Development journeys of organisations in the agricultural sector – observations in South-East Africa and insights

by Horst Haller

An old gardener's saying goes: "Grass doesn't grow faster if you pull it". At the Andreas Hermes Akademie, we have consistently adhered to this and developed resourcing concepts, tools and training courses that respect such thinking. Nationally and internationally, proposals are made to those interested in continuing education, which they can use for their own further development. Resources are therefore available, but catalysts and enablers are still needed to provide impetus for development for it all.
AHA Trainer Horst Haller mit lokalen Trainern

For those of us in personal and organisational development, it is becoming clear about enablers that inter alia the ability and will to learn, abstraction skills (i.e. thinking in wider contexts), adaptation and transformation skills, creativity and entrepreneurial attitude (in its literal sense and by no means solely economically) are influential catalysts. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, these profoundly human enablers are themselves also capable of developing. Cultivated and nurtured, they can contribute decisively to the healthy, strong and sustainable growth of individuals and organisations, or conversely, they can also hinder it.

In my support and advisory work in the African context, I have now been able to make observations that I find remarkable and from which we can certainly learn from for our situation in Germany and Europe. We visited small and micro-organisations in rural areas and gained many insights. Wherever there is room for an attitude of taking action and shaping things and this space is actively used, prosperity sets in for the benefit of all concerned and involved. It has the potential to develop dynamically – a dynamic that is based on one’s own skills, a dynamic that reveals itself as “yeast for development”. This attitude creates success and wide-ranging confidence at its core. It becomes the igniter and incubator of new ideas. It is simultaneously a growth engine for individual women and men and for their respective organisations as a whole. Others – outsiders – recognise this. They indicate their readiness to get involved and are sometimes only too happy to do so. They like to jump on the moving “bandwagon of success”.

We also visited large(r) organisations and noticed differences. Where the seeds of “know-what” and “know-how” and the enablers of “thinking big and questioning”, combined with great initiative and the will to learn from others, are thriving, space for dynamism and design is equally created.

Where the seeds are present, but the aforementioned enablers are weak and possibly blocked by thinking in distinct traditional patterns, individual and organisational growth has a hard time. According to the German motto, “My grandfather would do it slowly”, no one checks whether he only acted slowly because he could neither accelerate nor brake.

AHA Trainer Horst Haller mit lokalen Trainern

The medal that we hold in our hands as (systemic) advisers has, as always, two sides.

On the one side, which is just as attractive as the other, it is a matter of sowing the seed of “know-what” and “know-how” and connecting it to the enabler of entrepreneurial activity. We must do everything in our power to ensure that the spirit of acting by oneself and the joy of creation can grow and flourish in all the organisations to which we commit ourselves.

On the other side of the medal, it is important to help ensure that these “role models” are not just celebrated and praised as “enviable benchmarks,” true to the “employee of the month” model. These “role models” are already experts of their “know-what” and “know-how”. Our contribution as developers and consultants can only lie in designing multiplication or expansion models together with our partners on the ground and “multiply the seeds” along the way.

However, this kind of “seed multiplication” needs local or regional cultural skills as fertile soil. Today, I am more convinced than ever that we can become truly successful in our work if we can find this skill in kindred colleagues, cooperate in a fun and enjoyable way and inspire each other.
With our own indispensable empathy, we will unfortunately only be allowed to celebrate partial success. At home and internationally, advisers, trainers and coaches never become part of the system. They are always on the outside, regardless of their own feelings and ability to integrate.


This could be of interest to you: