The Legitimacy of Resistance.

Change people are a special breed. The resistances they face in their missions are not easily surmountable and it will appear there is a valid reason for this. One can only imagine how things will be if everyone could just get up and at will, change the way things are? Chaos! Our world is a predictable one. Perhaps because of its infinite layers of cycles that in their own rights give meaning to the axiom “what goes around comes around”. Solomon in his divine inspired wisdom observes; “there is nothing new under the sun” – Ecclesiastes 1:9 
People are not as complex as they might seem at first glance. Ok I should save that for my people dynamics class. Before I get back on track however, let me just say that people are ALWAYS frightened of what they cannot explain and if they process it as a threat in any form, they will fight tooth-and-nail to stop it. You can take that to the bank!  For years I have struggle with this—I never understood why people will fight you even when all you are trying to do is help them. Well, that’s simply because they don’t understand two things; the first is why the change and second; what the ultimate outcome will mean for their self-preservation. A majority of people are incapable of making the right connection and fear gains grounds. But this also serves a purpose as we will soon see for it is this fear, that the much needed resistance will be generated.

For the most part, we are all social scientist in our own capacities. We want to see something work repeatedly so we can be sure it will continue to work even if we stop paying attention. Once we have accepted it, any agent who attempts to change it is a threat. Well, he is trying to take away the predictability we cherish so much. This may sound like a good idea. Yet it is within this sphere of thought that our most perilous vulnerabilities are hosted. If there is one thing I agree with Robert Green on, this will be it. It has to count for something that he made a bestseller out of telling the world that we are predictable and that we actually prefer it so. And he was right when he thought we will buy the idea and list him among the rich and famous for it. He is a master social scientist of his own.

If you ever tried to change something and did not meet with any kind of resistance, you need to start worrying. Something is fundamentally wrong. The system needs resistance to ensure that it is not tossed around in all directions by the ever present tides of ideas that it generates. Yep! The ideas come from within because the agents of these ideas are also products of the system. Their role is to ensure the incessant improvement of the system as a means of ensuring its continuous existence—this is vital as stagnation has no place in nature. You are either going up or coming down. Growing or dying—for or against. Christ captures this beautifully in Mathew 12:30.

The role of a group I will call average people is to test the change idea for integrity. This is the role of resistance which manifests itself in several forms. Among them; opposition, rejection, isolation, hatred, the list is endless. A system that does not have a resistance system has little or no chance at all for success. The “resistance” do their job in two ways; They first test the idea to ensure that it will bring the vital improvement need to keep it in existence. The second is to ensure that the change agent has what it takes to sustain the idea once it has been accepted. This is done by first evaluating the credentials and track record of the agent. When the resistance cannot validate the credentials of the agent or the integrity of the impending change, it narrows the gate. This is often the case when the change or idea, it’s methods or intended outcome seem too complex for the average mind. Real change ideas are often intended for the good of the larger society. Unfortunately the average mind cannot see beyond the self and is therefore unable to comprehend the larger scope of the change. This makes the case for resistance even more robust necessitating more effort on the part of the agent if he is going to break through. Real Change agents have the persistence to carry the idea through even in the face of the stiffest of oppositions and what-have-yous.

Interestingly, the power of this system is largely dependent on the averageness of average people who for the most part will be the main beneficiaries of the impending change. It is also the reason why they eventually become the main defenders of the change once it has become the status quo. Often this will take a lot of work and time but the agent once he understands this, knows that he must persist. Because resistance in the larger sense is doing a legitimate job and therefore any positive change must embrace it and work with it for the two, in the larger scheme of things, have shared objectives. The strength and integrity of an entity is dependent on the rigorousness of the tests it has passed. The more rigorous the test, the better the outcome. It is why factories have testing and quality assurance units. It is the reason we have standards and certifications. It is what Paul meant by having you work passed through fire -1 Corinthians 3:13.

You only have to go back to the likes of Hitler and imagine how things would have panned out without the resistance that put them out of business. Your idea is but one out of an infinite number of tides seeking to determine the direction of the boat. The strongest and the most persistent ideas, if they are truly useful for the system will eventually cause change and enjoy the protection of the average. You will find if you look closely enough; that it will be fatal for all of us to be change agents and be left with no resistance unit whatsoever. Average people perform a very vital role and for this reason, no matter how hard and wide we teach the idea of change, change agents will always be few and average people will be in the majority. It is a necessity. 

