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Tilly S Davies
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The Mandela Business Model

07 December 2013, 07:03

By Tilly Davies.

Today we are all touched and saddened, by the first South African, democratically elected President’s death.

There can be no better tribute or celebration of President Nelson Mandela’s legacy than to respond to a call for the people of the world to ‘do good for humanity’. Madiba may mean different things to different people. But to me Madiba must mean unity of purpose: because I am you are, and you are because I am. And this should become part of our lives, every aspect thereof and especially in business.

The majority of businesses today measure the value of their business by the top line, the sales and revenue, compared to their bottom line, the income and profit margins. The problem with these ‘value models’ are that they are not sustainable and in fact are the opposite of the Mandela way. They are self-motivated and a business that conducts its operation this way will normally ask the question “what’s in it for me?” It is also the output of the business not the means to generate the output.

The real sustainable value of a business is in fact the health of their customer base. When a business focuses ‘selflessly’ on the customer, ensuring that they provide a superior product and/or service to the customer, the power of the ‘Mandela Business Model’ becomes surprisingly evident.

Businesses that are customer-focused, will create satisfied customers. Satisfied customers become loyal customers. Loyal customers always create new customers and suddenly, business has created employment opportunities and addressed the worrying unemployment issues in our country. When a business employs more people to meet the customers’ needs, they also need to revisit their processes and technologies. This will result in sales opportunities for suppliers and money will then start to move. And suddenly, we will all experience positive economic growth in our country. But the customer-focused business enjoys an increase in their top and bottom line, naturally without a forceful focus.

Madiba taught us this, but few understood the message of walking in the shoes of a selfless icon. Our focus, in business, should be on the customer. A huge responsibility lies on the customer initiative (call centre) industry to get this message across to all businesses. The Call Centre HUB Collaboration has made huge progress already in fulfilling this ‘educational’ role, and I for one am honoured to be part of this.

Madiba must mean - Intellectual, cognitive, bodily and spiritual Liberty of Humankind; Freedom from anguish and agony; peace for justice and just co-existence. Let’s become selfless, let’s follow the Madiba example and let us implement the Mandela Business Model – and so create a better and more prosperous South Africa for us all.

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