A common saying is that no one plans to fail. No political, business or corporate leader plans to fail. They all hope to excel. They all hope to leave excellent legacies behind as monuments of history. But the truth is that many of them fail to plan and they ended up in calamitous failures. The truth is that they have no vision of where they are going or taking their organisations to.
They forget that the leader is the lonely man on the apex of the mountain. From that vantage topmost position, he ought to see farther and further than anyone in that country or organisation. He should see ahead of anyone, likely opportunities, and at the same time, likely threats. He is therefore in a very privileged position to prepare to take advantage of the impending opportunities or to combat the impending threats and challenges.
Of course the leader must be visionary and his head must be high up in the air, full of ideas of the good that he wants to bestow on his country. But as Henry Kissinger warns, his feet must be rooted in the realities on the ground. Otherwise he might be blown away. On the other hand, he may envision plans and strategies that are completely out of tune with contemporary realities.
In all these, that leader must be good in taking good decisions for his people. It is in decision making that many leaders fail. Some leaders often take decisions on the basis of knee-jerk reactions to situations. Such leaders cannot be proactive. They always have unconscious and involuntary reactions to events and issues. They don’t think through the consequences of their actions nor possible alternatives to the course of action they want to take. They react to situations like a person who sits suddenly on nails or pins. Such leaders never think through their actions or plans.
There are leaders who in the words of an author, Charles Lindblom, just MIDDLE THROUGH. They have no clearly defined vision or goal. They only waffle and shuffle along, without any defined plans. How can you build a beautiful mansion without an architectural design, which ought to be an embodiment of your vision for the house? Let me refer to how Jesus Christ put in Luke 14:28-30. “FOR WHICH OF YOU, INTENDING TO BUILD A TOWER SITS DOWN NOT FIRST, AND COUNTS THE COST, WHETHER HE HATH SUFFICIENT TO FINISH IT. LEST HAPLY, AFTER HE HAS LAID THE FOUNDATION, AND IS NOT ABLE TO FINISH IT, ALL WHO BEHOLD IT BEGIN TO MOCK HIM. SAYING, THIS MAN BEGINS, AND IS NOT ABLE TO FINISH IT”.
JESUS CHRIST had a better and more graphic illustration. He said “OR WHAT KING, GOING TO MAKE WAR AGAINST ANOTHER SITS NOT DOWN FIRST, AND CONSULTS WHETHER HE BE ABLE WITH TEN THOUSAND TO MEET HIM WHO COMES TO MEET HIM WITH TWENTY THOUSAND. OR ELSE WHY THE OTHER IS YET A GREAT WAY OFF, HE SENDS AN AMBASSADOR, AND DESIRES CONDITIONS OF PEACE”
What JESUS CHRIST is saying here; you must have a vision either building a tower or waging a war. It is important for you also to consider your financial resources, your technical and material resources whether they are enough to pursue the ambition. It is important to consider alternatives actions that you can take.
You can pursue the OPTIMISING OR SATISFICING DECISION MAKING THEORY. This means that having decided on your goal, you sit down and carefully list all the options of actions available to you. You analyses the resources, human, financial, material, and technological that you require for each option of action. You thereafter list the consequences of each option of action on you, your organisation and your environment. After doing all these, you do an objective and scientific analysis of all the options. On the basis of this analysis and evaluation, you decide on the best or satisfactory line of action. That way you cannot make a mistake.
If you opt to do what a TANGO OF THE DRUNK you are on your own. Like a drunk, you take two steps forward. You stagger and take four steps backwards. You stagger to the left by five steps. You stagger again backwards by three steps and stagger to the right by three steps. You certainly are in a beautiful tango dance of the drunk, on a ROAD TO WHERE. According to Owolabi Oladejo, Nigeria has been on a road to nowhere
Or you may choose the Barber’s Chair all motion but no movement, still on the same spot. In the words of BABA SALA, you will not pass. You will not fail. You will remain on the same spot.
As an individual, the choice is yours. The political, business or corporate leaders make their choices. And we all bear the burden of the choices.
Yemi Farounbi OON.