When I was in the print industry there were some advertising agencies that I could never get work from. Rumors were that the purchasers were taking bribes and the company I worked for was not prepared to do business that way. I never had any proof of same but occasionally such a person would vacate the position and wonders of all wonders – we’d start to get requests for quotes and work again from their replacement.
That was in the early ’90s. Fast forward to today.
A casual conversation with a colleague at DocuCentre about “how’s business?” revealed that he is no longer getting contracts from Government owned businesses because the people in charge are giving the contracts to their friends.
Then there is my client who supplies the construction and oil and gas industries citing numerous cases of unethical business practices. In one instance the purchasing person would only process a particular supplier’s order only when he provided a “reasonable incentive”.
As David Rudder once said to Ellis Chow Lin On – “You have me by the bullocks” I find bullock-holding quite uncomfortable myself. Thanks to the leadership I’ve had in my life – starting with my parents, eldest brother Derek (who always encouraged me to stand for my rights), my friend Freito who always advised keeping everyone at “F-you distance!” (and who was adamant about never bribing custom’s officers to process goods for his company faster) and subsequent bosses in various jobs I’m happy that I learned the right way to do business: honestly, ethically, completely above board and transparent.
Jim Dornan, the leader of Network 21 says “in any country where the government is crooked and the leaders are crooked and selfish, being able to circumvent authority and working the system are seen as virtues.”
Which brings me to the leadership in my country. Last night, at a small class reunion, my friends of various backgrounds – health, the arts, teaching, banking and geoscience all expressed dissatisfaction with the way we were being led as a nation. The on-going lies we are being fed as adults, the double standards, the hypocrisy, the issues not being addressed, the word games and semantics between the number of homicides versus murders and on and on.
A somber mood took over as each person felt ill-equipped to actually DO anything to change the direction of events. Sure we could vote ‘THEM’ out but what guarantees do we have that those that we “VOTE IN” will be any different?
I volunteered that we first accept where we were – awareness – and then move on from there. The conversation changed gears to the very loud background music but the thought stayed with me – what CAN we do to change the course of events?
I believe it is our responsibility to become better leaders, all of us, regardless of the example shown by our present leaders – whether it’s those leading the country or those leading companies. Let us in turn add value to all those who interact with us, sharing our principles and values and what we know to be right. In this way we will all become change agents in this ever evolving twin island Republic and contribute to the future success of our nation and ourselves.
You can choose to become a better leader right where you are – RIGHT NOW!