A Tale Of Two Empires

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A exploration and examination of the management lessons to be drawn from the lifespan and circumstances of the Roman and Ashanti Empires.

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A Tale Of Two Empires

  1. 1. THE TALE OF TWO EMPIRES LESSONS FOR BUSINESSES AND ORGANISATIONS
  2. 2. THE ROMAN EMPIRE DECAYING FROM WITHIN
  3. 3. THE SPREAD OF THE EMPIRE <ul><li>Geographic Expansion </li></ul><ul><li>Increased Market Share </li></ul><ul><li>Superior Organisational Competences </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholder Connectivity </li></ul><ul><li>Superior Organisational Capabilities </li></ul>
  4. 4. FROM START TO FALL <ul><li>Generally speaking Rome began in about 625 BC. </li></ul><ul><li>The date for the fall of the Empire was in AD 476 when the last emperor, Romulus Augustus, was ousted. </li></ul><ul><li>A total period of 1,101 years. </li></ul>
  5. 5. THE REASONS FOR THE RISE <ul><li>Rome's most potent weapon was 'enfranchisement' . </li></ul><ul><li>It brought upon territories the rights and privileges of Roman citizenship , or at least good government, security and a reasonable justice system. </li></ul><ul><li>People preferred to be ruled by Rome. The alternatives were either wild barbarians to the north or tyrannies to the east and south. </li></ul><ul><li>Kings without heirs left their kingdoms to the Romans, seeing Rome as the best government of their people after their own death. </li></ul><ul><li>The famous Roman army was also a major contributor to the building of the empire. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>There were many reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire. Each one intertwined with the next. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Organisational Decay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Political Fractions & In-fighting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Failure to Adapt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Political & Economic Corruption </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decline in Morals & Values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Military Spending </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inferior Technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor Economic Management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unemployment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor Public Health </li></ul></ul>THE REASONS FOR THE FALL
  7. 7. INFERIOR TECHNOLOGY <ul><li>During the last 400 years of the empire, the scientific achievements of the Romans were limited almost entirely to engineering and the organization of public services. </li></ul><ul><li>They built marvelous roads, bridges, and aqueducts. They established the first system of medicine for the benefit of the poor. </li></ul><ul><li>But since the Romans relied so much on human and animal labor, they failed to invent many new machines or find new technology to produce goods more efficiently. </li></ul><ul><li>They were no longer conquering other civilizations and adapting their technology, they were actually losing territory they could not longer maintain with their legions. </li></ul><ul><li>UNSUSTAINABLE EXPANSION </li></ul><ul><li>COMPLEX SYSTEMS & PROCESSES </li></ul><ul><li>UNSUSTAINABLE REVENUE STREAM </li></ul>
  8. 8. POLITICAL CORRUPTION <ul><li>One of the most difficult problems was choosing a new emperor. Unlike Greece where transition may not have been smooth but was at least consistent, the Romans never created an effective system to determine how new emperors would be selected. </li></ul><ul><li>The choice was always open to debate between the old emperor, the Senate, the Praetorian Guard (the emperor's's private army), and the army. </li></ul><ul><li>Gradually, the Praetorian Guard gained complete authority to choose the new emperor, who rewarded the guard who then became more influential, perpetuating the cycle. </li></ul><ul><li>Within a period of 100 years from 186 A. D. Rome had 37 different emperors - 25 of whom were removed from office by assassination. </li></ul><ul><li>GOVERNANCE & ORGANISATIONAL DECAY </li></ul>
  9. 9. POOR ECONOMC MANAGEMENT <ul><li>The Roman economy suffered from inflation (an increase in prices) beginning after the reign of Marcus Aurelius. </li></ul><ul><li>Once the Romans stopped conquering new lands, the flow of gold into the Roman economy decreased. Yet much gold was being spent by the Romans to pay for luxury items. </li></ul><ul><li>This meant that there was less gold to use in coins. As the amount of gold used in coins decreased, the coins became less valuable. </li></ul><ul><li>To make up for this loss in value, merchants raised the prices on the goods they sold. Many people stopped using coins and began to barter to get what they needed. </li></ul><ul><li>Eventually, salaries had to be paid in food and clothing, and taxes were collected in fruits and vegetables. </li></ul><ul><li>UNSUSTAINABLE VALUE CREATION </li></ul>
