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The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 2
Dubrin J Leadership
Bower et al, Business Policy
Executive Excellence, 1999 issues
Copy right © 2000
Billy C Sichone
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any
form or by any means, electronic, digital, mechanical,
photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written
permission of the copyright owner. Exceptions however hold in
the case of brief quotations for academic or article purposes.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 3
The subject of leadership can not be ignored if we are to talk about
increasing company output as well as a motivated teamwork. Leaders are a
“hot cake” in today’s turbulent environment where organisations need to
be constantly changing if they are to remain buoyant. Good leaders are on
ever increasing demand and expensive to lose or hire.
The paper that lies in your hands contains the thoughts and
research that I undertook in the years between 1998 and 2000 during MBA
studies. It has been interesting to learn that Manager / leaders are scarce
and extremely critical now more than ever before. It has also been
refreshing to note that teamwork is now being adopted everywhere. I was
personally elated when World Vision Zambia started talking more about it
and went steps further to implement it. This was done when the Program
Managers begun attending Leadership Training Courses at University of
South Africa (UNISA) resulting in much better relations and work culture.
I must confess that I was shocked to discover that Leadership and
Management are radically different. I have always assumed that they
are one and the same thing. I stand at the apex of my research and trace
my trail, how so different things look! How so mind opening the study has
I have handled this subject in four sections in the following
fashion: Firstly, I have given a general overview of leadership of yesterday
and today. In the second place, I have sought to concentrate on effective
leadership. In doing this, I have shown the nature and marks an effective
leader, how to develop leadership, the results of good leadership and then,
I have wrapped up the whole work by giving my own personal views
about leadership tomorrow and beyond. I have exited the orbit of
leadership by giving some recommendations.
If this work will help some soul, it will much delight the author.
Billy C Sichone
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 4
The nature of true leadership 10
Types of leadership 13
International leadership in perspective 17
Effective leadership defined 20
Marks of an effective leader 21
Developing effective leadership qualities 28
Results & effects of good leadership 30
Effective leadership tomorrow and beyond 31
Conclusions & recommendations 32
Appendix i 36
Appendix ii 39
Appendix iii 44
About the Author 116
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 5
I would like to thank all those that helped me in the preparation of this
paper. I salute the entire crew at BARCH computers for putting up with
those long demanding hours typing my scribbled manuscripts. Most of all,
my heart was strangely warmed to think about Jane my dear one. Her
presence in my mind and life made the sweat worthwhile.
Lastly, I salute all the sources I consulted in compiling this volume. I have
listed most of them in the Bibliography
B C S
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 6
To my dear wife, who stood by my side while I painstakingly laboured
away to produce this book
To my Parents, that saw me from the cradle and put steel within my bones.
To Mr Lutangu Lubasi who practically demonstrated true and modern
leadership while I served under him
I remain indebted
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 7
The rare jewel of effective leadership
"LcAocnsHiÞ is NoT oÞTioNAL; lT is csscNTiAL¨-CHucK
lNTnooucTioN lNTnooucTioN lNTnooucTioN lNTnooucTioN
As partial fulfilment of the MBA leadership course, I undertook a research
to look at leadership in general and effective leadership in particular. The
subject at hand was necessitated by the fact that some modern day
managers do not seem to tick as expected. Having stumbled across a
number of books and magazines on the leadership topic, I felt the answer
lay around the lack of proper leadership at management level. In Zambia
leadership is a relatively new concept, because the majority of managers
belong to the traditional school of management thought where a manager
is perceived as the boss who causes everybody to tremble when he/she
appears on the scene. Historically, Managers generally are viewed as a
class of people who are comfortable executives that order every one
around as well as hire & fire workers at will. This has been the dark
picture hither to, but thankfully, the sun of leadership is beginning to rise
over the horizon. In agile and progressive organisations like World vision
International, leadership, teamwork and constant change are established
buzzwords. People are aware of the latest developments and are quickly
adapting. In this paper, we seek to answer the question “What is effective
In coming up with this paper, I consulted a wide range of books from
many disciplines relating to the subject at hand. Some books were ancient
while others were relatively current. The attached bibliography and case
studies eloquently tell the story.
It is hoped that a perusal of this work will clearly give my own perception
and appreciation of the subject at hand. Effective leaders are indeed a rare
jewel and need of the times.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 8
OVEH VlEW OVEH VlEW OVEH VlEW OVEH VlEW
ver the past few years, the subject of leadership yea, effective leadership
has come into sharp focus. To the curious mind, the question is why? Why
put so much emphasis on leadership now and not in the past? Having
talked about management for many years, why the sudden shift? Is it
another passing management fad? Almost every management book on the
market today has devoted at least a chapter or mentions leadership. As
earlier intimated, in yester-years, much weight was on management
practice, procedures and maintaining the status quo because people
believed that a manager was nothing more than one who controls, directs,
coordinates and plans activities. But as time went on, it was discovered
that for some reasons, management was not working too well in terms of
achieving the desired and expected results. Thus, investigations and
research were instituted to discover the root causes and to find out a new
way to get round this hurdle. Therefore, as time went on, people started
coming up with probable reasons and possible solutions. As such, a
number of theories came up that pointed to leadership as the ultimate
solution, at least for now. Leadership is a wide subject but suffice it to say
that there is the informal and formal leadership that is further broken down
into at least three leadership theories namely, the traits theory, the style
theory and the contingency theory. Admittedly much has been written on
this subject and a plethora of books entirely devoted to leadership theory
have filled libraries in hard copy form or no
. The said books seek to
define more clearly what leadership theory is, its genesis and development
across the decades, its practical outworking and the end of leadership. As
one author has aptly quipped, ‘ leadership is the only vehicle for
As we prepare to tread in years of the
unfolding new millennium, let us always remember that the road on which
we now walk is in some sense new yet old. Let us get some detail on the
said subject because ‘leadership forms the bridge between organisation
goals and individual goals and is the crucial element in determining the
success of the organisation.'
Dubrin says that over 30,000 research articles and magazine articles etc have been
written in the last century alone. Another, Maylor suggests that an electronic library
reference gave over 6, 000 references on leadership theory alone!
Mitchell Beazley: Organization theory Page 86.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 9
CoNcc CoNcc CoNcc CoNccÞT ÞT ÞT ÞT
Leadership has now taken the centre stage in Management circles as this has proved
to be more effective mode to unleash the latent potential within fellow team members.
As opposed to the now obsolete way of the traditional “Bossy” kind of management,
the latest trends of leadership permeate the organisation with a fresh fragrance of new
pragmatic motivational ethics. Nowadays there is more talk about effective leadership
rather than just general leadership. But wherein does effective leadership consist?
What exactly is effective leadership?
Leadership, in its simplest form, is defined as the ability to influence and inspire
others towards a worthwhile goal. Effective leadership goes a step further than the
aforementioned definition. Writers like Heller accurately define it as “the key to truly
effective leadership lies in mastering a wide range of skills, from implementing and
administering processes to inspiring others to achieve excellence”
. As can be seen,
this definition states that for one to be effective, they must have a wide knowledge in
many a field and be able to make the most of every opportunity that presents itself.
The leader, among other things, must be visionary and able to inspire confidence in
others by being a challenge, trust others, a mentor, coach, motivator via compliments
and rewards, approachable, able to seat with subordinates and give a sympathetic and
empathetic listening ear. The said leader does not content him/herself to know about
the general things regarding the workmates but goes out of his/her way to know the
back ground details which might affect out put as well as the best ways to delegate
and build a team spirit among workmates. This may well mean taking time off to visit
team members on the job, at home, in a social gathering, having informal chats over a
drink or cup of tea as well as going for workouts together after hours. This has the
effect of reducing suspicions and prejudices that people harbour. Once people feel
valued and needed, they open up and are willing to take on bigger challenges as well
as risks to innovate and promote the cause of the organisation rather that remaining
indifferent and aloof. They “own the goal” as it were, due to the effective leader’s
The effective leader is systematic, highly organised and focused on what he/she wants
to achieve. He/she sets benchmarks of quality, time frames and is determined that
others catch the ropes as well. This further means that the said leader is continuously
willing to listen and learn from others who ever they may be (Whether young or old,
subordinates or superiors etc), gains experience by the day, and makes every effort to
master own function as well as others’ functions. The time has arrived when one must
be multitalented and have a good working knowledge about other disciplines. Gone
are the days when the Manager knew next to nothing about Marketing or finance, for
example. The 21
century leader must have a firm grasp of all the areas in order to
confidently lead. Apart from the afore mentioned points, the leader must ensure
he/she is able to detect strengths and weaknesses in others and positively facilitate the
strengthening of the positive sides while gently correcting the weak sides. Having
done the above, in the leader hurtles along to deal with the preparatory work to
leadership, which culminates into forming teams over which the selfsame leader,
Effective leadership, Robert Heller page 5
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 10
exercises authority in a prudent and efficient fashion. Under team work, the issues of
delegation, communication, decision making (through discussions and brain storming
sessions initially), goal setting, analysing problems and giving support to staff in
agreed areas of implementation are dealt with. The last part the leader deals with is
the all important area of motivating others, establishing a vision, generating ideas,
ideal management style (in this case, open management), boosting achievements and
finally, being competitive with respect to the outsiders. This competitive advantage is
realised by first treating the internal customers Employees well who in turn will go
out of their way to treat the external customer most diligently and courteously.
Remember, the customer is king! This approach to business works wonders for the
organisation in that it produces product loyalty and woos many more to the company
products. Furthermore, the effective leader must develop an apt acumen to network,
identify and exploit opportunities through taking risks as well. Self SWOT analysis
and frequent introspection and refocusing are critical. Further more, the leader must
be bent on success and all out to win for his/her team.
LcAocnsHiÞ LcAocnsHiÞ LcAocnsHiÞ LcAocnsHiÞ iN ccNcnAL iN ccNcnAL iN ccNcnAL iN ccNcnAL
As earlier intimated, leadership is defined generally as the ability to inspire
confidence in others by influencing them towards a goal. This, among many things,
includes the prowess to challenge others, give them confidence to and the “tools” to
achieve a goal to which you are leading them. A leader is neither a boss nor a
manager primarily but is robust, highly energised, resilient, astute, racy, inspirational,
magnetic and visionary. He or she has a passion and longing to achieve something
while carrying others along. In other words, leadership is the ability to challenge,
attract & stimulate others to achieve worthwhile goals
as well as to solicit support
among the people in the organisation and otherwise. Leadership entails teamwork,
partnership and an ability to build cohesive friendships with others leaving an
indelible mark on the tablets of their hearts. There is a difference between a leader &
a manager. A leader may not necessarily hold office but affects others while a
manager usually holds office and basically ensures that the planned objectives are
implemented and controlled towards an appointed end.
In my research upon the subject of leadership, almost all the books I consulted had a
section on “leadership verses management” and this for a good reason. I think that
this whole area of leadership has been either veiled under management or indeed been
assumed that all managers are leaders. As earlier intimated, in a way, that assertion is
correct but needs to be qualified out because some managers have proved
demotivators rather than motivators. Generally, as Harvey Maylor (1999) aptly puts it,
that “Management is the technical discipline of applying and administering authority
over others which is given through the formalised structural arrangement of
Organisation.” While “leadership is the quality of obtaining results from others
through personal influence…” Clearly, we can see that whereas management largely
depends on the structural organisation make up, leadership is independent in the sense
that the leader possesses certain traits and attributes that influence other to do
something. The manager has authority by virtue of office and exists basically to
control, direct and coordinate activity to their appointed ends while the leader may not
necessarily hold office to have things done. Furthermore, the leader handles change,
takes risks and influences new decisions while the manager has a delimited area of
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 11
operation. THc TAaLc acLow ATTcmÞTs To summAnisc THc
MANAGEH MANAGEH MANAGEH MANAGEH LEADER
1. Ensures things are going according
1. Can face change, leads into new
2. Usually directs, controls resources 2. Inspires confidence in others
3. Authority base is the Office 3. Not necessarily an office holder
4. Usually limited in operations 4. Not limited and can think big/
5. Will not usually take risks 5. A dreamer & risk taker
6. Short term in out look usually- The
manager is operational rather then
6. Long term out look and visionary
7. Uses vested power to get things
7. Gets on well with people &
solicits their support
8. Not necessarily creative and /seeks
to maintain standards
8. Creative and encourages
9. Task oriented-Plan, implement and
control budgets etc.
9. Not really task oriented but
visionary & goal oriented
10. More concerned with results rather
10. Builds others & hires other leaders
11. Is above everyone considered boss,
self sufficient, always correct
11. Good team player, coach and
People like Hary Chamers believe that one can be appointed a
manager, not a leader, meaning that leadership is not automatic upon
assuming management status. Executive excellence volume 16 # 12
2. Harvey maylor: project management pp168
Dubrin: leadership, page 2
As can be seen from the table, the leadership function, although traditionally part of
the management function (motivating) is quite a discipline on its own. The question
that begs answering at this stage perhaps is,” is it possible for an individual to be both
a manager and a leader in the same context? I think it is possible because effective
managers have been leaders in their own right. Zalenik (1977) pondered over this and
commented as follows:
“What is the best way to develop leadership? Every society provides its own answer to
this question, and each grouping for answering, defines its deepest concerns about the
purposes, distributions and uses of power. Business has contributed its leadership to
the leadership question by evolving a new breed called the manager. Simultaneously,
business has established a new power ethic that favours collective over individual
leaders, the cult of the group over that of personality. While entrusting the
competence, control and the balance or power relations among groups with the
potential for rivalry, managerial leadership unfortunately does not necessarily ensure
imagination, creativity, or ethical behaviour in guiding the destinies of corporate
Harvey Maylor: project management page 170
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 12
. We can see then that a person can wear both caps but the degree is what
varies from person to person, though some will still argue that leadership is automatic
when one assumes management status. Further still, another school of thought seems
to suggest that all managers must of necessity be leaders
. Drucker’s statement is
worth quoting at this stage in relation to management leadership:
“The manager is the dynamic life – giving element in every business, without his
leadership, the resources of production remain resources and never become
production. In a competitive economy above all, the quality and performance of the
managers determine the success of the business, indeed they determine its survival.
For the quality and performance of its managers is the only effective advantage an
enterprise in a competitive economy can have” Peter Drucker, one of the fore most
respected management gurus of our time, is correct in asserting that leader- managers
are critical to the progress and success of any entity.
In a nutshell then, management and leadership are different in their functions, scope,
power base and the extent of influence. The one largely depends on the office while
the other (leadership) emanates from personal attributes and qualities.
Having differentiated management from leadership, we do well to state that successful
managers are usually faced with a mammoth task to the extent that their health
degenerates leading to death, in some extreme cases. Stress builds up as a result of
someone excessively exerting themselves without rest until the body begins to feel
tired all the time as no avenue to vent out excessively piled loads. The first sign of
stress are fatigue, forgetfulness, restlessness & failure to concentrate for long. It is
reported that it is almost like Japan, the stress levels are so high to the extent that it is
almost a decree that people must go on leave at least once a year. Although on paper
this maybe true, the vast majority cannot imagine abandoning their office even for a
few hours. Thus, many a leader suffers health breakdowns later in life. Many have
suggested ways to handle stress, and mailer suggests the four Ps* as follows:
1. Plan your way out of a situation – sit and strategise before hand.
2. Pace yourself – Don’t try to do everything alone and at the same time or at
3. Pamper yourself – reward yourself for goals accomplished or plans completed
4. Piss yourself laughing – the healing power of laughter is enormous – the Bible
says “laughter is good for the heart” – Proverbs
Many a manager falls into the trap of wanting to achieve as much as possible at the
expense of health but a good leader will recognise the danger and seek to avert it. But
how can a leader protect him/herself against extremes?
1. Know yourself, limits, strengths and weaknesses
2. Do some exercise – don’t ever convince yourself that you are too busy to do
some workouts, go to a club etc
3. Socialise – there is time for everything under the sun. There is time to work
and time to relax. Walk around, visit friends, workmates and just take your
mind off work
4. Switch off your cell phone or buy another sim card when on leave. Nowadays
with the advent of modern technology, we can trace someone almost at every
point on the earth. If you are to “switch off” the outside world, then give your
Harvey Maylor: project management page 168
Harvey Maylor: project management page 172
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 13
mobile phone to another and get another number which is restricted to a select
non- business folk.
5. Effectively train others to take over your functions. An effective leader is not
afraid to delegate or teach others to do their job. This increases the knowledge
base in the organisation and gives more time to the leader to concentrate on
other things, thereby reducing the workload.
6. Involve your family at every point. Covey’s book on highly effective families
is a handy guide on this. The goal is to have family members empowered to do
any work so that they assist in some assignments. Half the time, spouces have
no clue what the other is up to. Ironically, we hear of situations where one is
dying of stress while the other is perpetually dead bored and on mental
7. Sometimes, stand back and relax. Take a deep breath, think through things and
then commence the work. This usually applies to managers but leaders too do
need time to relax. The best time is before beginning the day or when the
settings in the brain begin to clog up. Disengage and then restart after some
time. I have found great refreshment and reinvigoration afterwards. Meditation
is helpful to recharge the brain cells.
There are other ways of protecting your health such as talking to people, about
nothing big particularly, attending some social gathering such as church or indeed
taking a holiday to some place for a retreat with your spouse. There is great benefit
now and henceforth health wise. Remember: Don’t break the horse (your body) God
gave you to manage!
TYPES OF LEADEHSHlP TYPES OF LEADEHSHlP TYPES OF LEADEHSHlP TYPES OF LEADEHSHlP
ϕ ϕϕ ϕ
“All managers develop a style of leading or motivating surbodinates”, says Edwin B.
Flippo in his book “Personnel management”
. Flippo continues to define leadership
style as ‘a pattern of behaviour designed to integrate organisational and personal
interests in pursuit of some objective”
. Obviously, the writer (Flippo) assumes that
every manager is a leader!
This could be true to some extent but as to whether all are
effective is an entirely different matter.
Styles vary widely from the total autocrat to the almost total democrat, where people
do as they please. In between these extremes are the various shades that colour the
leadership spectrum. The total autocratic leader usually belongs to the traditional class
where the influence is derived from the office rather than personal attributes. In this
scenario, the person is given too much power by virtue of holding office and can do as
he/she pleases. The selfsame leader rides a high horse, is untouchable, makes
decisions alone and passes them down the hierarchy and all must bow to the “decree”
or risk being chucked out. Further more, the autocrat does not interact with the
operatives closely but revolves in a unique executive orbit, with little or no touch with
reality. The autocratic is egocentric as seen in fig 1 below. Having asserted the above,
we must hasten to say that the same autocratic leaders also do know that they need to
motivate people and thus do once in a while declare a bonus or pay rise. Autocratic
leaders differ in degree of assertion and yet do have a following as well.
Refer to appendix 1 for case studies
Flippo Edwin B: Personnel Management, page 397
Flippo Edwin B: Personnel Management page
Check also john kotters’ article “leadership engine”, Executive Excellence magazine April 2000 pp 7
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 14
Fig 1 The egocentric autocratic leader always centres on self, authority and
As we veer to the other extreme of the leadership chart, the total democrat almost has
no control over the situation at hand. People do as they please; For example, they
report or knock off work at any time, unless of course they belong to the virtual
office. The underlying belief and principle is that people are completely mature, self-
regulative will do the reasonable thing at all-times. Fig 2 below illustrates how the
radiant overly liberal leader always gives out with little interaction and feed back
from team mates.
But nothing could be further from the truth because training alone does not straighten
up people. People need an attitude change consistent with their profession & calling in
life. In the total democratic environment, nobody questions or is accountable to any
one. Varying views on issues will hold sway and the goal not uniform.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 15
Fig 2 The overly liberal leader drives people away by not guiding them or showing
the strategic direction
In dealing with styles, we must not fail to state that leaders are all persuasive and in a
way manipulative though the effective leader is sincere and trustworthy in all
circumstances. Other attributes such as the open consultative styles, the benevolent,
the goal centred or the people centred are true and come in various degrees depending
on what side of the pendulum one falls. Fig 3 below attempts to show the ideal
effective leader that interacts with team mates thus leading to higher output.
Fig 3 The effective leader interacts with team mates, gives and gets prompt feed back
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 16
Thus, we have seen that styles differ widely and apply differently in varying places
and circumstances. We now turn to zero in on Covey’s principle centred leadership
approach because I believe highly effective people do not only have the seven habits
reverted on the tablets of their hearts but these habits orbit around a central principle.
In other words, all other orbiting traits emanate from a firm personal principal that
directs and influences all steps taken.
As earlier intimated Stephen Covey’s excellent book “Principle centred leadership”
lays down many valuable truths that are critical for one to be effective and
revolutionary. In as much as people must begin with the end in mind, have multiple
paradigm shifts; they must have a firm principle base from which to propel their
Principle centred leadership, to borrow Covey’s phrase, is an excellent point from
which to begin operating. What this teaching basically advances is that whatever we
do, there are no short cuts to things. If a farmer wants to reap a rich harvest, he has to
first clear the area, plough the ground, plant seed and wait for rain, or better still,
irrigate the field. As the case may be, he will have to wait for the natural phenomenon
like the rain to fall and let the plants germinate. This entire activity takes time and will
have to be patiently followed through until harvest time. In a nutshell, for one to
operate effectively, they have to work within a certain framework or else short circuit
progress. No one has ever short circuited nature and escaped unscathed. Further more,
the person must go through multiple paradigm shifts where they see things in a totally
different light as well as put a finger on the source of strength-the inner self. Arriving
at this stage requires one taking a critical and honest introspective look and then
resolving to break with the past so as to achieve new and higher heights. Breaking
with the past requires courage, maturity, humility and determination whilst working
with a reasonable but highly set goal framework. The principle centred leader must at
all costs avoid the ‘Seven deadly sins’ or pitfalls that seek to creep in the way. These
are stated as the quest to quickly get wealth without labour, indulge in pleasure
thoughtlessly (especially after some success), have an abstract knowledge minus
character, go about business without ethics, using modern technology without human
touch, being unsacrificial and finally waxing politically eloquent without principle. In
every endeavour and sphere, there are rules to be obeyed much like the Christian Ten
commandments (Exodus 20:1-17, Bible)
Having successfully surmounted and evaded the pitfalls, the principled person must
know where their power base lies and from whence it comes. The knowledge is
critical for prudent utilisation when needed. Also, the leader must leave all
communication lines open so that information can freely flow to and fro the person.
Clear and timely communication is cardinal for success. Finally, under this head, the
person ensures that the family life is equally properly cultivated and not merely
relegated to the terraces. Usually, the danger is to be so engrossed in the pursuit of
excellence at the expense of the other equally important aspects of life. This is
scandalous for a leader. To the contrary, the effective leader is balanced and well
rounded recognising the centrality of the family unit. As we know, people thrive from
a strong base of a highly effective family where every one is aware of what is going
on, is participative and kept within the loop. The smaller private victories are
achieved first within the confines of the home and then later mature to bigger and
Consult Covey’s 7 Habits of highly effective people-an excellent manual for all to read.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 17
greater victories. The family is the foundation upon which the superstructure of
success is built. In a nutshell, the principled leader sharpens all the family members
from the youngest child to the spouse by way of coaching, interacting, complimenting
as well as giving them the confidence and vision to succeed. The adage ‘Teach them
how to fish today for tomorrow’
holds true ultimately.
lNTcnNATioNAL lNTcnNATioNAL lNTcnNATioNAL lNTcnNATioNAL LcAocnsHiÞ LcAocnsHiÞ LcAocnsHiÞ LcAocnsHiÞ iN ÞcnsÞccTivc iN ÞcnsÞccTivc iN ÞcnsÞccTivc iN ÞcnsÞccTivc
Before we move further, and in the light of the changing trends World over, our job
would be half done if we did not include a section on international
Management/leadership. All along, we have assumed that a leader will apply the same
tactics to inspire people. Many Managers have failed miserably on the international
scene because of not appropriately applying their leadership skills. As you will notice,
the profile of the global Manager is interesting because the said manager could be
recruited from any point of the terrestrial ball. Gone are the days when only local staff
could be the only ones recruited for a job. Now, any one can take up the job as long as
they have the right qualifications and the acumen to feature on the international scene.
In that case, the Manager must be very versatile, active and multitalented to fit in well
in varying environments. As such, there is need to be multilingual by mastering more
than one language as well as the unspoken cues that go along with the local culture.
(a) In addition to the aforementioned point, the International Manager can lead from
any country and base. Thus, International experience is crucial for the present and
future global manager having a wide mind and rich exposure internationally so as
to objectively handle staff problems of various shades. For example, the need to
empathise and understand the local situation yet to keep a global focus is key to
the success of manger a diverse work force. Closely tied to what has been
mentioned is the need to learn to motivate staff. How can one know without
empathizing with the workers so as to know their actual needs? Were we to use
Standard American motivation practices, they will most probably be out of taste
with the local scenario. Thus, there is a way in which one must know the best way
to reward and motivate a diverse cultured work force, although still keeping
within the corporate culture and goals. The person who will be an excellent
international manager and leader must possess the following cultural skills:
1. Maturity- One who is wise and able to handle diverse and sometimes
radically different cultures competently.
2. Emotional stability-The person must not be moody and unpredictable. In one
moment, very warm, friendly and sociable but in the next hostile, argumentative,
bigoted and throwing tantrums all over the place! The Manager must hold
him/herself in all situations whilst keeping his/her head in all situations.
3. Considerable breadth of knowledge- It is not enough to have the financial
backing or the acumen, but rather, knowledge must be first resident in the brain
and from that platform then launch to deal with each case as it rears its
multicoloured head! The Manager must have a broad knowledge in terms of
geography, history, culture, local politics, policies and the possible strategic routes
to employ. He/she must also know the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and
threats that confront the fate of the organization.
4. Adaptability-Having acquired the knowledge and acumen; the manager must
also have an ability to adapt to the circumstances prevailing so as not to appear
out of step with the times. In other words, the understanding must trickle down to
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 18
the heart where it will affect the will to accept the situation and do the best to reap
maximum benefits both for the organization, employees and the local community.
Half the time, the will revolts to stay in a given place and thus, the manager,
though knowledgeable and apt will pack his/her bags and return home as a failure.
5. Good attitude and effort- this aspect is closely connected to the above-
mentioned point but has more to do with the mindset and the inward disposition
that one has towards life. If one is strictly ruled by his/her SRC
, they will display
a bad attitude and thus put in very little effort. Usually, such have a defeatist
attitude to a point where even their minds cannot think objectively or strategically.
6. Positive out look- having said the above, the good manager then must
cultivate and have a positive out look to whatever situation that confronts him.
Optimism should be the hallmark of a good International Manager.
But that is not all, some further traits are:
(i) Communication- We live in a world of interdependence as well as an information
age. It is therefore not advisable to keep to oneself and only release ‘Press statements’
at irregular intervals while the rest of the time, pitch darkness reigns within the
organization. Clandestine, authoritarian and ‘commando’ like managers are out of step
with the modern management trends. Effective communication is the key to every
(ii) Respect-The manager must have due regard for others and not ‘ride a high horse’
where no one is viewed as important as the self. Many an international manager has
wrecked their potentially glittering career by arrogance and pride, although they had
(iii) Tolerate ambiguity- The Manager must have a high tolerance of uncertainty
because of the nature of the international scenario. Some people cannot stand being in
limbo for long and easily get frustrated, but not so the good manager. Instead, he/she
watches the motions of the market and comes up with a pattern over time and yet
always giving allowance for sudden change. This calls for patient endurance and
resilience. Analytical and logical people are the most in need of this grace.
(iv) Display empathy-Must be able to feel and imagine oneself in the shoes of the
person needing help. Without empathy, it is impossible to appreciate and rightly apply
the right remedy in a given situation.
(v) Non judgmental- half the time, without our consciousness, our SRC affects the
way we judge things and situations. Our prior training ,orientation and culture have a
more potent influence than we realize. For instance, what we have termed as ‘moral
and right’ may not necessarily the same else where. Thus, the manager must not be
dogmatic nor condemn others for holding on to a varying opinion and practice.
(vi) Recognise and control the situation aptly and quickly. The astute Manager’s eagle
eye must see things and quickly devise a solution long before it happens. This is a rare
strength but the good International Manager possesses that discernment and uses it
appropriately to handle issues.
(vii) A good sense of humour- Laugh off things and not take things to personal. Care
of course must be taken not to trivialise even important and critical issues.
The work of the international Manager who leads people has to contend with various
attitudes, beliefs, cultures, and values of the local condition. For instance, in the
United States, the company business takes precedence over family and relations
where loyalty is given to the entity. In Latin America, the opposite is true. Further
more, in the USA, the entity concept of the organisation is espoused strongly while in
SRC = self reference criterion
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 19
other places, the entity cannot be separated from the people. Another difference is the
way people view their jobs in a particular organisation. In the West, working for a
particular organisation is not viewed as life long while in places like Japan, people
devote themselves to one for life along side other relatives and friends. The work
relationships are more personal and founded from culture and family while in the
States, the grounds of hiring some one is not family attachment or prior knowledge
but largely on merit. We may even add the attitude towards working hours as a
difference! A Japanese worker will toil tirelessly until the work is complete everyday
without minding the knocking off time while an American will content him/herself
with the 8 hour schedule, pack bags and go home, whether the work has been
accomplished or not! All the above attitudes influence out put and reactions of people
towards their vocation. The international manager must contend and contain all these
As we continue to look at leadership in general, perhaps it is fitting at this stage to
reassert that leadership is different from management because the former has more to
do with ones’ traits to influence change rather than to control activities. Various
people have said that “leadership deals with interpersonal aspects of a manager’s job,
whereas planning, organisation & controlling deals with administrative aspects”
This shows that the leader has to have certain attributes that are fitting to relate to
people in a motivational fashion. Further, Dubrin says that “leadership deals with
change, inspiration, motivation and influence”
These attributes are essential for
success of any enterprise. Leaders are not afraid to step into the future face change or
effect radical transformations. Managers, on the other hand dare not risk anything and
would like to keep the status quo as calm as possible. In relation to what we have thus
far asserted, we can safely say that “leadership forms the bridge between
organisational goals & individual goals and is a crucial element in determining the
success of the Organisation.”
We can see that a leader has the following traits.
(1) Influence: The ability to change other peoples’ attitudes and behaviour un
(2) Power: The capability to exercise influence over the behaviour of others by
virtue of being over some of them. This power can be either coercive,
positional or resource power. Many posses power due to either their status or
(3) Authority: The right to influence and is equivalent to the legitimate power one
possesses. Some people have authority that comes to them either by their
magnetic, charming, visionary or maverick character. By these powers, they
can effect great changes in an organisation or community. Such leaders are
known as transformational or charismatic leaders. Others derive their authority
by legal means.
“Charisma is a special quality of leaders whose purpose & extraordinary
determination differentiates them from others.”
From the above stand point, the principled person progresses to accomplish more
feats outside the home by being open minded creative, quality driven and passionate
to transform situations into better places. This is done in a number of ways by firstly
Dubrin: leadership page 3
Dubrin: leadership page 3
Mitchell Beasley: organization theory page 86
Dubrin: leadership page 19
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 20
having a personal and corporate mission statement. A mission statement is a summary
of the objectives and why the entity exists. The self same statement will not only act
as a reminder but as a benchmark to achieve higher heights of usefulness.
In my opinion, I think all the people that have graced the leadership spectrum have
been men and women of purpose and have operated from a strong principle base. That
body of principles has so soaked into their cardiac systems to the end that they have
conquered kingdoms upon kingdoms. There is no better way to begin each day and
year than with a firm resolution to work within the framework of the natural laws. As
earlier intimated, to have a mission in life, a goal, a vision, and a systematically
priotised events and activities daily is a prerequisite to effectiveness. There must be a
continual desire to improve and to do things more efficiently thereby cutting costs.
Having laboured, to expound and define what leadership is in general, we naturally
proceed to look at effective leadership in particular.
EFFECTlVE EFFECTlVE EFFECTlVE EFFECTlVE LEADEHSHlP DEFlNED LEADEHSHlP DEFlNED LEADEHSHlP DEFlNED LEADEHSHlP DEFlNED
When we take up the general subject of leadership, many people assume they qualify
as they exercise some influence in one way or the other in their respective spheres of
operation, but are all leaders effective? Do they reap the same results when they take
up task? We hardly need to labour the point because the answer is clear: Not all are
as effective. Highly effective people are leaders but they are much more superior in
that when they take up a task; they succeed where others have failed or sweated to
achieve similar results. In other words, an effective leader possesses intrinsic and
internalised powers to get things done. For example, the effective leader builds teams,
empowers people, coaches colleagues and has the capability to cause people to
unleash their hidden potential to produce high results. Effective leaders are
charismatic and possess certain unique characteristics to be highlighted later.
Having briefly defined an effective leader, we proceed to discover how an established
leader can actually be even more productive.
How can a leader improve his/her effectiveness?
What gadgets will he or she use to achieve maximum potential? A number of ways
come to the fore but the following will suffice for our purposes:
(1) The leader must be able to make decisions timorously, with consensus having
considered all options laid bare. It is a disastrous situation when one is
indecisive or makes decisions late. A leader must have the courage to make
tough decisions and that, quickly,
(2) Ability to set goals: The leader must set high challenging goals and do
everything to ensure that those goals are either met or excelled. Each year
should bring new challenges.
(3) Ability to develop a cohesive teamwork – The leader must be at the forefront
to build a culture of teamwork. He/she must study the staff and place them in
the right positions while providing a conclusive environment. The leader will
do this by assigning roles, building multi skill capacity, rewarding people as
well as visiting them. The leader is empathetic and helps people to willingly
go across their departmental walls to collaborate with others. This paradigms
shift takes time but possible.
(4) By leading meetings and discussions. Regular meetings to discuss issues as a
team is critical. When people are given room to express themselves, the feel
“heard” and encouraged to be innovative. In such brain storming session,
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 21
people are not timid or afraid to make mistakes or to disagree to a proposition.
People pull together. Furthermore, the leader gets to know people better,
removes prejudices and ultimately let people make the decision to which they
will all willing subscribe. These meetings could be daily each morning 15
minutes, weekly or monthly as the case may be. This helps to assess the
progress and check the pace or bench markets set. This approach avoids
delays, minimizes misunderstandings and binds the team with invisible cords
that are not easily severed.
(5) Analysing problems: The leader has to sharpen the prowess of analysing data,
questioning where not clear and also intelligently interpreting issues,
especially financial figures. The leader should come with a possible attitude
and determined to apply ones mind. No longer are financial reports the private
preserve of a certain elect few.
(6) Ability to give support. Once people notice that you are empathetic and not
only interested in them when they are churning out your expectation, they will
gladly soak into your leadership wing shadow. The leader must make every
effort to build trust, look after people, sit with them, impart confidence and
provide a supportive back up wherever possible. I am sure that the above
traits, once cultivated will increase ones’ effectiveness ten fold.
MAHKS OF AN EFFECTlVE MAHKS OF AN EFFECTlVE MAHKS OF AN EFFECTlVE MAHKS OF AN EFFECTlVE LEADEH LEADEH LEADEH LEADEH
The effective leader towers above peers in terms of abilities, creativity, achievement
and influence on others. The following seven traits mark out the effective leader!
(1) Great leaders identify, cultivate and inspire enthusiastic followers
“Some people are successful but are not leaders” asserts Ken Shelton and I tend to
agree. Some seem to blossom on the labours of predecessors or they themselves
have a personality that forces people to do things, not necessarily that the people
are inspired or challenged. These kinds of leaders work best alone and do not
enrich others. Not so the effective leader! He/she is a source of comfort, self-
acceptance & worth, cultivates a cohesive community culture that is of great help
and challenge to others, to the extent that others want to imitate them. They are
not merely content to have a following but an empowered following that is
charged, visionary and highly result based at all times. In short, they enlist the
cooperation, support and loyalty of others.
(2) Great leaders focus their efforts
Highly effective people have a goal all the time upon their mind and will neither
look to the left nor to the right until the goal is achieved. Nothing will destruct or
cloud their view of the destination unless it helps them to attain the goal. They
think, ponder and move towards the mark diligently. In short, there are focused
and will not waste any energy, time or let any opportunity flip by. He/she redeems
the time as the time is short. One thing done at a time!
(3) Great leaders face and overcome great difficulties
To the ordinary mind, a problem is a great stumbling block that can cause them to
abandon ship or sit down to mourn over the apparent misfortune. On the other
hand a great leader looks at hurdles as challenges and stepping-stones to higher
Point heads adapted from the Executive excellence magazine: “ seven traits of great leaders” April
1999 issue page 14
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 22
heights of service. In other words, the leader learns from mistakes and builds on
the successes by the same token. Ordinary leaders struggle where proactively
effective leaders sail plainly. The effective leader is resilient despite the many
(4) Great leaders expect more from themselves than they do from others
If you do not believe you are worth anything or able to do much, you will go as
far as you believe. If you believe that, you can achieve much, you will obviously
achieve success after success. The smaller successes lead to bigger ones until you
excel by leaps and bounds. Effective leaders expect and believe that they
themselves can do anything provided they put their head to it. In other words, the
effective leader has a right self worth, a good head and a high confidence to
achieve the objectives timorously and consistently so. In a way, they are “self
contained” although they strongly believe in teamwork and net working. They
master their functions very well. They demand more from self and willingly work
relentlessly hours on end until the mark is reached. They are not only achievers
but also self-starters and creatively so.
(5) Great leaders are not afraid to make tough decisions.
Many a leader will shrink back to make tough decisions for fear of becoming
unpopular, misunderstood or loss of face. The effective leader is not afraid of all
these but will meticulously & wisely worm his/her way through the problem to
communicate an objective truth. The leader will consult widely, think through
issues and give the final verdict, ready to bear all the consequences of the decision
(6) Great leader have a vision and utmost faith in themselves to fulfil that
If there is one attribute that marks any effective leader, it is that of having a vision
to look into the future. With all the energies to hand, the leader sweeps across the
present into the distant future, facing all challenges positively. Not only does the
said leader have a blurred vision but a clearly distinct and attainable vision to
which he/she will throw in all their weight to attain. Before launching out, the
leader has great faith in the self to fulfil the activity according to expectations and
beyond. Many a leader usually is chancing or makes pronouncements before hand,
probably without even counting his/her troops for the challenge ahead. But
effective leaders are resolved and determined to win, which is half the battle won.
Are you such a one?
(7) Great leaders are ambitious for themselves, their companies and their
Many begin well as the set sail on the ocean of life, with much life, promise
enthusiasm and energy, but alas, other things take their ambition away. Some of
the robbers of a vision are marriage, sudden success, compromise or the wrong
company and bad habits. All these cloud the ambition horizon to the extent that
when people die, a “library” of great plans goes with them to the grave. But
effective leaders are extremely ambitious both for themselves and for all those
around them. They have plans and goals for each member of staff, envisioning
them at a better plane in a given time period. Nothing destroys or corrupts the
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 23
vision! As Ken asserts, “No quality requires more guarding than ambition”
Ambition is a tender and sensitive plant that needs constant care and nurturing
every hour of the journey. “It will not live and keep growing if it is not nourished;
and the moment we begin to disregard it, we begin to go down hill...”
your ambition is not alive, you should strengthen it in every possible way.
Visualise the thing you want to be”
. Further more, effective leaders are result
based in their out look to leadership, they:
• Begin with an absolute focus on results
As intimated above, the effective leader is not only vision oriented but is
focused on the results before setting out. As Stephen Covey has asserted in
his book “7 habits of highly effective people”, effective people have the
end in mind and then begin to map out strategies towards the achieving of
the said goals. They ask questions such as “where does my organisation
want to be in 2 years?” And then launch out full throttle to achieve with a
focus on results, people do not move aimlessly akin to one running a race
• Take complete and personal responsibility for the groups results
Effective leaders never pass the buck to another person nor do they spend
sleepless nights trying to locate some one to blame. They are pretty too
busy and goal orientated to begin apportioning blame. Instead, they look at
any failure as an indication of a problem in the system rather than a
person. Thus, they set out to “fix” the problem source so as to ensure
smooth & expeditious out put. Traditional leaders are tyrants who never sit
with people and have no time, to listen in the modern leader however,
accepts complete responsibility for any dysfunction.
• Clearly communicate expectations and targets to people in their group.
When the leader is clandestine and hoards useful information to
him/herself, the subordinates will feel left out and demoralised, as they
will not be sure whether they are operating with the acceptable framework.
The effective leader makes information available and also ensures that
people know exactly their targets and expectations. This removes all room
for excuse suspicious and prejudice in the event of a problem. But we must
assert that the leader does not only communicate dry facts, he/ she
effectively communicates the urgency, importance and the warmth of the
task such that people will not rest until the goal is attained. Priorities and
sequence of things is laid bare and any queries are clarified in a prompt
and personal fashion.
• Determine what they personally need to do to improve their results.
The effective leader does not spend his/ her entire life to coach and coax
others to perform better but he/she also takes time to withdraw from the
hustle and bustle of life for an internal introspection as well as
retrospection. It is good to take time off periodically and think through
: Executive excellence: "seven traits of great leaders” Page 14 Vol 16 N
: Executive excellence: "seven traits of great leaders” April 1999 Page 13 Vol 16 N
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 24
issues, evaluate and then set personal goals afresh. This has a way of
“recharging the brain cells” so that one is fresh to clearly plan and improve
performance. This is a trademark of effective leaders. Some take a deep
breathe and relax in their chairs before they begin any business each day.
They also plan the day hour by hour.
• Use results as the litmus test for any leadership or management
practice in use new, proposed or initiated. The effective leader is never
content with part achievements nor does he/she sit on the laurels or
past glories. Each day has new challenges that must be faced as they
come. As such, closely knit to the aforementioned points above,
effective leaders always set high goals segmented by bench marks
against which periodic evaluations are done. From the results, the
leader learns whether the practice is convenient, efficient or indeed
ideal. Furthermore, the leader always looks for easier and better ways
to achieve the same goals. The results act as a litmus test for either
leadership or management style.
• Know and use every group member’s capabilities to the fullest and
provide everyone with appropriate developmental opportunities.
The effective leader is one who spends time studying the various members
of staff to ascertain their strengths and weaknesses and thus know which
part of the team to put them. Like a football team coach, he/she identifies
strengths and shuffles people around, of course having consulted them, in
the various positions so that they fully develop their potentials. In addition,
the leader throws challenges to people by allowing them to lead groups,
from small ones to big ones over time. In this way, people will exhibit
leadership traits that were hither to latent. Also this motivates people and
adds to their self esteem. For example, at the Namuso ADP
, almost all
members of staff have acted as manager, and others have respected them!
• Experiment & Innovate in every realm under your influence, looking
constantly for new ways to improve performance.
The effective leader is diligent learn new things from anybody whether
superior or not and quickly grasps things. In this way, he / she is constantly
updated and never caught unaware at all. In addition, the said leader is not
afraid to take risks. There is always a thirst to try out new things and ways
of doing activities to the end that current practices may be improved. The
effective leader is not archaic, rigid nor autocratic but ready to venture into
• Increase the number of standards you measure and the rigor with
which you measure them.
Effective leaders have a broad mind and by that token are able to have a
comfortable appreciation of other spheres different from their speciality.
For example, the leader is able to intelligently interact with and interpret
figures and metrics thus drawing conclusions. Apart from maths, the leader
should have a technically analytical and yet pragmatic mind so that he/she
Namuso ADP is the name of the World Vision International Program at Mongu. “ADP” stands for
Area Development Program. Refer to Appendix II for a case study at Namuso ADP
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 25
can use various parameters to measure the results that come to the fore.
Results tell a story and must thus be measurable in some way.
• Constantly take action; results won’t improve without it.
The effective leader must act to produce results rather than just sitting back
storing at a glaring problem or a past success. Rather, the leader must be
proactive, and never be satisfied with the status quo. Leaders focus on
opportunities for results. This entails focusing on what people can do
rather than what they can’t. Exploiting their strengths encourages results
and avoids paralysis.
• Increase the pace or tempo of your group
Not only is it good to get results but it is equally important to ensure that
the results are timely. Thus, the effective leader ensures that each time, the
pace and tempo of the group gets better and faster. This may well mean
doubling up efforts as people become experts and thus reduce on the time
spent doing a particular job. When people visibly see it in the leader (in
increase in pace & tempo) they will emulate. The leaders’ pace usually
sets the pace for the entire group. “ To some extent, leadership traits an ‘
• Seek feedback from others about ways you and your group can
improve your out comes.
Sometimes, it is good to stand aside and observe how you do things. Better
still, it would be good to ask other objective people to assess all of you and
give a feedback, giving ways you & other group members can improve
outcomes. Effective leaders are not afraid to be evaluated by out siders
who will give an objective report whether good or bad.
• Make sure your colleagues perceive that your motivation is the
achievement of positive results and not personal or political gain.
Many aspire for leadership for the wrong reasons. Effective leaders cannot
afford to have such a calibre of colleagues whose egocentric and
clandestine agenda will not help anyone but themselves. Usually, such
selfish people are shrewd organisational politicians who gravitate towards
the “warm side” and flee when the going gets though. The effective leader
ensures that he/she is sincere and consistent when he/she does little things
to motivate people rather than using the rewards and compliments to bait
people so that they are forever tied hand & foot.
• Model the methods and strive for the results your group wants to
use & attain.
When a leader is chosen, usually they are role models for others to imitate. This
means that hither to, the person was a good example of consistent good behaviour.
Good character is a powerful advocate for leadership. It goes before the person.
Effective leaders deliver on their promises and are faithfully consistent on promises
no mater how insignificant.
Have an internal locus of control of the whole scenario but this leadership is not the
assertive sort, this one is interactive in nature. In other words the leader is above
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 26
everyone in the organisation in terms of abilities and acts as a resource person and
facilitator. The same does not bash everyone in his or her way but rather works side
by side with colleagues to achieve a particular goal.
Trusts people and delegates many tasks to them while he or she concentrates on other
things. He or she is not bogged down with the details of planning and implementing
(although he /she has the ability) activities but rather looks for easier and better ways
to do a job and the shares it with team mates
Never clandestine in his/her dealings but is open, communicates effectively and
ensures that no one is left in the dark. Since this is information-sharing age, the
effective leader shares skills, information that enables others to work well too.
Another colleague educated and empowered is one way of freeing oneself from that
load to concentrate on other more important needs. This communication is through e-
mail, person to person, visitation or regular reflective meetings that brain storming
Never high goals and goes full throttle to achieve them. In the quest to appropriate,
he/ she involves everybody and makes them see the urgency and importance of the
matter. In the end, people view hurdles as a challenge he/ she carries every body
Have an unusual analytical eye and yet does not suffer from analysis paralysis. In
other words, the leader ensures that they receive data, process it and analyse the
results. Where issues are not clear, the leader freely asks or gives information as the
case maybe. Effective leaders need not be experts in every field but they have enough
grey matter to capture issues and articulate them to all without much ado.
Not only have analytical powers, they are the best resource person available. As
intimated earlier, he/she has an interest in every area and is able to grasp things fast so
as to sit back and lead from behind. In other words, the leader is an oasis of data,
information and skills. The effective leader can articulate issues outside his/ her
sphere of training having appreciated other areas. Gone are the days when managers
would say “ask the
finance people, it’s not my area!” For a modern leader to speak like this
spells disaster. In a nutshell then, the effective leader is in control of all his faculties
and in constant up date, with the whole picture in mind. In a capsule form, the
effective leader motivates others, creates and establishes a vision. In other, words
generates ideas, manages openly, an achievement booster and is competitive.
Keeps their heads in all circumstances. Some people lose focus when they
succeed but the effective leader can handle the limelight and sustain their
Are not easily flattered nor rest on their laurels. They do not get bogged
down with the trappings of past success.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 27
Have great visions that turn into reality. Such leaders can change entire
In summary form, we can say that effective leaders are:
2. Have an excellent “whole picture”
3. Excellent strategic thinkers and planners
4. Creative & open minded.
5. Trust others
6. Team players, coaches & mentors
7. Empathise with associates
8. Value people
10. Good time managers
11. Disciplined & keep the right priorities “Not all urgent things are
13. Free to delegate tasks
14. Consistently setting high goals
15. Inquisitive & have a wide range of knowledge
16. Ever learning
17. Achievers & performers.
18. Motivators & inspirers
22. Self replicative
23. Work Smart rather than only hard
24. High capacity to forbear and forgive
Refer to the United States Information agency magazine entitled “Leadership: Seven profiles in local
Government” We have live pictures of individuals that changed towns.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone
DEVELOPlNG LEADEHSHlP QUALlTlES DEVELOPlNG LEADEHSHlP QUALlTlES DEVELOPlNG LEADEHSHlP QUALlTlES DEVELOPlNG LEADEHSHlP QUALlTlES
n talking about developing leadership skills we cannot avoid encountering the question as to
whether leaders are born or made. Admittedly, this is a very difficult question upon which
thousands of writers have shed their blood, with no conclusive answer. There are basically
three schools of thought and each school has it’s own variations. As hinted before, many
authors either support one doctrine in opposition to the other two. The first school asserts that
leaders are born and not made because certain people and families seem to have a natural flair
for leadership that hallows them unsolicited. Examples abound in that regard. But this school
has one problem because they cannot tangibly prove that leaders are born. The second school
of thought is that leaders are made, that is, built up due to various environmental factors such
as background, training, exposure, circumstance and opportunity They argue that given the
opportunity of in a vulnerable situation, one realises & reactivates their latent leadership
traits. Further they argue that these leadership traits have to be developed over time as
circumstances show themselves. They state that one only discovers their potential when
confronted with a situation that they have encountered before and from that situation, they
pluck some lessons to apply in future. For example, while a towering leader to whom
everyone looks is in their midst, the others will lie low and be subservient to the said hero but
should that person leave, another will arise to take over, although s/he may not be with the
exact traits and degree of charisma as the predecessor. Thus, the new leader first encounters
the challenge & is afraid and feels inadequate, looks around and decides to rise to the
challenge as best as possible. This scenario happens again and again and in some cases, the
new leader brings in innovations, which the previous did not focus on. Unconsciously, we
learn from our leaders and members, while in the same breathe taking note of their pitfalls
and strengths. When the circumstantial leader rises to prominence, s/he avoids the pitfalls and
imitates the positive traits from the predecessor before finding his/ her own feet. In my own
experience, this has repeated itself so many times. Before the illustrious leader departs, I have
tended to sit back and support the same but as providence would have it, the leaders upon
whom I relied heavily have either moved town or been transferred. There has been as initial
fear tremor that has passed through my heart and mind but then I discovered that no one else
would stand in for me. I pulled my self together and went ahead to achieve great things. This
kind of leadership thought appeals to the natural mind but is it true? Can we verify it by way
of research? Isn’t it true that those people are already born leaders but do not simply have an
opportunity to express themselves? This theory also fails to stand on its own feet when we
consider myriads, which have miserably fallen by the way side after attempting to be leaders
against their nature. The third school of thought is the contingency theory where it is believed
that no particular style of leadership is the best but depends on the situation.
When considering leadership, we assume that the answer to the question at hand lies
somewhere in between the two extremes. I think every person is a leader of some sort in their
own right and also that the leadership ability can be developed. What differs is the degree of
manifestation – some are more expressive and sanguine while others are choleric or
melancholic. Each of these differs and add colour to the vast array of the leadership rainbow.
Since we believe that leadership powers can be developed, how can this be developed? We
assume that the answer to the question at hand lies somewhere in between the extremes.
How can a leader develop effective ways of doing things? How can one do a job of one
morning rather than the whole day? The answer lies in the ability of the leader to get hold of
certain critical factors and master them. The primary thing that the leader must do to is begin
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 30
focusing on quality in all his spheres. The said person must set the right priorities and exert
him self to attain the highest and best results in all spheres, whether in ethics or product
output. Many times a leader is content to church out results enmass but is that result quality?
Does it add value or send good massages abroad? The second thing is to be willing to learn
from others, no matter their status learning, background or profession. Half the time, people
are selective and prejudiced against certain areas. The leader must be willing to cross the
invisible departmental borders and grasp all he/she can. There is great value in willing to
learn, knowing that no man is entirely complete in knowledge in any profession. Having
learnt from others, the leader then resolves to gain experience and in the process master the
various factions. In the long run, the person becomes more proficient resulting in immense
cost cuts. As time goes on, the resourceful leader will become a resource person who will be
there to help strengthen other peoples’ abilities. As he/she helps others repeatedly, the same
person sharpens their own lot.
Thus, although some quarters believe that leaders are born, we can safely see that people can
develop sharpen their abilities with exposure and continuous training.
Further more, the leader is very strategic in outlook, highly organised and focused towards the
goal. Whereas the manager ensures things are going as per plan, the leader is an instrument of
change with clear goals and mission. The leader is proactive and works by plan though open
to any changes in the environment. The leader is a strategic risk taker and an agent of change.
The leader is on a journey and as such constantly finding innovative ways of doing things.
The status quo is not a resting place but a stepping-stone into higher lights orbs of service. To
achieve all these goals, the leader keeps focus & prioritises all the time. The burning motto is
“First things first” It is true that many things seem urgent but not all are important. Thus, the
effective leader must have the ability to pick and choose the critical issues. Sadly, many
leaders are buffeted by a plethora of urgent issues and try to do all things at the same time. In
the end, there is no tangible progressive achievement although much energy has been evoked.
In a nutshell said leader is clear minded, methodical, focused and consistently mutating to suit
HcsuLTs ANo crrccTs or A cooo HcsuLTs ANo crrccTs or A cooo HcsuLTs ANo crrccTs or A cooo HcsuLTs ANo crrccTs or A cooo LcAocnsHiÞ LcAocnsHiÞ LcAocnsHiÞ LcAocnsHiÞ
The results and effects of a good leadership are manifest as we commence by dealing with the
marks of a good leader and then consider the effects of the same. The following is what I have
gathered and concluded as I have read books and interacted with effective leaders. Where an
effective leader has passed, the following blaze will trail:
The quality of the output will be high as opposed to mediocre.
The effective leadership is resilient, undaunted by quick tasks, threats or new
The effective leader is a fast and open learner and thus diffuses the same to others.
The said leader gains experience and masters roles that he or she freely and
willingly passes on to others.
Strengths are built upon and people are helped to identify and cultivate their core
competencies. This is done via challenges and reflective training workshops.
Cohesive teamwork is built where every member feels responsible and part of the
team. The results do not belong to one person but to all.
• Cohesive Team work
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 31
• High out put
• A highly motivated team who willingly tackle their tasks
• Mutual concern for each other
• Absence of infighting and jostling for positions or status
• Goal focus & congruence
• Innovation and creativity are enhanced where people are free to
bring in ideas from which the best practices are fished.
• Flexibility, agility & open mindedness on the part of the leader
that ultimately rubs on to the rest of the team-mates.
• People feel free & secure whenever they think of their jobs.
There is little uncertainty though the modern trends of re
engineering occur often. Because people are empowered, they
could either get another job or start another business altogether.
• Self replication
• More proactive rather than reactive
• Continuity after the leaders’exit
Impediments to effective leadership
1. Character flaws: a. Integrity lack, inconsistency, indecision, unethical
2. Little desire or passion. Low pulse for success or any cause.
3. Little or no self discipline
4. Blurred vision and goals
5. Little or no determination
Expected challenges for the leader
3. Resistance to change, refer to the Butros Ghali case
4. Dysfunctional parts in the chain and system
5. Organisational politics e.g. passive resistance, back biting, little
buy in, different egocentric ambitions etc.
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Having scanned through the wide avalanche of books available on effective leadership,
I fear that true and real effective leaders are exceedingly few and far between. The
times demand people who speak less with their tongues than those who vocalise their
mettle by their effects on a task undertaken.
When I look around, all I see is a great mass of theorists across the Globe. It is
gratifying however, that there is a new generation of Managers who are arising over the
horizon who will not stop at anything until they get the real genuine thing-Leadership.
