“If you do not have patience, you cannot make beer.” – African proverb
Building a strong and thriving nation goes beyond physical structures and resources; it requires a foundation of positive intangible attitudes that foster unity, growth and mutual support. In the intricate tapestry of development dynamics, these intangible attitudes play a crucial role in building a resilient and harmonious community. They are the bedrock upon which cooperations and collaborations are built; and that paves the path toward well-being, unity and ultimately, progress. The absence of most of these intangible attitudes within a society can act as a formidable barrier, impeding growth, hindering collaboration, and fracturing the social fabric.
Positive intangible attitudes are the threads that weave together the fabric of a thriving community. When individuals embrace empathy, humility, respect, cooperation and other positive attitudes, they contribute to an environment that nurtures growth, connection and shared progress. These attitudes empower community members to respect opinions and emotions, which create a safe space where everyone feels valued and heard, and subsequently leads to the generation of ideas and solutions to overcome challenges, celebrate achievements, and collectively create a place where everyone can flourish.
Let us use trust as our example. It is a vital element in nation-building. It forms the foundation upon which leaders can inspire, influence and guide their followers toward shared goals. In an environment where people trust one another, they are more likely to come together, share ideas, and work toward common goals. When trust is absent, suspicion and scepticism can breed, leading to reluctance in sharing information or resources. This hampers the synergy needed for collective progress as people become hesitant to engage in joint efforts.
One of the mistakes many leaders make is their eagerness to embark on physical projects at the expense of positive intangible attitudes. But a society’s growth hinges on the attitudes that the people have and showcase in their relationship with the systems, institutions and business entities. Where there are a host of positive attitudes, relationships and transactions flow seamlessly, investments are made with confidence, and entrepreneurship thrives. In contrast, a lack of these positive intangibles can lead to financial instability, decreased investment, and hindered innovation. People might hesitate to engage in economic activities due to fear of exploitation or unfair practices.
Building positive intangible attitudes is a difficult and gradual process that involves consistent actions, open communication, and a genuine commitment to the well-being of the people. But it is an essential ingredient that every leader should embark on because people need to trust, empathise, respect and be open-minded, among other attitudes, to satisfy themselves that whatever policies and actions that are being undertaken are in their best interest. In the absence of such positive attitude, leaders lose their legitimacy, leading to disillusionment, disengagement, and even indiscipline. A society that lacks trust in its leaders and systems can witness a breakdown of law and order, impeding any meaningful progress.
It is no secret that when we talk development, very little resources are made available for the intangible attitudes. Yet they are the ones that play significant roles in enabling social mobility and equal opportunities. In a society where trust and empathy abound, individuals are more likely to believe that their efforts will lead to upward mobility; and that merit and hard work are recognised. However, in a society marked by distrust, social hierarchies can become entrenched, limiting opportunities and hindering social progress. As a matter of fact, people become less innovative because of the belief that reward is not based on merit.
Addressing the absence of positive intangible attitudes within a society requires deliberate and sustained efforts. It would involve nurturing transparency, accountability and fairness within institutions. Effective communication between leaders and citizens, as well as fostering open dialogue among diverse groups, can help rebuild trust. Additionally, emphasising education and media literacy can equip individuals with the tools to discern accurate information, thereby fostering trust in knowledge-sharing platforms…
Intangible attitudes rule us; thus, the absence of positive intangible attitudes within a society has far-reaching implications that hinder progress across multiple dimensions. They do not only act as a lubricant for smooth societal functioning, but also as an essential catalyst for collaboration, innovation and social harmony. As societies strive for growth and development, nurturing a culture of positive intangible attitudes must be a priority, fostering an environment where individuals, institutions and communities can thrive and contribute to the collective advancement of humanity…
Kodwo Brumpon is a partner at Brumpon & Kobla Ltd., a forward-thinking Pan African management consultancy and social impact firm driven by data analytics, with a focus on understanding the extraordinary potential and needs of organisations and businesses to help them cultivate synergies that catapult into their strategic growth and certifies their sustainability.
Comments, suggestions and requests for talks and training should be sent to him at kodwo@brumponand kobla.com