Many people in Africa are entangled in a wave of poverty; in most cases we have been condemned because of it. I have always heard people say that we are a generation paying for the sins of our forefathers. Personally I have contemplated about the issue for a while now. Disparately trying to find answers as to why we have been in such a terrible mess. Just like me, many are hungry for hope. With shire determination I have seen young people wanting to change their situation. Are we indeed condemned to live in such a life forever NO? We can decide to alter our destination for we have the capacity to do that. For I know the plans I have for you, plans for prosperity say God Almighty. Why then should we resign to what has been happening?
Over the past few days I have had a lovely journey through the book The Talent Masters by Bill Conaty and Ram Charan, they have brought out interesting observation as to why most of the blue chip companies like General Electric, Hundustan Uniliver, Proctor and Gamble, Agilent Technologies Clayton Dubiler and Rice (CDR) and LGE are still and will continue being the most prosperous companies in the world in their respective fields of operation. They have discovered the secret: they spend time to develop the talent of their employees. For the many years of experience the authors have had working with these companies it is clear that time spent nurturing talents creates an intimacy that pays off in the performance of an organization.
This led me to another intriguing question, how are we fairing as Africans in nurturing talents, do we even have an idea what that is, did our forefathers have this idea, if they had, did they put it into practice, I come to a conclusion that they never had a clue of what that is or if they had they never saw any importance in practicing it. Why do I say this? Many of the people in positions are always possessed with them; they will never want to get out of it. According to john c. Maxwell , their vision is just right where they are and we can’t blame them maybe because that is how they were taught by their mentors. This is the problem; this is what has caused us the pain. It has caused us the opportunity to lead a better life. I ask myself again, should I resign to this fate? the answer is a big NO. Why should I do what they did? Why should I not start it now- talent management, why should I keep quiet about the atrocities being committed by the myopic leadership? No way. Thanks to those who have realized we need silence the guns in Africa for us to get to a better future.
We need to act now, to my fellow social entrepreneurs, those of us who have realized that we need to change the way things are done in Africa. Let us learn from the valuable lessons that the authors of talent masters have identified, those of us who are starting social enterprises like the Exclusive VIP facilitations by Whycliff Shem, Ignite Africa youth and activist philani, to mention a few, let us take it serious , let us learn that we have a responsibility to develop others, let us preach the gospel of mentorship, let us discard the barbaric ways of handling matters through ourselves and by ourselves, let us spend our time networking with the right people. People who are not going to spread the venom of selfishness and greedy
Together let us go through some of the characteristics of the Talent Masters. Maybe we don’t have them. But the good thing is we can always learn; by taking our sweet time meditating and acting on the best combination of what we think is right and the one that fits our situation
1. They understand that talent is the key in the future- it is true that strategies come and go market share profit wax and wane but an organization that can build a self-renewing team of first rate leaders is prepared to handle everything that tomorrow brings. I think this is what we have always been missing. It is one of the most significant ingredients of leadership development. Religious organization should take that up; those of us who are angry about the inequalities should start doing this now that is if you have not been doing it. For if we keep going we will reap at the fullness of time.
2. They make talent management as rigorous as financial management- whatever that is valuable is close to your heart. The heart is the fountain of all emotions. If we value talent as much as our money then we will guard and cherish it. People can kill or maim if you mess up with their finances that is how crucial talent management should be. And that is how serious we should take it.
3. They personally lead the social process that support and reinforce talent development and make themselves role- models for the entire organization –they make it clear that building organization capability is part of every leader’s duty. Don’t you think we have not had many African patriots who want to make themselves vulnerable to others? Thanks to the few like Nelson Mandela who tried to exhibit some of these characters. Even though, most of the people who have risen to higher ranks have always taken time to amass wealth, not for the better of the organization but for their insatiable hunger. They embezzle public funds. They actually lose the morals. This is what we need to avoid if we have to develop new crop of leaders. We need to open ourselves to others so us they can learn what we embrace and I hope it will be some of these qualities of prudent leadership.
4. They devote a good deal of their time to knowing discussing and calibrating their leaders. They take every opportunity planned or spontaneous to meet their high potential leaders on their own turf to observe them and give them feedback. That is way I feel encouraged when I see how most of the African young people are taking their time to go to schools, churches and other organizations to talk and encourage their young brothers and sisters, giving them hope for tomorrow. In most cases this is the time many will learn this characteristics of good leadership.
5. They focus on the content of succession planning and not just the process. They think and discuss the demands of the job and the specific qualities of those who might be prepared to do it. They plan carefully for their own succession. However it is common place in most of our African countries most leaders never even imagine about such a thing. To most of them, that is sharpening the spare that will take you down. That is why we have presidents who have been on the position almost as long as they have lived their whole life. We need to change the situation by embracing the thought of succession plans.
6. They establish a performance culture by making company values explicit and enforcing them and establishing performance goals and measurement with clear rewards and consequences.
The features were so outstanding, that I wish that many of my fellow young people are going to defy the norms and start or continue working to develop them. It has been my dream it is my precious cherished dream bringing hope, just like martin Luther king junior dreamt of having African American president, in 2009 President Barrack Obama came into power, the dream was fulfilled even though he was not there to witness but it happened. I dream that the hopeless are going to have hope that the despised in the society are going to be given their dignity back, that it will come a time when social barriers will not be the reason for not getting a prime job, that we are going to a point of zero intolerance to our neighbours. To the authors this was a great insight. To my readers your contribution is valued let us keep the dialogue alive. Raising the hopes of the hopeless.