In my own prediction, I see a time when we shall see more of an informal office set up
where people focus more on results rather than on petty squabbles such as what attire to
wear and which office to occupy etc. More frequently, people will not need to be
supervised and will be disciplined enough to work from home and churn out high
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 32
quality timorous results through the use of IT. Today’s talk is focusing on the paperless
office as well as the virtual office. Now for these to be realities, people will need to
reach a certain professional level and be self-governing. Already, we hear of self-
managing teams with all the members of the team qualified professionals. I envision a
time when every team member will have multiple talents and skills so as to take up any
task undaunted. The time of strict specialisation is fast coming to an end and is being
replaced by having a workable knowledge of many disciplines. Today, people are being
paid for their knowledge rather than on the amount of time they spend doing a
particular job. For a long time to come, leadership and teamwork will carry the day for
Tomorrows’ scenario will be pretty the same but at an accelerated level. More and
bigger challenges will surface and dynamic minds equal to the task will arise to meet
CoNcLusioNs & HccommcNoATioNs CoNcLusioNs & HccommcNoATioNs CoNcLusioNs & HccommcNoATioNs CoNcLusioNs & HccommcNoATioNs/ / / /
STnATccics STnATccics STnATccics STnATccics
I have thus laboured to bring to the fore what proper leadership is in the modern
society, and having also zeroed in on effective leadership, it now remains for me to give
some recommendations of what I think is the best strategic way forward. We have seen
that much has been written on leadership lately, resulting in a plethora of volumes and
manuals on the topic. Although much has been documented on paper and otherwise, I
fear that very few people actually believe and practice what the purport to espouse. I
make this assertion based on what I have observed in various forums including my
short working stint. Thankfully, I worked with an excellent manager whom, in many
ways, I am indebted to because for three years I read and watched his life, exemplifying
an ideal leader. He was far more than a manager. Turning my scope to other work
places within and without world vision, I see vast stretches of work places infested with
autocratic managers rather than leader/ managers. Having asserted the last statement, let
me hasten to say that it has equally been gratifying to see people change, open up and
mutate to some semblance of the ideal manager after embarking on leadership training.
If I were to paste a “before and after” picture in your mind of those people, the stark
difference would be so great. But that is what continuous training and exposure can do.
What is my recommendation for the future? What ought we to do to salvage the office
from being a “tyrants dungeon” to a sunshine peace haven where people work freely
and diligently? A number of recommendations come to the fore, some new, others old:
1. There must be continuous & constant training for staff people.
2. There must be extended exposure of people to other environments,
either in the same industry or otherwise.
3. There must be increased encouragement of adopting methods of best
practice. Knowledge must migrate freely.
4. People must be given more opportunity to take up responsible
leadership positions re- to act as managers, directors etc-This worked
wonders at the Namuso ADP.
5. People must be challenged to believe they can do much more than they
6. People must be sometimes abandoned in risky & vulnerable
circumstances so that they are forced to use their latent leadership
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 33
skills/survival instincts. This drags out to the fore the hidden strengths.
This also strangles the laissez faire attitude.
7. Leaders must be consistent, visionary & full of integrity. They earn
The road has been long but enjoyable. We have successfully ploughed through the
whole subject of leadership, having zeroed in on effective leadership. The question
paused at the beginning, “What is effective leadership?” is now answered and as such, I
happily rest my case here!
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 34
(1) Stephen Covey: Principal centred leadership – New
York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo, Singapore
(2) Robert Heller: Effective leadership, Dorling Kindersley.
London. New York. Sydney. Moscow
(3) Robert Heller: Managing teams, Dorling Kindersley.
London. New York. Sydney. Moscow
(4) Executive Excellence Publishing 1999 – April 2001
(5) Andrew J. Dubrin: leadership: research findings, practice
(6) Bower, Bastkett, Uyterhoeven & Walton: Business
policy: Managing Strategic processes, McGraw-Hill,
Boston, Massachusetts Burr Ridge, Illinois Dubuque,
Iowa Madison, Wiscosin New York, New York San
Francisco, California St. Louis, Missouri 8
(7) Zambia Daily Mail 05/03/1999 issue
(8) Cateora Phillip International Marketing: 9
Irwin McGraw-Hill, Boston Massachausetts,
(9) Donald R. Cooper & Pamela S Schindler; Business
research methods, MCGraw – Hill International Editions,
Boston Burr Ridge, IL Dubuque, IA Madison, WI New
York San Francisco
(10) Kereitner & Kinicki: Organisational Behaviour 4
Edition Irwin/ McGraw Hill, San Francisco.
(11) Stephen Covey: 7 habits of high effective people
1990/91 Pocket books, London, Sydney, New York, Tokyo,
(12) Moi Ali: Marketing effectively: Dorling Kindersley.
London. New York. Sydney. Moscow
(13) Mary O’hara – Deveraux & Robert Johansen: Global
work Jossey Bass Publishers 1994.
(14) Ariffin Ricky W. : Management 5
Uifflin Company Boston, Toronto, Geneva, Illinois, Palo
Alto Princeton, New Jersey.
(15) Thomas I Peters: In search of excellent: Warner books,
(16) PJ Smit & ApduPlessis: Management Principles
workbook 1994 futa & Lo ltd.
(17) P. Bryans T.P Cronin: Organisation theory 1983,
Mitchell Beazley Publishers
(18) Charles B. Handy: Understanding Organisations J 2
Edition. Penguin book
(19) Edwin B. Flippo: Personnel Management 6
McGraw Hill. Book Company. New York, St. Louis, San
Francisco, Aukland, Bogota, Hamburg, London, Madrid,
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 35
Mexico, Montreal, New Delhi, Panama, Paris, Sao Paulo,
Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo & Toronto.
(20) The Holy Bible: New International Version,
International Bible Society, 1984.
(21) Chuck Swindoll: Leadership, wordbook publisher
Waco, Texas 1985.
(22) United States Information Agency: Leadership: Seven
profiles in local government. This is a magazine.
(23) Wendell L French, Cecil H Bell Jr: Organisation
Development, Prentice-Hall of India Private ltd New Delhi-
edition, August 1989.
(24) John L Thomson: Strategic Management, Chapman
Hall, London New York, Tokyo, Melbourne, Madras
(25) Samuel C Certo, J Paul Peter: The Strategic
Management process, Austin Press, Irwin Chicago, Bagota,
Boston. Buenos Aires, Caracas, London, Madrid, Mexico
City, Sydney, Toronto, 3
(26) Harvey Maylor: Project Management, Financial Times,
Pitman publishing, London, San Francisco, Kuala Lumpur,
(27) William J Stevenson: Production/operations
Management, Mcgraw- Hill companies, Inc., 1996 (IRWIN)
Chicago, Bagota, Boston, Buenos Aires, Caracas, London,
Madrid, Mexico City, Sydney, Toronto 5
(28) Vroman H William, Vincent Luchsinger:
Managing Organisation quality, Richard D IRWIN 1994 burr
ridge, Illinois, Boston, Massachusetts, Sydney, Australia
(29) Mark Graham Brown, Darcy E Hitchcock, Marsha L
Willard: Why TQM fails and what to do about it, Irwin
Professional Publishing. Chicago. London. Singapore 1994.
(30) John Maxwell: 21 Irrefutable laws of leadership-Audio
(31) The Leadership pill
(32) Servant Leadership
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 36
AÞÞcNoix l AÞÞcNoix l AÞÞcNoix l AÞÞcNoix l
The Kambule Baptist Church Scenario
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 37
CAsc STuoY 1 CAsc STuoY 1 CAsc STuoY 1 CAsc STuoY 1
THc sccNAnio AT THc KAmauLc ÐAÞTisT THc sccNAnio AT THc KAmauLc ÐAÞTisT THc sccNAnio AT THc KAmauLc ÐAÞTisT THc sccNAnio AT THc KAmauLc ÐAÞTisT - -- - CHuncH 1979 CHuncH 1979 CHuncH 1979 CHuncH 1979 - -- - 19B9 19B9 19B9 19B9
From about 1979 a Mini religious awakening swept across Zambia. The said revival,
among many things, Occasioned the conversion of thousands to Christ, people
suddenly had a lively desire to know Christ and to do his work. Everywhere people
were conscious of the presence of God and attended every prayer meeting as well as
evangelised when opportunity availed itself. Among the key revivalists at the time
was a man called Jack Sokoni, who was a fervent and fine expositor of the word. He
adopted a systematic approach to expounding the Holy Scriptures to the end that
many people might be built up as leaders. Every Sunday, he exercised a powerful and
affecting ministry. He guarded his pulpit jealously. This activity went on for nearly
ten years when he suddenly left the Kambule Baptist Church to pursue further studies
abroad. An interesting phenomenon occurred because there was a latent leadership
crisis that surfaced. Having been such a fine sound leader, people thought Pastor
Sokoni would be there always and as such, never made plans to prepare to take over
his shoes after his departure.
As a result, no one was found equal to the task for over 3 years, yet his powerful
influence still lingered many years afterwards.
In the fourth year, the Church felt they needed another Pastor and thus called another
to take over but unfortunately, the new person did not last many years because Pastor
Sokoni’s ‘Ghost’ still lingered powerfully in people’s minds. The question that still
begs answering in peoples’ minds today is why a vacuum was created and how that
crisis could have been really avoided. Could that problem have been avoided? Was
Sokoni a leader?
OascnvATioNs OascnvATioNs OascnvATioNs OascnvATioNs
After much careful thought and research we observe that though Pastor Sokoni was a
great leader, he probably did not successfully pass on the “Body of Divinity” to a
wider body of faithful men
. He seems to have been a great crowd puller, though not
a very good one to one coach and mentor. Being Charismatic and magnetic, he dealt
with crowds rather than individuals and as such did not pick many understudies
except those who had a high IQ and could follow him through. The following were
1. The Church had grown in knowledge but people were not given opportunity to
exercise their leadership qualities.
2. The preacher appealed more to the intellect rather than causing people to apply
those truths in real life. Although the pastor tried to address that much too late.
3. The pastor became too powerful and no one could question or advise him
4. The said clergy, although a leader, was not a team player in the sense of
delegating to others. He was one of a kind genius who had all the attributes in
II Timothy 2:2, Holy Bible
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 38
5. The Church members were so influenced (Positively of course) that they
forgot that they needed to stand on their own feet!
6. The intellectuals in the Church caught up with his teaching and been to
question him on many things surpassed him.
7. The said Pastor did not particularly invest personally in many up coming
leaders in the church and as such, they were unprepared. We must however
hasten to say that he pronounced one world class preacher in the person of
Cain Mweemba who has ascended to higher orbs of leadership and pulpit
powers. Cain is an international roving preacher, quoted often everywhere he
goes. Many do not know that J Sokoni nurtured him.
The seven reasons advanced are not exhaustive but they shed some light on what
happened leading to the leadership vacuum.
LESSONS & HECOMMENDATlONS LESSONS & HECOMMENDATlONS LESSONS & HECOMMENDATlONS LESSONS & HECOMMENDATlONS
We learn the following:
(1) Never let anyone be a “boss” no matter how gifted – team
work is critical as no one person can succeed to do an activity,
Organisations must function as an organism, with all players
functioning and over lapping freely.
(2) Always build capacity in people by challenging them to take
up roles once in a while. This avoids a situation where people
content themselves in merely sitting rather than functioning.
(3) The leader must be always learning, a team player and willing
to hear what is happening on the ground.
(4) Leaders must aim to stimulate, not only the emotions but the
mind as well towards action.
My recommendations emanate from the afore mentioned lessons:
(1) Future leaders in all churches must be visionary, good team players and easily
approachable. Sokoni was approachable but was way above people in his
(2) Future pastors must be ones that we flexible and able to look at problems as
(3) Pastors must be well taken care of and other Church officers must equally be
active to ensure they “learn the ropes”.
(4) Where possible, the Church must have more than one Pastor though both must
be equally good team players.
(5) The church must be involved in other social projects so that the members can
have a way to express themselves.
(6) Preaching, although central in a Church, is not the only avenue leaders can be
identified and groomed from.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 39
APPENDlX ll APPENDlX ll APPENDlX ll APPENDlX ll
THc NAmuso ADP THc NAmuso ADP THc NAmuso ADP THc NAmuso ADP
sc sc sc sccNAnio cNAnio cNAnio cNAnio
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 40
CASE STUDY 2 CASE STUDY 2 CASE STUDY 2 CASE STUDY 2
NAMUSO ADP SCENAHlO NAMUSO ADP SCENAHlO NAMUSO ADP SCENAHlO NAMUSO ADP SCENAHlO
In October 1997, World vision International began running a large-scale program in
Mongu, 600 kilometres west of Zambia. Apart from funding hiccups, the area
development program (ADP) faced a lot of animosity from the community. With the
passage of time, the problems worsened as they was no communication between the
ADP office and the community. Worse still, as the interpersonal relations among the
ADP staff were adversarial to say the least. Workers were discontent disillusioned and
insecure due to the uncertain nature of things. It took a long time to discover the exact
root cause of the problem. With time, people with a strategic eye started to see that the
problem lay at the ADP office. After much painstaking introspection, it was
discovered that the management was at fault as a leadership crisis had crept in. Thus
with time, the manager was replaced after a few months.
The year was 1998, a few months into the second year of implementation when Mr
Chikondi Phiri, a 29 years old fresh engineering graduate took office. Mr Phiri had
just returned from Tanzania to pursue his masters’ degree in Engineering and was
given a charge to come to the ADP to: -
1. Restore integrity
2. Restore financial discipline
3. Restore the Christian image
4. Restore moral character
5. Restore the vision
With a lot of enthusiasm, though a bit fearful, Chikondi assumed the mantle. He
found a divided house; people disillusioned, fragmented adversarial relationships, a
demotivated group and as earlier intimated a dark image of the ADP from the
community’s point of view.
The first few months and year were largely spent on house keeping issues such as
putting records straight especially the financial section. The first was build an alter to
the Lord- restore the office daily devotions, the next stage was to study the people and
put them in the right positions, of course without their knowledge. The third stage was
to improve the quality of reporting, bringing them to international standards. The
fourth stage was to out and establish contact with the outside world by setting up
community leadership committees. While this was going on, slowly Chikondi started
to empower his staff as well by way of coaching them, sitting to work with them and
generally be around for any help that would be needed. Finally, the ADP began to
deliver its objectives to get the extended impact. As would be expected, hurdles were
faced at every turn, but the Phiri led team faced each problem positively as a
challenge and opportunity to accomplish more. The problem was compounded by the
nature of people among he whom was to work. The Lozi people are generally a
conservative lot who are averse to any “Manyukunyuku” or foreigner who threaten to
take advantage of theirs and has no regard for them. Many a time, Chikondi Phiri used
to work late and go home tired, exhausted and discouraged. At other times the entire
team would shift to his house to beat dead lines. A sense of community among the
office members began to form, while the prejudices slowly fell by the way side. But
what kept Chikondi running on? One of the things is that he was an all rounded
person who involved his family in his work. His wife was a prime-encouraging factor
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 41
that took a keen interest in all he did. As such, she knew what was going on all the
time at the office as though she was an employee of the organisation. Equally
informed were his other family members who would frequently uphold him before the
throne of grace. The other secondary encouraging factor was the change in attitude of
the workers, from an individualistic approach to a team kind of cohesive approach.
The workmate begun to love their jobs and would work long hours unsupervised and
many times had to be reminded to go home. With all the hard work, the Namuso ADP
slowly began to get back to its rails to what it was initially intended to be.
With much consistent labour, the relationships with the community improved greatly
as they begun to grasp the new ADP concept from the unsustainable ways of helping
the poor to sustainable ways such as capacity building. Prior to this, World vision
used to give free hand outs but left no sustainable impact after the said project phased
out of a place a vacuum was created the new approach was to halt the dependence
syndrome and introduce new approach where people contributed in someway. In this
way, people owned things better, so it was perceived. This was the most difficult
stage as people kept referring to the past. At this stage, again Chikondi took bold steps
to change to attitude, and amidst many avalanches of insults, the dawn begun to
approach when people saw what he saw. Many times, even his own team-mates,
thought he was myopic and insensitive but he kept pointing them to the goal.
Having scored successes in all areas and as people were beginning to feel
comfortable, Chikondi was suddenly snatched to another ADP, having tirelessly
laboured at the Namuso ADP for 3 and a half years (From 1998 to 2001). When
people heard the news, they felt robbed but resigned all to God’s will. Interestingly,
the team at the Namuso ADP held together and continued from where he left off.
As we come to a close, we ask, what made Chikondi Phiri tick, where others had
failed? What did he possess that made him a pearl among fellow managers?
FlNDlNGS FlNDlNGS FlNDlNGS FlNDlNGS
1. Chikondi was a team player and adopted an open management style.
2. Chikondi was willing to learn and had a good head to grasp things.
3. Chikondi has a deep insight into people and situations.
4. Chikondi is strategic and always keeps one eye to the goal while using the
other to drive things to the intended goal.
5. Chikondi is consistent in his words and deeds. He has the highest moral
standards and integrity.
6. His quality of work speaks volumes for him.
7. Chikondi values people and does little things to show empathy & concern.
8. Chikondi has a strategic advantage as he has a deep insight into information
technology and thus has critical information at hand.
9. Chikondi has the right priorities in place, able to differentiate between urgent
and important information.
10. Chikondi is highly effective, systematic and highly goal oriented.
11. Chikondi runs a highly effective family too, who know and are interested in
his work. He has such a sweet influence over them.
12. Chikondi is proactive and never seems to be caught in a panicky frenzy.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 42
13. Chikondi does not needlessly make noise unless so warranted. Results speak
eloquently for him.
LESSONS LESSONS LESSONS LESSONS
1. We should emulate him in his teamwork prowess, coaching skills, right
strategic eye and a crystal clear Christian testimony.
2. It is crucial to hire people who have no self-interest primarily at heart but
who have an appropriate ambition for their organisation, associates,
friends and family.
3. It is critical to hire people who, though highly educated, will wave around
their results rather than rant their high academia.
4. It is high time we begun to shed off people who are non-performers
although educated. But in the same breath, let us not be hasty but take care
that we are not the ones at fault. Remember that to replace one leader is
costly in terms of cash and corporate image.
5. People must learn to begin from below and prove themselves before
aspiring for hire offices. In this way, the small private victories give more
confidence to achieve greater heights. Referring to a magazine article from
the Executive excellence, we note with shock that about 35%
√ √√ √
executives fail to tick and have to be hounded out!
6. Powerful leaders must be exploited by constantly giving them greater
challenges so that their leadership fragrance may spread far and wide
across the organisation.
7. Powerful leaders are them selves mentored by others ahead of them.
Chikondi is a classic case of one who is shining today, having served
under other powerful leaders like Mr Nwilimba and Mr Richard Phiri as
well as having interacted closely with Mr Stephen Tembo.
8. It is crucial to watch those stress levels at all times, for neglecting to do so
would send one to an early grave.
9. Leaders some times get so engrossed in the quest to achieve more victories
at the expense of their families. The spouse and children are not just an
appendix to your life!!
10. Effective leaders are not afraid to face change or to implement it. They are
ready to take tough decisions. Unlike the vast majority of people who
spend their life jostling for positions, and that’s all they are known for,
effective leaders have a goal, a purpose and are on a journey.
11. Effective leaders are found at any point of the Organisation either at the
bottom, side or top of the Organisation.
12. Effective leaders tower above peers in their abilities and strengths. Thus,
those to be hired must be exceptional or have the potential to develop. At
the Namuso ADP, most of our IT problems for example were dealt with
here, only reverting to the National office where things were beyond us.
Source: Executive Excellence, Volume 16 No. 7, July 1999, page 6
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone
QUESTlONS: NAMUSO ADP SCENAHlO QUESTlONS: NAMUSO ADP SCENAHlO QUESTlONS: NAMUSO ADP SCENAHlO QUESTlONS: NAMUSO ADP SCENAHlO
QUESTlONS QUESTlONS QUESTlONS QUESTlONS
• What traits does Chikondi possess that have made him so
• How do you think Chikondi managed to fit in a totally different
• Do you think Chikondi is a leader? Substantiate.
• Would you like to work under Chikondi’s management? Why/
• Give some traits that mark an effective manager.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 44
APPENDlX lll APPENDlX lll APPENDlX lll APPENDlX lll
Various academic papers written by Billy Sichone
on different leadership personalities
2. Clement Mugala – The modern change leader
3. Jack Welch – The Maverick leader
4. Anita Roderick-The eccentric leader
5. Guru Das – The international leader
6. Boutros Ghali – The organisational Politician
7. Loy Weston – The independent leader
8. Sam Walton – Builder of a Retail stores empire.
10. Bill Gates-The Feverishly creative leader
11. The Lincoln bothers-The innovative leaders
12. Chikondi Phiri – An Upcoming change leader
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 45
CAsc sTuoY 3 CAsc sTuoY 3 CAsc sTuoY 3 CAsc sTuoY 3
CLcmcNT MucALA CLcmcNT MucALA CLcmcNT MucALA CLcmcNT MucALA- -- - A moocnN cHANcc LcAocn A moocnN cHANcc LcAocn A moocnN cHANcc LcAocn A moocnN cHANcc LcAocn
Although Zambia lies paralysed in the many layers of poverty among the 41 poorest
nations of the world, it is comforting to that men and women of valour still exist there.
Men and Women of purpose who are clear minded and know what the times demand.
At this miserable rate in which the nation is wallowing in abject poverty, one is hardly
queried when they exclaim, “can anything come good out of Zambia?” Among those
giants of our times is Clement Mugala who has been at the helm of Building Society
turn around from certain bankruptcy. The said company was at the brink of destruction
when Mugala appeared and quickly instituted emergency remedial measures so that the
company is now safely back on the trails, having recorded prior annual losses reaching
an all time record of K 2.4 Billion in the 1997/98 financial year! But who is Clement
Mugala? From whence does he hail? What secret has he employed to rescue the once
renowned “lifeless” company?
For one thing, Mr Mugala hails from the northern parts of Zambia, married to Ruth, a
powerful help mate and possesses an unrivalled CV. Yet none of these qualifications
radiate as brilliantly as his management style. He studied an a degree in Economics, an
international professional Accounting course (CIMA), and now holds an MBA from the
Edinburgh Graduate school in Scotland. Further more, he has vast experience in
Government and private Accounting. As such, we can see that he is an “all rounder”.
More importantly, he is a man full of integrity, objectivity, insight, foresight,
determination and focus. Unlike other men, Clement is not easily daunted by difficult
tasks. He confidently ventures into any situation, assured that armed with knowledge
and vast experience, any hurdle is surmountable.
But, the question still lingers, “what is the secret of his success and the Building
Society?” How has he managed to arrest the decay and steer the ship back to safety?
The reason is soon told from the article “ZNBS ekes way out of the financial doldrums”
which appeared in the Zambia Daily Mail of 05/03/99. From the article, it is evident
that the man has imbibed and pragmatically practices modern management principles.
For example, he believes that teamwork is the way forward for the business of
tomorrow. This belief shows itself in the way he associates and views his subordinates.
He would rather be viewed as a leader not a boss, which culture, hitherto, has plagued
almost all organisations in Zambia. This traditional approach has further been fostered
by regular and constant political interference in the smooth running of the parastatals.
Like hungry rats looking for nuts, these politicians hover around any seemingly profit-
making company. The Building Society is no exception. Constantly, these “rats” are
laying mousetraps for humans! But clement has flown above all these and has brought
about team spirit that is beginning to pay dividends as output increases. Teamwork
means that there is mutual trust, single common goal, less individual brilliant star
performances and easier over lapping. Slowly, people are venturing out of their shells
where they hid dreading victimisation from illiterate politicians and are now taking
liberated bold steps towards teamwork. As though teamwork were not enough, Clement
has through his management, adopted an “open management” approach where people
from all ranks and levels feel to contribute, criticise, complain and be heard.
Furthermore, the Mugala led team has introduced some incentives such as multiple
salary increases in the year thus boosting the workers’ morale. Since the battle is not
yet over, there has been a deliberate move to train and refresh staff so that they are
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 46
customer-focused rather than morbidly inward looking. The effects of these capacity –
building manoeuvres are seen in the speedy and friendly way that staff respond to
customers, and when privately asked, the majority of employees speak in glowing
tribute of the company. They say ‘we have the best products and a powerful top
management team….” Waxing melodiously eloquent by the minute. Emanating from
this training is the freedom to innovate and have many products; most of which are as
ancient as the company itself while others are new products. The old ones have been
refined in keeping with the times. New products are churned out frequently. Thus as
one walks into the hallway of the Building Society, it is a pleasant hive of activity and
yet intense particular individual attention is given to every customer. Here, the
customer is king. With all these past rapid changes as well as the powerful strategic eye
to the future, the Society pulled out of the doldrums within a year-now that is record
But what type of scenario did Mugala exactly find when he first stepped into the
building society executive office in mid 1998? What hurdles has he encountered thus
far? Firstly, we not that he found a divided house that was crippled by evil
organisational politics. The Management and the union were at daggers drawn and
constantly fighting with no strength left wrestling to do any positive work. The union
spent all its time squabbling about wages, pointing fingers and daily fuelling more
animosity in the company. If a PhD could be earned through antagonism, the union
could have bagged a multiplicity of them!
Furthermore, the top management was paralysed by external influences from the
politicians who actually run the company remotely. As such, there was no strategic
panning because the rules came from outside. Therefore, it was pointless to even read
the external business environment. Why talk about planning when some one else calls
Thirdly, the company was bankrupt with no resources, withered reserves, overdrafts,
multiple law suits, a bad reputation, lost customer confidence and worst of all, erratic or
no Government grants, which have ceased with the introduction of the cash budget.
Those managers who sat securely like king frogs on their “thrones” were the most
alarmed when the youthful looking Mugala stepped onto the stage. Sensing that some
of their unnecessary jobs would be slashed with the advent of re-engineering the
villains raised their antenna akin to police dogs that sense danger. Hence the resistance.
Fourthly, the people who were previously at the helm of the organisation were half the
time not equal to the task but rather political appointees because of their patriotism to
the party in power. This trend sadly has persisted to this very day. The lament is that
these clown Executives were not original but did the bidding of the state and even more
tragic was the fact that many had no heart for the entity. Of course, many with greater
credentials than Mugala have traversed the path that he now treads but none perhaps
has been as salty as he. Having proved himself both in public and private practice, the
Government, in its usual unconventional ways, called him to resuscitate the ailing
company. By all counts, the Building Society was headed for the company bone yard.
Time has gone by and many problems have crossed his path but he remains focused
towards the goal. Problems such as low pay, low morale, bad attitudes, evil suspicions
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 47
and resistance from the “old guard” still linger. Happily, these green headed vices are
slowly being mortified.
Having painted a gloomy picture in the last section, we now proceed to show the way
forward for the said organisation. As earlier intimated, the Mugala- led team is strategic
in approach. The company is now risen from the ashes and is now eking a unique path
that will guarantee sustainability. Clement’s long-term goals are to make the company
independent, agile, and fluid as well as be ahead of any possible new market entrants.
The quest to that end is clear as he leads the company in embarking on an ambitious
US$ 1.5 million project to computerise the entire organisation. Although the initial
costs are whooping, this is powerful competitive advantage tool in the long run that will
increase efficiency across the entire company network. Since the 17 or so branches are
littered all over the country, efficiency will result due to being online. Thus, speedy
service and fewer hiccups in responding to customer queries and orders will accrue to
the company good will. Also, IT is necessary for decision making in these turbulent
times. “Ignore IT at your own peril”, the common adage says. Further more, with
employee capacity enhanced, moral raised and the right “known quantities” on board to
champion the new management practices, the entity will be a formidable force to
reckon with in days that lie ahead.
As Mugala aptly concludes with the touching words, “ Whatever is true, whatever is
right whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if
anything is excellent or praise worthy, think about such things”, we too long more of
such clear minded dynamic business leaders with a passion to salvage ailing businesses
out of the corporate casket!
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 48
CAsc CAsc CAsc CAsc sTuoY sTuoY sTuoY sTuoY A. A. A. A.