  10. 10. UNEMPLOYMENT <ul><li>During the latter years of the empire farming was done on large estates called latifundia that were owned by wealthy men who used slave labor. </li></ul><ul><li>A farmer who had to pay workmen could not produce goods as cheaply. Many farmers could not compete with these low prices and lost or sold their farms. </li></ul><ul><li>This not only undermined the citizen farmer who passed his values to his family, but also filled the cities with unemployed people. </li></ul><ul><li>At one time, the emperor was importing grain to feed more than 100,000 people in Rome alone. These people were not only a burden but also had little to do but cause trouble and contribute to an ever increasing crime rate. </li></ul><ul><li>LOSS OF COMPETITIVENESS & SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY </li></ul>
  11. 11. MILITARY SPENDING <ul><li>Maintaining an army to defend the border of the Empire from barbarian attacks was a constant drain on the government. </li></ul><ul><li>Military spending left few resources for other vital activities, such as providing public housing and maintaining quality roads and aqueducts. </li></ul><ul><li>Frustrated Romans lost their desire to defend the Empire. The empire had to begin hiring soldiers recruited from the unemployed city mobs or worse from foreign counties. </li></ul><ul><li>Such an army was not only unreliable, but very expensive. The emperors were forced to raise taxes frequently which in turn led again to increased inflation. </li></ul><ul><li>DECLINING ORGANISATIONAL CAPABILITY </li></ul><ul><li>POOR RETURN ON INVESTMENTS </li></ul>
  12. 12. URBAN DECAY <ul><li>Wealthy Romans lived in a domus, or house, with marble walls, floors with intricate colored tiles, and windows made of small panes of glass. </li></ul><ul><li>Most Romans, however, were not rich, They lived in small smelly rooms in apartment houses with six or more stories called islands. At one time there were 44,000 apartment houses within the city walls of Rome. First-floor apartments were occupied by the rich who could afford it. </li></ul><ul><li>The upper apartments that the poor rented were hot, dirty, crowed, and dangerous. </li></ul><ul><li>Anyone who could not pay the rent was forced to move out and live on the crime-infested streets. Because of this cities began to decay. </li></ul><ul><li>LOSS OF EMPATHY </li></ul>
  13. 13. PUBLIC HEALTH <ul><li>There were many public health and environmental problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Many of the wealthy had water brought to their homes through lead pipes leading to poisoning. The wealthy death rate was very high. </li></ul><ul><li>The large congregations of people at the Coliseum spread diseases. </li></ul><ul><li>Many lived on the streets. </li></ul><ul><li>Alcohol use increased as well adding to the depravity of the general public. </li></ul><ul><li>POOR WELLFARE & WELLBEING OF PEOPLE </li></ul>
  14. 14. DECLINE IN MORALS & VALUES <ul><li>Those morals and values that kept together the Roman legions and thus the empire could not be maintained towards the end of the empire. </li></ul><ul><li>Violent crimes made the streets of the larger cities unsafe. </li></ul><ul><li>Even during PaxRomana there were 32,000 prostitutes in Rome. </li></ul><ul><li>Some emperors became infamous for wasting money on lavish parties where guests ate and drank until they became ill. </li></ul><ul><li>The most popular amusement was watching the gladiatorial combats in the Colosseum. These were attended by the poor, the rich, and frequently the emperor himself. As gladiators fought, vicious cries and curses were heard from the audience. </li></ul><ul><li>LOSS OF VALUES, CULTURE & BEHAVIOUR </li></ul>
  15. 15. THE FINAL BLOWS <ul><li>For years, the well-disciplined Roman army held the barbarians of Germany back. </li></ul><ul><li>Then in the third century A. D. the Roman soldiers were pulled back from the Rhine-Danube frontier to fight civil war in Italy. This left the Roman border open to attack. Gradually Germanic hunters and herders from the north began to overtake Roman lands in Greece and Gaul (later France). </li></ul><ul><li>Then in 476 A. D. a Germanic general overthrew the last of the Roman Emperors, Augustulus Romulus. From then on the western part of the Empire was ruled by Germanic chieftain. </li></ul><ul><li>Roads and bridges were left in disrepair and fields left untilled. Pirates and bandits made travel unsafe. Cities could not be maintained without goods from the farms, trade and business began to disappear. </li></ul>
  16. 16. LESSONS FOR TODAY <ul><li>The factors that caused the internal decay of the Roman Empire continue to impact organisations today </li></ul><ul><li>The Organisations which will win are those that: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect core fundamentals; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Financing Fundamentals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Existing Business Assets - Consumers, Customers, Trade, Brands and People </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Organisational Capabilities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Organisational Differentiation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are change-oriented; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Possess agility and absorption capacities; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are open to creative destruction; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have capacity to innovate; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Invest for the future. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. THE ASHANTI KINGDOM EMBRACING FOR GROWTH & SUSTAINABILITY
