Build­ing the fu­ture

Global speaker tells lo­cal busi­nesses to work to­gether

Talk of the Town - - Front Page - ROB KNOWLES

There was a great deal of an­tic­i­pa­tion and a full house at the lat­est Port Al­fred Busi­ness Fo­rum meet­ing where global con­fer­ence speaker and con­sul­tant to ma­jor in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies, Michael Jack­son, spoke of re­vi­tal­is­ing the lo­cal econ­omy by think­ing out­side the box and col­lab­o­rat­ing.

Jack­son said the past was not an ex­em­plar for the fu­ture, and the old ways of do­ing things no longer worked.

“Busi­nesses should get to­gether,” said Jack­son to the full house of at­ten­dees.

“You have so much to of­fer. From the new brand of the Sun­shine Coast, to the 2,400 beds that are full most of the year, to the game re­serves with the Big Five, the sandy beaches, you have so much go­ing for you in this area,” he said.

A dy­namic speaker, Jack­son pointed out that prop­erty sales were on the rise and con­firmed that the de­mo­graphic was chang­ing to younger up­wardly mo­bile cou­ples and fam­i­lies.

But he warned that do­ing things the same way as they have been done in the past was not go­ing to lead Port Al­fred and its en­vi­rons into the fu­ture, and ex­plained that a new ethos was re­quired.

“You need to work to­gether, to mar­ket your busi­nesses and com­ple­men­tary busi­nesses. You are stronger to­gether,” he said.

Jack­son pointed out that newly elected chair­man of the Port Al­fred Busi­ness Fo­rum, Mar­ius Claassens, had asked him to ad­dress the fo­rum and, at first he had been re­luc­tant.

“But when I heard that Mar­ius wanted to ap­proach the fo­rum like a com­pany, by tack­ling small projects and quick-wins first be­fore tak­ing on the big projects, I was im­pressed and said I would come.

“I have spo­ken to groups be­fore and this com­mu­nity is a group and should all be work­ing to­ward the same ob­jec­tives,” he said.

The first projects are around mak­ing the town look neater to vis­i­tors and in­clude “adopt a pave­ment”, the dust­bin art project, the Christ­mas light com­pe­ti­tion and East Beach re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion.

“These are all small projects and the right way to go. Later projects will in­clude pave­ment land­scap­ing, gar­dens through Port Al­fred, car-guard ac­cred­i­ta­tion and shop-front sig­nage,” he said. “These will take longer to get re­sults.”

Jack­son spoke of think­ing bet­ter busi­ness and find­ing new ways to work.

“We need a soft­ware up­grade [in our brains]. The old in­dus­trial era meth­ods just don’t work any­more. We are liv­ing in an age where the world is chang­ing faster than at any other time in our his­tory and the old ways will not take us into the fu­ture.

“The suc­cess­ful busi­nesses change with the times.”

To em­pha­sise his point he made the ob­ser­va­tion that, in the last 50 years, 450 of the For­tune 500 com­pa­nies of 1968 no longer ex­isted.

He sug­gested we lis­ten to what an­cient Chi­nese philoso­pher Con­fu­cius said 3,000 years ago: Deal with is­sues that are im­por­tant and elim­i­nate ev­ery­thing else. Then deal with the prob­lems that are im­por­tant and ur­gent. If you can­not do some­thing then del­e­gate, au­to­mate or get help.

Jack­son also pointed out that the nett bal­ance of peo­ple dy­ing in the world ver­sus those be­ing born was a pos­i­tive 1.4-mil­lion per week.

“That means that ev­ery week there are an­other 1.4 mil­lion peo­ple on the planet. There is enough room, and by 2050 it is es­ti­mated there will be 10 bil­lion peo­ple on the planet. The old MBA-way of mea­sur­ing the past and the present to project the fu­ture does not work.”

He sug­gested a new par­a­digm in look­ing at the dif­fer­ence be­tween the past and fu­ture was a bet­ter ap­proach and could help in pre­dict­ing the fu­ture.

“I am dis­ap­pointed to see that there are only a few peo­ple of colour in the au­di­ence,” he ob­served.

“A suc­cess­ful fu­ture means we must be­come more in­clu­sive and the de­mo­graphic must change.

“I chal­lenge you to bring a per­son of colour with you to the next busi­ness fo­rum meet­ing. We need to be a far more in­clu­sive so­ci­ety.”


MAN WITH A MES­SAGE: PA Busi­ness Fo­rum chair­man Mar­ius Claassens, left, with the ‘other’ Michael Jack­son, who has con­sulted for in­ter­na­tional busi­ness in 44 coun­tries and spoke at the Port Al­fred Busi­ness Fo­rum meet­ing held at the Hal­yards Ho­tel on Tues­day evening

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