April 17, 2007



Do not assume anything, get the proof before implementing your ideas. The Bible says prove all things, hold fast to that which is true. In today’s world business is generally done by assumptions but successful businesses undertake surveys and research before making assumptions. Don’t assume that the values of the recent past are the same today. Positive assumptions are based on facts.

Very often our political and business leaders arrive at assumptions without the relevant facts, ignoring the real facts on the ground. A good leader listens to the most insignificant person in their audience when attempting to arrive at a decision. Long ago it used to be stressed that the janitor in an organization can make suggestions that are important and cause the company to make significant gains financially or otherwise. It is said that a chain is as strong as its weakest link, therefore it is the weak link to say what can be done to make life easy for it and how it may be possible to utilize less pressure and get even significantly greater results. Leadership does not mean that the leader has to make all the decisions by himself.

There is a tendency in today’s world whereby many say yes when they should be saying no and offering a different opinion. Some will refrain from making a contribution so as not to rock the boat only to say later that they know the project was destined to fail. The Caribbean is begging for stand up leaders and followers. Sometimes, it seems as though there is so much wrong being perpetuated that should someone stand up and sound a dissenting voice there will be no organizations left. However, a way must be found because organizations are necessary to ensure order. Over the years, it is obvious that education does not provide leaders with better reasoning power and the tussle continues between those with book sense and those with commonsense.

Tolerance is important. People must begin to listen to each other even when one believes he/she already has the answer. No one person has exclusivity on knowledge. There is always room for improvement. Innovation is extended to taking an original idea or product and making it better.

Knowing the culture of the people you propose to lead and make decisions on their behalf is vital. In many instances leaders simply ignore the fundamental cultural implications and proceed to form their opinions and implement decisions without due consideration to the way the people conduct their businesses and their needs that will help to relieve the problem or afford them a springboard to achieve their goal in life.

As a leader your thoughts must take into consideration the height, the depth, the length and the width of the project or problem before arriving at a conclusion. In mediating you should not listen to only two sides of the story, there is also a third and some may argue there are even more sides to a coin, imaginary or real.

I have in a brief way spelled out the responsibilities of real leadership and I conclude by noting above all is EMPATHY. Do you feel the pain or the joy as the other person on whose behalf you are supposed to make a decision? You are a great leader only when your thoughts and actions are in harmony with those on whose behalf you make decisions. How will it impact their lives? Apply the Rotary’s 4 Way Test. The one I like most is “Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” When you operate in the public or private sector or represent civil society as a whole you must never fail to recognise that the needs of the people will always be consistent with the fundamentals of their culture, past and current. Culture is not stagnant it is constantly evolving. It is all about lifestyles.

As I embark on my final journey in life, my vision for the remainder of my life is clear. While I hold dearly to the principles of the past, I embrace a future that seems to be at cross purposes with everything that was sacred in the past because I am fully aware of the consequences of change and time is always moving forward. I feel blessed to be alive at this juncture in history and encouraged by Margaret Mead’s proverb: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”.

You are invited to visit my Yahoo Group at http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/edalharris and be a part of the family.

Remember always that God is in Charge, Keep the Faith and Expect Miracles in 2007!

Edward Harris – Email: eaharrisdestiny@gmail.com

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