DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING STRATEGIES FOR SURVIVAL

No sooner does a crocodile or a snake hatch her young ones than she ignores and deserts them. Therefore, watching a video on how both young crocodiles and snakes survive immediately after hatching breeds grief and excitement in a person.

Grief can accumulate in someone after seeing such a development on young crocodiles and snakes because one might ask: ‘How will such young ones survive in this sometimes cruel and devastating world?’ But it is the same anguish that later transforms into amusement when seeing how the same young crocodiles, young snakes and other wild young ones generate intuitive decisions or create strategies for survival after such a development.

From such realities, Chewas in Eastern province have a saying: ‘Njoka siyiyenda ndi mwana;’ meaning a snake does not move with its child.

One can take a stroll in a nearby bush or in a thick forest. One cannot find a male or a female snake regardless of its colour, moving side-by-side with or sliding in front or behind its young son or daughter. Green, greenish yellow, purple, black, grey or whatever combination of colours a snake has, it never moves with its young one.

Unless they are fiancés or are a couple, snakes never move with their young ones. It is each snake for itself; and God for us all, proper! To some extent; especially after a certain age, this is also true to wild mammals.

Using their intuitive decisions, these young crocodiles, young snakes and other wild young animals formulate and implement survival strategies. Some survive up to old age while some rarely survive many months or a couple of years and their seasons. It is from such a background that whoever understands what young crocodiles, young snakes and other young animals go through as they grow, one gets excited when he or she sees such reptiles and such mammals in their oldest age because they (such wild animals) are perceived heroes and heroines in the animal kingdom.

Look at an impala or a zebra. Consider a buffalo or a Kudu in its old age. It means such an animal has survived many life threatening situations through using its various intuitive decisions, strategies and tactics.

While such situations and strategies are true to young and old wild reptiles and wild mammals, they are also applicable to human beings. Ask the old men and women in our community how they have endured life threatening situations for them to reach that age. You need to create enough time for you to get a full story about their survival decisions, strategies and tactics. Of course, for human beings, reptiles and wild mammals, one cannot live long without God’s protection. We survive longer because of God’s desire and love for us.

However, one can argue that committing suicide and deliberately taking unnecessarily risks or through carelessness of any kind, one might leave this beautiful Earth faster than he or she came against God’s plan.

What is startling is if wild animals without well-co-ordinated five senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling/touching) like is the case in human beings can find options for survival, what more with us, human beings? Should one be caught in a cobweb like a fly forever if one door is closed while some animals look for plan ‘B’ if plan ‘A’ fails?

In human beings, survival strategies are in many forms at different ages. From the time one realises that he or she is a human being with some senses and some feelings, one is supposed to formulate strategies or make intuitive decisions both for survival and for socio-economic prosperity.

Like in business strategic management, such strategies are reviewed or refined with unfolding socio-cultural, economic, legal, political and technological environmental factors. Similarly, even a human being, as he or she grows old, one formulates new strategies or adjusts old ones to suit current situations with a view to achieve desired objectives and goals.

For instance, look at some old men or old women! When they feel that one leg or both legs are failing them in some way, they bring in a walking stick to support their balance while walking slowly or at relatively swift speed towards their destination at a particular time.

Regardless of age, because of need for survival, one asks for medical treatment or runs relatively fast across the busy road like Lusaka’s Cairo road.

Therefore, while reptiles and wild mammals use intuitive decisions and strategies for survival, some male and female human beings use the same decisions as some use planned strategies both for survival on this Earth and for achieving respective goals.

Unfolding developments should not make us completely stuck in life or in your economic activities where we earn our living! Let’s look for moral and legal options for our survival!

Even as an employee of a certain organisation, do not assume that your employer will always be smiling at you for many years. Time might come when your employer, for whatever reasons, might change attitude towards you; and, in writing or verbally, tell you that your services are no longer required in that organisation. What do you do next when this is the case in your employment?

Coming to tenants, you should always find alternative residential or business accommodation in case your landlord or land lady has changed his or her minds on how to use his or her building. Situations are dynamic for or against us.

Even for businesses, do not always think that existing customers and other public relations(PR) publics like all workers, customers, suppliers, distributors, legislators, government and news media will always be behind you. With a global competitive business environment, customers can resort to other suppliers where they might feel they get a fair price, high quality goods or services with effective customer service.

Hence, as a business manager, in your minds, always think of what will happen if customer ‘A’ or ‘D’ stops buying from here? Sometimes it can be a group of high value customers who might migrate to your competitors! Similarly, think about what will happen if some PR publics stop supporting your organisation. Never take things for granted on this Earth!

Such business assumptions might facilitate establishing and developing relevant and effective strategic plans at appropriate times to attract and retain as many PR publics as possible.

While some top management officials use intuitive decisions as some use planned strategies for their businesses, in modern business management, it is argued that intuitive business decisions are mostly ‘blind’ to realities on the ground; and rarely take an organisation far in achieving its goals.

In short, it is argued that intuitive decision-making like the way wild reptiles and wild mammals use are not effective and efficient in facilitating achievement of desired goals in a competitive and dynamic business environment.

Consequently, strategic plans and their effective implementation are highly recommended in achieving desired goals in modern businesses.

While an organisation can use many internal strategies to achieve its goals, there are also external ones to use.

Fortunately, both internal and external strategies involve use of effective PR. Whether one uses intuitive decision-making or strategic planning or not, what is critical is: ‘Do you have survival strategies and their options in various opportunities or threats?’

To facilitate easy answers to such a questions, John Harvey-Jones(1994), ‘Managing to survive: A guide to management through the 1990s advises us to plan for the future as though things will be worse than they are now.

Harvey-Jones also is quick to advise on the importance of adopting and adapting to change in a modern dynamic business environment(ibid).

To sum up, for individuals, families, organisations and indeed to national governments, designing and implementing strategies for survival in dynamic socio-cultural, economic, legal, political and technological environment is critical for economic prosperity.

Failure to read trends and specific situations might lead to disaster management which can have telling effects on our lives.

For successful life and business management, using 1978 Mexican Statement which defines PR practice as an art and a social science of analysing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organisation’s leaders and implementing planned programmes of action which serve both organisation’s and public interest would be beneficial.

In short, for both personal and business success, one cannot strategically succeed alone. Although wild animals do such lonely, human beings need others to support us in designing and implementing survival strategies and their respective options.

Reflect on some foreign national doing personal businesses in Zambia. Their respective governments weaned and ‘deserted’ them. But through survival strategies, they have found refuge in Zambian business environment; and most of them are doing relatively well! And for some reasons, some Zambians are in some foreign countries designing and implementing intuitive decisions or strategies for their survival. And some Zambians in most foreign countries are doing relatively well too.

Calling for survival strategies, for example, 2017/18 rainfall pattern does not seem to be favourable for household and national food security. Therefore, what are we going to do at household and at national level to sustain food security if drought persists, for instance?

The author has a PhD in Public Relations. He is a PR trainer and consultant. He is also a lecturer in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is a reader in strategic management and business management.

For ideas and comments, contact:

Cell: 0977/0967 450151

E-mail: sycoraxtndhlovu@yahoo.co.uk

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