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Action for jobs, defining the environment for success

Job seekers
Capitalism does a number of things very well: it helps create an entrepreneurial spirit; it gets people motivated to come up with new ideas, and that’s a good thing - Bernie Sanders

Capitalism! More precisely, free market capitalism is the fundamental substratum for a vibrant environment for job creation. Contrary to popular belief, capitalism is not the hording of capital instruments but the freedom to trade ideas in the market space. The word CAPITAL is derived from the Latin word for head, CAPUT. Decapitate is to chop the head. Gaborone is the head city. Treason is the head crime. A captain is the head player. I was going to say El Capo is a bunch of headboys but no, it is just a series. Anyway, the point is made that capitalism is a mind-based system. It is an environment where ideas, when let to thrive and be shared freely without impediment, can turn into jobs. This is as natural as it can get because the fundamental characteristic of the human mind is that it creates worlds. Not that it can create worlds but that it does. That is its job.  It creates spaces. It creates environments. It creates moods. It creates experiences. It creates traits. It must then follow that the process of creating jobs be anchored on a set-up that allows for creative formulation.

We have precedence. Well, I do. In 2017, one fine afternoon, I was called to be Gabz-FM’s Programmes Manager. I did not expect it but I accepted. After a careful assessment of the environment, I arrived at three conclusions.

The first was that the creative industry was fundamentally underdeveloped or at worst undeveloped. The industry had not developed new radio presenters for instance, in over a decade. By the end of my term, Gabz-FM was running its schedule with 85% new voices. The end of my term was when I was appointed Station Manager in the first quarter of 2018. My appointment meant that I became the first private broadcaster to come through the ranks to lead a private radio station. At the time it had been 19 years since the licensing of private broadcasters. Again, I discovered that the sector was bereft of media managers. There was mass upward mobility as we filled all management positions internally, promoting from within.

The second conclusion was that there was too much power concentrated at the top. This power had to be distributed as this impeded creativity. It was harder to convince people that they could express their strongest

opinions and still keep their jobs than it was to reorganise the business. The centralised power had caused people to fear sharing their thoughts, ideas and most importantly, their feelings. In their minds the quickest way to losing your job was to express your feelings toward a strategy, a programme or a process. So they had clammed up, blow-faced by the suppression of their feelings. Freedom of speech became the pin that broke the cage open.

The team began to get it, that the only time they would lose their jobs is if they failed to perform their tasks and never because they expressed themselves. And express themselves they did. Everywhere even on social media. Hard as that was, results started coming in. And the more mistakes the team made the better they got.

Bigger mistakes meant bigger risks but it also meant greater rewards. And the reward was that they turned Gabz-FM into the fastest growing radio station in the last three years. The increase in on-air engagement is a clearer barometer.

No system works if it does not allow for mistakes. Mistakes are fundamental in learning. The fear of making mistakes means less innovation which leads to less production which leads to fewer jobs which leads to higher taxes which leads to less spending which creates poverty. This was my third conclusion. At the heart of wealth creation lies knowledge. The know-how of things! This was a key focus area when Action for Jobs was formulated to be an active platform for finding solutions to the challenge of employment creation. In summation, what has been attained at Gabz-FM could be seen as a test-lab of what happens when people are let to speak, make mistakes and learn from them. Rinse and repeat of course. Only Capitalism can offer this environment. A free flow of ideas, traded freely between graduate youth is the fundamental basis of Action for Jobs.

It may or it may not work but then again the greater the mistake, the greater the risk, the greater the reward. In business this is called a learning curve. A case has already been made for private sector participation. Smart partnerships will ensure the right environment for success.

Gabriel Rasengwatshe*

*Gabriel Rasengwatshe is a Gabz-FM Station Manager and Action for Jobs Lead Strategist. Writes here in his personal capacity

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