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Introspection

This value is as critical for individuals as it is for organisations. You stop looking internally, learn and adapt, you die.Thinking

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Diversity, a strength to survive

One for all and all for one

One for all and all for one

As a way of demonstrating what it’s about, I thought we would share the heart-warming tale of the porcupine and its survival this warm Saturday evening.

It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold. The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions even though they gave off heat to each other.

After a while, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.

Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. This way they learned to live with the little wounds that were caused by the close relationship with their companion, but the most important part of it, was the heat that came from the others.
This way they were able to survive.

Moral of the story:
The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but the best is when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities. We thrive in our diversity and it’s in the differences that we are the most complete.

The Moral of the story……….LEARN TO LOVE THE IMPERFECTIONS IN YOUR LIFE!

Leadership complexity

It all hangs on leadership

It all hangs on leadership

An amazing analogy of effective leadership is demonstrated in the Good to Great(Collins et al). It’s key to note that leadership is not about warm and fuzzy. In fact, it’s about strength of character in being able to stand for something while being able to guard yourself against arrogance that could be created by that same conviction.

According to Collins et al, there are five attributes that typify a true Leader:
They are self-confident enough to set up their successors for success.
They are humble and modest.
They have “unwavering resolve.”
They display a “workmanlike diligence – more plow horse than show horse.”
They give credit to others for their success and take full responsibility for poor results.
They “attribute much of their success to ‘good luck’ rather than personal greatness.”

It is my wish that the dangerously risky task of leading humanity continues to draw on the strength that is heart leadership and all efforts will be expended to cultivate and nurture such through this medium.

Leadership, a dangerous undertaking

In attempting to discuss the person of Jesus Christ in the context of leadership, it is important to specify that both historical accounts and structural records do not project Christ as a warm and fuzzy character that has come to be the theme of most sermons. Jesus Christ was and is the epitome of leading change.

Firstly, those involved in the process of leading change will tell you that it is one of the most difficult roles a human being can attempt. This is so because as human beings, we hate change even though admitting so is politically incorrect. So we resist moving from our comfort zones especially when the next zone does not guarantee comfort upfront.

So Jesus Christ introduces an ideology that challenges the established Jewish religious foundation while at the same time declaring himself the son of the living God. This makes his mission dangerous for itself and for him as the face of it.

See more at: http://www.spiritdominion.com

Leadership, risky business!

Leading: The art of getting people focused on an idealized future and moving full steam in that direction. This art has been written about so much that a search for the word leadership brings out 499 million records in 27 seconds on Google.

Key in unpacking the concept is accepting that to lead is to live dangerously! Every day, in every facet in life, opportunities to lead call out to us. At work and home, in our local communities and in the global village, the chance to make a difference beckons. Yet most of us often hesitate. For all its passion and promise, for all its excitement and rewards, leading is risky, dangerous work! Why you would ask. Because real leadership -the kind that surfaces conflict, challenges long held beliefs, and demands new ways of doing things – causes pain. And when people feel threatened, they take aim at the person pushing for change. As a result, leaders often get hurt both personally and professionally. It is my wish that through this medium and other platforms, we will learn to understand that for those of us that are called to lead others, putting ourselves on the line, responding to the risks and living to celebrate our efforts is all in a day’s work

The concept of leadership has more followers and equally experts than most subjects with each publication building on already established ones. This piece does not seek to add to the amount of writing that has been done on the subject, but rather will seek to give my take on the discipline of leading others using Jesus Christ as the model leader. In order to embark on the content properly, it is crucial to accept that the question of nature vs. nurture is key and needs to be resolved up front.

There are people who are born with a gift to lead while there is also a large body of knowledge that seeks to teach the discipline of leading. Both these are crucial as some aspects of leading (for instance values or charisma) may prove difficult to teach while others may easily be taught (for instance the management aspects of leadership). So, are leaders born or made? It depends on what your DNA came programmed with and what social conditions you are raised under!

The humility in leading

Madiba

Madiba

After all is said and done, humility is a great quality of leadership which derives respect and not just fear or hatred. In both public office and corporate leadership power could be dangerous in the absence of humility.

Leading with courage

The courage of leadship

The courage of leadship

Often I am perplexed at how much those of us in positions of influence (structurally speaking) miss the mark in terms of what the art of leadership is especially in direct comparison to those without the formal positions of influence.

As often mentioned, I am firm a believer in leadership being a state of being rather than what we do. In other words who we are comes before what we do. It is in the moments when the formal power layers have been taken off that we see the real person. Sometimes the titles we are formally given make us not be who we are and thus rob the world of an opportunity to experience the greatness we are.

One thing I have come to appreciate is that leadership begins with the heart. A heart that is consistent in allowing the leader to live steadily while moving among the team. A heart that is contrite enough to allow humility and willingness to show humanity regardless of who witnesses it. A type of heart that is courageous enough to chart the right path without shrinking from doing the right thing.