Jack Welch- The Maverick leader
When Jack Welch took over as chairman and chief executive officer of General
Electric (GE) in April 1981, the once Legendary Company was again at cross roads. At
45, he inherited a huge conglomerate that had a tall structure, rigid operations,
bureaucratic, and highly diversified. The company; built originally to exploit Thomas
Edison’s patents, was too large and complex and had thus become inefficient and
potentially uncompetitive. Not only was it in many businesses, it had a large work force
and had been divided into multiple smaller Strategic business units (SBU) and yet
with only a limited successful life span. A solution had to be found, and that came in
the person of Jack Welch.
Jack Welch has been known to be a maverick, tough, determined and resilient in his
approach to management. An only child and holding a PhD, Welch is the man of the
times as he has managed to achieve the unimaginable, due to his foresight, candour and
resolve to succeed. As soon as he took over the mantle, he commenced his momentous
revolutions by assessing the status quo and what ought to be done. He discovered that
GE, though admirable, was in effect not as competitive as it ought to be. Thus, the
changes of restructuring & re engineering the organisation. This meant among many
things, destaff by 34%, giving more lee way to managers, developing a team work
culture, brain storming, adopting an open management style, being customer focused,
working in partnership with stakeholders as well as aiming for perfection in quality.
Impeccable excellence has been the goal. He achieved this by hiring the right staff
while relieving those that were not ready to change. As a leader, he has always been
visionary, articulates the vision, & passionately owns the vision and relentlessly drives
it to completion.
By 1993, GEC had achieved the unimaginable. It was by far the most complex and yet
agile company. It had a lean work force, was continuously learning was aiming for the
slot in every business and where not possible, it pulled out so as to concentrate
on its core competences. It is on the road to success but certainly, the strides hitherto
are significantly great.
But how exactly did Jack Welch accomplish these shifts? What roles did he play?
Reading through his profile, one concludes that he had certain leadership traits, which
translated into action. For one thing, he broke down GE into smaller manageable semi-
independent businesses with managers freely making decisions on critical survival
decisions. For another thing, the Organisation was at cross roads, whether to continue
marching to the company bone yard or to mutate and live. Change was inevitable. Thus
the changes needed a maverick, clear and strategically minded person. Welch, qualified
on that score and went ahead to take bold fearless steps, setting goals and targets. He
determined that GE should be better than the best in all areas. But as one would expect,
his innovations were opposed, as they tended to threaten people or put them on edge all
the time. Change is generally resisted but he undauntedly faced the opposition.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 49
In the quest to improve GE after the rapid positive changes, which left thousands
jobless, the organisation adopted a continuous training approach where everybody
attended some kind of training. For chief executives, a program called “workout” was
instituted in 1989 where the managers would go off to some location to brain storm,
exchange ideas, recharge their minds and dream up new routes as well as share methods
of best practice. Rather than discussing plans, GE executives discuss strategies, which
they implement in their various companies, depending on their mission statement. The
heart of the workouts is to bring about cultural changes overtime assuming and
knowing that change is resisted at all times. Looking at the Lincoln philosophy and
Jack Welch’s, one cannot fail to see that in principle, they are similar, only that Jack
Welch is more aggressive and operating in a more hostile and dynamically competitive
environment. Lincoln thought customers, suppliers and share holders were to be treated
well in order to maximize on benefits, so does Welch. However, there is one
fundamental difference between Welch and Lincoln’s style. Lincoln was highly
individualistic and rewards depended on output while Welch believes in reduced
numbers of work force while paying more as well as getting higher profits with a
thriving teamwork culture.
When compared to other legends such as Riboud, Barnvik or Mccoy, one notices that
the other people were excellent managers but conventional and working within a
framework. Welch is different in that he believes in constant unpredictable change- his
maverick traits again rear their heads.
Looking at GEC today, it looks very fine and alive once again, especially as it crosses
into the 21
century. A new lease of life has been infused into it and as such, we can
optimistically look to the future for greater things. Sail well O’ GE.
Bower, Bartlett, Uyerterhoeven, and Walter, Business Policy: Managing
Strategic Processes, 8
Edition, Richard D. Irwin
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 50
Case study 5
Annita Roddick- The eccentric leader
The Body shops has been a dynamic shop network that has been lobbying various
social crusades especially those on the Environment. If one only heard about its activist
works, one would never imagine that the same entity could possibly produce excellent
products, whereas if one only knew about the excellent products, one could not have
imagined that this was the same unorthodox, blunt, rough and riotous shop! Yet both
these attributes mystically unite in this selfsame organisation!
For the body shop, it has meant changing all the time depending on the social needs that
confronted it. It has been built around the robust principles of Anita Roddick, whose
ways have been dubbed eccentric but highly relevant and profitable. Anita has had a
passion for social change and has successfully left her mark on the company work
culture. The Body shop has been an exciting and thrilling place to work at because of
the constant new challenges. But who is Anita and from whence does she hail? What
has she done and where is she heading to next? What prospects lie ahead of the body
Shop in ensuing years?
Anita Roddick begun the shops in 1976 and developed them. She, with the help of her
husband worked together and moulded the shop as they saw fit. Having owned a hotel
previously, they sold it to pursue other life long desires before Anita begun doing a
business based on natural herbs. The herbs business mainly focused on skin care, and
thus attracted women. With time, people developed confidence in the products and
thus, the shop picked up. It is now close to twenty years since the first shop was opened
and today, the shops are dotted internationally on the globe. Its presence is mainly in
the UK but plans are under way to conquer more and new frontiers. Although the body
shop does not market its products, quality does it for the shops.
But who is Anita exactly? Anita descends from Italian-immigrant parents and has some
hind exposure to business although she never had any formal business training. She got
married to Gordon and turned their house into a hotel. As earlier intimated, they sold it
to pursue other things. It was whilst in that state that Anita begun a small shop dealing
with skin care, using natural ingredients. From one shop, the business blossomed into a
chain of shops that are a force to reckon with. Founded on Anita’s strong principles of
social good and environmental protection, the Body shop has been so successful
capturing international attention.
But what has made the Body Shop tick? What has been the secret behind the
phenomenal growth despite unorthodox business practices? For one thing, the body
shops have been a hive of activity, constantly changing with the times. A lot of
innovation takes place, is customer taste sensitive, strongly social and environmentally
conscious, possessing appealing, natural and personal attention to the customer,
responsive to the current needs and strategic in approach. In addition, the goods are of
high quality, the leader is daringly radical, possesses a good franchising network with a
unique anti animal testing stance. All these attributes have blended so well together so
as to boost the company success while defying proven industry norms. Further, we
assert that the most important sources of this success have been many.
The first source has been the environmental protection stand. Today, with the frequent
talk on the uncontrolled planet degradation, anyone raising a finger against this scourge
will receive a hearing. As such, the environmental crusade has highlighted the body
shop on the international scenario. For another thing, the unique and strong community
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 51
contribution thrust is an asset. The company believes that the company has a moral duty
to pay back, in some way, what is got from the community. This stance alone is a
powerful competitive advantage tool. Still further, the head of this organisation, Anita
Roddick, is a robust, diligent and candidly outspoken leader who can not be easily
ignored. When she yells from her tunnel, the world halts to hear her. In addition, the
ingredients used in the products are natural and do not allow testing on animals. The
use of the environmentally sensitive methods receives a lot of applaud from all corners
of the world, thus the global acclaim given to the body shops. It is a curious fact that
the shops do not advertise, but the ingredients utilised do the marketing.
Anita has been the single most powerful force in the company. Her management
philosophies are excellent though they are centred on her and are quite imposing. If any
will not toll the same line with Anita, they are surely on the warpath with the iron lady.
That not withstanding, she is an asset to the company in that she has led the company to
a strategic position, etching out a unique niche. Although there is a lot more
competition today, the shops continue to tower above rivals because Anita has wielded
certain potent attributes onto the company culture. For example, the company is very
sensitive to environmental and customer taste change, vibrant, agile, and responsive
maintaining high quality products. Further more, there is a lot of innovation and ideas
constantly flowing from Anita’s fertile mind. She has brought about product changes,
initiated projects, research and collaborated with powerful NGOs to get mammoth tasks
and changes done. Single handedly, she has resiliently and valiantly stood against the
world even in the face of major opposition from her own employees. For Anita, dead
orthodoxy is not relished but hounded out through the window. Once she sees
something and approves it, she will unflinchingly charge like the Bull towards the goal,
of course minding that the business continues to run successfully.
Obviously, there are many lessons we can learn form such a dynamic company and
individual. Firstly we learn that if a company is to be successful in today’s hostile
business environment, it must be constantly alert and adjust with the times. This means
continuous improvement of products, be constantly learning, be more sensitive to
customers, maintain a “small company” atmosphere in the company, be agile,
contribute to the community, and add a “human face” to the company. Secondly, we
learn that a company must hire “Known quantities” as much as possible for these will
attract attention to the company. Not only should these be known people, but also they
must be creative, robust, resilient and diligent risk takers who will not mellow at puny
attacks. Anita is the very epitome of constancy. Thirdly, we must ensure that though
star players are preferred, the must not be allowed to paralyse others. This is evident at
the Body shop where Anita is almost everything and no one dares cross her path. This
means that when she fizzles out from the business horizon, the company sinks with her.
An ideal situation is to have a “pool” from which to tap leaders. Anitas’ eccentric
manoeuvres are uniquely good but their sustainability is questionable. Fourthly, let it be
noted that the company must be agile, fluid, unbureaucratic, flexible, customer sensitive
and must provide that ‘personal touch’ to their business. Customers must feel
individually appreciated and noticed. Myriad companies have staggered to the company
graveyard because of the loss of that personal and good quality speedy service to
customers. Fifthly, the company must
maintain a clear strategic mission that should, like the star that guided the wise men,
lead the company to its destiny without much ado. Sixthly, the unique and
unprecedented product niche must be guarded jealously. Not only must this be
improved and expanded, but also the products themselves must be improved
continuously. The body shop is unique in its social goals as well as in its use of natural
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 52
ingredients. Others are copying this uniqueness today but they cannot attain unto its
unique prowess. From the afore mentioned lessons, we can clearly see that the Body
shop deviates widely from the normal business trends. Although one’s hair stands on
end when thinking about this entity, yet a company can survive outside the norm, as
long as it reads the times well and acts at the right time. Timing and the right moves are
what count. Having asserted thus, let us be quick to say that it is safer to use the long
tested and tried ways, though with a strategic eye.
Looking at the way that the company has developed and evolved over the years,
especially in the UK, we have reason to believe that the body shop has a bright future
though this will be hard won. The business world is replete with companies that are
moving towards the use of the same natural ingredients that have hitherto made the
company have a strong uniqueness. The niche has scarcely been neither challenged nor
eroded. In the light of the emerging threats, it is imperative that the company relocates
to a more sustainable position that will strengthen the uniqueness. Among the many
things it will have to do it its quest to evolve into a better company is to maintain and
enhance its “personal attention” to clients, its sensitivity and responsiveness to the
changing demands and tastes of customers out there. Above all, the company must
continuously be innovative, train human resource to take over from Anita, and not lose
focus on its community contribution ethic. Now that the body shop is confronted with
the titanic task of penetrating the American market, it must adjust its gears very well
because the issues it will face are fundamentally different from the usual. For example,
the American consumer tastes will differ. Further more, the big social concerns such as
the environmental crusades are not as hot issues in the States compared to Europe.
Added to the list of potential hurdles is the legal environment, trade restrictions,
approval criteria of products by the American authorities, the difficulty to recruit people
with a like passion as those else where in the body shop network and the threat from
more apt “copy cats”. One other concern is the age-old stance of not advertising. On the
American market, if a company will not advertise, it will not be noticed and book a
place among the company graves. These and many strategies that have eked triumphs
in Europe may not carry the day in the States. That notwithstanding, the Potential
market is there as long as the following are observed; Firstly, the company should
strategise, by initially carrying out a market research and then looking for the best way
to enter the market. One way could be to produce some exceptionally high quality
products that can be given free to some key clients for a start. Powerful policies and
structures that will ensure sustainability over time must further support this strategy. I
suggest that initially, only one outlet initially be open and then spread wings depending
on the performance of the same. As such, there must be an allowance for a pay back
period of say two years. This may mean running at a loss for a while before breaking
even. It would be wises that the shop hires “known quantities” that wholeheartedly
imbibe the Body shop ethics and who will fearlessly champion the entity causes.
Alternatively, the shop could identify the “Big” social issues on American soils, adopt
them and champion the same. Furthermore, The community
contribution must be elected carefully so that it is relevant. Natives could be trained
who will easily accomplish all these. In addition, I feel that the Anita grip over the
company must be modified to allow more liberty for the shop mangers. Apart from
franchising, the company must now reconsider its stance on marketing. In the UK,
absence of direct marketing may work, but the American situation is different,
therefore, due care must be given. It is true that what has made the shops thrive all a
long has been the risky ventures and unorthodox methods, but this new prospect calls
for walking circumspectly lest failure dents the company image. The legal environment
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 53
as well ought to be watched carefully and if possible, the best lawyers and
partnership/collaborations are sought. If an American partner can be found, a
partnership knot could be tied. Lastly, the company must strengthen its niche by
adopting new strategies that will highlight the uniqueness of the products. Topping
those qualities should be the high standards and usefulness of the products. The
community contribution must come in by and by though must be highlighted in the
mission statement too.
As Anita and colleagues peer into the future, I would encourage them to launch full
throttle onto the American market knowing that the battle is not unique but inevitable!
Bower, Bartlett, Uyerterhoeven, and Walter, Business Policy: Managing
Strategic Processes, 8
Edition, Richard D. Irwin
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 54
Case study 6
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It was scarcely a year after Gurcharan had been seated pondering his company’s two
unorthodox but crucial moves. The first was to be a major supplier of a raw material to
the holding company and secondly, to manufacture a product not on the corporate list.
Having laboured tirelessly but successfully to rescue Richardson-Hindustan limited
(RHL), from certain collapse, the holding company, Richardson-Vicks (RVI) was
suddenly bought in November 1985 by the internationally budding Proctor & Gamble.
In many ways this sudden purchase brought with it many implications to Das as well as
the company. Having been president for some time and having sufficiently set the
company on the firm rails to success, it was time to switch allegiance and focus- a hard
but unavoidable prospect.
For one thing, the purchase of the company meant that the company had to be
reorganised be refocused and had to change its focus. A year earlier, Das could safely
state that “This Company (RHL) will live or die on its marketing”. That assertion was
not so now, as the new owners focused on product quality and development rather than
on marketing, as had been the case hitherto. This development meant that Das had to
restructure the RHL management considerably to a participative approach, which was
his preferred method. The new holding company brought a culture into the RVI that
was different. For example, personal ties were closer, spouses of officials were more
involved in the affairs of the company, cared for employees, did less paper work rather
more interaction, had different management style, evaluated people by performance,
had more frequent internal job changes and had a 100% internal promotion. Most of
these were unlike the former regime and had to be learnt anew. In the past, for example,
grooming up personnel and a life long international career and otherwise was not the
practice. But now, the times had changed and the promotion prospects enhanced,
though potentially more elusive than before. In addition, P & G emphasised a standard
international product image.
Since Procter & Gamble (P & G) was hardly known in India, It was a challenge to
RHL to lead the onslaught in the market penetration in the hitherto closed Indian
market. Thus far, Unilever reigned as market king but now, RHL was to open up the
door for effective expansion for P & G. Das did very well such that by 1987, the P & G
management looked at him as one of “the most valuable players” on the Indian playing
field. The company had spread, the market enlarged and the brand better known,
though more still needed to be done. As a result, more responsibility fell on his
shoulders such as managing Thailand and Indonesia. Here also, the man proved his
worth, especially so that those areas were places hostile to Indian Nationals.
For Das, this probably meant another challenge at his business acumen. Having been
trained at Harvard University in the USA, he possessed within his chest multiple
abilities and a strong affinity for motherland India. Although widely exposed
internationally, with an excellent track record in management and with even higher
prospects in sight, Das still orbited around India all the time. As earlier intimated, he
was a man of many parts, possessed a brilliant, creative, agnostic, curious and sensitive
mind. Not only so, he was diligent about his business, resilient, a risk taker and
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 55
passionate about whatever cause he engaged upon. Even though he had a passion for
business, his wide interests also lay in politics and writing, no wonder he had such a
vast array of friends from all fraternities! This was the man who was confronted with
this sudden change in November 1985. His destiny hereafter would be determined by
the choice he made at this point. He could easily abandon ship and dive into politics or
remain on board and prove his mettle in the new setting. By all likely standards, RHL
was home for Das but it would appear that he hoped one day to flex his political
muscle, given the opportunity. His peers knew fully well that a top Government job
would be ideal for Gurcharan but in the same breathe, it would be a nightmare because
of the lousy politicking and the monumental bureaucracy, which could not be shaken
off as easily as in a private company. This vice stuck like algae on the Government
walls. One potent blow would be enough to smash bureaucracy in RHL but a life long
effort would not yield results in the Government. Yet the door remained open to him.
Where as for RVI, the new management meant new philosophies imbibed, ideals and
goals, for P & G, the new procurement meant many pregnant opportunities for
international growth. Being a budding international company, The RVI ownership
meant being propelled further onto the international scene, as RVI had a strong
international presence. Further more, RVI had known quantities on board and could
thus enter new markets without much ado. In many instances, RVI was regarded as an
indigenous company because local managers who knew the way to go ran some of its
subsidiaries. This was clearly seen in the case of RHL where Das was very key to the
Indian market. All in all, for P & G, the procurement meant a wealth of potential
Having considered the options and life of Gurcharan, I could not help but be challenged
by the life and prospects that confront me as a potential manager. When I look at this
excellent and racy man, I am caused to ask myself many questions as to my readiness to
grab the top management jobs that might come my way. Among the many questions
that visit the shores of my brain are the following: Firstly, am I ready to work anywhere
on this terrestrial ball? Das seems to have his heart securely anchored to motherland no
matter where he goes, do I have such a pulse? Secondly, do I posses what it takes to be
the manager of tomorrow? Excellent modern management facts are replete in my mind
but am I equal to the task? In other words, would I make a good General manger?
Thirdly, in my present company, what are the prospects confronting me? What doors lie
open for my career advancement? How am I valued and what criteria are used to
evaluate me? The future potentially looks bright but I must do my best now so that I
can sow seeds for a better tomorrow.
Gurcharan Das has eked an illustrious and distinguished international career weathering
all odds due to his mental and pragmatic prowess, might I be endowed with similar and
even better powers!
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 56
Case study 7
Boutros Ghali- The Organisational Politician
Boutros Ghali unceremoniously left the United Nations' top job at the end of 1996,
having unsuccessfully fought to restructure and refocus the titanic global Organisation.
He left amidst a lot of speculation controversies and unresolved conflicts with his foes
that had mushroomed from every quarter. They ganged up to eliminate him. Despite all
their evil machinations, Ghali stood his ground, akin to the stationary pyramids. This
was a brave attempt by all standards.
But what really happened? What were the root causes? What was wrong with either the
United Nations or Ghali himself? The article "Why Boutros fell from grace" from the
October 1999 New African Magazine Issue attempts to answer these questions and
gives us valuable insights into Organisational Politics and inefficiency. Boutros
stepped into office in 1991 with a clear vision to succeed and turn around the world
body to a more relevant and strategic position. Having scanned the Organisation, he
noticed that among many things, the Organisation had not changed with the times, had
bureaucratic hierarchical structures, was largely controlled by the U.S.A, had excess
staff, no financial discipline and highly selective in its' operations. Worst of all, it was
financially crippled needing immediate funding or risk closing its' doors. The United
Nations’ operations are funded through national subscriptions of which the U.S.A is the
highest contributor. Unfortunately, the USA had defaulted to pay and after much
protracted negotiations by Ghali, the USA offered to pay a part payment of $680
million. This cash was far from making any significant changes to the financial
doldrums. Ghali spoke out this and many other issues infuriated the Security Council as
well as the Americans.
His determinations to cut down costs and proposed to restructure and re-engineer the
inefficient Organisation were met with criticism prejudice, suspicion and scorn by all
quarters. Objectively, the plans were good but viewed subjectively. The said plan was
to lay off excess staff, regulate travel, meticulously watch all financial transactions,
seek approval from the top and thus make the Organisation agile, fluid and responsive
to the changing needs of the world. Back in 1945, the needs were different, needing a
different strategy but the 1990s also needed equally different strategies to foster world
peace and development. The post cold war era needed an Organisation that was free
from either the USA or Soviet influence. Sadly, it still is firmly in the clutches of the
What happened and what is the status today? As you will notice, there was resistance to
change basically because certain quarters felt threatened by the potential job losses,
hierarchical and bureaucratic dismantling as well as being "ruled" by an African! As
such, the change never took place and pretty much the same today. Despite many
strides towards change, the Organisation has remained complex, bureaucratic,
inefficient, wasteful and not really focused. Koffi Anan, the man who took over, is
basically an American pawn on the chessboard with no teeth to bite.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 57
Scanning through the article, one notices a number of pitfalls in the Ghali’s approach to
change. Despite having excellent ideas on paper, it seems to me that he largely worked
alone, did not consult much, and was too quick to implement change and was largely
naive at the venom of his foes. His pride scratched the equally obstinate enemies in the
face and so, they hounded him out! In my view, the dismal failure at implementation
stage could have been avoided if people had been given leeway to debate, train and
made to buy the plans. This was not done hence the "still born" implementation.
Change takes time, no matter how radical, and will always be opposed. This is when
leadership and management are put to the test.
Today, the United Nations appears a Porsche organization from the outside with its fine
glittering buildings in New York and yet lies in a financial and operational coma. It
needs an organizational surgery with a new lease of cash into its system continuous
change and training is a must. Unless quick action is done to realign it, the UN will
remain a white elephant with one foot in the grave while serving the interests of only a
selected few countries. The time to act is now!
Bower, Bartlett, Uyerterhoeven, and Walter, Business Policy: Managing
Strategic Processes, 8
Edition, Richard D. Irwin
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 58
Case study 8
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Getting started in a foreign new market can be a nightmare. This was the experience of
the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Japan, where their products were not appreciated until
certain unorthodox methods were devised. Back in the USA, the fast food sold like hot
cakes but in Japan, it had to take the likes of Loy Weston and Shin Ohkawara.
But who are these maverick individuals? From whence do the hail? Loy is American
and has vast experience in the Far East, having laboured in Japan during the Korean
War. Weston had been intrigued by the oriental culture and studied it thoroughly before
returning to the States. In many ways than one, he was the right man for the job. On the
other hand, Ohkawara is native Japanese and has excellent local contacts. He too has
vast experience having worked for the giant printing firm, Dai Nippon of Osaka. The
pair is simply marvellous when working together.
For a long time, the Mitsubishi Company had desired to popularise chicken sales in
Japan but had had problems. As such, the said company approached Kentucky Fried
Chickens (KFC) with a view to start up a partnership in Japan. KFC willingly obliged
as they were planning further international penetration. The only problem that
confronted the partnership was the lack of the right human resource, which was solved
when the above mention duo were hired. These were valiant men equal to the
Initially, as earlier intimated the Fried Chicken shop went in with the all time popular
American dish and menu, which to their surprise was a near disaster. The local people
preferred other dishes! For the Natives, fish and not chicken was the meal! After
several dismal attempts, the duo devised survival strategies. As would be expected,
cash was the need of the times. KFC International came to the aid and got the KFC
Japan on its feet once again. Weston and Ohkawara figured that their only survival
strategy lay in the innovations that met the local needs best. As such, they introduced
some local foods like fish on the list, though not formally approved by head office. This
innovation proved extremely successful because the locals loved the taste, service and
quality of the food. In a short time, KFC Japan begun to blossom and opened other
outlets as the demand grew. Today, KFC Japan is a shining example of a KFCI outlet
that has adapted to the local scenario and excelled.
But as expected, the apparent independence of KFC Japan was not well received by all
concerned stakeholders at KFCI. Their arguments run as follows: firstly, the added
dishes are not on the list of the KFCI products world wide, why should KFC Japan be
unique? Secondly, some feel that the shape, size and the design of the kitchens in Japan
are not akin to the standard KFCI allowable. The Outlets in Japan are slightly smaller
and slightly crammed together. Thirdly, the quality of food and the place where the
food is prepared is not to the KFC international standards, although may be acceptable
by the local standards. Fourthly, the apparent disregard of, and hostility to the KFCI by
KFCJ management irks many. KFCJ willfully refuses to neither obey nor implement
uniform standards and also questions every suggestion that comes from KFCI. Quality
standard auditors from KFCI also have a tough time with KFCJ. This situation has led
to a situation where KFCI is seen to be interfering with local operations worldwide. In
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 59
general, KFC is not managing its international operations well because of two reasons.
Firstly, for many years, the head office neglected the international operations and let
them run independently as well as fend for them selves. They grew like ‘wild grass’.
How then, can HQ suddenly come issuing orders at this late hour? Secondly, though
closely akin to the first point, the HQ has not effectively communicated with the
subsidiaries the new strategies. Having had such a weak and fragmented background,
there is need to come in slowly while explaining the new approach. The top
management must be sensitive to the unique views of each KFC outlet because the new
and excellent strategies if insensitively and wrongly applied will lead to another
disaster. So far, the KFCI has handled the situation badly.
It must be realised that although international uniformity is required in multinational
companies, certain standards are not applicable in some cultures, although the principle
remains the same. This scenario is what obtains in the fast food franchising business
and demands organisation, strategic vision, financial muscle, high quality fresh food,
speedy service, wide menu selection and knowledge of the local cultural traits. Unlike
the other products, food is very sensitive and affects the very foundations of some one.
It takes time for one to convert to new foods, especially if they are exotic. That is what
confronted KFCJ. Talking about these impediments means that the Kentucky Fried
Chickens must alter its strategy to suit the prevailing local circumstances. In as much as
a uniform international menu is desirable, room must be given for the local KFCs to
add the perceived delicacies, of course bearing in mind certain principles. Firstly, these
‘offshore’ outlets must maintain the highest hygiene standards that cannot be faulted
either locally or internationally. This calls for more accurate planning ensuring that
minimum stock is kept thus lessening the mass destruction of the food, after specified
time limits. Secondly, The Company must “think globally but act locally”. This will
entail still delegating some muscle in the local management to make local strategic
decisions, of course in consultation with the HQ. Effective communication is crucial
prior to any implementation of plans. The Dick Mayer ‘stages theory’ of country
management is plausible because it is progressive and fosters better overhead
management. The three stages advanced were the following:
1. The entrepreneurial stage where there is a lot of managerial orientation. This needs
goal-getters like Loy Weston. At this stage, very little bureaucracy or inflexible
control is applied. This is at the initial stages of foreign market penetration.
2. The second stage involves the involvement and appointments of local baronies as
management. This ensures that the same champion the cause locally and help the
natives to accept the company easily.
The last stage is marked by the appearance and hiring of professional managers who
run the company henceforth. This has been the stage at which KFCJ has been at
daggers drawn with the HQ. Professional Managers are generally viewed as strategic
thinkers, objective and accurate observers, who can easily read the times and ably
anticipate trends. In a nutshell, the professional managers are long term planners, as
their plans are sustainable.
By all standards, this approach is fine as long as it still remains conscious of the unique
local needs. If the above management proposal is anything to go by, then it means that
the KFCI management must change and standards set which all must imbibe. As earlier
intimated, the background notes about KFCI are not plausible, but time has come when
the house should be made orderly again. To achieve this, patience, training and much
discussion has to go into it. Let the lessons learnt from the past experience serve as a
beacon to avoid a similar mishap in future. This means KFCI getting involved from the
initial stages all the way through to the maturity of the same outlet. We have reason to
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 60
believe that present hostile reaction from the foreign field is largely due to the past
neglect by HQ, much like how a child would react to a long absent parent who
suddenly appears issuing marching orders!
This brings us to the question as to how to handle the present independent minded staff
like Loy Weston. Though he has been elevated to vice president for the North Pacific,
he still is viewed as obstinate. In many ways, the hot criticism is not justifiable for the
following reasons; Firstly he was made that way by the company, when they did not
support nor nip his unorthodox tendencies in the bud. As such, he is merely acting
consistent with the past culture. Secondly, care must be taken to recognise that Weston
is a goal-getter and by that token has certain strengths that others do not possess.