  18. 19. THE TIMELINE OF THE KINGDOM <ul><li>The Kingdom was founded in the seventeenth century by King Osei Tutu I with the help of his Fetish Priest Okomfo Anokye </li></ul><ul><li>Although located in the heart of the forest, the Ashanti Kingdom was extended by military and political skill towards the coast to the south, and also towards the north. </li></ul><ul><li>Between 1823 and 1896, the British fought four wars with the Ashanti Kings. Kumasi was captured by the British Army in 1873 </li></ul><ul><li>After a final uprising in 1901, led by the Queen Mother of Ejisu (Yaa Asantewaa) Asante came into British Protection and finally became a region of the Gold Coast colony. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1926 the Asantehene was given ceremonial control </li></ul><ul><li>over Kumasi and in 1935 the full role of leader of the </li></ul><ul><li>Ashanti people was restored. </li></ul><ul><li>Today, the Ashanti Kingdom, with its traditional </li></ul><ul><li>headquarters in Kumasi, has undergone a lot of </li></ul><ul><li>transformations over the years. </li></ul>
  19. 20. ORGANISATION <ul><li>The Ashanti were an ethnic subgroup of Akan-speaking people, </li></ul><ul><li>made up of small chiefdoms.  </li></ul><ul><li>Osei Tutu and his priest Komfo Anokye, unified the independent chiefdoms into the most powerful political and military state in the coastal region. </li></ul><ul><li>They organized the Asante union, an alliance of Akan-speaking people who were now loyal to a central authority and made Kumasi the capital of the new empire. </li></ul><ul><li>A constitution was created and the army was reorganized and centralized. </li></ul><ul><li>The government of Ashanti is shaped like a pyramid. There is one king and he heads the Ashanti Confederacy Council, a group made of paramount chiefs. A paramount chief presides over district chiefs. A district chief presides over a District Council of Elders, which is made up of sub-chiefs. Villages are brought together by a sub-chief. Within every village there is a village head council made up of all the heads of households </li></ul><ul><li>Gold was the major product of the Ashanti Empire and the mines were made royal possessions. </li></ul><ul><li>Gold dust was made the circulating currency in the empire used particularly by the evolving wealthy merchant class. </li></ul>
  20. 21. KINGDOM GROWTH <ul><li>The Ashanti went from being a tributary state, to a </li></ul><ul><li>confederation of states, and ultimately a centralized hierarchical kingdom. </li></ul><ul><li>The Ashanti Empire economy depended on the gold trade in the 1700s, by the early 1800s it had become a major exporter of enslaved people. </li></ul><ul><li>In exchanged the Ashanti received luxury items and some manufactured goods including most importantly firearms. </li></ul><ul><li>As a results of the slave trade, the Ashanti Empire was in a perpetual state of war involving expansion or defense of its domain.  </li></ul><ul><li>The kingdom expanded on the back of these wars </li></ul><ul><li>However, the constant warfare also weakened the Empire against the British who eventually became their main adversary. </li></ul>
  21. 22. CULTURE <ul><li>The kingdom encouraged the integration and co-existence of diverse cultures </li></ul><ul><li>As a result the kingdom nurtured a rich heritage filled with honour, prestige, wealth, culture, and stability. </li></ul><ul><li>The kingdom created a new cultural festival, Odwira, which symbolized the new union. </li></ul>
  22. 23. <ul><li>No nation on the Gold Coast of West Africa excelled the Ashanti in the scale of their military organization and activity. </li></ul><ul><li>A small core of professional warriors was supplemented by peasant levies, volunteers and contingents from allied or tributary tribes. </li></ul><ul><li>The Ashanti national army was elaborately organized into sub-divisions. </li></ul><ul><li>This enabled the Ashanti generals to manoeuvre their forces with flexibility and individualized acts of daring were encouraged </li></ul><ul><li>The Ashanti army also deployed units of medical personnel behind the main forces </li></ul><ul><li>Grouped together under competent commanders the army expanded the Ashanti empire, moving from deep inland to the edges of the Atlantic. </li></ul>MILITARY MIGHT
  23. 24. <ul><li>Aligned Leadership at all levels - Strong allegiance </li></ul><ul><li>Maintenance of the core values, traditions and disciplines of the kingdom </li></ul><ul><li>Integration of other cultures and inclusiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Willingness to learn from others </li></ul><ul><li>Strong external trade ties </li></ul><ul><li>Rigorous succession planning - nurturing and growing leaders </li></ul>LESSONS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM

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