My people…I greet you. These are extraordinary times…so an extraordinary shout to you.
This is a version of a note that I drop on my graduating MBAs every year at the African Leadership University School of Business, and it does have some serious elements of fashi-sm loaded in it, so I figured…why not drop it in here, eh?
So, let us break it down something something here.
Current events across the board have put leadership in full view, really putting the spotlight on what these so-called leaders are really not.
Leaders right now are not winning, the lack of courage and vision has been quite acute. I’m a big student of leadership, and one really powerful thing that’s been popping up in my leadership sojourns, especially in the corporate and entrepreneurial arenas, is that many times what is pointed at as leadership development is actually the development of excellent sheep.
Excellent sheep as in top-notch bureaucrats.
Excellent sheep as in world-class hoop jumpers, as laid out in one of the most powerful talks I have seen on the subject.
Excellent sheep as in folks who only know how to keep the routine going. Folks who can answer questions, but don’t know how to ask them. Folks who can fulfill goals, but don’t know how to set goals. Folks who think about how to get things done, but not whether these things are even worth doing in the first place.
That last piece is what really drives a lot of the wahala that is so pervasive these days. Many of us are not starting. We’re not taking that first step—wary and challenging yes—but a step forward. We’re not stepping up. It is challenging to look in the mirror and confront that we may be excellent protectors of the status quo, when we could be asking and working on—should we be doing this or that; should we be solving this problem; is this problem one worth solving; what is the root issue here; and under what scenarios do they play out?
Many assert the awesomeness and freedom of entrepreneurship. I am not one of them. It ain’t for everybody, and in fact it ain’t for most people. It has been a roller coaster of emotional and financial roller coasters, my therapist goes to her therapist just to exorcise my entrepreneurial madness from her system. However, there has to be a concerted effort to be entrepreneurial in our thinking, our focal points, or interactions, thinking for ourselves, for true leadership to shine in these here times. And there is evidence that thinking for yourself means finding yourself, grabbing your own reality, allowing that entrepreneurial side to push you to be introspective, figure things out in your head, and then unleash on the world.
And not to engage mindlessly on FB or Twitter, on social media platforms where you marinate in conventional wisdom, in other people’s reality (man, I love that line...I wish I came up with it).
So, I pose these thought provokers at you, especially at this pivotal moment in our times:
- Opportunities will present themselves to you...will you have the courage to do what’s right when the time comes? Will you even know what the right thing is? Are you mentally geared up?
- “It requires a strong constitution to withstand repeated attacks of prosperity.” This is a core tenet for me personally. When things are rolling for me, I make sure I corral any big headedness and stay even-keeled, and keep pushing as I know adversity is right around the corner. As we embark on our journeys, it is not just how we handle adversity that defines us as leaders or entrepreneurs. The question is, how will you handle prosperity? What weapons are in your arsenal to stay focused when things are going really well?
I beg your indulgence, I get quite hyped up about sharing with my people and also my desire to help folks deploy every weapon possible to outfit your arsenal.
Do your thing. Let me be gone.
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