Real change agents are equipped with special abilities that help to survive the integrity test of the resistance. Like Tyler Perry said and I rephrase; your dream itself must come to believe; so that no matter how frustrated you are, something inside of you just won’t let go even if you wanted to.  Many dreams have died a still-birth because the agents did not have this special ability and that is how we know that they are not meant to cause change. If you think average people don’t have dreams or change ideas of their own, think again. They do, they just do not have what it takes. May your dream believe enough to never let go even if your whole being wants to. #spidup

Edward Effah leads Fidelity to 79% Profit increase

In March 2001, Edward Effah was selected as one of the best twenty young leaders in Ghana for the inaugural class of the Ghana chapter of the Africa Leadership Initiative. Since then his name has never left the top performers list. Fidelity Bank under his leadership has recorded some phenomenal successes over the years and shows promise of continuous growth. In the industry, the bank has won several awards including the prestigious Best Bank- Customer Care for the Ghana Banking Awards under his leadership. He is by all standards a high performing individual.
In 2014, the nation was faced with an economic downturn that presented a turbulent period to the financial sector. In spite of this challenge Fidelity Bank recorded an appreciable performance under the leadership of Mr. Edward Effah in 2014 when profits increased by about 79% from the previous year’s GH¢63 million to GH¢112.5 million in 2014.
At the bank’s annual general meeting, Mr. Effeh said; “In the year under review, operating income was GH¢326 million, representing a growth of 67 percent over last year’s figure of GH¢195 million. Growth in operating income was as a result of a 59 percent growth in the net interest income from GH¢117 million in 2013 to GH¢186 million in 2014. Growth in fees and commission on the other hand increased but was below expectation due to the shortage in foreign currency and decreased international trade activities in the year”. He said that effective cost savings, notwithstanding the higher inflationary environment, supported the profit performance, saying “operating expense for the year came to GH¢183 million, 57 percent above that of the previous year.”
According to a news item published on the company’s website; assets of the group soared significantly by 85 per cent from GH¢1.69 billion in 2013 to GH¢3.14 billion in 2014. The bank’s profit after tax increased by about 90 per cent from GH¢43.86 million in 2013 to GH¢83.38 million at the end of last year, buoyed by about a 71 per cent growth in operating income from GH¢197.1 million in 2013 to GH¢336.7 million in 2014.

Mr. Effah attributes the Bank’s performance to improved internal processes substantially, enhanced delivery of service to customers and increased footprint in the Ghanaian banking landscape. He said the bank brought on board IBM, a leading IT company to provide the latest technology platform to serve its customers, invested in a state-of-the-art contact center to serve customers as well as the acquired ProCredit Savings and Loans Limited to ensure expansion of its activities. These factors are largely responsible for the growth. Mr. Edward Effah noted that the integration has been very smooth and that Fidelity currently has the best combination of Human Resources in the sector.

Board Chairman of the Bank, Dr. William Panford Bray, touching on the acquisition of ProCredit noted that the acquisition of ProCredit had helped the bank to increase its footprint across the country with an extended network of 80 branches and 110 ATMs. With the integration of processes and credit methodology well integrated, The bank can now boast of customer base increase from 485,000 to 621,829 helping to improve deposit base by 31 per cent to GH¢1.8 billion.

High performance in the financial sector enables high performance in all other sectors of an economy. With the likes of Edward Effah at the helm of affairs, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Africa as the Cheetahs, slowly move to the front-line. Mr. Effah is a classic example of high performance; a person who’s very presence in any group forces change in the upward direction.  Team SPiD-UP is working hard to find out what his driving philosophy is and when this is done, we hope to bring you an inspiring article that will encourage you towards being the best you can be. In the meantime, keep brightening your corner. #SPiD-UP

Leadership duality— Encourager vs Challenger

In my recent article on leadership in which I made a point about the difference between effective and efficient leadership, I pointed us to effective leadership as the better option if change was desired. This article is a necessary installment intended to deal with the next stage of leadership i.e. guiding others (or leading if you like) through the new territory. This is based the premise established in the previous article; that leaders set the pace or lead the way in a particular area—it is what makes a leader. It is in this realm that such matters as leadership styles become worthy of the microscope.
Any reader of Lee Roberson is familiar with the expression; everything rises and falls on leadership. It is also a well-accepted notion that Leadership is cause and everything else is effect. Whiles much has be written and taught about leadership styles with so many different theories being thrown about, I find two attitudes showing up in my own experiences and observation; challenging and encouraging. 

