In 2020, always do as you say

Politicians in Nigeria always say what they know they are not going to do. Politicians, who are overly ambitious, are fond of making promises that they clearly know they cannot keep. It is so effortless to promise than to fulfill it. The reason why it will take a very long time before Nigerians can begin to trust their political-leaders is because their leaders have lost the public trust. And once trust is lost in leadership, leadership is completely dead! Even if an angel becomes the president of Nigeria today, Nigerians will still not trust either him or her. Why? Because lots of people have come before either him or her, promising them what they ended up not doing.

Most businesses do breathe their last, not because they do not know their onions, but they do give up the ghost because they do not do as they articulate. There is a wide gap between what they say and what they eventually do. If you can always do as you say in business, you will keep your customers as long as planet earth lasts. This is going to help you a great deal in 2020!

Many people have failed in business because of the issue I am touching on here. Many people wrongly think that being good on the job alone is enough to keep customers. No! Of what good is your being exceptional without delivering as you say? It is better to under-promise and over-deliver than to over-promise and under-deliver. You will build an enduring business on the condition that you can take heed to the burning issue I am addressing here.

There have been coups and counter-coups in Africa. Especially in Nigeria, a military government would overthrow a civilian government as an effect of corruption, promising the citizenry that they would solve the problem of corruption and make Nigeria a better place to dwell. But after clutching to power as a bug would cling to a dog, they would end up doing worse things. The former president of Gambia promised them heaven on earth after overthrowing the man who was in power before him, he was in power for more than two decades, but he failed to deliver on his promises. This is very common in Africa! Leadership becomes duplicitous and two-faced when there is a wide gap between what a leader says and does.

To bring about a change in leadership in the political landscape of our beloved country, Nigeria, the gap between what we say and do must be consciously bridged. Even at home, we should not be promising our children what we know we would not do. Leadership begins from home. If the way we lead at home is wishy-washy, we should not expect any miracle in the corridors of power. Everyone plundering Nigeria is from a family.

In business, if you know you will not be able to deliver a job a week after you are given, do not tell your client you are going to deliver it three days after because you are in a dire need of money. If you know you are going to deliver five days after you are given a job, tell your client that you are delivering it seven days after. We do advise people to do this in business, because of some unforeseen circumstances.

Six years ago, I accompanied a buddy of mine to an office in the beautiful City of Lagos, where he wanted to conduct an interview for someone on the project he was working on that I was a part of. When we got to the office in question, the person we wanted to conduct an interview for was on the phone with someone. He beckoned to us to sit across the table from him. It was while we sat across the table from him that I got to hear what he was discussing with the other person on the phone. He linked up his fashion designer with a rich man in another state within Nigeria. The man gave his fashion designer ten different clothes to make for him. And he said he would finish those clothes under a week, but some months after, he had not done as promised. This is what kills most businesses in Nigeria, not witches and wizards! When you consistently fail to deliver what you promise; you’d soon be out of business.

Are you an entrepreneur? Or are you planning to become one in the days to come? The issue I am addressing here is one of the major reasons why most businesses do not last beyond five years before fizzling out. One of the secrets of success in both life and business is to consistently bridge the gap between what we say and do. Leaders who say what they don’t do will soon lose their leadership edge. You’d consistently command a massive following when there is no gap between what you say and what you eventually do.

Many years ago, Mahatma Gandhi went to a place to make a presentation and he spoke for hours without relying on any paper. He just spoke from his belly. Some folk in the audience asked his secretary why he was able to do that. Mahatma’s secretary did tell them that he was able to do that because there was no gap between who Mahatma was and what he said. What he did say that day had already become flesh in him! He spoke who he was and he was what he said. This is what I have chosen to christen integrity par excellence in leadership.  Until we can’t severe what we say from who we are, we will continue to mess up in leadership. At this level, you don’t speak out of pretense and deception; you speak out of who you are. When people cannot separate who we are from our words, then we can say that we are men and women of integrity. Till I come your way again next Monday, see you where men and women of real integrity are found!

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