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todayAugust 8, 2022

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LINUS OKORIE writes on how to develop leadership systems for personal and national transformation 

We woke up one morning and realized a disruption to our usual daily activities. From one capital of the world to another was the same story of fear, panic and uncertainty. COVID 19 suddenly crept into our lives. The question which resonated in the minds of many was, “what does the future hold?”  

The truth is that the world will never remain the same. But this should not have been our business. Why should what started in Wuhan, China give us all sleepless nights? Why should the news that broke out in a village called Wuhan become the concern of every nation of the earth? What concerns over 80 billion people? 

It is called globalization. The world has simply collapsed in our palms. Distance in now dead. Welcome to the new age of a globalized world driven by innovation, communication and technology. We are even moving towards the higher elements of artificial intelligence. 

These developments have brought to us some hard truth that we are now living in a globalized world where everything at the press of a button is now interconnected. The reality now is that our competition is no longer local. As leaders, we are now competing with the very best from around the world in our different areas of calling. We either join in race of nations in the pursuit of competitive advantage that will make us standout in the global markets, or we go the part of decline or extinction. 

For us here today, the greatest call is for us to now rise to be called leaders. Prof John Adair the first professor of leadership in the world said to me in 2010 when I hosted him in Nigeria for the first time, “Linus the greatest need for Nigeria is to build great leaders and leaders for good.” Go ahead and build these leadership systems. Without leadership, there will be no growth. We have become a nation in great need of leadership. A nation in search of visionary leadership. 

As a nation we must embark on a journey of progress and prosperity that is inspired by many dreams. A nation`s ability to confront and surmount corruption and organized crime depends on the vision and will power of the political class. For this political class to rise to make any difference, each of us must rise and deliberately build leadership capital. We must as a matter of need understand leadership concepts, principles and applications. When Dr. Myles Munroe defined leadership as “the ability to inspire, motivate, drive a group of people towards a particular direction via inspiration, not intimidation nor manipulation,” he must have had us in mind. 

It is time for us to rise to leadership in practice so we can get out of the prevailing culture of manipulation and intimidation to a place of influence and inspiration. For this to happen we must build our personal leadership systems. Nations of the world that have made great progress have been nations that have invested heavily in the leadership capital of her citizens. If we must have sustainable progress, our leaders from all sectors of the economy must bear the responsibility of grooming leadership capital. This for is a matter of urgency. Nations do not just become great. There is the stretching and selfless aspect of preparing leaders and carrying out the real work of shaping these leaders to accept the responsibility of their leadership roles.  

We must create the following leadership systems. We must simply LIVE: L- Learning System; I-Integrity System; V-Vision System and E- Execution system. 

Let me start with the leaning system. This is a never-ending cycle of learning. An individual deliberately creates a personal routine that makes it possible for learning to become part of his or her daily activity. The art of being a perpetual learner with an open mind, asking the right questions, pursuing the right knowledge, building networks of learning partners, providing the right environment for the practice of reflection. Image if every leader in this country will adopt the attitude of Aristotle. Even though he was the master of knowledge during his days he went about telling everybody he met, “I know nothing, I know nothing.” Can this nation become a learning nation? Can our organizations become learning systems? 

The second system that is critical for the success of our nation is Integrity system. The system we practice in this country is designed in such a way that is very difficult to practice integrity. Many people who are key role models when measuring their integrity capital, you can have at best 90% which is really a very great mark considering the factors and roadblocks we deal with daily in carrying out our business transactions. We cannot continue this way. We must cry out like Abraham Lincoln did when he said, “May the good Lord grant us men of principles as our principal men.” He was calling for men and women of honor who might not be perfect but have resolved to become whole in the process of leading with honour and integrity. When these types of leaders emerge, they will create systems that will enable the practice and culture of integrity in our institutions. 

The third system is the vision system. It was Martin Luther King who said, “Men make history not the other way round.” In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when men and women of vision and courage seize the opportunity to change things for the better. Without vision nothing happens. Vision is the ability to see beyond current reality. Nigeria is in urgent need of visionary leaders who can dream great dreams. Nigeria is in great need of transformational leaders who have a heart for the people and are willing to dream big dreams and push themselves to make those dreams happen. We need leaders who can mobilize the talents and resources in this nation and turn things around. We need visionary leaders who will not see young people as liabilities but as assets, thus unleashing their creativity for wealth creation. We must be a nation of visionary people. 

The fourth system is execution. The question is, how crucial is execution? Execution is everything. It was Ifie Sekibo PhD, Managing Director of Heritage bank, who wrote in his book, Leadership Turnaround, “Without action vision is dead.” Execution is a critical leadership strategy for anyone who wants to leave a legacy. Arnold Glasgow said, “Ideas not coupled with action never become bigger than the brain cells they occupy.” Every great leader knows that the world judges by results. Only skilled execution can make change happen. There are three elements of effective execution: (a) Know your resources. (b) Determine if the right people are in the right position. (c) Effectively anticipate. 

In his book, ‘Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done’, Larry Bossidy, the former C.E.O of Honeywell International, teaches that installing a system that monitors influences effective execution, which is the leader’s most important job. This system should ask, what are the individual tasks? Who does them? How do we know when they are done right? 

Imagine if we passionately execute our plans? Imagine what will happen in our lives if we become a community of executors. Imagine if we become the new generation of a political class that will execute good governance and servant leadership principles. We will then build a local, state and federal government that works for the prosperity of the common good. We will attract the very best from around the world to line up to visit, invest and experience the prosperity of our great country. 

My last words. Great people of Nigeria, you must remember that if a man does not have a purpose for waking up, sleeping becomes interesting. 

Okorie is the CEO of the GOTNI Leadership Centre, and can be reached at 

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