Friday, January 13, 2012

Subsidy, Leadership and Change: Managing Change as a Leader by Atoyebi Oyelere

Ken Blanchard, the author of the popular book “One Minute Manager” while commenting on a book (Who moved my cheese) by Spencer Johnson said “Everyone knows that not all change is good or even necessary. But in a world that is constantly changing, it is to our advantage to learn how to adapt and enjoy something better”. My belief is that the essence of leadership is initiating and managing change.

If I can say it a thousand times more, I would continue to say it the way it has always been said, the menace of underdevelopment in Africa is basically an outgrowth of the bane of incompetency in leadership. As the fight for the removal/continuance of the subsidy of petrol (PMS) enters the fifth day, my reflections have not been about the economic justifications or moral sanity of the whole episode of the drama, the imbroglio and brouhaha generated, but from the angle of a student, I’ve garnered practical lessons in leadership:

1. You don’t introduce change as a leader where you are not trusted. The basis for every credible leadership is trust and before any meaningful journey could be embarked upon, credibility is the first point of reckoning.

2. Wisdom is the diligent combination of the correctness of a decision and the appropriateness of the timing for the implementation of such decision. If I could go mathematical: Wisdom= 80% Appropriate Timing+ 20% Correctness of the decision.

3. A change imposed is a change opposed….an organization can only change when enough people in it change. If you can work on people’s mind long enough, then you can make the necessary impact (change) in their situation after they have seen where they fit in, in the big picture. If people carry the mindset of Egypt into Canaan, they would soon change Canaan into Egypt. Capital development without human (manpower) development is a waste of resources.

4. Leaders don’t just set goals, they set standards…Any leader who demands from others, what he himself has not shown to sacrifice is only seen as a tyrant, no matter the “nobility” of the cause he/she proves to be pursuing. The defining characteristic of a leader is sacrifice….not what you acquire, but that which you give.

5. Leaders have a clear sense of communication. It is when the people see how change can make things better that they get more interested in making the change happen. It is when the desire for the new level is greater than the comfort the status quo offers that change is birthed!

6. Leaders know that defining changes that are very critical to his people are not made drastically. They are gradually introduced over time. Also, major changes are not made in times of instabilities or upheavals. You don’t need a prophet to tell you that such change would be opposed. It is puerile to make major economic decisions in times of political and social hullabaloo, not to talk of precarious security situation. Insecure people would never support change!

7. If someone calls you a donkey, don’t pay any attention to it, but if five people call you a donkey, go buy a saddle. When change is being resisted, it is either you are wrong or they are hurt. I believe leaders who have shaped their world are always in the minority, but they are never detached from the feelings of the majority, except the decision to be made is a personal one.

8. Americans rejected the privatisation of social security despite former President George Bush’s country-wide advocacy for it. Bush latter shelved the policy. Leaders are sufficiently grounded and understand the game well enough to know that just like in a team sport, personal awards and accolades are a CONSEQUENCE rather than an OBJECTIVE. Leaders don’t lose if they give in to the wish of the people “temporarily” to later win in the end; it is just an avenue to show how paramount the interest of the people is to them.

9. Honesty is still the best policy…any leader who applies the principle of double standard WOULD NEVER gain the trust of his people…if there are cabals in any organization that are above the rule, then the revolt by those classified as under the rule is only a function of time. The scale of injustice is never permanently at rest, it is like a pendulum, many at times activated by the wind of change!

As we occupy our dear country till the desired change comes…Please let us learn from what you are learning at this critical period of our nation

Saturday, January 7, 2012


If we have our own working refinery, we wont even be talking of subsidy, if we have working electricity the cost of production will not go up unbearably every time there is an increase in fuel price, if there is economic development with focus on people freedom, employment, social security and human security there wont be unnecessary hardship on the people of Nigeria.Agricultural sector is still neglected remember? The late Obafemi Awolowo must be sad about this. If we even take this argument further, if our 'leaders' can start the sacrifice by cutting their salaries and other benefits and pumping the money saving from this into the country's development, they will be such good heroes. If our 'leaders' have a slight clue on tackling corruption starting from themselves and reforming our security sector, may be we can start listening to their legal, economic or moral justification to remove fuel subsidy. Nuf said!
My Passion, my focus, the change that I want to see in the world - is my propellent factor.

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