Saturday, March 25, 2023

Management lessons from the United Nations

We celebrated United Nations Day. Observed yearly on 24 October, it commemorates the day the United Nations officially came into existence.

Importantly, too, it celebrates how the intergovernmental organisation has played a pivotal role in preserving global peace for close to eight decades.

Founded in 1945 after World War II with just 51 member countries, the UN’s No. 1 mission was to bring the world together and fight war atrocities and human rights abuses.

In the 76 years since its formation, it’s evolved and grown in its magnitude, size and sheer impressiveness.

So how does an organisation now comprising 193 member states with vastly different cultures, ideologies, and languages succeed in getting everyone to work together in a rapidly changing world?

And how can we, as direct sellers in an increasingly borderless world, learn from this vast organisation to triumph in the world of business? Here are five lessons from the UN guaranteed to put you in good stead:

Have a clear vision

Seventy-six years is a long time. And the UN has had to modify, streamline,  and even modernise many of its organisational aims.

Yet, it’s always kept to its four founding purposes — maintaining international peace and security; developing friendly relations among nations; achieving international cooperation; and working to harmonise the actions of nations.

Winning in business, as in life, is often about maintaining a steely focus on clear and specific goals.

How else can an organisation that’s had to deal with crises like the Rwandan genocide and, most recently, COVID-19, continue to bounce back from challenges and even missteps?

Flexibility and compromise are key

With close to 200 member states, conflict is sure to arise. Yet, the UN has always sought shared solutions that work for everyone and for the greater good of humanity.

Finding common ground has never been easy for the organisation. And naturally, even at the very beginning, there were quarrels about the location of its headquarters. So, when New York City was picked as the UN’s host city, a decision was made that some UN agencies would stay in Europe. Compromise.

This flexibility and knowing when to compromise is essential to the organisation’s survival, and would likewise serve your business well.

Effective communications

Mobilising multiple campaigns and relief and peacekeeping missions on top of organising international conferences necessitates thousands of workers performing their functions efficiently.

It’s an understatement to say that the UN’s Department of Global Communications plays a crucial role in ensuring everyone knows just where they’re supposed to be and what they’re supposed to be doing.

And while direct sellers may have considerably smaller networks to manage than the UN, a sound communication strategy with team members and customers will only serve to enhance a marketing professional’s growth.

No such thing as overnight success

True, the UN has charted many firsts since its inception. However, remember, none of this occurred instantaneously.

It, in fact, took years for the organisation to even establish important agencies like the World Health Organization and the United Nations Development Programme.

Many people get into direct selling, believing wrongly that success is easy to come by. But just like building an international organisation, the truth is that triumph in business requires time and effort.

There may even be false steps and stumbles along the way. The key, however, for any entrepreneur is to stay the course and be patient.

All the pieces matter

Often when considering the UN, a disproportionate focus is placed on China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States; the five nations with veto powers in the security council. But while these countries wield considerable authority over security matters, the organisation grants equal opportunities for everyone to shine.

For example, the Food and Agriculture Organization, focused on eradicating hunger, was established in Quebec City, not by one of the Big Five, but following a strong push by the Canadian government.

The lesson here is that everyone in your organisation counts, from one’s uplines and leaders to those just starting out as independent representatives.

Put your faith in people, and, like the UN, you’ll soon see your business rewarded.

habari mpya
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