Further, he has a thorough knowledge of the market, tastes, and the culture, which no
other person from the West may possess. His vast experienced is unequalled as well.
Thirdly, let it be noted that Weston is a “known quantity” in the north Pacific as well as
all the Pacific rims of the Far East. This goodwill alone should make KFCI tread
carefully lest they lose some market. Believe it or not, some people’s presence on board
speaks connections and quicker market triumphs. My only appeal is that Dick Meyer
should directly talk with Weston rather than the arm chair criticism tactics he has
employed hitherto. Weston must feel valued, respected and saluted for the excellent
feats he has thus far achieved and then reason with him about the new strategies. Let it
never be forgotten that Weston has studied some law privately, and so, he is bound to
react eccentrically if not diplomatically approached. Care must be taken to ensure that
KFCI is not merely reacting with an individual rather than a wrong principle. I say so
because the criticism seems to be aimed at an individual rather than a practice. Having
laboured to table the new strategies, he must be gently told to choose whether to tow
the same line or leave. Past follies must be acknowledged and then the new strategies
asserted. Alternatively, Weston could be moved to new markets where penetration is
needed. He may not easily countenance this frequent shuffling though! Lastly, he could
be recalled to head office as one of the Directors so that he can see the dilemmas. If still
unyielding, sadly, KFCI must part with the man, for the 21
Century manager must be
learning all the time and flexibly change with the times. This painful decision must be
arrived at after the KFCI has done a critical self-audit. Could it be that the internal
system is faulty?
Having cleaned the house, it will now be possible to spread the wings wide, flap them
and then fly to success!
Bower, Bartlett, Uyerterhoeven, and Walter, Business Policy: Managing
Strategic Processes, 8
Edition, Richard D. Irwin
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 61
Case study 9
Sam Walton-Builder of a stores empire-WAL WAL WAL WAL- -- -MAT STOHES. MAT STOHES. MAT STOHES. MAT STOHES.
lNC. lNC. lNC. lNC.
Wal- Mart was probably the best place to be in at the end of 1993, as it had been
experiencing continuous phenomenal growth for a number of years. It was voted among
the richest companies by the Forbes magazine and had captured the fifth to ninth spots
of the richest Americans. For a number of years Wal-Mart had been an exciting place
for any that worked there, especially under the inspiring leadership of Sam Walton who
had left a huge complex company at his death. Wal-Mat had exploded from a small
insignificant entity to a giant multinational chain of stores. Now it was by far the
biggest in the market, with no rivals to benchmark with. By that token, David Glass and
Don Soderquist, the CEO and COO faced a mammoth task to maintain the much-
heralded triumphs of the past despite changes in the business environment. But what
propelled it to such heights in such a short time? How secure was their leadership
position in the market and how profitable were the diversification efforts?
After running some small businesses, Sam opened the first Wal-Mat shop in 1962 and
slowly steered the store to success. The secret of his business, as is the case for many
discount stores, was to offer goods and services at a discount, say 10% from the
standard market price. This was possible through bulk purchases and bargains with
suppliers. The sources of this companys’ success lay in a number of excellent
strategies. Firstly, Wal-Mat invested in technology where all the latest information was
captured, analysed and sent around the Wal-Mat stores via satellite. While other shops
were still using old methods, Wal-Mat had this powerful tool thus having a competitive
advantage. This enabled the company also to put in place a just in time system where
goods were ordered and delivered speedily to the customer always. Inventory, although
still very much part of the business was minimised. In this way, the customer was better
served. Secondly, The quality of goods sold was excellent, at a lower price. This under
cut the bigger shops which sold the same goods but at a higher price. Thirdly, the Wal-
Mat employees worked like ants building a castle. Team work, modern management
styles (e.g. “management by walking and flying around”) and customer focus all
blended in so well and complemented each other to make Wal-Mat a force to reckon
with. Those brainstorming sessions for example, made people feel important and heard
so much that when they put their hand to the plough, all their souls were involved. Last
but not the least, the choice of placing stores in the neglected “little one-horse shoe
towns” was superb. In a nutshell, the company is what it is because of the technology,
Satellite communication, speedy customer service, teamwork, management style,
location, pricing strategy, cost consciousness and continuous customer taste sensitivity.
Wal-Mat etched its niche very well.
But being at the market apex has its own nightmares. Every time, there is fear of losing
the top slot to some unknown competitor. As such, the giant must watch out all the
time. What are the things to be done to maintain market leadership, if we may ask? For
one thing, Wal-Mat is far much different from what it used to be in those formative
years. Then, it could afford mistakes and still forge ahead; the picture however, is
different today. The company is big, complex, multinational and diversified. It is also
the centre of attraction from the press. I think Wal-Mat still stands a big chance to
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 62
maintain its position if it sticks to the good old company ethics of teamwork,
continuous ethical and quality improvement, and effective communication, though in a
more complex setting. In addition, the company must continue to be customer focused,
be a learning organisation and etch another niche in all new products. Company agility,
Quality, timely customer service, aggressive frequently changing marketing strategies
must be the hallmark of the company. Furthermore, the company must look for ways to
ensure that the pricing system, although lower, is within the law because frequent
lawsuits dent the company good will. Also, Wal-Mat must not tire studying rivals
despite being the market leader, technological advances and excellent cost saving
measures of the past must be maintained, if not enhanced.
Having looked at the sustainability of success, we now pass on to analyse the
effectiveness of the diversification into the food industry. As you will recall, Wal-Mat
in those earlier years specialised in non-food products but in the last few years, the food
service component has come in. As will be noted, this industry is potentially very
profitable if well managed. For example, in 1992, it was worth $ 16.3 billion. This is a
lot of money! It is also on record that the presence of this food component increased the
customer traffic because it was very convenient for shoppers. Under one roof,
customers found a whole spectrum of needs from clothing to food, at a cheaper yet high
quality standard. Furthermore, the 24 hours, seven days a week operating service were
convenient and flexible for the customers. In that way, Wal-Mat had loyal customers
who would willingly walk in to buy every thing at whatever time they pleased. In my
analysis, the food industry has come in handy as a complement and booster of the
earlier business niche. In these turbulent days, a head start as well as another niche is
crucial. Only a few things must be observed to maintain effectiveness. Firstly, the food
quality must be second to none. This entails that the food must be fresh and of a fine
taste! Secondly, the price must be lower than anywhere else. Thirdly, the customer
tastes must be the driving force all the time. Fourthly, the service must be superb,
including outside catering. Fifthly, this food component must be developed in such a
way that it is integrated within the Wal-Mat brand name and always be enclosed within
the large Wal-Mat product shops. At a later date, separate food shops could be opened
when the fine Wal-Mat food brand name has been firmly established.
With the advent of these potent developments, the spirit, focus and passion of Sam
Walton must live on in principle, despite attacks from rivals, which attacks show that
Wall-Mat is still feared and admired! Forward with strategic Wal-Mat!
Bower, Bartlett, Uyerterhoeven, and Walter, Business Policy: Managing
Strategic Processes, 8
Edition, Richard D. Irwin
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 63
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Bill Gates-The feverishly creative leader
ÐiLL GATcs ANo THc mANAccmcNT ÐiLL GATcs ANo THc mANAccmcNT ÐiLL GATcs ANo THc mANAccmcNT ÐiLL GATcs ANo THc mANAccmcNT or MicnosorT or MicnosorT or MicnosorT or MicnosorT
He suddenly appeared on the computer horizon and has been there ever since. His
name is Bill Gates, probably the richest and most influential man on this terrestrial ball.
At 14 he had a company and by age 35, he was the Chief executive officer and
Chairman of the Goliath Microsoft Company, except this time, this modern Goliath is
invincible on the computer Market. Gates has sustained a powerful intense love for
computers from his youth days and has continued to improve his mastery over
computer software programs and this has surely rubbed on to the company teams. But
from whence has Microsoft hailed and what has made it so powerful? What has been
the “silver bullet” and who have been the major key players?
For one thing, it is very clear that Bill has been at the helm of the Microsoft success.
He, along with Paul Allen, a childhood friend started the small-unknown company in
1975, having had a short stint with MITS in New Mexico and then proceeded to open
up Microsoft. The early days were rather rough because Microsoft was unknown in the
computer forest where giants like IBM reigned supreme. Armed with only three
workers, knowledge and determination, the company commenced business in New
Mexico, later moving to Bellevue, Washington. Slowly but surely, Microsoft found its
feet in the relatively new computer industry. Market positioning is a crucial stage.
Knowing that for Microsoft to be noticed, there was need to be aligned to some big
name, hence the choice to develop software programs for IBM was hardly surprising,
this being an excellent strategy. Having noticed that many were more involved in
hardware, Bill and Allen figured that the Software would be the need of the future,
what insight they had! As such, they plunged headlong and developed many successful
software programs such as BASIC and COBOL. These programs were excellent that
Microsoft begun to licence out their products to the computer giants of the day. The
said software programs were IBM compatible for example. In the fullness of time,
Microsoft exploded and proved too big and independent. Thus, this entity has sailed to
higher heights ever since…
But what has been the secret behind Microsoft, when a myriad companies in the same
industry have folded up? How has it managed to defy all company demise, but to the
contrary, managed to blossom further? A number of reasons can be advanced when we
analyse its progress against the competitive background from which it was hewn.
Firstly, Microsoft etched out a powerfully unique niche. Its software products had such
unique features, which rivals failed to copy, components like the operational and
application packages. Secondly, Microsoft has always been customer focused, in most
cases reading the “writing on the wall” as well as anticipating what features the
customer would like. To that end, the customer has been the one to determine the end
products. In addition, there has been speedy attention to the customer needs and orders.
Thirdly, there has been continuous improvement on the programs ever so often, so
much that the programs are improving every year. Microsoft has always had a special
place for programmers and developers, no wonder the phrase “reverence for the
Programmer” is strongly upheld. Not only is there a special place for the programmer,
Bill Gates has created an intensely exciting atmosphere in the company as there is
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 64
commitment to graphics user interface and an efficient development process. This has
been the backbone of Microsoft. Further more, the company has had aggressively
strategic marketing ventures and teamwork has been the company culture from the
beginning. The Gates leadership has cultivated an informal but highly charged
atmosphere where people will do their job excitedly, many times working late. It has
been fun to work at Microsoft, not so much the pay but the goals. A consistently
watchful strategic out look has made Microsoft the trendsetter in the industry. As can
be seen, Microsoft’s success cannot be solely traced to setting the standard for PC
operating systems but rather its strength lies in the integration of programs so that one
can work in more than one program at the same time. In the past, these programs were
independent and could not be integrated, but now this hurdle has been overcome with
the advent of windows. Further more, the dynamic and strategic leadership of Bill
Gates whose insight into computers, zeal and determination to succeed has wrought
success for Microsoft. The hiring and nurturing of the best college graduates and
professionals is another way Microsoft has stood out from the rest. These graduates are
sharpened and contribute brilliant ideas to the product development. Also, Gates has
been careful to hire only the right people with the appropriate acumen, expertise,
experience and must be “ Known quantities” equal to the task. The products, by that
token have been of continuously improving quality, much to the pleasure of customers.
As Microsoft has been becoming more complex, a deliberate effort has been made to
maintain a “small company” culture so that the personal touch is not lost with time.
Contact with customers is vital. Whereas in the past, Microsoft only concentrated on
churning out high quality impeccable programs, it has also gone further to cater for
consultancy and customer service. This has been another plus.
All the above has been achieved by the fiery zeal and determination of basically two
men, Bill gates and Paul Allen. These men, as earlier intimated, worked closely
Allen was taken ill in 1983. Bill continued to herald the Microsoft torch which has
shone brighter over the years. Bill, possesses a peculiar simplicity about him that one
cannot fail to notice. He is self-assured, creative, energetic and intense. The CEO also
has a clear mind, insight into multiple issues and very daring too. When he is about a
task, he works feverishly and relentlessly until the mission is accomplished. Software
innovation is not for the fainthearted. Determination, diligence and hard work marks
him out from other Chief executives. As one would expect, such a high profiled man is
very passionate and demanding until results are produced, most of the products being
time bound to keep a head start. The irony of it all is that this zest is contagious because
Bill gives as much individual attention as possible on e-mail and other wise. He works
closely with the developers and keenly reviews everything they do. Together, they have
been able to develop such classic programs as MS-DOS, Word, Excel, Fortran, and
PowerPoint. Apart from these programs, other developments have been in the operating
systems and applications software, headed by Steve Ballman and Mike Maples
respectively. This team has fought computer “wild beasts” and triumphed!
Furthermore, Bill has continued to champion the development of other multimedia
software programs. This man in particular has been highly inspirational and sensational,
ideas never cease to flow out of that mind!
Now that Microsoft is unquestionably the most powerful organisation in the computer
software industry, many problems have begun to buffet it, which the Gates
administration have and will wrestle with. That Microsoft is and will be the foremost
software giant in the 21
Century is beyond doubt, but to maintain that leadership is
quite another another issue. For one thing, there is a general feeling that the
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 65
organisation is fast losing the “small company” culture due to its complex nature.
Although vigorous efforts have been made to resist this decay, change is envitable,
unless the company is fragmented into smaller units. The said complexity means that
the company by bits loses the fluidity, agility and the “family-ness” of the entire
organisation. Time was when Bill knew every one by name but with a nearly 14,000
workers world wide, it is practically impossible to know every one. Closely akin to the
afore mentioned is the slow but sure increase of people who do not really identify with
the initial passion, intensity, sacrifice, team work, high quality output and the
continuous improvement goals that engulfed the forerunners to the present Microsoft.
Today, it is feared, many join Microsoft with the self-gain motive rather than the love
for the job as well as longing to see new products churned out, far ahead of any
competitor. Continued growth and complexity has meant that the single Redmond
campus has proved inadequate. There is need to expand and probably explore other
sites although this will lead to a further “unity” disintegration in the sense that the pace
of development will not be uniform. Saliently, more professionals have had to be hired
as well as train staff within. This is no mean task at all. Furthermore, the popularity of
Microsoft programs has far outstripped the ability to satisfy the demand. Today, it is
unthinkable to imagine a computer without the Microsoft programs, as the integrated
operating and application programs are literary in every computer! This has led to a
situation where even the newly introduced consulting and customer user services are far
not equal to the demand. All these are business opportunities lost.
If I were asked to advise Bill Gates on what to do to remain buoyant, I would suggest
1. It is good that Gates has acknowledged that Microsoft is no longer the same as in
those formative years. It is far more complex and naturally the centre of attraction
World over. Thanks to his accurate foresight, Bill acted prudently long before hand
in appointing Shirley and then Micheal Hallman as COO. But Gates should do this
more often as need arises long before slothfulness creeps in and solidifies.
2. Bill should continue to be strategic in approach while the Hallman focuses on
operations, ensuring corporate agility.
3. There is need to sharpen the customer sensitivity needs and to be as personal as
4. Innovations and niches must continuously be explored. This means that Microsoft
must not rest on its laurels but strive to be the trendsetter, where rivals find it
difficult to copy. They must have a satellite approach where information is shared
freely and quickly sent across the entire organisation.
5. Quality must run in all spheres of the organisation and products. The service must
be speedy, timely, personal and customer satisfying. The products also must be
excellent, always adding new features.
6. Every person joining the corporation must be a team player and have a similar
passion for high quality and continuous product innovation. These traits must not be
trifled with nor treated lightly.
7. In an extreme case, where Microsoft becomes too big to be governable, it must be
split into small units. This is a very sensitive line to tow though.
8. Training of staff must be stepped up more vigorously than hitherto, so that they are
inculcated into the company culture.
9. Effective communication is a must, more than ever before. Management by
exception is becoming a must but this should not compromise detail and
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 66
10. The right information must be on hand all the time. As we know, one can have all
the money but without information, all efforts are endangered because of the rapidly
changing environment. Time and opportunity can only be redeemed when the
correct information is at hand. This information is very crucial for strategic decision
making. Also, everyone in the organisation must know what is going on at any time
and no one relegated to the “information vacuum”. This tends to make people feel
left out and as such, they will not put in their best due to lack of the same goal
11. Aggressive and constantly refined marketing strategies must be put in place.
12. Diversification is a welcome option where possible, but ensures that the core values
of the company are preserved and enhanced. More computer accessories can be
developed as well as an expansion of the present consultancy and customer
13. Give incentives to those who bring in excellent product innovations that are viable.
14. Continue to hire “Known quantities” that have the same corporate goals as
Microsoft. Having qualifications is one thing but being a team player is quite
Watch the market meticulously, and “benchmark” backward to ensure that the nearest
rival does not get too close. Further, watch out for those unknown entities that might
come up and undercut Microsoft. Recall that Microsoft itself was once a start up feeble
company compared to the giants like IBM. The picture is entirely altered today because
the “Big brother” despised the once “non entities” like Microsoft. Due to its size and
power, it felt secure. Frequent market research and “market reading” are crucial,
remembering that rivals are always prowling around looking for an opportunity to
15. Watch out for bureaucracy that has crippled many powerful organisations. This
“vice” tends to slow down the pace of development and corporate agility. The
company structure must be kept as “flat” as possible, meaning that although a
defined and organised structure should be in place, the layers must be kept at a
16. Keep information as secure as possible. Developmental secrets must not be leaked
to anyone or else rivals will pick them and outdo Microsoft. This means
information must be classified and accessibility restricted to a few. This must be
clearly explained to all employees that the issue at hand strategic rather than
mistrust but a strategic move.
As Microsoft hurtles into the 21
century, and observing the above points, we are not
afraid of the results. Let those who try to compete with Microsoft do as they please, we
have the powerfully innovative and strategic Bill Gates team, and as such, we can
safely rest our case!
Bower, Bartlett, Uyerterhoeven, and Walter, Business Policy: Managing
Strategic Processes, 8
Edition, Richard D. Irwin
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 67
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Of the many successful companies that have hit the business horizon, none perhaps has
been so specially blessed to have a consistently growing loyalty and prosperity of all its
employees as The Lincoln Electric Company. It has been around for nigh a hundred
years and all these years have been years of growth, expansion and strategic placing of
the company. Lincoln company is an excellent place to work at though it is not for the
faint hearted who want to make a quick buck and dash off, rather it is for the resilient
and hard working.
Talking about the Lincoln Company today without the mention of the pioneers of this
entity would be gross in justice. Due honour must be given. We will look at the two
famous Lincoln brothers who graced the company horizon in those earlier days and put
the company firmly on its rails, from which it has never departed. Who were these men,
if we may ask? What did they do and why did they act as they did? Let us give them the
honour that is due.
The two were John C Lincoln and his brother James Lincoln. John initially begun the
company in 1895 without his brother and ran it until 1907, a period of thirteen years in
which time he, John, perfected the trade upon which the company was hereafter based.
He was a technical genius and as such, received over 50 patents for various apparatus
inventions he developed. His natural ability was perfected over the years such that by
the time James joined him, the unique company products were fairly established on the
market. But technical ability alone is not enough these days, John needed some one
who had a management acumen, which was well packaged in his brother, James. We
would not be far from the truth to assume that when James stepped onto the company
he immediately swung into action regarding the life long system reforms. The said
reforms were so thorough that by the time the man left office, his ghost lingered in the
company and has never been exorcised. The fact that his principles have never been
altered or adjusted for over 30 years shows how timeless, excellent and useful his
character must have been. His writings too, are also replete with evidence that James
was a rugged individualist who strongly believed that anything was possible for any
one as provided they elected to worked hard. These principles are reflected in the
practices at the company. Thus, we have in a measure successfully sketched brief
biographies of the two star pioneers, how excellent these men were!- each in his own
But what did they do that has consistently propelled Lincoln Company to the market
apex all these years? What are the classic management and employee approaches they
have utilised that we may draw a leaf? In answering the question, it is fitting for us to
state that arriving at a workable management practice takes time. Were we to judge the
Lincoln management methods against the modern management trends, they would be
somewhat archaic, but these are the ones that have fought and won battles for the
company. The approach to the organisation is that the executives have endeavoured to
keep the “small company” feeling, akin to that at the Microsoft except that here, the
individual output matters more. In keeping with the resolve of being small, this has
ensured that the company remains agile in that the products are of consistently high and
improving quality while reducing costs inversely. It is a firm belief that the costs and
prices must be kept as low as possible. This means that as many ways of cost saving
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 68
have been devised to reduce cost such as maintaining simple but safe structures and
furniture, designing and making own machines and having a “just in time” minimum
inventory stock. Further, total quality has been the heartbeat because this ensures nigh
zero defect products, which in effect pays back over time. The second key to the
organisational approach is the strict adherence to the company objectives to which
everyone must subscribe. This keeps the company focused on the distinctive
competence and no one acts “ultra vires”. The company, unlike many modern
companies, is highly centralised in decision making and yet, ironically, the two chief
executives are among the most accessible to every one in the company. The person with
the lowest job has as much personal attention from the top as anybody else. This is seen
as the executives walk around the company floor, people cheerfully talk to them with
no dread, and also in the eating and parking places, no special places are reserved. Now
this is unique! In the same breath, it means that the decisions are generally top-down
though maximum communication is maintained. For example, the Chairman and
president must both know what is going on to the minutest detail so that they can have a
hand in making any decision.
Having said the above, we hasten to say that Lincoln Company has a human face to it
as well. The company practices are designed in such a way as to motivate the worker
towards maximum output. This is seen in the incentive parameters which reward
individuals according to the output, time spent, initiative and new ideas brought into the
company. In this way, many feel attached to their jobs and will willingly work long
hours so as to gain that extra buck. At Lincoln, it can be truly said that “Time is
money”! Let it be noted that this arrangement makes people need minimum supervision
because of the created conducive working environment guaranteeing freedom of
expression, individual importance and worth. Another important motivational factor has
been the preference of internal promotions, tapping local talent from those espousing
the same company goals.
This approach has caused the hard working sort to amass enough personal assets
corresponding to their output. This feels good and highly motivates. Furthermore, the
company pays handsome bonuses at the end of every profitable year as well as ensures
that the employees are given permanent jobs, thus creating security and not stifling
innovations. As a result of the aforementioned approaches, the work culture at Lincoln
is that which people are hard working, diligent, have high morale, are cost conscious,
aim for speedy high quality product and service output, have little idle time and are
their own supervisors. If they relax, it means less pay, the reverse being equally true.
These factors have kept Lincoln buoyant over the years.
Having scribbled an excellent picture about the past, our concern now shifts to the
future as to how these past successes will be maintained. What safety gadgets will be
inserted to ensure sustained market leadership? The following strategic moves must be
highlighted. In the first place, the cost cutting methods through new ideas and new
techniques must continue to thrive. In the second place, quality must continue to be
intertwined into all the products taking particular care that the external customer sets
the pace. The internal customer (i.e. the employee) must also be satisfied continuously
too. Thirdly, the company must ensure it cuts out a niche which rivals will not easily
copy. Further more, new innovations and products should be placed on the market way
ahead of competitors. Lincoln should be proactive rather than reactive, emerging as the
trendsetter. Also, the company must meticulously watch out for emerging and
established competitors who may undercut Lincoln and take over the market, for many
market leaders in other markets have realised too late that a once puny rival had
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 69
overtaken them. Speedy and timely quality service must seal up the strategic
manoeuvres of tomorrows’ Lincoln company.
If I were asked to make some recommendations to Mr Willis, the current president, I
would give the following advice; Firstly, the company must continue to remain
unwaveringly loyal to the time tested attributes of continuous cost cutting maneuvers.
This is attainable when the Just in time system is strongly engrafted into the company
operations, as there will be minimal inventory storage over heads. Secondly, the
company must continue to maintain improved high quality goods, and where possible,
more innovations and new products launched on the market periodically. These must be
according to current customer tastes resulting from frequent market researches. The
company must know why people prefer the Lincoln product. Thirdly, the company
must invest in modern technology, which will help in keeping ahead of competitors, as
well in the making of informed strategic decisions. Fourthly, The Company, while
attempting to be innovative, must ensure it keeps its finger on its all time distinctive
competence. This is a niche that has been etched out and needs strengthening at all
costs. Fifthly, the management must ensure open communication, free personal
interaction and minimal structure levels. In addition to the aforementioned point,
bureaucracy must be fought from all angles, as it has slain its thousands. The “small
company” feeling must be maintained. Sixthly, as the company becomes more
complex, there may be need to have a formal structure and to some extent, the
executives must begin to delegate some of the minute details so that they concentrate
on the strategic aspects of the company. Care however must be taken to ensure that
slothfulness and bureaucracy does not rear its ugly head killing initiative, which has
been the hallmark of the company hitherto. Lastly, the incentive system must be further
refined though some time for relaxation must be introduced. Life is not all about work
The Lincoln Company approaches to personal motivations can equally work in other
companies but this depends on the nature and maturity of the business as well as the
established work culture. This motivation system has worked well at Lincoln because
the pioneers set the pace and actually lived out what they preached. For example, they
were consistently very hard working all their lives and maintained effective but simple
communication with everyone. Also, they strove to know workers by name, this alone,
is a powerful motivation to employees. If the personal touch and the ‘Earn as you
work” system are absent, the motivation system will not work sustainably. The absence
of company wide issue consultation and the autocratic tendencies accounts for the
reason why many companies do not follow Lincolns’ example. On the other hand, some
view the Lincoln motivation system as strenuous, inconsiderate when one is
incapacitated and not a sustainable practice although the individual pocket is satisfied.
Furthermore, the reward system is designed by the top executives alone, who do not
consult or know exactly the stress levels each job evokes within a person. The given
reasons suffice for our purposes as to why few companies espouse the Lincoln
Having analysed the reasons why very few companies would throw in their weight
behind the Lincoln method, we move on to comment on the management practices with
respect to the modern trends. The Manager of the year two thousand and beyond is one
who is pictured as robust, strategic, team leader/player and one who is not the bossy
type but rather, one who considers others as equally critical to the output chain. In fact,
in modern management circles, teamwork is the buzzword and is emphasised far above
the individual performance. These trends have been learnt from the Japanese who have
employed teamwork effectively which results in high morale and commitment to the
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 70
company cause. Furthermore, the manger of today is not expected to be autocratic or to
make all the decisions. Minimum management and informal structures are preferred so
that bureaucracy will not creep in nor stifle innovations. Also, this makes the company
remain strategic, agile and fluid, thus moving with the times. In addition, employees are
expected to contribute ideas, brainstorm and be party to the final decision unlike in the
traditional approach where all the decisions were enacted at the top and pushed down
for implementation. The top-down approach has not been effective in that the actual
implementers on the ground do not identify with the goal, as decisions are “Pushed
down their throats”. The traditional approach largely, has been the adopted practice at
Lincoln. Although some tenets found in it are also found in modern management. By
that token, we could safely say that the Lincoln style leans on the past in decision
making but in some cases also incorporates modern trends. With all due respect to
James Lincoln, I think the company ought to shed off certain tendencies, which, in and
of them selves may not be wrong, but need to be revisited in the light of the turbulent
business environment as well as complex company status. For example, some decisions
ought to be delegated so that the chairman or president devotes himself to strategic
matters, which will see the company through to the next millennium. In addition, the
time for a formalised hierarchical structure is now ripe, but in the same breath
maintaining minimum structure levels and openness lest bureaucracy creeps in to wreck
As I look twenty years hence, I think Lincoln will remain the place I would desire
working at as long as the motivation patterns are constantly revised to match the
modern trends. Today, there is the realisation that there is more to life than just money,
which we trust, the Lincoln Management will look. Fly on to higher orbs then ye
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 71
Case study 12
Chikondi Phiri-An upcoming leader
The interview at hand was carried out by Dr. Billy Sichone on 21
September 2001. At
the time of the interview, the respondent, Mr. Chikondi Phiri, was the Area
Development (ADP) Manager for the Namuso ADP located 618 kilometres west of
Lusaka. The said officer has been in the area for three and a half years and has been at
the helm of one of the most spectacular transformations that have taken place in World
Vision circles. Prior to his arrival, the program was riddled with multiple problems such
as a demotivated staff, continuous running inter personal squabbles with the community
and among staff themselves. At the interview time, he was about to launch out to
another higher challenge having successfully turned around the mammoth program
back to sanity. Mr. Phiri holds an MSc in Water Engineering and is currently pursing an
MBA with the Redeemer College, Canada.