To most people it is always the nice guy who is the most attractive. In many success stories, there is always that leader who encouraged someone to do something and how lucky they were to have met that individual. The encourageris loved because of his seemingly calm and loving nature. He is accepting of people’s weaknesses and encourages them to do what they think they can. People want to be treated nicely, feel loved and respected—the encourager model serves this purpose perfectly.
In a recent attempt to teach a lady friend how to drive, I found myself failing woefully simply because, I was not using the encourager model. You see I am more the bad guy type. The kind of guy who will throw you a challenge and expect you to rise to the occasion after having sold you the idea that I wouldn’t ask you to do it if didn’t think you could. The challenger doesn’t want what you think you can do, he wants what he believes you can do. The challenger wants to work with people who have a will to do things (transcend themselves) not those who need to be convinced to do thing. That’s the challenger guy and he is not the most popular.
The challenger is usually (not always) quite low on socio-emotional competence. He is more performance oriented and less people sensitive. He is not concerned that you havn’t had lunch and that your child has a headache. Nobody likes people like that but the fact remains, it is results that make great people and for that reason alone a focus on performance instead of comfort may be the winning formula. The larger point however, is that leadership is not for everyone (don’t look so shocked).  A leader is a game changer—he charts a course —a new course and from all indications a majority of people do not do that. Those who change the game are constantly in the face of challenges. It is the ability to rise above a challenge that sets them apart putting them in the lead creating something that others will emulate. A person who has trouble with challenges can therefore only follow such persons with pain. Yet a leader cannot be a leader unless he has followers who he must guide on this path. People have needs and that includes comfort and love. We also know that people are their best when they are comfortable in what they are doing. So that it is clear that the two models have merits and demerits. The most versatile leader will know not only how to throw a challenge but also how to encourage followers to take them up without threatening their self-esteem.

If you are an encourager, then encourage more while recognizing the need for throwing a challenge. On the other hand a challenger must challenge while encouraging where it is needed. As is always the case; one may be stronger in one area than the other, this is fine and decides what kind of followers he assembles. If John C. Maxwell is right, then a leader must aim to raise other leaders. What kind of a leader will you train, how will you do it and why? Go lead with high performance!

An unsual portrait of leadership

Peak Performance makes leaders. Peak performers are people who because of integrity with themselves, always function from strength and are always in possession of a vision that others find difficult to comprehend. Because of this, they are often leaders—they chart a new course that others must follow. There appears to be a huge misunderstanding about what leadership really is. Papa Oyedepo described it in the most interesting way and I paraphrase;

most people think leadership is about being promoted or elected into a position.  The answer is more complex than that. It is about doing something more than others in a particular field so that others don’t have a choice but to follow your example. They must fight to catch up with you. You must lead the way by taking humanity to its next level of evolution.

It is not surprising that the proponent of this idea built the largest Church auditorium in the world in a so-called third world country. He epitomizes leadership and he is certainly a peak performer. In this regard, men like Steve jobs can clearly be described as leaders not because he headed an organization, but more because of the nature of the things that came into existence because of him and how people did not have a choice but to emulate. He led the way with the ipod, the ipad and a host of other products. In effect, he had a leadership/Peak Performance mindset because there was nothing he touched that didn’t become the new standard and this appeared to happen by default. Whiles a lot have been said by experts about his leadership style and how others will fail if they followed his pattern; little has been said about his advantage as performance conscious individual. If you always lead, people do not really have a choice but to follow. Creating leading products made him a magnet of people. Everyone is attracted to success, greatness and the visions that make them possible. So much so, that even “Hitler and Stalin” had followers.

I submit to you that; if you lead the way with everything you do, people will not have a choice but to follow. The biggest thing about Steve Jobs may not be his people management skills. Yet those who worked with him are always inspired by his need to break new grounds. For that they are driven enough to follow him and he never failed to bring them to the promise land as long as they accept the challenge of the journey. If Steve is building something, you know you want to see it. Things are not that different for Papa Oyedepo as he has had his fair share of criticism regarding his people management skills. I had the privilege of sitting in a leadership class handled by the Apostle General of Royal House Chapel Rev. Sam Korankye Ankrah recently. Those traits were clearly present as his very words left all participants in a challenged frame of mind. He demands everyone to be the best—you have to be stupid to not want to be your best.  The crux of the matter is simple, true leaders by their very need to break new grounds will cause a useful discomfort somehow. But those uncomfortable moments are moments of impartation and those who survive it become leaders in their own right.

So that we can easily see what can be described as an effective leader and efficient leader. There is a difference between a person who got into a position and a person who actually lead the way with something they did. When a person is appointed or elected into a position, we are able to tell whether they maintained the status quo or brought us to a new level of development.

In the case of Africa, we cannot afford any more efficient leaders. We need true leaders as we seem to be stuck in one place barely even meeting the standard.  The nature of any group is a reflection of its leadership. Being stuck in one place in a matter of time transmogrifies into retrogression because nature doesn’t have the space for it. It is the reason why you will soon find snakes in your lawn when you abandon it for too long and find spiders and all kinds of co-inhabitants in your house when you leave it unattended for too long. #spidup #hopemanexhortations

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