|Wednesday, 27 June 2012 21:51|
A few weeks ago my friends Chris and Alister, my four-year-old son and I decided to have our food before fishing at Darwendale Dam, which is common practice with all fishermen. We sat down near the launching jet and as we were eating there were some baboons and monkeys that were playing on a nearby rock. One of the monkeys picked out the weakest link in our group and took aim at my son’s plate and snatched away his quarter chicken. The monkey maximised on the opportunity presented to it.
Though this spoiled the day for my son, it created a fine opportunity for the monkey.
What is meant by opportune time?
All opportunities are a function of time. Time is divided into Kairos and Chronos. Chronos is the time that governs the diary and is sometimes referred to as the clock. Kairos refers to the opportune time.
Kairos refers to the window of opportunity that may lead to many other opportunities being opened.
One opportunity at times leads to several other opportunities.
When Jesus was passing by the pool of Bethseda he saw a man (who could not walk) who was waiting for his opportune time for 38 years (John 5 verse 5).
He had no one to assist him to take advantage of the opportunity when the water in the pool was troubled. By waiting at the place where healing could take place, it also created an opportunity for him to be healed by Jesus.
Understanding the time is the prerequisite of knowing what to do with the opportunity presented to you.
When one is in the habit of assessing time, one can end up understanding the implications of change in his or her life at any given time.
Many company failures in Zimbabwe (after dollarisation) have been caused by failure to comprehend the full implication of a dollarised economy on their businesses.
Many corporate failures before the dollarisation era can be attributed to failure to understand the importance of high gearing during high inflationary time.
It is crucial to understand your association with different people at a given time. People who are in your proximity always present the opportune time.
What is implied by maximising an opportunity?
To maximise an opportunity is to take advantage of it. It might refer to a favourable circumstance which one can take advantage of at the lowest cost. It might refer to using most efficient effort to bring maximum rewards.
It appears the monkey prepared adequately before it snatched my son’s chicken. It must have done its homework and realised that fishermen sometimes have their food before they launch their boats.
The preparation included taking strategic positions when the fishermen are having their meals as well as understanding how to effectively deal with weak points.
More importantly, the monkey put a reasonable amount of effort to fully utilise its opportunity.
Though the monkey maximised its opportunity by denying my son his chicken, it is unethical to maximise one’s opportunity by short-changing customers, cheating or by exploiting others.
Categories of opportunities
Opportunities can be categorised into two sets. These are predictable opportunities and random opportunities.
The baboons and monkeys hang around the launching jet because they understand that they can snatch food from fishermen at this place.
They came to a conclusion that there are opportunities for grabbing food after presumably observing many fishermen eating at this place over a long period of time. These are called predictable opportunities.
Similarly, if a person completes a teacher’s training programme, he can easily take advantage of opportunities that arises if there is a vacancy for a teacher whose qualifications are similar to his or hers. Random opportunities are what is referred to in Shona as “zvamukira mumakumbo”.
These are opportunities, which occur but have not been anticipated or planned for. This type of opportunity avails itself to anyone. For instance, the discovery of diamonds in Chiadzwa a couple of years ago.
The discovery provided a random opportunity for people living in Chiadzwa.
This can be very rewarding but in some cases difficult to fully utilise the opportunity because of very low level of preparedness and lower risk assessment.
This type of opportunity creates wealth (in most cases), which comes easily and is also lost easily.
I wonder whether there are more than three millionaires (to date) who have emerged from Chiadzwa village.
In such cases you normally get the rags to riches and back to rags scenario because this type of opportunity gives an impression of a perpetual flow of resources such that opportunity beneficiaries’ spending habits will increase drastically without a corresponding increase in savings.
In some instances opportunities arise randomly and in some such opportunities are presented by fraudsters who offer you an avenue to make money quickly.
They realise that people are so taken to get rich quickly and are therefore tempted by any scheme that has potential to give them “rich pickings”.
In most cases they create an atmosphere of over familiarisation with you to weaken your alertness and defence.
You will be made to witness a deal with ridiculously high returns so that you will be tempted to find a way of maximising your returns in the process or partnering in this “lucrative deal”.
Ultimately after some bargaining processes you will be asked to securitise the deal of these strangers.
To cut the long process short you will lose your security (either money or property) to these fraudsters. This fake opportunity is at times referred to as “bosh”.
The pyramid scheme of the mid-1990s is a typical example where people who started the scheme got “rich pickings” while those who joined towards the end got their fingers burnt. Therefore opportunities present favourable and unfavourable results.
How then do we reduce our exposure to unfavourable opportunities?
Opportunities require risk assessment. As shown above not all opportunities bring favourable results.
An attempt to maximise opportunities without assessing the risk can bring unfavourable results.
Substantial effort needs to be invested in risk analysis and assessment so that one can reap substantial results.
As much as we all want to maximise opportunities, it is important to invest substantial effort in risk management to ameliorate potential losses which might arise from potential opportunities.
The writer is a managing consultant at CLC Training International. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org