DRUNK ON POWER

We lose sight of the big picture when we put role before goal

Team can win a match by solitary goal courtesy of one player who made the shot

In Summary

• Energy we spend on thinking about our roles should be re-directed towards service delivery so as to realise our national goals. 

• If leaders made BBI about the end goal rather than who does what, it will bear fruits.  

Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta, ODM leader Raila Odinga and other leaders during the BBI report launch at the Bomas of Kenya last year on November 27.
TITLE HOLDS EVERYTHING: Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta, ODM leader Raila Odinga and other leaders during the BBI report launch at the Bomas of Kenya last year on November 27.
Image: FILE

American author John C Maxwell, in his book The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, asserts that the goal is more important than the role. How profound.

This principle is from his second law; the law of the big picture. Often people, especially our political elites, fail this leadership test because naturally, they are obsessed with the position and not the greater goal.

In our places of work, we get hung up on position, title, power, office, posturing and aspiring to be in a certain role instead of focusing on the goal. We need a paradigm shift to make the goal more important than the role. The energy we spend on thinking about our roles should be re-directed towards service delivery so as to realise our national goals.

Look at the BBI debates. We have lost it already. Leaders are jostling for positions instead of the greater goal the initiative will yield. It worries our leaders more who will be the master of ceremonies than the goal of the meeting. In our collective folly, we concentrate on who will sit at the VIP dais at the expense of what message the leaders will pass.

One day, our leaders need to avoid the opulence of the dais and sit with the masses. That way they will see the big picture clearer. It should not bother Kenyans who will become president as long as the country does not experience electoral violence. Period.

Prof Wangari Mathai made an international impact on the environment yet she didn't have a position of power. Her focus was on the goal. On her part, Mother Teresa will forever be remembered for her contribution to humanity yet she did not yield any power. She, too, focused on the big picture; service to the most venerable.

America, the world's superpower, has had 45 presidents yet we have difficulties remembering some. There created no impact on the lives of people.  Nothing aptly can illustrate the bigger picture better than the analogy of a football match. A team can win a match by a solitary goal and lift a trophy courtesy of one player yet the team had 11 players.

That one goal is a team effort and every player realises that the goal is more important than the role. It does not matter who fires the winning shot. Sometimes a player may be nearer the goal post but passes the ball to another player because he may have higher chances of scoring.

Another common story in social media is a picture with more than 10 project managers all of whom are supervising a task by one worker. In the end the task stalls. The project managers are focusing on their titles as opposed to the task ahead of them. 

Let us begin with the end in mind so we can keep our eyes on the ball. Once we all can see the big picture, we will stop bothering about the roles. Nobody wants economic interruptions occasioned by election cycles. 

 

University of Nairobi