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African Proverb

African Proverb

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

High on the wall of the Johannesburg, South Africa, airport terminal is this African Proverb that has a lot to say about today’s organizations and churches, and the styles of leadership that are so very different.

Many of us admire the “strong leader” who can get things done. Often a pace setter, far ahead of the pack, this leader seems to be able to do what few others can do, and often all alone.

To say that this this kind of leader is my greatest nightmare in my practice of governance consulting may seem inappropriate or offensive. So let me tell you why.

My desire is to help organizations and churches to go far, not fast. I think that to last for the distance, to realize the vision that lies far into the future, leadership requires more than a strong will and a charismatic attraction.

It takes collaboration. “If you want to go far, go together.”

Strong leaders, who go fast and alone, don’t like collaboration, because it slows them down. It seems like a waste of time to bring people up to speed, when the leader already knows where he or she wants to go and knows how to get there. People should just follow.

Yes, collaboration does take time, and sometimes it’s frustrating how much time. But for people to stay the course and to have the motivation to reach for the Vision, there must be ownership. That can only come from collaboration. That’s what it means to go together.

The leader who collaborates is one who demonstrates the three core values of the Relationship Model™:

• Affirmation that values each individual
• Involvement that places a greater value on going far, than on going fast
• Servant Leadership that supports people for the long journey together.

Les Stahlke, President/CEO
GovernanceMatters.com Inc.