Who is ‘Tok Stret’?
As a girl from a village in Kompri, near Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province, I spent 25 years in Lae working for other people until I followed my dreams and passion to work on improving our PNG people, businesses and industry. That was the inception of Tok Stret Consulting, just on two years ago. ‘Tok Stret’ is a pidgin phrase meaning ‘be honest, true and direct’. In all our programs whether MSME, SME, corporate, land owner or other, our mantra is simple: PEOPLE + PROCESS = PROFIT. Too many business people forget, or ignore, the core asset in their organisations: PEOPLE. Equally, too many senior managers and leaders forget where they came from, how they started, the breaks and opportunities they took – all related to PEOPLE.
We work in a high-tech, ever-evolving world and too often businesses ‘hide’ behind technology. At Tok Stret we believe in cutting-edge and modern processes and technologies but encourage owners and managers to ensure their PEOPLE are trained, passionate and rewarded. Our customers and clients range from start-ups to multi-nationals and we give the same energy, effort, support and preparation to every customer.
Being involved in ICDP has opened my eyes to many opportunities and tools that can improve our country, livelihoods and living conditions of our resourceful, clever and wonderful people.
Helping to see other people excel using their different skill sets is very SATISFYING indeed. We talk of ‘disrupting’ in the use of technology, at Tok Stret we also ‘disrupt’ the norms and conformities expected of and understood by PNG people. We all work to make money and give our children a better life than ours, as our parents did before us. However, sometimes by investing your time or resources to help accomplish someone else’s dream, at no cost, results in phenomenal rewards. If you don’t receive anything in the present life, surely in the life after. I love sharing information, giving that someone a little push to realise their dreams. We say that Knowledge is NOT Power, it is KNOWLEDGE, to be shared, learned from and by. Even though we are effectively a ‘start-up’ ourselves we have several pro-bono clients, this if you like, is our tithe. They have a dream, often no plan or tools and need guidance. Some are businesses going through growth, others going through the challenge of change, competition and yes, disruption.
I’d like to share one of the many inspiring stories we experienced in this journey. This is a small family business that was started by a mum & dad in Lae, Morobe Province, over 30 years ago. The business was involved in ‘secure homes’. It started as a security firm that ventured into locksmithing. One of the longest-serving locksmiths in town. The mum was the core behind the business, and dad – the driver and relationship man. Unfortunately, the matriarch passed away several years ago and the business has struggled to keep up and manage. Two of the sons are involved and as we all know, family in business, anywhere in the world, can be challenging to say the least. Both sons despite having other goals and dreams, re-entered the business to help dad out of loyalty to the family values, a very strong habit in PNG. It has been a delight working with this business taking them through the pitfalls, challenges and setting out plans for technology, modernization and getting back to profit. Our charge to them was nothing for 12 months and only a miniscule amount monthly now. Both sons have intrinsic strengths, and one has taken on learning business principles, customer relations, managing and getting the business back to profit. We are very proud of this young man, the family and the business and it is OUR privilege to work with them and the vicarious pleasure is a reward in itself.
PNG is a diverse, tribal and challenged economy which is considered the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Pacific. APEC opened the worlds’ eyes to the ‘Land of Opportunity’ and new investors, donors, cultures and entrants are shaking up and disrupting across this nation. Some for good, others questionable. Many entrants assume they understand PNG culture and people and they are completely incorrect. Like most other countries, Moresby does not represent the lifestyle, dynamics and challenges of the rest of the country. This is not a negative statement in any shape. At Tok Stret we provide a conduit to the technologies, investors, competitors, and businesses both old and new. We are passionate about what we do, but don’t ask us if are we good, ask our clients who range from MSME to multi-national.
We are planning a real, PNG- comprehensive, professional and pastoral program for Seasonal Workers and Mobility Worker Programs which will put PNG at the forefront of these programs.
In closing, let me state that if you want to disrupt – work on the PEOPLE growth and development.
Julliane owns and manages Tok Stret Consulting Limited (TSCL). Since starting the business in June 2017,Tok Stret has grown to accommodate a wide range of clients, from MSMEs to major PNG corporates and multi-nationals. She completed a Diploma in Business Management in 2018.