits must be administered.

Although new licences have been issued by the Central Bank of Lesotho, he said some organisations are still in a transitional stage.
However, there have also been some areas where progress has been made in terms of actual implementation.

The Principal Officer of Nedbank Lesotho Pension Fund, Mojabeng Matsau, said “this is to ensure that funds are not repatriated to other countries for purposes of investment, but also to ensure that we invest such monies in our countries”.

However, she said “we still don’t have enough at this moment in our country where we can invest investors’ funds”.
The Business Development Manager of Metropolitan Lesotho Tšepo Mokaki said before they can have their own opinions on the Pension Fund Act, “most variations in the management of pension funds were designed to serve only the employers’ members and were not accommodated in that space”.

He said they then designed the service model and put in place proper governance structures to accommodate the members and also to comply with the Pension Fund Act.
Mokaki said one of the biggest opportunities that they foresee for the advent of pension fund management is the requirement to invest two percent of the pension funds’ assets.
“This is the biggest opportunity for the super economy,” he said.

He said there is also an opportunity to invest pension contributions in local companies that need capital to grow and in the process spur growth.
He further said it creates job opportunities.

Mokaki said this is going to create a huge opportunity for the pension funds industry to educate members on the administration and management of retirement funds.

Refiloe Mpobole

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