Our independence is meaningless unless leaders begin to lead at scale
The writer

Our independence is meaningless unless leaders begin to lead at scale

After a ravaging debt crisis, we are told Ghana is turning around the corner as it turns 67. Many corporate leaders have learnt to navigate one crisis after another, focused on their bottom line while the community deteriorates. 

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Corporate leaders tend to focus on their own organisational goals, leaving the development of the community to others. Many communities are failing on almost every metric that indicates what a good society looks like. 

Corporate leaders will have a much deeper crisis to contend with if they do not save our communities from deterioration and decay as soon as possible. 

It’s time for leadership. However, this is not a call to serve your clients better, even though it's a worthwhile objective. It’s a call to corporate leaders to embrace the contribution they can make to uplift the communities they operate in. 

If you are reading this article, you are a leader who can contribute. Given what we know now, leaders must adapt and lead in new ways beyond market share and profits. Leading in the community is not an option, it’s core to every business. Thriving communities provide the foundation for corporate success.   

Leaders should extend their leadership beyond their organisations and take a leading role in their communities. There is no better time to make a difference in the lives of your customers and the community if you are a leader driven by your organisation's mission. 

Corporate leaders must develop bold initiatives that resolve deep-seated challenges we are grappling with, in addition to selling goods and services. If the community disintegrates, companies will cease to exist. 

Hence, building communities is an urgent task for corporate survival. The enormity and complexity of the challenge require many leaders to lead intentionally, strive to expand their efforts and lead on a larger scale. 

My message to every business executive is: Begin to lead at scale – extend your leadership beyond the organisation and lead your organisation to lead in the community.  Leading highly successful organisations while enabling communities and citizens to thrive is the work of the modern-day leaders in our communities. 

Modern leader

The modern leader is the new village chief. Thankfully, we don’t need to have only one village chief. The role is open to many leaders. I believe corporate leaders working together offer the best hope for building a great society in our lifetime. 

This is a crucial time for leaders to utilise all available resources and serve their stakeholders to the best of their ability. 

In this article, I share the examples of two leaders who have taken the initiative to embrace their role, set ambitious goals and design their organisations to address critical challenges in their communities. 

Patrick Awuah, Founder and President of Ashesi University, could have chosen to superintend over a thriving university operating from the hills of Berekuso, serving about 1,000 students. He embraced his leadership role in the village and has been on a mission to bring “ethical leadership and entrepreneurial education” to millions of students across the continent through the Education Collaborative. Currently, there are over 260 institutions involved in the network. 

Patrick believes that “every leader must have great ambitions for their society”. Many leaders and organisations can get involved in education in a significant way that reverses the worsening conditions in education. 

Gregory Rockson, Co-founder and CEO of Mpharma, is “building an Africa that’s in good health”. He has been on this mission for about a decade and “will not cease until every individual on the continent has access to safe and affordable medicines”. 

Through this big, bold mission, Mpharma is working with community Pharmacies and Partners, including government agencies to deliver quality affordable health care and medicines to patients in unique ways. Mpharma’s innovative delivery models have helped 400,000 patients make savings on high-quality medications. 

Role  of organisations

Organisations can play significant roles in improving health care and creating a healthier society in addition to monetary donations. 

These may sound lofty, but leaders must first be bold to articulate big missions as they embrace their role in the community. Kwame Nkrumah has shown us the way. Leaders lead on the big problems in society. “All of us who are privileged enough to be healthy, to be alive, to have education and to have influence, our role is not to do small things and to solve small problems,” Fred Swaniker of the Africa Leadership Group says. 

It’s not enough to sell products and services to the community and grow revenues by 30% annually. Selling products and services is a small problem if, in addition to selling, leaders do not design interventions that support the community to thrive in a meaningful way. 

Our urgent task as leaders is to embrace bold, big missions and save our communities from deterioration. Our organisations serve as the means through which our communal aspirations are realised. 

Above all, leaders must lead in the community with values. Every society thrives on values. Every organisation espouses corporate values such as integrity, excellence, service, trust, honesty and many others, which are foundations for an excellent society. 

There is no Ghanaian organisation that does not have one of these. Corporate leaders must lead their organisations to embrace these values and extend them to their communities. Living with values is the most effective method for constructing a compassionate society within our lifetime.

Let's renew our commitment to our dear nation as we celebrate our independence anniversary and lead this nation to true freedom and justice. 

Happy Independence Day!

The writer is a Leadership Development Facilitator, Executive Coach and Strategy Consultant, Founder of the CEO Accelerator Programme, (https://ceoacceleratorprogram.org) and Chief Learning Strategist at TEMPLE Advisory (www.thelearningtemple.com). The mission of the Leadership Project is to harvest highly effective leadership practices and share them in a manner that other leaders can easily incorporate into their leadership practice. If you have an idea or leadership practice to share, kindly write to [email protected]. Until you read from us again, keep leading…..from leader to leader, one practice at a time.

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