Humbled is how I feel, right now. Today I spent the day with emerging leaders that have been, are and will be influencing the African continent through film…
They are the gatekeepers of culture. They have a say on what becomes culture through the music videos, television productions, documentaries and movies they have made and are going to continue making. They represented a number of countries and I’m privileged to be allowed to speak to them on being leaders.
I’m humbled to have spent time with them engaging on the kind of leaders Africa needs. We also talked about areas we need to grow in as individuals leaders in order to make a lasting and significant impact.
Change, in Africa is not going to come about through looking only to political leaders. Change can also be influenced through media. Our focus has been too much on the political leaders, who have been, in general, mostly a let down. Perhaps we have expected too much of politicians.
Culture gatekeepers such as the leaders I met today need to be included in defining a greater future for our continent. To every person I met today:
I am humbled to have the privilege to serve you. I am also excited to see the work you continue to do. Be great stewards of the influence you have.
While it will take people passionate about Africa to make a difference, passion is not enough. Passion is only a part of the equation. It will take influencers such as the ones I’ve met to have great passion, character and courage.
The task ahead is not going to be an easy one. Turning around a continent will take combined effort from everyone acting in their areas of speciality and passion. Everyone has something to give.
After being int he presence of the calibre of African leaders I met today, I’m hopeful. Expectant. Excited.
Viva la revolución! A luta continua! (The struggle continues)
Every leader is a custodian of his or her enterprise’s pace. Change and innovation happen at the pace leaders determine.
This means leaders must be clear on values. It means teams must be in the know on what things trump others when it comes to priorities
At different times, certain things will need to be expedited.
The time leaders take to make decisions is another ‘pace determinant’. The longer the ‘stall period’ the slower the team.
The ‘stall period’ is simply the gap or time it takes for a leader to make a decision from the time he becomes aware he or she needs to make it, makes the decision and communicates it with the team(s).
Not all decisions are the same. Also, not all decisions are equal.
Some decisions call for careful thought or consideration. And other decisions not. I must point out that careful thought and consideration is not necessarily synonymous with slow or taking long to make decisions.
Also it doesn’t mean a shorter stall period either.
Leadership without accountability isn’t quite leadership. It is a recipe for failure and disaster. Leaders are responsible for ensuring that teams are on course. This includes clear review and feedback systems.
Checking in with teams will inherently include a ‘pace check’. Check-ins will ask, “are we on track? Will we arrive where we envisaged when we set these goals? At this pace where will we be at a particular time?”
One of the greatest ‘pace determinants’ must be built into strategy and goal setting. This is not rocket science and is something that had always been said so much it’s kind of cliché.
Building pace into goal-setting is important. I’m wary of including it here but, as much as I’m tired of hearing and reiterating this, it is important:
Remember to make pace setting a part of your planning. One of the reasons pace is not taken seriously is that it is not included or given space in the planning process, right from the inception of ideas, projects or initiatives.
The pace of the leader is the pace of the enterprise.
Transition is at the core of leadership. Leadership is about change and there can be no worthwhile change if there is no movement from the present into a well-planned future. Besides transitions affecting enterprises, leadership itself has to navigate a lot of transitions.
Enterprises face challenges at an abrupt departure of a key leaders or team members. Sometimes challenges arise when there is no one to fill in the gap at that moment. As part of well-meant interventions caretaker or interim leaders are appointed.
These leaders may have the heart for the cause of the enterprise but deemed not completely fit to occupy the post over a long period. In other instances the leaders themselves may have concerns about themselves, opting to momentarily fill the post or get a feel for it before making a concrete commitment.
Here’s why you should never appoint caretaker / interim leaders:
Caretaker or interim leaders are generally appointed for a short period. Though they may have the long-term in mind, they are going to act for the interim. Caretaker leaders’ focus is keeping the boat afloat for the short-term. Caretakers, that is what they are. While interim leaders may keep the boat afloat, there have great potential of crippling the enterprise in the long-term.
caretaker leadership can rob your enterprise of innovation that needs to be sustained beyond its tenure [Tweet this]
Responsible leadership is about ensuring that core operations are sustained. The permanent leaders who succeed interim leaders generally see the actions of their predecessor as temporary.
Thus they may not see any need in taking seriously and or sustaining some the decisions and systems implemented by their predecessors.
Interim leaders often have limited authority; they have limitations on calls they can make. Thus, they are somewhat regarded as mere figureheads.They are seen a lesser leaders. While they may command respect of those they lead, there are undertones of that they don’t measure up, hence their appointment as interim.
This can set a bad precedence as far as respect of their function when a more permanent leader takes over. Respect in the sense of appreciating what their function is supposed to fulfill.
If you really have to appoint an interim leader, make sure they have authority over issues that affect the long-term. Be clear about what their role is and make it clear to the rest of your enterprise.
Guard the ‘sanctity’ of their function for the sake of either the interim leader in the event they assume their post permanently or for their permanent successor.
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