Saturday, September 12, 2009

Real leaders blend personal humility and political will


Business Times, p.B1



By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Real leaders blend personal humility, political will


I remember being an accredited trainor for meeting management sometime in the Eighties and, ever since, I have been teaching how to facilitate effective meetings. My point is people don't seem to mind—from the '80s to the present, meeting organizers and attendees do as meeting organizers and attendees do. So meetings have remained boring, unimaginative, time wasting, inconclusive, etc. Many jerk bosses still manage by meetings after meetings. And I still teach and write about effective meeting management.


Let us tackle more serious things. There is a raging and heartfelt discussions going on in Facebook and other social networks about our May 2010 presidential elections. The two issues that surface are: general hatred of this GMA administration, they simply want to change this leadership and who will lead the change. So far Noynoy Aquino is winning (or maybe because my friends at FB are all colored yellow).


In his new book, How the Mighty Fall, my idol Jim Collins wrote about what makes for the "right people" in key seats. I am quoting here the exact words of Jim but you apply it to your process of choosing your presidential bet.


1. The right people fit the company's core values. Great companies build almost cult-like cultures, where those who do not share the institution's values find themselves surrounded by antibodies and ejected like a virus. People often ask, "How do we get people to share our core values?" The answer: you don't. You hire people who already have a predisposition to your core values, and hang on to them. (We need to elect a president who shares the good old values of social responsibility, integrity, excellence and professionalism and love of God and country. Right now our country is in moral decay as modeled by the decisions and actions of our elective and appointive government officials and as exemplified by shows like Wowowee and its host Willie.)


2. The right people don't need to be tightly managed. The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you might have made a hiring mistake. If you have the right people, you don't need to spend a lot of time "motivating" or "managing" them. They'll be productively neurotic, self-motivated and self-discipline, compulsively driven to do the best they can because it's simply part of their DNA. (Why spend a lot of time ranting at the sins of GMA and her cohorts? Our current government officialdom is motivated to steal and lie without blinking an eye. What has come out of all those Senate investigations?)


3. The right people understand that they do not have "jobs"; they have responsibilities. They grasp the difference between their task list and their true responsibilities. The right people can complete the statement, "I am the one person ultimately responsible for . . . " (Who is responsible for our "sinking" maritime industry? Who is responsible for the mushrooming of informal settlers everywhere? What, no hands up? Must be the people for electing all these irresponsible people now occupying critical seats in government.)


4. The right people fulfill their commitments. In a culture of discipline, people view commitments as sacred—they do what they say, without complaining. Equally this means that they take great care in saying what they will do, careful to never overcommit or to promise what they cannot deliver. (I will never vote for candidates who say, "I am running for office because I want to serve you." Wattah! You don't have to be in office to serve your fellow Filipinos!)


5. The right people are passionate about the company and its work. Nothing great happens without passion, and the right people display remarkable intensity. (Love of country and countrymen. Service above self and family. I remember Lito Lapid saying he has never read the Philippine Constitution when he was already running for a senatorial position. He did not even know what a Constitution is or looks like. Then he went to the White House with GMA for a photo opportunity with Mr. Obama on taxpayers money. Passionate for what?)


6. The right people display "window and mirror" maturity. When things go well, the right people point out the window, giving credit to factors other than themselves; they shine a light on other people who contributed to the success and take little credit themselves. Yet when things go awry, they do not blame circumstances or other people for setback and failures; they point in the mirror and say, "I'm responsible." (We have a culture of blaming. Instead of looking for solutions, people look for solutions, they look for who to blame. Was it Rep Suarez, Rep Daniel Romualdez who paid for the Le Cirque dinner in New York? Is McDo not a decent enough place for a president to dine in? What is the real problem here, people, and how do we solve it? The real problem here is that 80 percent of our people are poor and more than 50 percent are hungry everyday while our president and her cohort dine on lobster, caviar and pricey wines.)


 As in business, let's elect a president (and other candidates) who are ambitious first and foremost for the correct values, the country, the responsibilities of the presidency—not themselves—and that they have the fierce resolve to make good on that ambition. They have a blend of personal humility and political will.


BTW, if you go malling regularly, you will notice that mall stalls change ownership regularly. Meaning, more and more small and medium businesses are falling. Our entrepreneurs could use these same generic characteristics in hiring their people and keeping afloat. After all, the most important asset of your company is your people: hire people with noble values and train them for competencies.;

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