In the mid-1990s, my career journey took me from journalism into Absa, and helping turn around a reputation then in the gutter. One of the best tools was the Campbell Belman report, a long-standing survey by financial market influencers – investors, research analysts, media – which ranked companies against their peers.
While the science of the survey might have been imperfect, it proved an excellent guide for how our strategy was doing. And as the bank climbed the Campbell Belman rankings, not surprisingly, so did the share price. Most valuable, though, was its independence. It avoided internal perceptions and good news filters that block delivery of the real picture.
I was reminded of this when seeing the latest results of the Homecoming Revolution survey of 2,000 African expats. Of these, 83% are Saffers living in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Of those interviewed, 44% have no intention of returning home. Around a third – 34% – say they do want to. Another 22% are undecided.
Again, the science is probably imperfect. But where the value lies for the new Ramaphosa Administration is in watching the trend. Right now, SA’s reputation is similar to Absa’s circa-1994. Strategies are in place to turn it around. The Homecoming Revolution index looks to be a good way to measure progress. And if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it (and eventually won’t).
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