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DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Leadership in the context of business and social sector

Written by: on September 15, 2019

A culture of discipline is not a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness. This reminds me of King Solomon’s words of wisdom, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (Proverbs 22:1) I come from a culture that was raised on a model of missionaries/colonial syndrome and therefore, the dependency model. However, it has also formed a concept from the African saying that “an empty/dry hand with nothing sweet cannot be licked.” Money is the defining concept of business, ministry, and family structures. A successful person considered in my culture as one who has made more money or his riches is enormous. It is still a principle in the measure of greatness. A poor man is not considered anything at all unless he has resources in terms of money and that he has a successful business that makes a good profit. Therefore, in my culture, greatness is equated to how much wealth one has acquired. It may not be the same in other western cultures. It goes against the principle of Good-to Great in business and social sector. Mega Churches have taken on corporations by investing what they get from their churches for profit in business investments. Where are the line of business and social sector?

 

King Solomon experienced the riches of the world, and when he was now at the end of his life, he comes with the statement in the proverbs 22. Is this what one would say, a satisfied man does not understand the suffering of the poor, hungry man who has no food. Collins speaks of  Good-to-Great and social sector leadership principle in his book under discussion. He states that, in business, money is both an input (a resource for achieving greatness) and an output (a measure of greatness). In the social sector, money is only input and not a measure of greatness.[1] I approach this from an African point of view, whereas greatness and good without money or profit in business mean something different. First, one must be wealthy, and second is how one uses his wealth to the community he resides. His character and approach to life but with wealth determines who the person is. The concept of good and greatness shows how much one makes in business and the contribution to community transformation. Many businesspeople have not understood this concept and end up with corrupt practices to make huge profits and try to compete with the global market. This lead to a higher level of malpractices which has contributed to the destruction of the small business communities.

 

Any journey from good to significant requires relentlessly adhering to these input variables rigorously tracking your trajectory on output variables and then driving yourself to even higher levels of performance and impact. Greatness is an inherently dynamic process, not an endpoint. The moment you think of yourself as great, your slide towards mediocrity will have already begun.[2] We see this practice more in our African context, which always tries to imitate those who are assumed to be successful in life. I remember the time I was a banker and how we treated those customers who brought in more money by classifying them in a business class and the ordinary customers. The business class customers received preference and close attention than those with fewer deposits. The bank considered those with more deposits as successful businesspeople and preferred to small deposits. The customers with vast deposits were acknowledged as great and successful businesspeople. Little did the bank explored to know how these heavy depositors were getting their money and how they were using them in their communities. Jim’s concept of leadership exposed what many business communities who have been arrogant and looking at those with nothing as lazy and useless people with no sense of hardworking mentality. Excellent and successful business operate well in an environment of political goodwill, and Collins concept of Level 5 leadership firmly brings out a superb approach to ethical business practices in the society. Collins sums up by saying the key question is not business versus social, but great versus good. Thus, greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is mostly a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.[3] The straggle for doing good business is a matter of personal control fighting through the forces of political and social goodwill of our societies.

 

[1] (Collins 2011, Good to Great and Social Sectors: page 4)

[2] (Collins 2011)

[3] (Collins 2011, page 30)

About the Author

mm

John Muhanji

I am the Director Africa Ministries Office of Friends United Meeting. I coordinate all Quaker activities and programs in the Quaker churches and school mostly in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The focus of my work is more on leadership development and church planting in the region especially in Tanzania.. Am married with three children all grown up now. I love playing golf as my exercise hobby. I also love reading.

One response to “Leadership in the context of business and social sector”

  1. mm Mary Mims says:

    John, thank you for your thought-provoking post. Here in America, we know that money gives you preferential treatment as well. Yet it is not a measure of greatness, since as you mentioned, we do not look at how the money is gained or used to build our communities. In ministry we need to realize that money is not goal, but changing lives. How we use our money to change lives is what will make the difference. Thanks for the reminder.

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