A leader should be able to communicate his/her convictions regardless of what the implications. We have many great examples of those who led with conviction (our very own Madiba, Ghandi, Marcus Garvey, Patrice Lumumba, Martin Luther King and others are often referred to in this context).

They are committed to a course regardless of how unpopular that may be. And finally they are totally captivated by what they believe in so much so that it matters not if that survives them (being ready to die for an idea that will live than live for an idea that will die).

A few of my favourite quotes

 

JB_favourite_quotes

The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

                                                                                          To add value to others, one must first value others. – John Maxwell

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  – Winston Churchill

           The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.   John Buchan

The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it. Theodore Roosevelt

      I think leadership comes from integrity – that you do whatever you ask others to do. I think there are non-obvious ways to lead. Just by providing a good example as a parent, a friend, a neighbor makes it possible for other people to see better ways to do things. Leadership does not need to be a dramatic, fist in the air and trumpets blaring, activity. Scott Berkun

The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don’t think “I.” They think “we”; they think “team.” They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done. Peter Drucker

This saying is trustworthy: “If someone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a goodwork.” The overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not a drunkard, not violent, but gentle, not contentious, free from the love of money. He must manage his own householdwell and keep his children in control without losing his dignity. But if someone does notknow how to manage his own household, how will he care for the church of God? He must not be a recent convert or he may become arrogant and fall into the punishment that the devilwill exact. And he must be well thought of by those outside the faith, so that he may notfall into disgrace and be caught by the devil’s trap.  1 Timothy 3:1-7

Do not seek your own good, but the good of the other person.1 Corinthians 10:24

How does the gospel save me?

It’s often difficult to accept and truly believe that all we need is to believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is complete and sufficient for us. That all we will ever need is contained in the story of Jesus and in there we find the means to an end and the end itself.

I have recently woken up to the reality that is the gospel and really got sold to its truth. As I start to understand the person of Jesus and understand him as totally God even though he lived as a human man in a historical context at a specific geographical space. Through me seeing Jesus as depicted in 2 Cor 4:4-6 I get to accept and live as though the gospel is the whole truth. In this acceptance, I also get to unmask the character that the world has turned him into: contrary to popular belief and accepted world view.

In the acceptance, I discard the view that makes him a man of weakness who avoids conflict at all costs. It also means taking a view that says: He is not a moral teacher seen along the same lines as Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr or our very own Nelson Mandela. Also He is no spiritual guru to be quoted and used to feed our inflated need to sound wise. Jesus is not a mythical character that lacks relevance to reality or a fictional abstract creature that cannot relate with real humans that walk the earth. In this acceptance, I also experience the light of the gospel shinning through to me which then moves me from blindness to sight which makes John Newton make sense in his Amazing Grace song.

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…” So begins one of the most beloved hymns of all times. The author of the words, John Newton, was the self-proclaimed wretch who once was lost but then was found, saved by amazing grace of God Abba Father.

Newton was born in London July 24, 1725, the son of a commander of a merchant ship which sailed the Mediterranean seas. When John was eleven, he went to sea with his father and made six voyages with him before the elder Newton retired. In 1744 John was impressed into service on a man-of-war. Finding conditions on board intolerable, he deserted but was soon recaptured and publicly flogged and demoted from midshipman to common seaman.

Finally at his own request he was exchanged into service on a slave ship, which took him to the coast of Sierra Leone in Africa. He then became the servant of a slave trader and was brutally abused. Early in 1748 he was rescued by a sea captain who had known John’s father. John Newton ultimately became captain of his own ship, one which plied the slave trade.

Although he had had some early religious instruction from his mother, who had died when he was a child, he had long since given up any religious convictions. However, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as his “great deliverance.” He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he exclaimed, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Later in his cabin he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him.

For the rest of his life he observed the anniversary of May 10, 1748 as the day of his conversion, a day of humiliation in which he subjected his will to a higher power. Total surrender to God and the acceptance of the gospel of Jesus Christ as the only truth also denotes being sold to the reality that Jesus is God and only He can safe me from the highway to hell (in other words, unless I believe in him I will perish but if I do believe I will have eternal life).

Leadership is about generosity, not greed!

20140111-130505.jpg Revisiting your leadership approach is about looking at things through different lenses and from fresh perspectives. In that light, consider this: knowing when to say you have enough is also about being generous. When you push away from the table, you give others an opportunity to get a share of the pie. Using your size to gobble up everything in sight limits what others can do. Most corporate leaders are in a tough spot on this one, stuck between the rock of needing to make a living and the hard place of wanting to control their appetite. Watch that selfish appetite, it may be contrary to the role of leading others!