ZIMBABWEAN human skills development and capability development outfit, Vertical Momentum has expanded across most of the world’s regions, executing game-changing interventions that have improved people skills in many organisations.
Our business editor Shame Makoshori (SM) caught up with the firm’s chief executive officer Victor Marawu (VM) to see if his experience across continents could be tapped to help rebuild Zimbabwe’s economy.
Below are excerpts from their discussion.
SM: Tell us about Vertical Momentum
VM: We are a social enterprise that promotes the building of better global communities through developing the effectiveness of people and organisations. We help people and organisations to sustainably increase productivity through providing highly skilled coaching, robust mentorship and innovative value-creating services.
Through our services, organisations develop the capacity to formulate realistic goals and work efficiently to achieve them. Vertical Momentum is determined in its contribution towards the building of better capable people, better performing organisations and better communities. Incorporation of the company in different countries started in 2015.
The establishment of Vertical Momentum as a global, social impact-oriented organisation was inspired by several observations, including the fact that Africa has various challenges, especially to do with achieving efficiency and effectiveness. More importantly, we were inspired by the desire to harness the diversity and richness of Africa for the benefit of its people in a sustainable manner through partnerships and the exchange of knowledge, skills as well as experiences.
The challenges facing Africa are, however, not unique to the continent alone. Many other countries, across continents face similar challenges. As such, the solutions for Africa around these issues are applicable to other continents as well.
SM: You seem to be running a very unique enterprise.
What’s the importance of organisations such as yours in Zimbabwe’s quest to engineer an economic revival?
VM: The development of people is central to any form of development. As the operating environment changes, there is need to upskill people and use tools and systems that guarantee positive results.
SM: Many of Zimbabwe’s parastatals are laden with myriad challenges. What role can organisations like yours play in rebuilding these firms?
We believe we have a lot of value to contribute to any progressive organisation that understands the importance of developing its people for higher productivity.
SM: How does the Zimbabwe crisis affect human resource and economic development?
VM: Zimbabwe has been hit by a brain drain, with skilled people fleeing to the diaspora for better prospects.
The brain drain has brought about a diminution of critical skills locally, thereby adversely affecting productivity.
Consequently, economic development has been slowed down because of low efficiency and effectiveness levels.
SM: If given an opportunity to change things, what will you change and why?
VM: We would change the approach to work from the quantitative to the qualitative style. Quantitative is concerned with ticking the boxes while the qualitative approach focuses on the outcome.
What lacks in massive proportions is efficiency and effectiveness.
In our context, efficiency and effectiveness have to do with creating appropriate goals, mapping the right strategies and tactics as well as daily plans to achieve those goals.
It also involves following through with seamless execution to achieve them. We would help people and organisations fix and develop the two pillars critical in the efficiency and effectiveness story; that is, the thinking and the execution.
This, we would do through imparting our unique thinking/processing models and execution tools which empower people with the capability to form appropriate goals, make viable every-day decisions, create effective plans and develop practical solutions to challenges when they occur.
Our models and tools can be used by anyone and any organisation regardless of profession or sector. The challenge we have in a number of organisations is general lack of capacity.
When hurdles appear, poor decisions are made in trying to create solutions. Execution is generally poor. When goals are not achieved, they are simply forgotten and people move on to create new ones.
SM: Based on your experience in Asia, make a comparative analysis of these mostly successful economies with those in Southern Africa
VM: Successful economies have done two things well.
They have managed to consistently create ambitious but realistic goals and plans based on their realities and possibilities.
They have also executed well – in other words they have religiously followed their plans. Where they encounter challenges, they develop practical solutions and they identify opportunities in time and pursue them effectively.
If Southern Africa is to grow, we have to get the basics right. We need to plan and execute well. Any investor or business would be ready and happy to partner an efficient and effective player.
Many of the challenges we face in our region can be conquered on account of operational efficiency and effectiveness. Without this, inefficiency and ineffectiveness will continue to rule, corruption will continue to thrive and real national success will remain almost impossible.
SM: Can you share with us Vertical Momentum’s milestones since formation?
VM: Much has been achieved. Various organisations across sectors, including multinationals, have experienced the transformative power of our products.
Our clients have used and continue to use our services in restructuring their organisations, capacity building, team building, culture development, products development, brand building, market development, effectiveness development, strategy formulation, execution and broad-based business advisory and more.
We have established in different markets now. Our global office is in Mauritius, with our global operations office being domiciled here in Zimbabwe.
Our global marketing office is in South Africa with a regional office for Asia and Pacific based in India. We also have a presence in Rwanda, catering for east Africa.
We deliver sustainable positive impact to organisations of all sizes across all sectors of societies. We have become a leading brand in people and organisational development in Zimbabwe, spreading our reach across Africa, Asia and Pacific regions.
SM: What are your plans for the medium to long-term?
VM: We plan expanding into more countries especially here, in Africa. We will also be introducing new game-changing products on the market, including technology-driven systems for use in managing effectiveness in organisations.
We also want our products to be delivered in multiple languages across the world, as well as launching leadership awards to recognise effectiveness and inspire. Our target clients are people and organisations needing development in efficiency and effectiveness in order to sustainably enhance their productivity and impact.
Our products have universal application; as such we target the global market, starting from home, here in Africa.
SM: To what extent has the Covid-19 pandemic affected organisations operating in your space?
VM: To a greater extent, Covid-19 generally slowed business down. Initially, there was total confusion and business reaction was extremely poor with many operations suspending or significantly reducing activity.
What we have been and continue doing is to conscientise the market about the new normal, anchored on optimum harnessing of technology to work virtually and deliver wherever possible; providing the knowledge and tools to use in driving virtual teams and ensuring our products are delivered virtually without compromising impact.