LEADERSHIP INTIATIVES FOR EXCELLENCE (LIFE) SERIES
“There is no success without a successor.”
– Peter Drucker
contd from last edition
Abuse or proper use of money, sex and power
One of the most compelling books I’ve ever read is Richard Foster’s Money, Sex & Power: The Challenge of the Disciplined Life. Foster maintains that an undisciplined life is due to the abuse of money, sex and power. The abuse of money is greed. The abuse of sex is lust. And the abuse of power is pride. As I’ve reflected on Foster’s wisdom over the years, it’s amazing how these three abuses seem to be the motive behind every example of unworthy conduct:
Greed can cause people to inflate corporate profits; participate in “insider trading” on the stock market; defraud others through identity theft and get-rich schemes; become addicted to gambling; rob banks; embezzle or extort money; misrepresent products; and numerous other fraudulent activities.
Lust can lead to divorce, dysfunctional families, incest, sexual abuse, prostitution, drug addiction, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, pornography, rape, and a variety of other lewd acts too graphic to mention. Pride can lead to insecurity; an unwillingness to accept blame; a refusal to share credit; a disdain for taking responsibility; a desire to control or micro-manage others; a penchant for boastfulness, excessive ego and drawing attention to self; and on and on.
In addition, greed, lust and pride can lead to financial disaster, lawsuits, imprisonment, disease, sickness, premature death, shame, stress, depression, disappointment, failure, and a loss of respect, dignity and self-esteem – just to name a few of the many consequences of a wayward conduct.
Thankfully, there’s a good side to money, sex and power. Instead of being greedy, we can choose to be generous with our money. Instead of being lustful, we can choose to be respectful of the real reasons for sex—procreation and intimacy between a married man and woman. Instead of being prideful, we can choose to use power in a constructive manner. In fact, here’s what Foster recommends:
When it comes to money, think simplicity.
When it comes to sex, think fidelity.
When it comes to power, think service.
Simplicity means living within our means, so we’ll have more money to share with other people and for worthy causes. Fidelity means being faithful to our spouses if we’re married, and respectful of the opposite sex if unmarried. Service means we’re not leading for selfish reasons, but because we care about people and want to use our power to help others reach their potential.
One of the best ways to be accountable for our conduct is through the one-on-one leadership concept of mentoring. Rev. Sister Margaret, Rev. Fr Mc Comboy and Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi are just three of my many mentors, apart from my parents who modelled my character, commitment and competence. They are leaving a legacy that has encouraged me to also mentor others. I constantly remind my mentees to continuously invest to improve their competencies, take good care of their character and be passionately committed to whatever they choose to do.
One of the reasons why I am so passionate about mentoring is because I know what a difference it has made in my life. I have been privileged to have been mentored by many along the way but I have been significantly impacted by the guidance provided by the likes of F. O Odujobi, Paul Enebeli, Stella Otuyemi, Robert Tade, J. K. Adesina, George Thorpe and Sam Ohuabunwa. They all believed that I had some raw skills that could be developed and shaped. They all worked hard for over three decades to shape me and hone some aptitudes in marketing, strategy and leadership. Like all great mentors, they saw me for what I could become – a young man with great potential, if well managed; and not for who I was – an immature aggressive young graduate. I don’t say this boastfully, but to give credit to my mentors.
I am forever grateful to my parents and these mentors. They modelled sound character; helped me make some wise choices; and inspired me to act honourably. The consequences have produced bountiful blessings for more than three decades.
Benchmarks of a master mentor
I know mentors can influence conduct because I’ve observed it in my several mentors. I distinguish a mentor from a master mentor because anyone with more experience than someone else can be a mentor, but only a master mentor will make the time to share his or her wisdom and experience with a protégé. My curriculum is based on these four lifetime benchmarks of a master mentor:
Master mentors pursue what is true.
Master mentors turn creeds into deeds.
Master mentors use congruence to influence.
Master mentors collect a deep respect.
The first two benchmarks reveal the mind-set of a master mentor. Pursue what is true is rooted in sound character and manifested in wise choices. Turn creeds into deeds is about meaningful conduct.
The last two benchmarks deal with the multiplication of master mentors. Use congruence to influence and collect a deep respect are the consequences of spending time with protégés. When a mentor’s creeds and deeds are congruent, there’s a greater opportunity to influence a protégé in a positive manner. Then, out of respect for these master mentors, a protégé teaches what he or she has learnt to other protégés. Multiplication takes over and the consequences are amazing.
The legacy of the master mentor is passed on like a baton in a relay race. In the process, protégés determine or fine-tune their destinies and eventually leave legitimate leadership legacies of their own.
The fourth standard for leaving a legitimate leadership legacy is CONSEQUENCES – having the harvest of what’s sown. The Bible provides a superb definition of consequences in Galatians 6:7: “Don’t be misled. Remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow.”
But isn’t it true that some people don’t seem to reap what they sow? For instance, a person may behave badly by robbing a bank and reap something good by getting away with the money. On the other hand, a person may behave well by stopping to help a stranded motorist and reap something bad such as getting attacked. It’s a fact that life isn’t always fair; so why does the Bible say we always reap what we sow?
Perhaps the greatest manifestation of this principle is the conscience. Whether we’re brought to justice for our reprehensible conduct or we manage to elude accountability for a lifetime, none of us can escape that inner voice that knows the truth and the reasons why bad behaviour is never acceptable. Besides, people who continue to practice illegal or unethical conduct in spite of some good consequences are likely to get what they really deserve in due time. Conversely, people who continue to sow seeds of kindness in spite of some bad consequences are likely to get what they truly deserve in due time as well.
To change or not to change?
An ancient proverb defines insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again while expecting to get a different result.” If we want to increase our chances of reaping good consequences, we must change our conduct. Since much of exemplary conduct is tied to our habits, we must learn discipline, which is the ability to change our bad habits into good ones.
A self-disciplined person is often faced with the headache of changing, or the heartache of not changing. For example, when we try to change the bad habit of procrastination into the good habit of “doing it now,” it can be a big headache. On the other hand, isn’t it also likely that we could suffer the greater pain of heartache by missing out on some golden opportunities because we’re unreliable?
When it comes to changing our consequences, consider these thoughts:
No change is impossible. Even if we retreated to a cave to escape the stress of life, we’d still experience change–aging, adjusting to loneliness, hunting for food, sleeping outdoors, etc.
Some change is impractical. The Ten Commandments have never been edited because these truths are timeless. The U. S. Constitution has only been amended 27 times in more than two centuries because it was written with such wisdom.
Most change is uncomfortable. This is especially true when we experience painful turning points such as divorce, financial setbacks, job losses, health challenges, and the death of loved ones, just to name a few of life’s major transitions.
Every change has consequences. For those who have changed from a sedentary lifestyle to a regular exercise routine, there can be radical consequences ranging from the initial soreness and physical exhaustion, to more long-term results such as weight loss, higher energy, less stress, lower cholesterol, etc.
We don’t always get the consequences we want because many things in life are out of our control. However, we are in charge of our habits and conduct. In the long run, we’re more likely to experience favourable consequences when we develop good habits and conduct ourselves accordingly. If you’re unhappy with the consequences you’ve been getting out of life, have the courage to quit doing what you’ve always been doing. Isn’t a headache now a lot better than heartache later on?