A business should never stop reinventing itself in some form or another. Thus, it should also introduce fresh ideas, especially new blood that can bring new service lines, however, without losing the same culture and values on which that business has been built, if this was a successful one, says Mark Aquilina, founder and chief visionary officer at NOUV.
The idealist in me made it very tempting to not follow the recent 2022 elections. However, it would be hypocritical of me if I were to say that I did not spend hours following one discussion after another. The various points discussed by different panels finally triggered my interest which brought me to analyse the strategy and common points proposed by the parties and how these will affect Malta’s future. In the end, I could not help but be led to draw some interesting analogies with the business world, which is, after all, where I operate.
The winning party – from what I could gather – knows its audience inside out, what it wants and how to communicate the message in the most simplistic manner possible. The party organised itself to reach out to its followers and voters throughout the campaign in the best possible way. In business, this is tantamount to the maxim ‘know your client’ and how important it is to understand what your customers truly want.
As for the losing party, the nearly 25 years in government had their toll on various aspects, with the people at the helm failing to understand that an organisation must change when it is at the top and not leave it till the first cracks start to appear. This, too, can be applied to businesses. A business should never stop reinventing itself in some form or another. Thus, it should also introduce fresh ideas, especially new blood that can bring new services lines, however, without losing the same culture and values on which that business has been built, if this was a successful one.
This can only be achieved within an organisation if the board, led by the CEO, promotes dialogue and embraces different opinions and lines of thought. Moreover, the courage to change, dare, and think outside the box is pivotal to creating a resilient business.
As for the expected points and messages, I would say that the following are the common ones proposed by both parties: There seems to be a shared acknowledgement on the need for a reduction of our tax rates and that the same legislation needs updating. This, in my opinion, is a good start. From a transport infrastructure perspective, the island needs serious alternative public transport solutions and not just the widening of our roads.
I was also happy to see both parties kept pledging their commitment to the idea of sustainability and the need for renewable energy projects and more open green spaces.
Sustainability may well be the talk of the town, but what does this mean? To me, the answer is simple. It means that humanity needs to return to its senses and that people need to start acting like humans once again.
Sustainability may well be the talk of the town, but what does this mean?
It also means diminishing the stronghold of neoliberalism, an ideology that has been brewing since 1938 (not to be confused with liberalism or a liberal economy), which, in my opinion, has been oversold to us, overused by large corporations, and abused by policymakers. This has created an overworked, overconsumed society, in some cases increasing inequality. It is an ideology that swallowed the world.
I like to define neoliberalism as a form of populism that promotes growth at all costs, whether sustainable or not. It also means maximising shareholders’ value, at times at the expense of countries, communities, employees’ wellbeing, ethics, and the environment. It also means focusing on the ‘consumer’ rather than the ‘citizen’. Universally, it means promoting gluttony, bulldozing cultural values, and ceding respect towards nature in its totality.
A circular economy can be a partial alternative to neoliberalism. This would see humanity moving away from the widespread overconsumption of goods, products, and materials to an economy that recycles eliminates waste and pollution, regenerates nature and values human capital.
I also believe that a circular economy would potentially balance our needs and ambitions and help create a positive and vibrant business model with a different approach to the supply chain where sustainability itself becomes a resource. Thankfully Covid-19 uncovered some of the strains of neoliberalism, and many companies are already thinking of reshoring their manufacturing plants closer to home.
Zooming back the attention on our tiny and micro reality, Malta as a nation always whinges on the fact that our only resource is our human capital.
This is where a circular Malta would need to start by creating and nurturing enough talent to keep it going in the years to come. The size of our population does not afford the dilution of resources starting from the government. Yet, in 2022 we still have a constitution and a political framework that keeps us very well divided.
In the meantime, this results in a brain drain, mediocracy, complacency, and settling for less. Our survival depends on reinventing ourselves, one generation after another. We are struggling to do so because we are cursed by a history where we have had to live in survival mode for centuries.
It has always fascinated me how a 316 square kilometre island, with a small population like ours, needs two political parties, 67 Members of Parliament, nealy 50K employed with the public service and sector, six TV stations, more than 25 radio stations, 365 churches, and 68 local councils, more than 53 football clubs, over 90 band clubs and several national days.
One could argue that this reflects the diversity of our cultures and the different backgrounds on the island, and at face value, I would tend to agree. I am comparing these numbers to other nations, as my sole message is that maybe we can do things differently and think outside the box to maximise our resources. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”.
So, we need to be better organised to make the best of our resources. This is the same question that business leaders should ask themselves from time to time throughout their entrepreneurial journey. How can I maximise my business’s resources and strengths to the fullest? It is always a good time to stop and think, evaluate, regroup, and finally act.