1. Mr. Phiri, I notice that you have been at the Namuso ADP for some
time, could you briefly tell us about your self?
I first came to the Western Province in 1996 as a project coordinator but
shortly became a Program Assistant. With the encouragement of my
wife, we left to pursue higher studies at Morogoro University, Tanzania.
Upon our return in 1998, we were again sent back to Mongu where I
took up Management up to date when I leave for the Southern Province.
2. Is this your first Program to Manage?
Yes. As earlier intimated, I was a Program Assistant until I returned
3. What, in your own definition is Management?
Management is the art of getting things done through other people. This
involves control, directing and coordinating the implementation of
activities to their appointed ends.
4. What are some of the challenges you have faced whilst at Namuso?
I have faced multiple challenges during my tenure in literary every area
especially so that it was my first time to Manage a project. I found a
diverse work force with different goals and attitudes to work and out
look to life. I had to fit in and then meticulously turn the tide to the
correct direction, having been charged by my former National Director,
Mr. Bwalya Melu. There was a lot of disorder at the time but through
consistent hard work and clear thinking, we have managed to undo the
mess and put Namuso ADP on the map. It has been a team effort all the
5. What is the workforce like at Namuso (Number of and type)?
Presently we have a workforce of 7 members of staff at the ADP office
plus 15 others located in the Program catchment area. In my estimation,
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 72
they are all unique but focused towards one common goal, to which end
they exert themselves.
6. How have you managed to lead such a diverse workforce seeing that
you took over whilst young?
That hasn’t been a problem at all because I knew the source of my
authority and carefully studied that people I was going to work with. I
was open minded and ready for any challenges so as to handle them,
which, in effect is what Management is about.
7. What was the situation like at Namuso when you first took office?
I found an emotionally torn project as they had just lost a Manager. Due
to some prior problems, the office was disorganised and not systematic
with staff highly demotivated and some what disillusioned. There were
just too many unsettled issues at the time which needed to be carefully
and diligently attended to. As though that were not bad enough, the ADP
was in bad books with the support office. Thus, the first year was largely
spent on clearing the past wreckage. For example, the community had no
kind words for World Vision as they felt cheated at the sudden phase out
of three previous Community Development Projects (CDP). This was
the dark scenario in 1998.
8. What is the situation you leave now?
You wouldn’t believe it, but the face of the ADP has changed drastically
as people have a different view of World Vision. Our image has risen in
the following areas:
• Financial Discipline
• Christian Image
• Performance / Out put.
Almost all our key staff are Christians of high standing and do their best
all the times. They work as unto the Lord. We still have hurdles though
but we are certainly far much than before.
9. What is the secret of your success?
I wouldn’t say I have a secret per se but I think I attribute all this to the
teamwork culture we have imbibed here. This has to do largely with the
open management that we have had and also being open and truthful to
the community as well. Consistency is very important when working
10. What do you view as your most valuable assert in your work
(people, machines, money)?
People! I value my staff so much as each of them is uniquely structured to contribute to
the welfare of the organisation. As such, I ensure that each of them is treated well and
each of case treated as it comes. With the right people at the right places, we can
achieve phenomenal results. Unlike in the past where people were treated as things, I
think if they are treated with the dignity that they deserve, they will sustainably go a
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 73
long way in doing good far above what I ask or imagine. Other things are but mere
things to advance our cause.
11. Are there still some Managers who do not value people?
Oh yes of course but thankfully, the attitude has changed tremendously in World Vision
as the ADP Managers have been trained through the ADP 2000 leadership initiative as
well as the 2003 programs in South Africa. We are moving on to higher ground!
12. Would you classify your self as a leader or manager?
I would classify my self as both though I think I am more being moulded into a servant
leader who facilitates rather then bosses around, despite the constant temptation to.
13. What is the difference between a manager and a leader?
A Manager is one who merely controls, directs and implements the goals of a said
entity while a leader is one who inspires others by being visionary while helping others
along to achieve a given goal. In other words, the leader is a coach, mentor and
facilitator while a manager controls the implementation of plans. Now I use the word
“control” guardedly because some people do not like the term because the connotation
of dictatorial tendencies.
14. What, in your own words, are the qualities of a good leader?
The qualities of a good leader are that he/she is visionary and has the prowess to affect
others towards a goal willingly. The said person has a clear mind, listens to others,
empathises, and cares for the welfare of those he/she leads. Being a coach, the leaders
possesses noble consistent characteristic upon his/her chest such as integrity, honesty,
humility, open mindedness, willingness to learn and change, time for people, patience
and a personal mission statement.
15. Obviously, you must have faced some challenges as a manager in this part of
the country, just how did you get round that hurdle?
As I said in an earlier in answer to a question, I am a foreigner while my staff all
largely natives. Naturally, but especially in Western province, there has been a
prejudice against outsiders. I faced all that but I approached it positively and
determined to prove my self over time. I think I have been vindicated by and large.
16. You have a family I suppose, how then do you manager to cope since you are
very busy and travel extensively?
I am married to a wonderful wife, Anne with whom we have two sons. From the
beginning of our marriage, I have made sure that I have involved her in my work such
that she knows what goes on in the office, what I do and I even consult her on a number
of issues. When we went for studies, she was there with me as though she too was
actually doing the course! I remember the times when I would come home exhausted,
she would read to me and help me to prepare for exams! This trend has continued
though there are times when I have to do certain things alone when pressed with time.
But at an appropriate time, she gets an update and then we continue. This is the only
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 74
way to balance things unlike a case where the wife has absolutely no idea what in the
World the husband is up to!
17. You strike me as some one who is analytical and strategic as well, how did
develop those skills, has your previous professional background have a hand in
Naturally, I like being clear minded and inquisitive, but this has been enhanced through
training and being coached by some people.
18. Talking about strategy, what, in your own words is strategy and how does it
help you in planning?
A strategy is simply a plan to achieve a goal. In other words, you come up with an
ultimate goal and then ask the question, “How shall we get there?” There after, you
proceed to map out a plans and steps to achieve the goal. The route taken is the
strategy. It is worth mentioning here that today, there is more and more on strategic
thinking rather than planning, I hope you know the difference…
19. Would you classify yourself as a perfectionist, as we note that things that come
out of your hand are of the highest quality?
I wouldn’t claim that I am a perfectionist in the strictest sense but I must say that I like
doing a perfect job all the time. When I first took office at Namuso, I must confess that
I had more of those perfectionist tendencies. Obviously over time, I have learnt that we
are at different levels necessitating the need to be patient while working to sharpen
people to the required standards.
20. In your view do you think that World Vision in its implementation minds
quality in out put? If not, how do you perceive that it could be improved?
If you looked at our reporting and way of doing things just over five years ago, you
would notice what great strides World Vision has made in the direction of improving
quality. This is further seen in the way people relate and do things in a team work kind
of fashion. At the National office, we have what is known as the Program Development
and quality assurance department (PDQA) whose main objectives is to largely ensure
that reports and delivery systems in World Vision are of the highest levels. The other
thing that PDQA does is to ensure that they refine project proposals from the various
ADPs or indeed originate some themselves to source funding for World Vision Zambia
projects. In terms of improving the status, I would just say the road to quality
improvement is a never ending one, I think World Vision could improve by being open
and ready to change in these turbulent times.
21. How have you ensured that your staff is motivated, give us some insights in
I have tried my level best to motivate people in various ways such as complementing
them when they do a good job, being patient and ready to work with them, giving
awards and in some cases, advocating for some people’s pay rise although I think
money should not be the sole motivating factor. Other ways have been to encourage my
staff to go for short refresher courses that will add to their CVs and build capacity in
them. At other times, I have taken an interest in people’s lives and visited them at home
when ill or just to say “hello!” Mastering peoples’ names has also helped things.
22. How do you handle people who are:
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 75
a. Younger than you?
b. Older than You?
c. Less educated?
I treat them all as equals, each unique, with something to offer. I am always
conscious that I can learn something from each of them. In addition, when they are
treated well, they feel motivated and will willingly do more. At other times, I have
advocated their pay rise for example though not diligently. I believe that money should
not be the single motivating factor to work but could be one of them. I would rather
provide the best working environment.
23. What is your view of about training for staff? How often should that be?
I believe that training should be continuous and available to all without exception. We
live in a dynamic world with new challenges every day.
24. Do you think the budget should be a limiting factor for training of staff?
I don’t think finance should be a limiting factor at all as training is essentially for
quality results, which pays back many times over.
25. What is your view about the World vision staff training policy? Do you think
every one is adequately catered for?
Potentially, the World Vision Zambia training policy is excellent only needing more
funds. Before I left for Tanzania, for example, there were absolutely no training
opportunities but now they are available for many disciplines relevant to the
We may not cover every body presently but we are getting there having made a start.
26. What are some of the ways that you have managed to make people aware of
the aims and objectives of World Vision in the Mongu Area?
We have had brochures done, been on the national and local radio, the National press as
well as through our community leaders who have done a marvellous job explaining
who we are.
27. I suppose that World Vision is now talking about sustainable development,
how have you as a team ensured that this ethos is fostered and up held?
We firstly have had the task to uproot the previous mentality of handouts that the CDPs
had employed and replaced them with new ADP approaches. Having “disinfected” their
minds we have gone further to work along side the community, letting them identify
their needs and learn to manage their own development. This has meant get them
contribute something or offering them things on loan. In the way, they have cared for
and owned things lastingly. In other words, we have taught them “to fish” rather then
giving them fish. This has proved more sustainable.
28. World Vision is in the business of satisfying customers as well, who exactly are
your customers? How o you ensure you satisfy them?
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 76
Our customers are the Donors whom we seek to continuously satisfy by providing
timely and appropriate information at all times. In a way, the children, whom World
Vision assists are also our customers. At all costs, the Donors must be satisfied or else
World Vision risks losing support.
29. In your own words, what is teamwork and what is the place of it in World
Teamwork is simply working together across functional barriers to achieve goals. This
means working as an organism where there is a free flow of ideas, information and
methods of best practice. Unlike in the past, where people restricted themselves to their
department, the modern office demands a matrix approach to issues so as to reap the
maximum benefits from each person. This approach, akin to a football team is very
30. What are the goals of teamwork?
In my view, teamwork ultimately seeks to improve the product quality in a conducive
enabling environment. In other words, team work improve and increases out put as
people to achieve a goal as opposed when they work as “Islands”
31. Can you site an example where teamwork has been practiced or attempted in
the World Vision partnership. What has been the result. Do you see this taking
root in the organisation?
In 1999/2000, World Vision adopted the teamwork approach having noticed its
benefits. Thus, the country was divided into regions with each region having a leader.
These regions had a rotational leadership as each region was composed of many
projects. This went on for some time but seems not to have worked much probably for a
number of reasons. In my thinking, one of the main reasons was that we were not ready
for the change and needed to be oriented much more, having all along been accustomed
to an independent approach to work. There could be some regions still working as a
team but by and large, we have informal ties where we consult each other freely as we
meet in conferences or call each other on phone. It has helped tremendously. Having
said the above, I think teamwork is the right way to go and as more people see the
benefits, I have no doubt that we shall move forward.
32. At ADP level do you see any teamwork?
Oh yes! In fact that has been one of the greatest sources of my elation that I have
witnessed whilst I was at the Namuso ADP. As I leave, I just marvel how people love
their jobs and would willingly put in their best to achieve a goal. They work over and
above to be reminded that they must go home to rest otherwise they would go on and
on! People are focused and freely intermingle to share ideas and also to take over each
others’ functions where need be. This emanates from the fact that people now take
interests in each others’ domains as opposed to the past where they were content to
remain within the confines of their departmental walls. For example, almost all our staff
are studying, are all computer literate from the office attendant upwards and have all
acted as Managers before, (with the exception of the office attendant) and each of them,
though initially surprised have all performed extremely well. This has booted out put,
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 77
innovation, creativity and motivation in staff. This is simply marvellous! With respect
to other ADP s, I have no telling exactly where they are, but I have reason to believe
that they too are on the way to teamwork.
33. How has it been developed?
I think it is because of the approach that has been employed where as manager I have
taken time to study each members’ strengths, and ensured that I use them in the right
places without the team members themselves knowing it. I have looked at Namuso as a
football team with different players who can play certain numbers. In that way, as
coach, I have strategically put each person in the best place. This has meant that I have
taken the back role as a teacher, facilitator and coach, ready to give support when
needed. In the past I had perfectionist tendencies and wanted to be bossy but over time,
I have seen that it is more profitable to be there to guide and empower people to do the
right thing sustainable. It has been so gratifying to see the team members attempt new
things, be creative and consult among themselves without my direct involvement. Now
at Namuso, I do not worry about reports for example, because each department will do
its job diligently and timorously.
34. What are some of the benefits you have observed during the build up of the
The benefits are many as can be seen from what I have mentioned in the last two
questions. Just to mention them again, there has been an improvement in the quality
and timeliness of reports. There has been a marked improvement in the trust for each
other and an appreciation of each other’s function. This has led to a situation where
work will not be stalled or slowed down by the absence of any team member because
others will quickly take over and over lap to cover up. By and large, we are achieving
more result than at any time ever.
35. What are some of the challenges/hurdles you faced on your journey towards
team build up of the same?
As in any process, I have faced many challenges. The first is the diagnosis of the
problem as I found a demotivated and disillusioned work force that specialised in finger
pointing. This was not only at the ADP office but from the community as well. The
second was the process of getting people focussed without any prejudice as well as
getting the right resources to foster the goals to team building. The third has been
getting the cohesive and having people discard the mistrust they had of management
especially so that I was not a native of the place. The fourth was to get people analytical
and think systematically. Thankfully, the staff responded very well and slowly begun to
find their feet in this new setting. Culture change is hard and takes time. It has taught
me to be patient, humble and to lead from the back seat. We still encounter problems
but am glad to say that we are above the fundamental problems at this stage.
36. How do you arrive at a decision, which ultimately affects every at the ADP?
I make the final decision ultimately in any case but I make sure I get as much input
from staff on many issues. In the past I would make the decisions and pass them down
but now, I consult all the time and get the mind of the staff. Some times, I do not have
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 78
to make the decision because the staff discuss it and come up with the answer! This has
been amazingly true time and time again. At the end of each decision, every body feels
heard, valued and thus owns the goal.
37. Do you ever have brainstorming sessions? How helpful have they been?
Every morning, we hold an updating meeting after the morning devotions. This
helps us to keep focused. It is during those meetings (about 30 minutes each day)
that issues are brought to the fore discussion and debate. At first, people were
reluctant to air their views for fear of being misunderstood or making a mistake but
now there is liberty. We allow people to bring in all their ideas, including the crazy
ones and then we begin to analyse and discount them one by one. In the end, we
arrive at a decision that satisfies every one to the extent that no one has the audacity
to claim that they had no hand in the decision. In that way, people will go full
throttle to support the decision. To answer your question, we do have brainstorming
sessions depending on the situation.
38. I notice that you are quite apt to handle Information Technology (IT)
problems and that your staff are generally computer literate, how have
you arrived at this stage (your staff trained as well as yourself)
When I took office, I noticed that there was a high dependence on the Admin assistant
for every piece of typing. As such, there was always a queue of people waiting to be
attended to leading to great inefficiency. I noted that if all were trained and had access
to computers, they could each type their own work and thus increase productivity.
Being a firm believer in IT knowledge, I determined to get as many computers as
possible for all to use. Besides, this is an information age where one can not afford to
be computer sills deficient. Therefore, we have slowly passed on information to each
other over time. I was first exposed to the computer in 1994 and have made every effort
to learn and master the operations of a computer and thus pass on knowledge to others.
39. What is the best way to train/coach some one?
I think the best way, which I have found effective, is to first teach them the
principles and then let them attempt something. When they get stuck, you can then
come in to help. You must ensure that you are open, patient, approachable and
reliable. You must be ready to help at any time an not seen to despise your student.
In that way, your friendship will grow and go beyond that particular problem but to
other lawful areas of the work life. People must look up to you as a facilitator not as
a “know it all” kind of person who bashes every one else when they make a
40. You seem to be widely exposed, could briefly tell us about your travels
abroad? What have you learnt?
I have not travelled much per se but I see myself to be on the road more often
hereafter. So far, I have been to Tanzania, Zimbabwe, South Africa (Several times)
and Canada. I have learnt just how different people look at the same thing in
different ways. In some cases I have been stunned but have adapted. This has been a
major paradigm shift for me and has thus helped me to fit in appropriately in
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 79
different circumstances while managing a culturally diverse workforce. The other
thing that has helped me is reading widely all the time. I am the curious sort.
41. In your quest for excellence, who do you perceive as your mentor (s) and
I have mentors quite alright but the greatest motivator in my life is my dear wife
Anne. She has always given me unwavering support and valuable advice that has
proved accurate. There are many times I have felt frustrated but in her own soft way
has prodded me on to greater heights of excellence. As such, I would say that she
has been by far the greatest motivator. In terms of work performance, tow men
stand out as having left an indelible mark on my life. The first is Mr. Stephen
Tembo who exposed me to the computer and consistently lived the Christian life
while I lodged with him for two years. The other is Mr. Mapanza Nwilimba from
the World Vision National Office. He has always inspired me as a good, patient and
consistent teacher. Despite being very strict, he is unmatched as a coach. Both these
men are leaders par excellence in that they are resilient, patient, consistent,
objective and focused in life.
42. Kindly give us some titles that you recommend and why?
I have many titles to hand but I respect Green’s Servant leadership, Covey’s 7
habits as well as principle centred leadership. I also enjoy reading periodicals such
as Executive excellence that has fine articles that are pragmatically down to earth.
43. As we draw to a close, what are your future goals and what is your advise
to those that are aspiring to be motivational leaders in coming days?
My chief goal is to go as high as possible in my work to do as much as I can while I
have breathe. In doing this, I will be serving my Master, the Lord Jesus Christ who
has safely led me hitherto! As for those aspiring for higher challenges, I would
advise them to work hard, especially on their studies. I would urge them to study,
study, study and get that paper!
Thank you for the interview Mr. Phiri and I wish you well in days that lie yet
You are welcome.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 80
Other papers portraying leadership.
General Motors Corporation
A few years ago, General Motors was by far the most powerful and successful
organisation in the Motor industry. By all standards, no other company could compare
its market dominance, size or financial muscle! By that token, General Motors
Corporation (GMC) bathed in its glory for generations. It is now over ninety years old,
which record is rare to have in these turbulent and competitive times. To be around for
such a long time is one thing but to maintain leadership in a particular market is quite
another experience. Many companies have shot up like meteorites and have
disappeared as fast as they came. This has not been the case for GM because it was the
champion for many decades. How ever, GM has not had it easy lately. It had a crisis in
1992 when it recorded a net loss of $ 5 billion! It was at cross roads and any decision to
be made was definitely going to affect the future of the company. But what led to this
crisis? Why is GM transforming today? These are some of the answers that the article
“Deeds, not Words” answers. This is a classic article because it begins where GM
went wrong and what it is doing today to rectify the past follies. The following are
some of the reasons why GM nearly collapsed without realising it:
i. GM grew too big and powerful as a multinational organisation after the Second
World War. This led to Complacency, stubbornness and arrogance.
ii. The company was highly focused on the financial figures, variances, and
profits not quality. The Profit and loss as well as the balance sheet is what
iii. The products it made were not as customers wanted them but what GM
deemed fit as “What customers were going to want and buy” There was no
consultation or choice for the buyer.
iv. The Management style was probably another reason. Since GM was huge, there
was a lot of bureaucracy before any suggestion could be dealt with.
v. The quality of the products was taken for granted as of standards that
customers would like, not knowing that the Japanese were rising slowly from
the atomic ashes through the legendary lectures of Deming and Juran.
vi. The company did not focus on its core competencies but because of its size,
GM took on many other businesses, which were not competitive in the long run.
All the above led to the crisis of 1992 because the environment had changed so
drastically over the years while GM remained static like monument. As earlier
intimated, the Japanese entered the Motor Market with superior quality products
which ultimately under cut GM`s market dominance. By 1991, the Japanese had
A critical decision was made to restructure the mammoth Company by carrying out
drastic changes. Among the major changes implemented was the down sizing of the
central workforce from 13,000 in 1992 to about 1,000 in 1999. Further changes
included the following:
i. Adopting the best practices through out the system. Only the best methods
of doing things were to be in place. This meant comparing how certain
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 81
processes were done within the international GM network and picking the best
way to do some thing. For example, a number of ways how to fit an indicator
on a car is tried until the best method is found, having zero defects.
ii. Be proactive. The company had to be agile and flexible, while anticipating
customer taste changes.
iii. Meet customer needs. GM had to change to being customer driven. What the
customer wants is what carries the day. No longer will GM determine for the
customer. As such there was need to be constantly be in touch with the
iv. Reduce the product introduction cycle time. Previously, it took many years
to release a new car on the market, but a deliberate move was made to shorten
the period to months and in some cases, weeks! We are told that GM plans to
introduce a new car every 28 days on average! Now that is a feat but a
necessity. This is to be achieved by having strong teams that will brain storm
and come up with new models.
v. Do away with the businesses that are not directly linked to the core
competencies. These may be profitable but if they are not competitive, they are
to be divorced from GM so that they can fly away to success on their own. This
has been the case with Delphi-once part of GM.
vi. Imbibe teamwork and continuous improvement. GM had to improve in
quality and also never again rest on its laurels! This is the only way forward as
time for individualistic tendencies in the business is long gone.
vii. Include customers in the planning stage. These are both the internal
(employees) and the external. If these are included at planning stage, success is
almost guaranteed because they will produce and buy what was agreed on at
acceptable, if not superior quality.
GM went full throttle and implemented the survival strategies. Since the company is
big, it has not been easy to steer it back to leadership in the industry but the said
company has scored many successes, some of them unprecedented. The sales have
gone up while the market loss rate has reduced and the profits have shot up again. From
a net loss of $ 5 billion in 1992, to a net profit of $ 2.3 billion in 1997, this is by all
means a feat! In five years, the Titanic Company is being steered to safety and is
definitely going to avoid the iceberg! As earlier intimated, GM is in top drive to
recovery though a few impediments still linger in the way. The President, John F
Smith, is optimistic that his organisation will surmount all the hurdles because signs
of new life are clear for all to see. For example, the company will introduce 23 new
cars and Trucks within three years. Now, this is speed indeed!
Among the major concerns is the fact that GM is still the High cost vehicle
producer in North America. That not with standing, the important thing is that
GM is on the right track having thrown away the relics of the past that made it
rest on its laurels. It is gratifying to note that GM is determined to have agility
and speed as its hallmarks. In all these efforts, TQM lies at the heart or else the
giant will tumble and die!
The market leader of the 21
century must take heed of GM`s mistakes and sail
to safety while the `Market dominance day` is yet young.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 82
“Teamwork is the key word” declares Vic luck, the Chairman of world-renowned
Accounting and consultancy firm-Coopers & Lybrand. Teamwork being the keyword
for the successful company of today and tomorrow, Collaboration is the Buzzword.
Turn every where today; there is a shift towards collaboration and teamwork so as to
reap the best qualitative results. Vic Luck has vast experience having worked in big
companies such as Philips, Ford and Chrysler. These are giants in their own right as
they have well-established brand names. Reading the article “Teamwork is the key
word” from the CIMA Management accounting magazine, one cannot help but notice
how even the service industry is no exception in the march towards quality goods and
Coopers & Lybrand is in the service industry providing consultancy services all over
the world. There is a sudden outburst of consultancy demands on the said firm every
where, especially in Asia. But what is the secret of this company’s success story?
The chairman gives us a number of hints, which are condensed in the following
i. Teamwork is highly emphasised. The consultancy firm has 11,000
professionals world-wide. Only collaborative teamwork will do in such
circumstances or else risk running 11,000 “stand alone consultancies!” The
consultants sit together and brain storm an issue and then come up with one
answer which is the best for the purposes.
ii. Quality standards. Despite the increase in demand of services, Coopers is
careful to maintain high quality standards, For it is these very high standards
that put Coopers on the map.
iii. Point system and rewards. The organisation gives points and probably rewards
for outstanding performances. This acts as an incentive to the team to work hard
and attain even higher heights. This has the effect of ensuring continuous
improvement in the services rendered to clients.
iv. Shared Knowledge. The firm has one big database to which all consultants can
avail themselves. Vic Luck has been at the helm of building this network and
has done well because this has propelled collaboration and teamwork. There is a
sense of having one “global team” in this IT* setting. Shared knowledge is
another buzzword because without information, one is doomed to failure.
Capital alone is not good enough. The firm is getting the benefits of having one
big database, as information is very crucial today if the firm is going to be
strategic. The world is changing very fast, hence the need for the right
information at the right time, and that, to teams! “The reliance on shared
knowledge rather than on the individualistic approach is one of the greatest
changes in our business”, quips Luck confidently.
Given the four reasons above, one cannot fail to see that teamwork has turboed Coopers
& Lybrands to the apex of the consultancy business. The hind experiences at Chrysler,
Philips and Ford perhaps have given the Coopers chairman the insight into gaining a
competitive advantaged position. High quality standards and continuous improvement
through teamwork are the only way forward for Coopers and Lybrands. The article
ends with an aptly brisk statement “With Luck, Coopers will probably pull it off”. This
is a fine way to think of a firm and the players therein!
* IT is Information Technology.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 83
This (the article) is a short but brisk article that covers almost all areas
needed for our purposes. The said article is actually an interview with Mr
Brian McClelland, the Vice President of People systems at Saturn
The interesting feature is how the Giant Motor Company like Saturn is
using teams and Managers to make headway in its quest for leadership in
the industry. Reading the article brings to the fore how companies are
turning the tables “upside down” in that the traditional approaches to
management and planning have fallen by the way side. For example,
Saturn no longer uses the term “Human resources” to refer to its
workforce because the team spirit is deeply ingrained into the culture of
the organisation. The interview gives the impression that Saturn is a
continuously improving and learning Company. There is a deliberate
effort to train and educate team members for a minimum of 92 hours every
year! It is believed that as the team players are sharpened in the problem
solving as well as people skills, then this will ultimately lead to more
satisfied customers and ultimately product loyalty and expansion. This all
talks about Total quality in all spheres of the organisation. Saturn was
initially put on the wheels of Team spirit and onto the quality van by the
founders who most probably read the times. The writing on the wall is very
clear for the successful company of the 21
Century. The chief reasons
why the founders saw the need to engraft teamwork and quality was the
realisation that modern success on the market demands that the internal
customer (employee) is satisfied so that they can put their full weight
behind any implementation plan. It is widely believed that if the people
who actually do the job on the ground are involved in the planing and to
some extent charting the future course of the organisation, they will fully
support the implementation stage because they feel they “own the goal”.
At Saturn, teamwork has worked very well because of the aforementioned,
despite having a diversity of employee classes. Among the many classes at
Saturn are those who are unionised and those who are not. All the classes
are well handled and generally have one goal in mind- To make Saturn the
leader in the Motor industry.
The quest for quality products and market leadership is achieved via two
vehicles given below:
i. By including customers in teams. This helps the organisation know
exactly what the customers need and also ensure that the company is
proactive anticipating customer tastes. Furthermore, the inclusion of
customers in the planning stage helps to build loyalty. If ones` needs
are met and actually exceeded, the same will see no need to jump
over the fence to join hands with a rival Company.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 84
ii. The organisation has imbedded in its mission statement five shared
values to which all team members must adhere. These values have
been internalised very well at Saturn because the team members
actually live out these values! This is a desired position for any
strategically inclined business of the 21
century. The five values
1. Team work
5. Continuous improvement
All the five values highlight the fact that Saturn has a clear direction and
transparent objectives. The impression created is that customers are left to
exclaim, “Who wouldn’t want to be associated with Saturn?”
But that is not the end of the story, Saturn also benchmarks other
organisations which are excelling. This is crucial because once the secret
of success is known, the organisation makes the correct manoeuvres so that
it maintains or ascends to the pinnacle of the market. The effects of these
values are evident in the lives and work culture of all Saturn workers.
