By Sycorax T. Ndhlovu
Unity of purpose is one of the greatest tools for achieving organisation’s objectives and goal at a desired time. As a result, teamwork and effective co-ordination play critical roles in unity of purpose to achieve desired results in any organisation.
However, for many reasons, co-ordination for unity of purpose sometimes faces some challenges; and can sometimes lead to failure to achieve an organisation’s objectives and goal at a given time.
For instance, a family can admire to realise certain things which other families have morally and legally acquired. But if the same family members fail to co-ordinate their ideas, efforts and resources to get what they want, that family might lag behind for many years without acquiring what it admires most.
Such an illustration is also applicable to other organisations in the public and private sector. Not-for profit organisations such as associations, civil society organisations, churches and political parties also need effective co-ordination for unity of purpose. Therefore, in this article, the word ‘organisation’ includes such entities.
Some organisations have been in existence for some time now. With the fashion of formulating strategic plans whose contents, among others, include visions, missions, values, goal and objectives, most organisations have such plans. For political parties, ideologies are a mission through which to achieve a political party’s goal and objectives.
Organisation’s goal and objectives are like goal posts in soccer game. If some players don’t know where to score, they might be kicking a ball in any direction. Some players who don’t know in which goal post to kick a ball might score their own goal!
An organisation without unity of purpose is like children playing with each child having his or her own ball in a play field without any purpose of scoring in any of the two goalposts. Such an approach in organization management negatively affects effective co-ordination for unity of purpose in an organisation.
From such an approach to organisation’s management, one can argue that very few organisations achieve their respective objectives and goals at the right time because some workers don’t know the vision, mission, values, goal and objectives of their organisations.
It’s advisable for top management officials in any organisation to be trained in modern business management for such officials to be pro-active; and timely respond to dynamic business environment challenges effectively.
This approach to managing an organization is critical because failure to co-ordinate ideas, resources and efforts at the right time can lead to unexpected results against a respective organisation’s objectives.
When some members of an organization have training, experience and skills in modern management; and if such members are utilised accordingly, such people can help to prevent issues from transforming into crises.
While co-ordination for unity of purpose can apply to almost every institution, what is critical before presidential and general elections is how most political parties set their objectives, plan and co-ordinate their ideas, resources and efforts to achieve their desired objectives in the August 11, 2016 elections, for example.
What erodes or kills co-ordination for unity of purpose is ‘I know-it-all’ attitudes; and selfishness in the process of trying to achieve desired objectives.
At planning and implementation stages, this can be a result of someone or few people trying to get credit for the expected good results from a certain event or activity.
And an individual or a group of people might want to portray an impression that the good results from the event or that activity were achieved from his, her or their own ideas and efforts. Someone or a group of team members trying to have personal financial gain from an activity can also lead to low and poor co-ordination for unity of purpose.
Such attitudes and selfish motives among some team players frustrate other people’s ideas and innovations; and in the process, erode or destroy co-ordination for unity of purpose.
In co-ordination for unity of purpose, we don’t have the best player (s). All team members have best ideas.
In fact, even if there can be few outstanding personalities put in a certain team or committee to stir and steer ideas, resources and other members’ efforts towards expected results, eventually, everyone’s idea and effort for that purpose matters most.
Therefore, every idea is well scrutinized, debated and accepted or rejected on its merit or lack of it after wide discussion among the team members.
But for some time now, in most Zambian organisations, it’s interesting to watch from the VIP terraces how co-ordination for unity of purpose is done; and what challenges are faced.
Because some members of some organisations want to boast that they are the ones who made their respective organisations achieve its objectives, they want to sideline other members; and bulldoze their ideas in what should be done. Such members always want to show that they know everything. In such members, consulting others is rare or completely absent. Members with such attitudes and motives only give instructions to other members on what is supposed to be done, where, at what time and with which resources.
To avoid arguing or to prevent being accused of causing negative results from a certain process or events, some members might just accept whatever some seemingly ‘I-know-it-all’ personalities and influential team members say and do.
Such situations are also true to some political parties. Therefore, as each political party is preparing for presidential and general elections for the August 11, 2016, it’s critical to promote effective co-ordination for unity of purpose.
Forming committees to facilitate effective consultations and discussions on specific ideas for specific objectives for a party to increase its chances of winning in the forthcoming elections is critical. But sources of ideas shouldn’t be restricted only to members of respective committees; but should come from any member or supporter of a party; and relayed to a respective committee for scrutiny.
One of the critical factors in effective co-ordination for unity of purpose is how political campaign messages are co-ordinated and articulated. Speaking with one convincing voice is helpful. Each key political campaign member should articulate issues in a persuasive and co-ordinated manner with what others say in line with a respective party ideology.
Saying anything in an emotional manner can reverse many strides a party has already made in the eyes of many voters. Respective political party values which attract many votes to the party are also vital in what each member of a political party says and does.
Emotional and haphazard statements against party values and unity of purpose have already started in some political party leaders; and such statements or actions can reduce chances of a political party winning in the forthcoming polls.
To avoid such, like in crisis management, select few members who can accurately, persuasively and effectively articulate issues; and communicate to other members for co-ordinated unity of purpose in whatever is said and done. Choosing anyone to be part of the team; and to co-ordinate programmes in a sensitive or critical situation can lead to loss of unity of purpose.
In political parties, loss of unity of purpose is a sure way of losing in the August 11, 2016 elections.
Therefore, while talking about rigging and where the ballot papers should be printed from is important, it’s equally paramount to seriously consider co-rdination for unity of purpose in a political party because, even without rigging or printing ballot papers where your party leadership wants most, a political party can still lose in the forthcoming elections if its co-ordination for unity of purpose is low and poor.
For effective co-ordination for unity of purpose to achieve desired results in any political party as it prepares for August 11, 2016 presidential and general elections, each political party should also include preventing political violence from occurring before and after the forthcoming elections. Avoiding both uncivil language and political violence should be among the values of each political party before such polls.
Therefore, each political party should ensure that there is timely and effective co-ordination for unity of purpose in its planning and implementation of political campaign activities for it to increase its chances of winning in the August 11, 2016 presidential and general elections.
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