Model Excellence in Leadership -By Taiwo Odukoya

Filed under: Global Issues |
Taiwo Odukoya

Taiwo Odukoya

 

Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. Daniel 6:3

In the prelude to this article published in April 2014, we stressed the importance of excellence and its place in the collective development of a nation. In this budding political dispensation, it has become imperative to reiterate the necessity for excellence but with more emphasis on the role of the individual, that is, every one of us, in modelling the desired enterprise, diligence and excellence in all endeavours.

In his book, The White House Years, Henry Kissinger recounted the story of a Harvard professor who had given out assignments to his students. After his usual assessment, he returned the scripts to the students who were eager to learn their ranking. But one particular paper stood out as he handed it over to the writer. At the bottom of this script was scribbled “Is this the best you can do?” The student thought, “no,” and decided to rewrite the paper. This time the professor handed it over again but with the same comment. It went on about ten times until finally the student said, “Yes, this is the best I can do.” The professor replied, “Fine, now I’ll read it.”

More than the dollar or the pound sterling, the global currency for true performance is excellence. And it is this unrivalled commitment to merit, among others, that has seen many of the first world nations to where they are today. In other words, no civilisation has been birthed solely on natural resources or human will but much more on the enduring legacy of continuous improvement of products and services. Unfortunately, the case is the reverse in the developing world where apparent nonchalance, nepotism and personal greed have created and continue to create a culture of mediocrity and retrogression.

It is therefore pertinent that today’s leadership, at every level, stays relentless in consciously improving their service to the nation. Without any doubt, the reward therein far exceeds what self-aggrandisement or any selfish personal ambition can offer.

Yet, the interesting thing is, any person, group or nation can make a turn at any time, if only they will resolve to be committed to excellence. It was Colin Powell who said, “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” And this is the attitude we must collectively embrace to achieve personal and national growth.

With the sweeping consciousness of change across the nation, I am convinced more than ever that Nigeria is positioned to turn things around for the better. Yes! We are ready to raise the bar in our socio-political advancement. Whatever positive change we desire is coming in our time. However, we must individually commit to the pursuit of excellence to bring it to full manifestation.

As the American writer and business trainer Tom Peters said: “Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence, only in constant improvement and constant change.” In other words, excellence is a habit and one that must be consciously practiced on a daily basis. And Martin Luther King Jnr. put it succinctly: “All labour that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

It is therefore pertinent that today’s leadership, at every level, stays relentless in consciously improving their service to the nation. Without any doubt, the reward therein far exceeds what self-aggrandisement or any selfish personal ambition can offer.

NIGERIA HAS A GREAT FUTURE!

 

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