Although Saturn has made tremendous strides towards quality leadership,
there is still more they hope to achieve. In the spirit of continuous
improvement, Saturn is not content nor rest on its laurels. They are ever
making innovations so that the customer is more than satisfied. The
greatest asset that Saturn possesses as it attempts to be more agile, is the
immense brand loyalty that has accrued over the years. They immediate
plans are to put a product- the midsize Saturn on the market. The
company (At article time) is confident that the customers will love this
product. Saturn has used teamwork and managers very effectively. They
are not afraid of the future because quality is their best weapon coupled
with the best management practices.
Saturn has scored another first by having a lady Chairman in the person of
Cynthia Trudell. In a major car company, this is both a plus and potentially
a powerful marketing tool.
Reading about Saturn’s teams and the incredible achievements makes one
look forward to visiting the plant so as to keenly observe TQM at work,
raking in Market success through teamwork!
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 85
Nike! Is now a well-established brand and one hardly needs explain to another. This
goodwill clearly demonstrates how a company can so establish itself amongst rivals and
But what is the secret for this success? Who has been at the helm of all this and what
does the future hold for such a company? The Company has been around for slightly
close to three decades, having started in 1972, using Mr Bowerman’s kitchen as a
factory. At that time, Adidas reigned supreme on the American Sports shoe market. But
today, Nike dominates the show. The swoosh logo glides in the higher orbs holding
over 30% of the market while the next rival trails far behind at 19%. The curious
question still lingers in our minds, “what has made Nike become a household name?”
Studying said entity, the reasons are crystallised in the following points:
1. From the beginning, most of the key people in Nike have been former sports stars
who by that token have had contact with the customers as well as have had insight
into what the customers would want and need in future. As a result, Comfort and
design have been well catered for.
2. Quality has been at the heart of every product that has been churned out of the
factory. Knowing that quality not only retains product loyalty, it also markets the
product to other potential buyers.
3. Teamwork has been internalised at Nike. It is not a mere abstract buzzword but is
part of the company culture. Teamwork is a lot harder in a more complex company.
4. Aggressive marketing methods. Nikes’ marketing strategies are second to none.
They are all encompassing and leave no stone unturned. With the Chief executive
officer (CEO) at the helm, every employee is involved. Further, Nike has signed
contracts with sports stars who market the brand effectively.
5. The people employed at Nike are those that have a strong affinity for teamwork.
Hitherto, team players have been preferred to specialists. It has been primarily
ability to function not qualification per se. The team culture has permeated through
out the company. People are infected with the “team” fever rather then being
confined to a particular department.
6. Decision-making has not been confined to the “top brass” as the only think tanks. It
is gratifying to notice that the management has realised from the beginning that the
people who know the market are those closest to it. As such, collective brain
storming has been the norm. Although the company does not have regularlised
meetings, the said forums are excellent times of discussions as contribution not
“office” is paramount. This liberty creates an atmosphere where people feel heard
and appreciated. As a result, they “own the goal” once an agreement has been
reached. Nike has scored a first in this area.
7. Minimal structure level has kept Nike buoyant. A complex company usually has a
multi layered structure system. As Nike grows more complex, there is a temptation
to create more layers of command thereby creating a big organisation that is “top
heavy”. This adverse situation has been resisted so far at Nike although ultimately,
formal hierarchical structures will be unavoidable. Thus far, bureaucracy has been
kept at bay as this kills motivation, initiative and slows down the development pace.
The company of the 21
century needs to remain fluid in order to survive
competition, which Nike has been hither to.
8. Low priced but high quality products has been a major weapon Nike has exploited
effectively. While others have priced their products on a higher note, Nike has
found a way of producing low priced and yet high quality goods. This mixture is
very rare and hard to find in the same one product. Thus, Nike has had economic
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 86
products at attractive rates and superior quality. This has been a way to under cut
the traditional giants in the sports wear industry.
9. Further more, Nike has been sensitive to customer needs and wants. In other words,
what is produced is what customers want and need. It is probable that the customer
is involved in the planning stage to get what they want. It is also worth noting that
Nike has been constantly “reading the times” and has always been alert to the
changes in the customer tastes and wants, which the bigger and more established
companies have neglected. Nike has been a learning organisation, being gender
sensitive too. This sensitivity is portrayed in the effort to ensure women have out fit
to their specifications and taste.
10. Continuous improvement in ways of doing things has been imbibed right through
the organisation. The founders have always thought that there is always room for
improvement and as such, the products and services are always improving. The
Japanese “kaizen” concept has been internalised well and every one is aflame with
this passion. This is seen in the timely production of goods, delivery and the
constant product improvements in keeping with the latest trends and preferences.
11. Not overly controlling staff in their tasks but allowing innovation and initiative to
blossom. In other words, the top managers have not dictated what ought to be done
in a particular situation but rather, they have and will give general direction of what
is to be done.
12. Excellent communication channels have been maintained always. Smooth
information flow is paramount to keep abreast with the times. The key people must
know what is going on in the company at all times.
13. Nike has diversified in its products. Out of the factory are churned out both shoes
and apparel which caters for the not-so-serious athlete as well. While maintaining
the core competence, Nike has developed sports wear for other sports like golf,
tennis, soccer and football. As much as 270 different products were on offer in
1983, and this trend continues.
14. The captivating exercise trend in America has been a major boost in Nike’s favour.
Americans have generally fallen in love with exercise because of its benefits health-
wise. As such, this has made many, even the not-so-serious athlete, to purchase
some sports gear, and obviously, the natural choice has been Nike!
The above reasons then have put Nike on the map. It would be grave injustice to leave
out the main architect of this excellent organisation as it would be akin to denying the
presence of the sun at bright noonday. The man behind the wheel has been Phil Knight,
a very aggressive and competitive man, who himself was once an athlete. It is said that
before leaving University, Knight wrote an exam business proposal paper which he
later lived out as he advanced in his chosen business career. He teamed up with Bill
Bowerman, his former coach, in this venture. Initially, Phil did not entirely throw his
weight behind the small “Kitchen” firm but later devoted himself to the same. As would
be expected, the first few years were turbulent, especially that the company lay in the
shadows of towering multinational companies like Adidas. Determination is what
counted. Having got off the “teething” stage, there was no looking back for Phil as he
propelled into deeper territories. His acumen, insight and management style
immediately sunk into the company culture so much that probably by the time Jeff
Johnson, the first full time employee jumped on board, the culture had been sufficiently
implanted. Knights’ management style is excellent because it reflects the modern
manager in action. Among his firm beliefs is the fact that people should be given some
leeway to do certain functions with minimal supervision and interference, provided
they are given some general guidelines. In addition Phil Knight strongly holds that
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 87
continuous improvement is a must for every flexibly agile company. His preference of
team players rather than specialists is very deeply ingrained in the team spirit
manifesting itself in the brainstorming sessions that he himself instituted. In those
meetings, status is cast away as no person is called master- all are free to contribute, no
matter how crazy an idea. Unlike many a traditional leader, Phil believes that the office
is merely a vehicle to facilitate further efficiency rather than an end in itself.
Perseverance, insistence on quality, resilience, consistency, customer sensitivity and the
robust marketing strategies are core assets that reside in Knights’ chest. Armed with
these convictions, Nike stands a better chance to maintain its market topslot. But why
should we begin talking about losing the top position, since Nike is securely
strategically placed at market apex? Is there trouble lurking somewhere? The danger is
that the organisation has been growing at an unprecedented rate resulting in a false
sense of security. It is feared that there is an unseen slothfulness, stubbornness and
complacency creeping into the organisation as a result of three basic reasons. Firstly, it
is the fact that Nike is so well established such that other rivals are hardly heard about.
This alone makes the company staff to rest on their laurels. It is feared that other yet
unknown entities are slowly making inroads into the market unnoticed and will
undercut Nike. The second danger is the size of the company. In a decade, the company
has grown from720 people in 1978 to over 3,600 people in 1982, meaning that the
company has become too complex to manage. Nike is at crossroads, where some formal
structure is inevitable, risking strangling many a cherished norm like brainstorming and
initiative. Bureaucracy will encroach and the company will become slower, less agile
and inflexible. Teamwork is now an endangered species. The third danger that rears its
ugly head is the fact that Nike is now multinational. Hither to, it was a local brand name
but in the late 1970s, it scaled the national barriers and plunged onto the international
scene. Different people have had to be employed from different cultures, backgrounds
and views. Sadly, not all appreciate the core values that have characterised Nike from
the beginning. In addition, maintaining a competitive edge on the international scene is
no easy task. The organisation must meticulously use relevant, customer sensitive and
dynamic marketing strategies that are continuously improved. Furthermore, the
organisation structure must be kept minimal or risk retarding organisational progress.
Nike faces the dangers of feeling secure on the market throne while the deadly
gangrene is silently spreading. These dangers are not uniquely for Nike alone but to all
In the quest to curb these ensuing dangers, Phil suddenly appointed Woodell as the
Chief Operating Officer (COO). This choice was for obvious reasons when we analyse
Woodells’ profile. Firstly, Woodell is a former sportsman and has vast experience.
Most importantly, he has this administration prowess probably second to none. Despite
being paralysed in both legs, Woodell has the acumen to handle operational matters
better. As Nike arrived at the complex crossroads, it needed some one best suited to
handle this fragile company needing to stabilise and yet continue spreading its tentacles
far and wide. In the same vein, it is interesting to notice Knights’ eagle eye for the
future and the insight for the present times. Woodell will concentrate on the daily
operations of this titanic company, while Knight on the strategic- the long-term goals of
the company. This will give Knight the time to concentrate on the external environment
such as the customer needs, anticipated trends, the changes in the environment and
formulate remedies. Although Knight could have picked another person for the office
such as Strasser, the man of the times equal to the task was Woodell, who we trust steer
Nike out of the threatening operational hurdles.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 88
Obviously, as Woodell assumed the mantle of the organisation, queries were raised as
to his suitability but we trust that Woodell will do an excellent job since he has years of
hindsight and experience in the organisation. Having been around long enough, he
probably has insight into where the potential problem areas might lie. As such if I were
the one in Woodells’ shoes, I would be positive about the situation, in that I would be
objective and face the problem head-on. My first task would be trace where we have
been, where we are and where we hope to go. I would do this by firstly scanning
through the entire organisation checking for the human resource to hand. Then I would
check out the extant system to see whether they are compliant to the overall company
goal congruence. After that, I would also find out the available financial and material
resources to ascertain the human resources development potentials. With these facts in
hand, I would proceed to brainstorm, along side with everyone, the possible routes to
take. Since the culture of teamwork is already deeply ingrained, my task is already half
done. Hence, all I would is to ensure that the present core values are enhanced, minding
the present dynamic complex setting. Furthermore, it would be my goal to anticipate
changes over the ensuing years taking into account the instability in the environment
and the need to be flexible, agile, fluid, customer focused while maintaining the highest
quality product standards. I would also want to motivate my staff by giving them
incentives for innovations and by adapting best practice methods. At a future date, it
may be necessary to diversify further, or to cut down brand ranges and concentrate on
core competencies as the case may be. An extreme move would be to break down the
company into smaller units that are more easily run. My overall goal would be to
ensure that amidst all these changes, the customer remains king, is served on time and
kept satisfied always. My keywords would be the long held ones, though in a more
complex setting. I would fight the myopic view of being confined to a department but
would ensure that people have a broader picture of the entire organisation in their
minds. Our sense of purpose and mission must be maintained with the same sharpness
as in those early formative years.
Nike will continue to grow at that phenomenal rate and, like other multinational giants
in other markets, Nike will soar to still higher heights, far above danger!
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 89
The Serengetti Eye wear Company
Few companies have gone into a “coma” and recovered like Serengeti Eyewear
Company did. Being a subsidiary of the Corning Inc, Serengeti was destined for
the company grave having continuously been dogged by financial losses in
previous years. In 1985, the last straw broke the camels’ back as a decision to
shut down Serengeti was passed. As expected, not all agreed to the decision.
Zaki Mustafa was one of them and thus requested that the ailing company be
given another chance of resuscitation. After protracted discussions and
persuasion, Serengeti won another chance to prove its viability.
Having been given the leeway, Mustafa and friends asked for independence
from the bureaucratic Corning Incorporation. Thus, the new Serengeti
management team took the mantle over the company and then went right ahead
to do the “organisational surgery” which, among many things included the
1. The company workforce reduced from 135 to 35, and these 35 were unswervingly
committed to the company. The remnant were not the best but the resolved. As
such, Serengeti had people with one goal and aim.
2. The second was to reposition the products in the market. Hitherto, the products
were not properly positioned. Repositioning meant that the company revisited its
target, marketing strategies and response to the customers. It aimed for a product
3. Quality and good pricing were carefully implanted into the products, which had not
been the case hitherto.
4. Customer sensitivity was noticed as a major weakness in the past. This time, the
Customer was to be king and every effort was made to maintain satisfaction as well
as product loyalty. In the past, what was produced was not what customers needed
and wanted but what Corning perceived people would want.
5. Personalised service was emphasised. As seen in No.4 above, the customer
transactions were impersonal. The Mustafa regime determined to interact more
closely with clients.
6. Partnerships with clients became the norm. This meant that some of the Serengeti
staff members were to be attached to the outside suppliers to ensure quality and
timeliness of products out-sourced. Also, the consumers could freely contribute in
the product design they wanted developed.
7. The Brand name was heightened so that the customers knew that they were dealing
with the high quality, reliable and technical Corning products.
8. Teamwork was noted as the key to success in those turbulent times. This same
philosophy is still deeply ingrained in the company culture.
9. Modern Management principles were imbibed by Mustafa and associates. This
entailed allowing a free and informal working atmosphere to prevail. People were
not strictly supervised or held in suspicion. This strengthened the team spirit.
10. The company survived closure and then was “weaned off” from the main so that it
could operate independently. In these turbulent times, a company must be fluid,
agile, always learning and flexible, which was made possible independent of the
bureaucratic Corning Corporation.
11. The marketing strategies were sharpened placing the products on the market,
ensuring that the “Opinion leaders” were seen wearing the glasses as well as giving
out some free glasses in the initial stages.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 90
12. Specialists, who easily discern the customers’ taste, have been doing the designing
of new products.
In a nutshell, Mustafa led Serengeti in the turn-around by repositioning
products, customer sensitivity, ensuring continuous quality improvements,
modern management practices, and Company sovereignty. These attributes
propelled Serengeti eyewear out of the financial quagmire. Having come out of
the “near death” mishap, Serengeti awoke from its slumber and continues to this
very day. Serengeti has made headway and is a force to reckon on the market. It
has sustained its growth basically because of three reasons. The first is that
Serengeti has won back the distributors’ confidence. In the past, mutual trust
was lost but a lot of work has gone into “mending the fences”. The distribution
channel is now thriving and in addition, the distribution channels have been
broadened touching a wider coverage. The second reason is because Serengeti
has gone international. After successfully establishing itself locally, it went on
to the international scene where it sold its products. It has a presence in Europe,
Canada and Asia where production and research is carried out. The third reason
is the continued expansion of product lines. When Serengeti was coming back
to life, its product line reduced from 230 to 53 because it had to concentrate on
its core competence products. Now that that scenario is past, Serengeti has
flapped its product wings again. These innovations and products have been
immensely popular and in keeping with the continuously changing consumer
tastes. The advent of new technological feats has boosted the company,
especially the Serengeti Drivers sunglasses. The afore mentioned three reasons
have been possible because the company has had excellent paragmatic leaders
who have had an eagles’ eye towards what ought to be done. There has been
constant reading of the times to the effect that the company is always alert, not
sitting on its laurels. Serengeti has had a number of hurdles along its pilgrimage
to success, hence the need to watch out. Among the many problems has been
the interference from the Corning Inc top management who have many times
tried to curtail the companies’ apparent independence. Probably there have been
some fears in the Corning management circles that Serengeti has been too
liberated and may eventually prove difficult to keep under the Corning
umbrella. But this cannot be, for the legal papers are in place! Closely
connected to the problem we have advanced, is the fact that the unprofitable
years have been footholds for adversaries to attempt fostering absolute control
over the Serengeti. In as much as the company (i.e. Serengeti) would like to
institute a Just in time inventory environment, it has proved elusive in certain
years, as was the case in 1990 when more stock was marooned in the
warehouses because of poor sales. Apart from those problems, the usual
operational hurdles have begun to cling to the company. As Serengeti has been
growing in both sales volume and staff, so has been the complexity as well.
Back in 1985, with only 35 staff, every member of staff was counted upon,
including the top executive, who would also take part the daily chores, such as
packing! The picture is entirely different today potentially giving room to a
generation to come up that knows not those earlier ethics of diligence, self
sacrifice, resilience and simplicity in relations. Thus far, the tenaciously held
principles of teamwork and strategic orientated thinking have held the company
together like supper glue amidst all the storms. As the future lies enshrouded in
mystery, Serengeti stands a great chance to bull dose her way to the future. This
is because Mustafa is an excellent general manager. He is one in whom all the
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 91
attributes of a 21
manager reside. Mustafa has excellent management style
because he has the following values wielded on his heart. Firstly, he holds that
the rigid type of management is obsolete, as people are mature enough, not
needing a “watch dog” kind of approach. He firmly also believes that people
must be allowed to express themselves, be involved in brainstorming sessions,
smooth information flow to all and that staff imbibe shared values, without
which, the company is doomed. He makes people feel they are worth much
more and that they could be better if they exerted themselves. Further more, he
holds that mutual trust is crucial if teamwork is to be a reality. The teamwork
conviction entails that the relationships must be excellent and should go beyond
the office environment. It is worth noting that in those earlier years, some lowly
placed staff did come to terms with the team and family spirit that was being
cultivated in the company. Secondly, Mustafa has gone beyond the ordinary
manager in that he ensures that his staff is well cared for in all spheres. He has
been heard to say “I regard myself not just a business manager, but a surrogate
father to our people. I say to our employees, “You worry about your work, I ‘ll
worry about you.” I am a friend, and I do it because I get a lot of pleasure out of
it.” What a manger!! Here is an epitome of a caring manager! This shows that
he does not only care about the balance sheet or profits but uses the same in a
different but effective way. Trust and value are mystically married in his chest.
With the rapid ascendance to the limelight has meant that all decisions have a
bearing and repercussions on the company image. In the past, the company
could afford some errors and not injure the sales or image but today, every
move is watched by both friends and rivals. Against this background, Serengeti
got entangled with the Eclipse launch question. Eclipse was a new product that
was developed and was to be launched on the market by Serengeti. As always,
the idea was floated around and there were many opinions over the same. Some
thought that this had to be shelved, as it would be a failure in the light of other
stronger brands like Ray ban. It was feared that a collision with Ray ban would
actually “Eclipse” Serengeti’s image all together! Others however thought that
the launch was overdue and had to be launched immediately. In my opinion, I
think that the product should have been launched provided the following are
taken into account:
1. Enough market research has been done and favours the launch.
2. The price and quality are what customers want and accept.
3. Ability to under cut Ray ban on pricing.
4. Aggressive sustainable and progressive marketing strategies will be employed.
5. Must emphasise the unique qualities of the product, establishing a product niche.
6. Team approach is still as strong as before.
7. A test launch must first be instituted and in some cases, market segregation
On the above premise, I would strongly have recommended that the launch.
Thus far, Serengeti has proved its robustness, flexibility, and strategic foresight
therefore we are confident that it will continue glide among the agile
multinational giants of tomorrow!
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 92
Very few people have left such an indelible mark upon their generation as Salvatore
has. It is over now 30years since he died and very little of his classic convictions have
been altered or adjusted to suit the prevailing circumstances. He was indeed a legend.
Tracing his history as a shoemaker will leave echoes in ones’ mind long after reading
his biography. This is surely a mortal to emulate about perfection in quality products
and commitment to good business ethics.
Perhaps for the curious reader, a brisk history will help. Salvatore’s life is easily told
but it leaves an awesome legacy. Born at Bonito, Italy, at only age 9, he made an
excellent shoe for his sister saving her from shame. Then by age 12, he was the choice
shoemaker in his locality such that at 16 years he left for America to seek greener
pastures and to train, but not even this voyage satisfied his quest for quality and design.
As a result, he formed his own firm making shoes and subsequently found his products
in the Hollywood films. This really put him on the charts such that by 1927 he had a
booming business. But as many people say, “There is no place like home”, he trekked
back to his native Italy where he continued the business. There also, the trade
blossomed there as well having become renowned for creativity, quality and excellence.
Salvatore had three business philosophies that are still cherished by his heirs to this day.
1. Be honest and fair with employees, suppliers, and customers,
2. Build a product of the finest quality, and
3. To provide excellent value for money.
These are firmly wielded upon the chests of his family, the present
proprietors of the gigantic multinational company. After his demise, his
widow, Wanda along with his children picked up the broken pieces and
have worked tirelessly the last 30 years to see the company to where it is
today, so big and different form what it was three decades ago. Today
(1990), the company has a very fine international brand, well known for
guaranteed high quality products, and strangely have sustained a loyal
clientele all these years. Other product lines have also been introduced
along the way, although women’s shoes and clothing remain the core of
the company. But like in every case, Salvatore’s position is also under
threat form competitors, who would undercut and who are more customer
needs focused. It was precisely this reason that Salvatore board of
Directors, comprising Wanda and her six children sat to consider seriously
the proposals put forward by Mazzalovo to enable corporate growth from
the 1990 $ 200 million to $ 400 million in 1995. It was a tense and crucial
meeting because some of the proposals potentially threatened the age-old
hitherto unquestioned standards such as rapid decision making and
incorporating non-family members to run the business on equal footing.
Considering the turbulent business environment, Mazzalovo’s arguments
were so potent such that a dilemma resulted in the family whether to
abandon the past and surge ahead full throttle with new policies or to reject
the proposals and stick to the past until the company finally ground to a
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 93
From Mazzalovo’s presentation he clearly showed that if any significant
growth was to take place, the following steps were to be taken. Firstly, a
self-audit had to be taken to ascertain the strengths and weaknesses that
were inherent. His immediate findings, subject to a thorough research,
were that the major weaknesses that plagued the firm were that the family
values often override the strategic corporate strategy, in effect, the
company did not have a strategy at all! It was found that anything that
appeared at variance with the family values was discarded without further
discussions, whether it was meant to propel the company further, the axe
fell at the root of the idea. This showed itself in many ways such as
reserving all the decision making management jobs to family members, no
form of “brain storming” sessions, but a top down form of management,
products rather than team work or customer needs were the thrust, slow
centralised decision making by top family management. Further
highlighted weaknesses were as follows: The company was inward-
looking and not market focused, not caring what the customers needed but
churned out what was thought the customers would buy, relying on the 30
year old good quality brand name. It was also evident that no reading of
the rapidly changing market was extant so as to formulate relevant
strategies. The other pitfall was that teamwork was only practiced among
family members and the personal touch to the customer was absent.
Although the three Salvatore values were firmly up held, Mazzalovo
concluded that no effort was made to motivate employees nor to satisfy
customers. Infact, the company did not really know why people bought
their products! Where as other competitors were diversifying and targeting
the younger, more fashion conscious generation, Salvotore stuck to the old
styles of yester years with minor periodic slow product launches.
Aggressive marketing was also neglected generally. But does that mean
Salvatore has nothing good to offer? I do not think so, to the contrary, as
Mazzalovo concluded, the company has a number of excellent strong
points from which premise to dive into the river of success. These
strengths as follows: Firstly, the company has a luxuriously powerful brand
name. Every quality conscious individual knew that any product from
Salvatore was of the highest calibre, quality and strength. Secondly, the
quality of products was excellent, perhaps second to none in the industry.
Today, it is not a question of churning out mass products but quality
should permeate all aspects, without which, the product name deteriorates
to the background. Quality is a powerful marketing tool in its own right.
Furthermore, the company had immense financial resources to freely re-
invest in the business on a long-term basis, which others did not have.
With the correct information and cash, Salvatore could perform wonders.
Not only was there sufficient liquid cash, the company was endowed with
perhaps the most powerful business people around. This unique family had
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 94
the best men and women who potentially could turn the company upside
down within a short time, if they so willed. The issues of customers
sensitivity, marketing, morale would be things of the past if modern
management principles were imbibed, of course within the context of the
original core values but in a modified sense. Being a multinational
Company, it had the prowess to hire the most experienced and dependable
managers-“Known quantities” as the common business phrase goes. With
all this immense potential, we turn to look at the opportunities that lie
untapped. It is a sad truth that apart from the women’s shoe line, other
opportunities were either underdeveloped or ignored on account of keeping
“Family tradition”. Tremendous opportunities lie at the doorstep, all that
has to be done is to open the selfsame door and let the opportunities in or
else risk losing market to other competitors who are sparing no efforts to
snatch as much of the market as possible. Opportunities especially lie in
the “Ready to Wear, RTW” market. New product lines such as perfumes,
bracelets, watches and jewelry could be introduced so that no foothold is
given to under cutters. Men’s products like ties, shoes and clothes must be
enhanced. As suggested, professionals must be employed specifically to
champion these brands. In addition, the products generally must be market
focused and contemporary, in the same breath maintaining high quality and
consistency. Coordination and effective communication must be
implemented to ensure that target groups are effectively catered for, for
example, the young, fanciful and fashion conscious must feel at home with
the brand. Salvatore is so strategically positioned and must be proactive
rather than reactive, as has been the case hither to. It is high time to be the
universal trendsetter once again. These opportunities must be grasped
because threats are galore and will eventually overtake the company. If I
were asked to advise Wanda on Mazzalovo’s proposals, I would encourage
her to imbibe them whole-heartedly though with two cautions in mind. The
first is that she should ensure that the best strengths from the two eras are
taken into account, for example the quality. Secondly, ensure that the brand
name and niche remains firmly rooted in the company culture and also that
the corporate structure is clearly defined. In the main, it should remain a
family undertaking but new and brilliant ideas must be given a fair hearing
before being discarded. This under taking is a “make or break” situation
and so, due meticulous care must be taken.
With that twofold caution in place, and having shaken off the shackles of
past follies, I am confident that Salvatore will surge to even higher
international market growth, which in it self is bad news for competitors!
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 95
The Ben and Jerry Inc.
If one has heard of the Body shop’s strong social change goal, then, the
Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Ice cream Inc. will be a good reminder. The
company was incorporated a partnership comprising two long time friends,
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 1977. It was an immediate success and
has advanced to be a powerful No.2 on the ice cream market (as at 1990).
The success story is attributed to a number of factors, which we endeavour
From the outset, the founders did not design the company primarily for
profit making but rather with a strong thrust towards social change. Their
aim was to bring about as much Community change and thus their policies
and values thus far has been directed towards that goal. Since we know that
the destiny of any entity is not entirely in our hands, the Ice cream business
blossomed and has been moving from strength to strength as more
consumers get captivated by the delicious multiple flavours on offer. The
Company rests on very strong principles that are worth noting. Firstly, the
company has a strong belief that the yawning earnings gap between the top
executives and a new entrant is immoral. This is a sad but common
phenomenon in America, and as such, the company has endeavoured to
minimise the discrepancy by imbibing a “5 to 1” wage condition. This
means that the highest paid employee does not get more than five times the
lowest paid, thus minimising the disparity. Secondly, the company has
from the beginning emphasised quality and timeliness of service. By this,
the company endeavours to continuously improve its Ice cream quality,
flavour and packaging while in the same breathe ensuring that the
customer is treated as king, with maximum satisfaction. As such, all the
employees take it as priority to serve the customer first and also keep true
to their word. Thirdly, this high quality and speedy service hallmark has
turbid the company to a strong unique position where all other imitators
find difficult to copy. Further more, the strong social change outlook of the
company marks it further from the rest. In a nutshell then, the company
has beaten out a clear path all these years having upheld its social
obligations as well as the internal ethics such as the “5-1” wage condition
as a beacon. In this two fold thrust, the company has prided itself.
Having laboured to show that the company built by the duo is very strong,
we hasten to say that not all has been rosy lately. Like any other growing
company, the entity has been encountering hurdles. The first has been that
as more people have been hired over time, not every one espouses the
ancient core values. Since the company is now more complex, profit
making and possesses a powerful presence on the market, the new
employees possibly do not whole-heartedly imbibe the values. While some
appreciate the said values, others question their relevance and usefulness.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 96
Secondly, many, including the out going CEO, Chico Lager, feel that the
company must throw off some “obsolete” relics which tie down the
company and impede further development. They argue that the company is
past the napkin stage and must modernise some values, especially the “5-
1” wage condition. They (opponents) argue that the company can neither
retain nor attract professionals due to the unattractive pay and
compensation. Why should one sacrifice a better wage for a lesser paying
job where one is even over worked? Thirdly, the “5-1” condition
opponents further argue that the company is in a competitive environment
where only the best must be hired or else the company sinks. From these
views, we can clearly see that the company was divided into two camps,
one with Cohen (adherent to) and Lager (opposer of) on the other. This
was the turbulent atmosphere in the company that Chuck lacey was soon to
take over in the ensuing few months following the September 1990 final
decision making meeting. His interest lay in the fact that he was the one to
steer the ship henceforth. As such, he had to be most objective and not
But does that mean all the “obsolete” values of the past have been overly
and pointlessly imposed? Nothing could be further from the truth! To the
contrary, these values are the ones that have won battles for Ben & Jerry
all these years. For instance, the company has been powerful and
competitive from the beginning because of its unique social change
policies. By that token, some people have been buying and popularising
their products. We must go further to assert that the non profit ethic in
those earlier days was excellent in that the employees knew fully well that
theirs was more of a service than a wealth amassing venture. Thus, this has
meant less pay, fewer over head costs and lower price but high quality
products to the customer. The consumers have not only been continuously
satisfied but have also felt they were contributing to a worthy cause. But
like they say, “what goes up must come down”, Ben & Jerry’s Inc’s
weapons of yesterday are blunt and must constantly be revised ensuring
that they remain current and strategically relevant. This may mean
modifying some traditions or discarding some practices as the case may be.
The difficulty with the present crisis at Ben & Jerry is that the points of
contention lie at the very heart of the company, without which, one of its
distinctives will be lost. This will weaken the company “punch” and
become like the rest. In our view, Chuck Lacey must approach this
scenario very cautiously, taking to heart the pros and cons. He must be
seen to be objective, though forward looking. If it means changing the
points of contention, the reasons must be fully furnished and the history
books re-written. If the present status quo is maintained, then alternative
ways must be found which will attract and retain staff because a high
employee turn over in itself reflects badly on the company.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 97
In a nutshell, Chuck lacey must be objective, strategic and wise. When the
decision is made, he must be ready to go full throttle in implementing the
decisions, all the time keeping an eye on the market. A divided house is a
sure recipe for disaster but also, we must acknowledge that change is
resisted at all costs, especially if it impinges on time honoured hallmark
values. That not with standing, we are confident that the Ben & Jerry will
surmount all these hurdles with agility and hurtle towards a brighter
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 98
The Marks and Spencer
Today, almost no fashion and quality conscious English person is ignorant
the St Micheal brand. It is a brand that has stood the test of time and has
continuously been improving. Half the time, consumers do not bother to
find out from whence and why this brand exists. A brisk sketchy
background is handy at this point.
The origins are simple and soon told. Two fine gentlemen, Michael Marks and Thomas
Spencer opened the first shop as a partnership in 1894. Michael was a polish Jew while
Spencer was probably Scottish. Upon agreement, they established their shop that sold
small items costing very little and thus, their quaint marketing heading “Don’t ask the
price, its one penny.” It was one penny indeed because the store ordered in bulk and in
turn sold the high quality goods cheaply. This attracts scores of clients. As time went
on, the stores gained a reputation of stocking very high quality but low cost goods. This
has been one of the most powerful competitive tools that has marked out the company
from the rest. Michael and Thomas worked tirelessly until the chain stores begun to be
dotted all over the United Kingdom and lately has been penetrating further into other
international markets such as the USA, Canada, Eastern Europe, Asia and Hong Kong.
These new frontiers present fresh challenges seeing that the environments are totally
different from the UK setting where the company’s hub rests. But that is not the end of
the story, the company is now run by some descendants of these great pioneer
entrepreneurs having taken over the mantle when their kinsfolk withered away. It is
interesting to note that the next generation of Directors included, Simon Marks, son of
Michael, and Israel Seiff. These two married each other’s sister further cementing
associations. With the passage of time however, more professionals were hired except
that the system did not give them leeway to introduce new innovations due to the strong
bureaucracy. Sadly, all the brilliant ideas fell flat to the ground. That explains why
when Sir Greenbury was appointed, he turned this gloomy picture right round. Under
the leadership of this man, the shops have blossomed having a wide product range
especially men’s clothing and women’s undergarments. The Chain store also deals in
food as the other product, representing 40% of the total group turnover.
But what has been the secret of the Marks and Spencers’ success? A number of reasons
come to the fore but the following reasons will suffice. Firstly, the shops have
maintained a customer sensitive approach. In saying this we mean that the Chain store
has ensured that the customer remains king, calls the shots and gets maximum
individual attention. Secondly, there has been a deliberate effort to ensure that the said
customers get a speedy and high quality service. Efficiency is the word! Parameters
have been inserted which ensure that the customer is not inconvenienced at all. Thirdly,
but closely akin to the second point is that the shops are a convenient place to shop
because of the wide product range that provides everything under one roof. Flexible
shopping hours is yet another great convenience. Fourthly, the shop has been
strategically placed, exploiting the latest technology so as to keep ahead of the times.
The shops anticipate customer tastes and go ahead to supply the goods. Further more,
because of the bulky nature of the stores’ orders, they bargain and get concessions,
which significantly cuts costs and enables lower prices to the customers. In the sixth
place, the internal working environment is excellent! Having cut down on staff,
Greenbury successfully infused an excellent teamwork spirit where the employees work
together like ants to achieve a goal. They corporately, diligently and constantly make
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 99
the most of the every opportunity to the extent that there is mutual trust and
interdependence among them. Each person is valued as a necessary part of the team,
working as an organism. It is worth noting that the company cares for the welfare of
employees knowing that the ‘internal customer’ must be satisfied first before the
outside. In keeping with this belief, employees are individually attended to. As such,
the said workers put in their best all the time and will stick with the company to the
end. This loyalty manifests its self in the way that the company image is jealously
guarded and the “restless present product calibre dissatisfaction”. Traditionally, the
company has had one of the best compensation policies, being ardently devoted to its
staff. In addition, the company rewards those that excel. This further motivates
employees to excel in their calling. These salient points are the ones that have largely
led the triumphs of the past for Marks and Spencer. Let it be known also that effective
communication within the firm has been highly valued as it has kept the stores
marching as ‘one man’ with a similar goal and aspiration. No longer does top
management merely dictate decisions top-down but rather, the employees are made
aware beforehand what is going on and to some extent given leeway to suggest some
valuable ideas. Greenbury opened the door to “freedom of expression”. Management is
now participative. Hitherto, decision making was the private preserve of only a few. If
we were to be brisk about the key aspects of the Marks and Spencer strategy, we would
simply say that the St. Michael brand has been jealously guarded and constantly
improving. If people come across any St Michael brand, they will automatically assume
that it is of the highest quality and worth the price. The said brand has been consistently
of high quality but low price thus commanding the huge product loyalty.
Having described the key areas that have made M & S tick, we now proceed to examine
the mastermind behind all these innovations- Greenbury. As earlier intimated, this
gentleman has done a lot in refining and shaping the entity. His major strategic moves
have been the building of partnerships with suppliers. This entails restricting the
sources of materials by entering agreements where periodic audits are conducted by the
M & S officials to ensure that the supplying company’s facilities and materials meet the
agreed high standards. In these days of International standards (ISO), perhaps these
companies must subscribe to and be certified by ISO. Further more, the shops which
hitherto (until 1985) dealt strictly with cash or cheque have introduced financial
services where a client can buy goods using some kind of credit card. Since world trade
is rapidly hurtling towards credit, it was necessary to keep abreast with the trends. The
card method now accounts for over 20% of all M & S sales. In a bid to expand the
market, the shops have made frantic efforts to spread locally and internationally via
franchising. Hitherto, on the local scene, the shops were located on the main streets and
in major towns but now, there has been a shift to open outlets in the out skirts and the
smaller towns previously untouched. This is where the greatest growth potential lies.
While the other competitors confine themselves to the big towns, Marks and Spencer
has strategically been spreading its tentacles to the utmost parts of the UK and beyond.
Internationally, there has been some success recorded though more could be done. As
earlier intimated, The shops are sparsely doted over the European continent and other
parts of the world. We must also hasten to say that Greenbury has brought about a
‘minimum inventory’ culture where very little stock is kept in the stores but ordered and
supplied to customers in the shortest time frame. This just in time approach has
significantly reduced overheads and thus enabling the company to keep its product
costs and prices low. In addition, there has been an expansion of product ranges
covering the entire family and with high quality long lasting clothing. The deliberate
effort to strengthen the brand name as well is worth noting. Furthermore, Greenbury
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 100
has scored a first in dismantling the old bureaucracy that firmly clutched the entity in
the grip of family control, and inflexible standards. Although in the past, this
management style may have succeeded, time is ripe to strategically change towards a
fluid and agile company. Flushing out bureaucracy is the only way to survive in the
hotly competitive environment or else risk running aground. The ascendance of
Greenbury to the helm has been a blessing to M & S, though more reforms are awaited.
As the company moves to a more complex and fundamentally different international
market where peoples’ views and tastes are different, M & S will do well to take heed
of the ensuing points; although international expansion is inevitable, the company must
move in slowly and meticulously. Initially, a skeleton manpower will do, accompanied
by a lot of marketing and good high quality goods. This initial entry presupposes that
the market has been studied thoroughly to ensure that the customer needs and wants are
ascertained exactly. Market survey and research are crucial at the initial stages, lest the
resources be wasted. Another option is to appoint a local agent who knows the market
very well and has a powerful distribution network as well as many outlets for the
goods. This also means using local but high quality materials that will be appealing and
attract the customers, thereby creating more product loyalty. A consistently high
product image should be the hallmark of the entity abroad as they have been in the UK.
Having produced classic goods, it is also imperative to ensure that the products are well
positioned on the market so much so that the same are differentiated from the rest. One
way is to have these selfsame goods find shelf space in those agency shops spread
across the country. Another way is to have a uniform international brand except that the
local conditions are taken into account. In an extreme case, the M & S must merge (In
those particular countries) with some local company possessing an extensive outlet
network so that the products have a larger surface area of being sold. Should this chain
store take to heart the above, as Greenbury has aptly quipped, “ In the 1990s…the
customer is not only king but dictator”, I am very optimistic that the stores will
surmount all hurdles with greater agility, and then sail to zenith glory!
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 101
The Harvard business school
In 1908, the Harvard University opened its Graduate Business school doors for the first
time. Never will those earlier days be forgotten because this long over due school of
business was as critical at that time as it is now. When President Eliot sanctioned that it
be opened, his decision was for all time in the sense that a myriad have benefited from
that decision. Although the move largely came as a result of complaints from the
industry and the perceived need of the times, it was high time to introduce a course that
was dynamic, relevant, flexible, informatively analytical, high quality and yet
remaining a business program.
But what exactly caused Eliot to create this program? It is a curious fact that as early as
1869, prior to his ascending the University presidency, Eliot wrote about the need of a
curriculum that was relevant, high quality and helpful but which eluded him at the time.
This idea, it seems stayed latent in his mind and was finally hatched in 1908. It must
have been a brave day for Harvard. The undergraduate program had become obsolete,
abstract and was moribund due to its impracticality on the field. The graduate school
was no better either. The extant courses were rigid, static, of questionable quality and
did not address the needs of the times. This resulted in low calibre graduates churned
out who failed to perform on the industry. Naturally, the Industry felt cheated. Further
more, the curriculum prior to 1908 was basically textbook oriented, far detached from
reality. This was what the new graduate school sought to address.
As expected, where standard norms of practice have been set, it is not easy to initiate
change. This has been the lot of all who have had a vision that threatens to change the
established status quo, for many will resist change at all costs. Of course the reaction
differs from person to person but largely those who feel most secure in the prevailing
status will strongly oppose any position threatening innovation lest they lose their
creature comforts. Eliot and the subsequent presidents had to wrestle with different
shades of opposition. Granted that standards must be set which must stand the test of
time, the rapidly changing business environment, unlike the scientific facts, demands
programs that remain strategic. In the light to these hurdles, the president had the option
to remain silent and walk out of office peacefully or he could have continued to defend
the obsolete programs against outside attacks.
Eliot passed on the mantle to Edwin Gray, (the first Graduate Business School Dean)
who continued the work initiated by his superior only that his focus was on the
definition of the school. The question that begged answering was “What is a graduate
school of business?” In attempting to answer that question, a cross section of people
were asked as to what they thought. As many answers as interviewees were collected!
Thus it was difficult to define exactly but with time, it became clearer. Having collected
views, Gay went ahead to make some strategic choices, which included formulating
unique business courses that covered relevant issue experiences on the industry. These
courses were backed by data collected from research, which data helps in making
informed judgements and decisions. Further more, in order to attract government aid,
he opted to collect data from a business area hitherto untouched- the small retailers and
then came up with a database. This database was further refined in subsequent years. In
addition, he made sure that the courses were pragmatic, current and flexible in nature.
The heart of the business courses lay on manufacturing and marketing, which dealt with
the production as well as the distribution aspects of the business. Gray ensured that the
best high profiled professionals such as George Elton Mayo and Fredrick W Taylor
were got on board the Academic staff. These two star lecturers waxed eloquent in their
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 102
fields. Mayo is famous for his monumental Hawthorne studies while Taylor is an
authority on scientific management theories. Also to hand was the magazine, later
called the Business week which further publicised the work at Harvard Business
graduate school. All in all, the school was far above its peers if any. But why did Gay
take such pains to strategise? As earlier intimated, the extant courses were irrelevant
and abstract so the existence of a new program had to be justified or else be treated like
any other. Secondly, since it was a new program with no prior record or experience, it
was necessary to continuously tailor it to the current needs and this was possible
through input from without the institution. Usually, time is the best judge, it either
vindicates one or confines them to the “academic and professional dust bin”. Gays’
efforts paid dividends because his innovations bore fruit, for they were extremely
successful despite set backs due to high over head costs, suspicions and sometimes
outright hostility from other colleagues.
As the years rolled on, the school begun to take shape as more students enrolled and
went out into the industry. Many however, did not complete for two basic reasons.
Firstly, the majority of them took up jobs after finishing the first year while others
abandoned the course due to the unsuitable nature of the curriculum.
After an eleven year distinguished career, Gay passed on the baton to Wallace Brett
Donham who took office in 1919 and remained Dean for 23 years, in which time more
changes took place. These changes ultimately put the school on the map as unique,
superb and the centre of education evolution. Donham refined the curriculum further by
introducing more teaching methods that met the current needs. He was the first to
introduce the Case method that ultimately became the standard way of teaching at
Harvard. In the Case method, a professional from the industry would be invited to give
a talk painting an actual scenario and then ask the students to come up with a solution.
There after, another sitting would be convened and the said professional would discuss
the case and answer questions from the students. In this way, the students learn how to
analytically look at practical cases and solve the problem. This was and is an excellent
way of teaching because the students feel part and use their brains. Initially, financial
problems and resentment bugged the Case method. Some members of staff, preferred
the well tried and tasted methods which bore students, to the strange new method. In
the fullness of time however, the case method vindicated Donham by their usefulness
As though the case study method was not enough, as earlier intimated, relevant new
courses were introduced to cater for the needs of wartime. America was involved in the
World war two, the following courses were tailored towards the contemporary scenario.
The first course was that of the industrial Administrator (IA), a short program to equip
staff who were going into government service connected to defense. The second, akin
to the first was equally good as it taught statistics and other related war functions being
a Statistical course. But after the war, Harvard rose to the challenge and offered another
course- “Retread” program that basically was aimed at people who had been employed
in wartime and needed retraining. It also focused on Chief executives who needed
retraining. The aforementioned innovations show how the institution has moved with
the times, built strategy, and has constantly kept improving. Donham phased off the
academic horizon in the early forties after an equally illustrious career, having laboured
tirelessly to shape the Business school.
Today, if one went to Harvard, they would not believe that this University has gone
through many evolutions so as to arrive at that most competitive position. Obviously in
arriving at this position, much energy and sacrifice has taken place. The earlier days
were hectic because the School had to find its feet, the need for self-identity, the
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 103
opportunity grasping, and then hiring the right and articulately robust staff. This
process took time.
Having surveyed the Harvard case, one cannot fail to learn many valuable lessons. The
first lesson to take note of is that an organisation takes time to find its position on the
industry, but this comes from painstaking strategic thinking. The second lesson we
carry home is the fact that organisations must continuously read the times and ensure
that they know what is going on and thus respond appropriately with hind sight.
Thirdly, the organisation must ensure that it remains flexible and has the right people in
place, who are ready to change with the times. Fourthly, the organisation must ensure it
remains relevant and ahead of the times. It must respond to the situations confronting
the same. Fifthly, the institution must ensure that it not only churns out quantity but
quality graduates by having quality programs. Lastly, once the institution has achieved
success, it must fight resting on its past laurels but rather constantly be looking for
ways to improve all the time.
All the above, Harvard has achieved to the finest levels all because it has
been ready to change and yet remained the business school of the times, if
only others would take a leaf!
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 104
Purudo×- Whut do you think ubout this?
Received in ßiIIy Sichone's e-muiI bo×.
Why Dumb Guys Get Rich While Smart Guys Stay Poor!
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 105
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 106
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 107
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 108
don't have a J.O.B.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 109
The Seven Habits of highly effective people
Any Manager worth his/her salt must surely have heard of or read the
book “The Seven habits of highly effective people” by Stephen Covey.
It has consistently maintained its top slot on the Management shelf and
ranks among the foremost legendary titles because of its unique and
captivating nature. It is both pragmatic and addresses all the faculties of a
person. If one reads this book rightly, I am not afraid to assert that they
will never remain the same as they experience multiple paradigm
in looking at the world as well as personal effectiveness. Without
question, this is the management book of the times! In only 320 pages
and in four parts, Stephen Covey succeeds to highlight what the effective
person is made of. For us to appreciate this classic volume better, it is
fitting for us to clear the path that we must shortly tread. When we talk
about “habits”, we mean much more than just the theoretical knowledge
but the skills as well that are cultivated as a result of a desired repeated
constant practice of some activity. As Emerson once said “That which we
persist in doing becomes easier-not that the nature of the task has
changed, but our ability to do has increased”
. For a habit to qualify as
such, three things must be true about it, namely knowledge followed by
skills and wrapped up by the desire to repeatedly do that thing. This habit
is principle propelled. ‘Effectiveness’ has to do with more than just
getting something done but rather executed diligently, timely and with
minimal cost or side effects. Being principle centred from the inner man,
the following seven habits are imbibed. These are proactivity as opposed
to reaction or procrastination. The second and third habits are beginning
with the end in mind where one knows their goals and work towards it,
then followed by the right priorities. Many fall short at this point as they
think every thing is of equal importance. The fourth habit is to think win-
win in our relationships where every one comes away satisfied. The fifth
is seeking to understand others first rather than to be understood.
The sixth and seventh habits are synergy and “sharpening the saw”. A
detailed study of this book is handy in order to ‘suck all the juices out of
the fruit’. We attempt to unravel the jewels hidden therein at this point,
fasten your seat belts as we turbo ahead! The first part of the book deals
with paradigm shifts and principles there of. In this arena, we note that
the effective person begins with an introspective look and develops
A paradigm is broad frame work/base from which we judge, perceive and interpret the world around
us e.g. the way we look at dancing by the wedding bridal party.
The seven habits of highly effective people, miniature edition pages 93 & 94, Running
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 110
outwardly. A paradigm shift entails a complete change in the way one
looks at something far removed from our stereo typed view of life.
Having laid the ground, Covey proceeds to give an over view of the seven
habits where he shows that an effective person first sets goals, takes
initiatives, sets out with a goal in mind, possesses a burning personal
mission statement, is an excellent time manager, has an independent and
objective mind, and knows what is at the centre of his/her life. Further
more, the said person builds powerful personal relationships with other
people, by meticulously managing an emotional bank account from
which he/she draws at optune times. Further still, the effective leader is
like a skilled surgeon who diagnoses the root cause of a problem before
prescribing a remedy. Having thus given a possible solution, the person
inserts safety gadgets to guarantee continual improvement and growth of
The second and third parts of the book illustrate the fact that the effective
person commences by surmounting small private victories that foster self-
confidence. Our bigger public, outward victories come as a result of
smaller private victories as we are proactive, having clear goals in mind
before setting foot on the road to success and then put the “first things
first”-right priorities. Having excelled in the smaller inward victories, the
person then proceeds to score multiple public victories such as having the
right frame of mind while maintaining an objective mind, being
meticulous not to be overly side tracked by the self-reference criterion
(SRC). This is achieved as one aspires for a win-win out look to life
rather then the independent win-lose or any other archaic approach to life.
Remember, the assumption is that there is plenty for all to share and to be
satisfied by the same token, so why scramble for resources? Cooperation,
teamwork, collaboration and interdependence are the way forward today.
This goal is achieved as one seeks to understand others first before being
understood. Unfortunately, half the time, the tendency is to seek to be
heard and grab the best piece of the cake before anybody else does!
Further more, there must be a realisation that when two complementing
parties work harmoniously towards a goal, they produce synergy where
the output of the two is more than if the parties were working separately.
In other words, we can safely use the adage “1 + 1 = 3”. This clearly
shows a much higher out put.
Having shown the inner and outward traits of highly effective people,
Covey then hurtles along to the fourth and last part where we see the
renewal that engulfs a person resulting from a radical paradigm shift. This
inward renewal is manifested in the seventh habit where the person in
SRC is the intrinsic faculty we use in judging the world outside. This SRC is shaped by our past
experience, culture and orientation/exposure.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 111
question “spends more time sharpening the saw” so that at one stroke of
the axe, the gigantic tree is felled! This approach is the opposite of the
common trend where one will labour away ineffectively trying to work
with a blunt tool! The 21
century highly effective person is one who
spends much time in secret each day, meditates, takes some sport,
exercises regularly and is abreast with the times. He/she daily at dawn
adjusts the heart akin to a wristwatch winding each morning-the chest is
full to sail freely at full throttle. This person is constantly setting
benchmarks, evaluating the progress and yet keeping a strategic eye upon
the future. Thus, this dynamic leader begins inside and works his/her way
outside. True and tangible and lasting change emanates from changed
heart and mind within which ultimately blossoms for all to see. All this
change must rest on the correct principles deeply embedded and riveted
on the heart of the effective leader.
With these points, Covey draws to a close of his monumental work that
has eked out a place for him among the modern management gurus. The
appendices A & B wrap up the book neatly. Thus, the work is done.
Reading through the book, one cannot help to pause several times along
the way and take a deep breathe as well as a critical self analysis. Covey
illumines those dark and secure cabinets of our hearts hitherto
undisturbed by light photons exposing the inefficiency cobwebs that have
clustered on the cardiac walls! How much sloth we harbour within these
wretched hearts of ours! How so slow to learn we are! How so captivated
by our nature we are! The good thing is that this classical work shows us
the way forward by giving us the “tools” by which we can venture into
those deadly caves of our hearts and remove the radioactive substances
without much ado. The seven habits can be learned once one is
determined to emerge a victor. Thus, throwing off sloth, we can discard
procrastination and head for the best that we can ever be. As one writer
once said, ‘we ought to do our utmost for His highest’
. This should be
our chief end in life.
Looking back at the book, I do so with some sense of wonder that a mere
mortal could enter the human mind, open up the heart, diagnose the
problem and then repair it! As earlier stated, this volume is a must for
every manager! Arise then and commence the book hunt!
1. The seven habits of highly effective people-“wisdom and insight from
Stephen Covey”, Miniature edition. Running Press, Philadelphia. London
2. The seven Habits of highly effective people, Stephen Covey. Pocket
books. London. Sydney. New York. Singapore. Toronto
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 112
The Ieudership pyrumid
Fewer options uvuiIubIe us one qoes hiqher
Dr Maxwell teaches that as the leaders ascends the organisational ladder, they tend to have
fewer options and flexibility for themselves. There is a trade off. He says, “to go up, you have
got to give up” How true! There is more sacrifice as one flies to the higher orbs.
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 113
administrative ................................................ 21
ambiguity ....................................................... 20
assertion .......................................11, 15, 34, 57
attitude....................... 16, 19, 20, 22, 35, 43, 77
autocratic......................................15, 26, 34, 73
behaviour .....................................13, 14, 21, 27
Bossy .............................................................. 10
Business .......................... 52, 56, 60, 64, 66, 70
Charisma ........................................................ 21
coach ....... 10, 12, 25, 26, 39, 77, 81, 82, 83, 91
Creative ....................................................12, 29
culture. 3, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 48, 51, 52, 53, 54,
57, 61, 63, 67, 68, 69, 72, 73, 76, 87, 88, 89,
91, 92, 94, 99, 104, 115
decisions 12, 15, 22, 24, 44, 51, 62, 72, 73, 81,
95, 101, 103, 106
decree .......................................................13, 15
delegate ........................................10, 14, 29, 73
diverse ................................................19, 75, 83
EFFECTlVE EFFECTlVE EFFECTlVE EFFECTlVE........................................22, 23
effective leadership ......... 3, 7, 8, 10, 21, 34, 35
finance................................................10, 28, 79
focus... 8, 19, 23, 25, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 48, 55,
57, 65, 66, 84, 106
humour ........................................................... 20
influence .10, 11, 13, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 39,
lNTcnNATioNAL4, 7, 18, 19, 20, 26, 36, 37,
42, 62, 103
interpret ................................................. 26, 114
leadership ... 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15,
17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32,
33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 42, 44, 47, 51, 60,
64, 65, 67, 68, 72, 77, 80, 83, 84, 85, 87, 88,
management7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 26,
42, 43, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 54, 57, 58, 60, 62,
63, 65, 66, 71, 73, 76, 81, 87, 88, 89, 91, 93,
94, 97, 103, 104, 106, 114, 116
Marketing .................................................10, 36
mentor.................................... 10, 12, 39, 77, 83
motivating.............................. 11, 12, 14, 78, 79
motivator ..................................................10, 83
operational ............................. 12, 60, 67, 92, 95
Organisation.......... 9, 11, 21, 37, 44, 51, 59, 60
paradigm.................................. 17, 83, 114, 115
quality.....10, 11, 13, 21, 24, 32, 34, 37, 42, 43,
51, 53, 54, 55, 57, 62, 65, 68, 69, 71, 72, 73,
78, 79, 80, 81, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91,
92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 99, 100, 102, 103,
104, 105, 107
risk taker ............................................ 12, 32, 58
robust ............................. 11, 53, 54, 73, 91, 107
Self replication ...............................................33
skills.10, 18, 19, 28, 31, 34, 35, 44, 78, 87, 114
strategic thinkers ......................................29, 63
strategically ...... 12, 19, 51, 81, 88, 91, 98, 101,
stress ............................................ 13, 14, 44, 73
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 114
SWOT ............................................................ 11
systematic.....................................10, 39, 44, 76
team player...................... 12, 39, 40, 43, 69, 70
tempo ............................................................. 27
Ten commandments....................................... 18
traditional .............. 7, 10, 15, 48, 74, 87, 90, 91
undaunted .................................................32, 34
vision..7, 11, 18, 21, 24, 25, 28, 33, 34, 42, 43,
51, 59, 62, 79, 105
The rare jewel of effective leadership Billy C Sichone 115
About the Author
Billy Sichone trained as an Accountant and worked as a Program Accountant at one of World
Vision Zambia’s large scale Area Development Programs for seven years. He studied the
Zambia Diploma in Accountancy (ZDA), is a Fellow of the Institute of Financial Accountants
of UK (FFA) and holds an MBA (Preston /Azaliah University, USA).
He is married to Jane and they have one daughter, Zevyanji together. Billy now works as
Program Manager at a large scale World Vision international program.
Among his interests are studying, research, reading, meeting people and adventure.
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