Locus of Focus 11
Last week we began to look at the concept of locus of focus as essential to the effective growth and output of our leadership performance. In the process we defined locus of focus as the distance or area we allow ourselves to focus or look at. This is essential because as we established last week our vision is the key to our leadership. There is nothing so disastrous as the blind leading the blind. Therefore vision is in the words of John Haggai the “Key of leadership”. It is important however to note that our locus of focus is determined by two main things our capacity for vision or the quality of our visioning instrument and the extent to which we extend it. In an earlier edition we addressed the factors affecting the quality of the vision namely the quality of our reception and the quality of our perception. In this series we look at that second factor which is the locus we allow our vision to be extended to.
One of the key descriptives of such locus is the most obvious one which is distance or geographical separation.
There are many people who are unable to become leaders because they are only able to relate to things in their immediate physical vicinity. The result of this focus therefore is that they remain blissfully ignorant of things happening in the distance which may and often do affect them.
It is perhaps apt that the 2007 Nobel peace price has been given to the former American Vice President Al Gore and the Intergovernmental panel on Climate change for their work on projecting climate change. The concept of global warming for many people has seemed so far and distant that most people have no conception about it. The reality today is that the Ice caps are melting, the Ocean levels are rising but it seems so far away until we realize that as a result of this phenomenon Ghana and some parts of Northern Nigeria have just experienced the most bizarre levels of flooding affecting and rendering many hundreds of thousands of people homeless and in serious danger of starvation and illness. Perhaps it might be come more to home with the recognition that if the sea level continues to rise at the current rate Victoria Island might only exist in the history books a hundred years from now flushing away all that expensive real estate and some people’s current inheritance.
People who therefore are unwilling to look at the distance tend therefore to be uninformed therefore not having the foundational vector which is knowledge.
Perhaps Al Gore is particularly apt as a description. Here was a man who having served as Vice President to Bill Clinton lost in one of the closest elections to George Bush in 2000 after the Florida Vote recount and everybody expected him to run again in 2004 but he lifted up his eyes and in the area of environment he took note of the melting Artic ice caps afar off, the rising sea levels threatening many of the pacific islands and coastal cities like Lagos and he began to be a voice to influence the world or in other words provide leadership in an area which his fellow country men including the man who defeated him refused to take seriously. It is noteworthy that for the 7 years in which he has served as President George Bush refused to sign the Kyoto agreement designed to combat this very issue. Now the whole world has begun to see the danger and Al Gore won an Oscar for a film he produced on the subject and finally the 2007 Nobel Peace Price has gone to him; the world having conceded to his leadership because he could see things which were geographically far from him but which would ultimately affect us all. Ironically after years of opposition even President Bush has finally decided to call a world wide summit on addressing the now obvious danger of Global warming.
In the modern world of today this situation is even more so because the world has become more and more a global village. The recent revelation that America’s oil stock piles are lower than expected has pushed oil prices to record highs.
Even our communication patterns are affected by events in distant lands. Today almost everybody has heard of Tsunami and typhoons and hurricanes of all types even though we have never seen any of these around here. I am told the story of a man who was trying to make an impression and said “with all the trouble in the world this man Tsunami is now bringing his own” Of course every body laughed but in the process he lost a little respect which affects his influence and therefore his leadership.
How also do we respond when a physical disaster affects the bread basket of a nation or as happened in South Africa a power outage caused a sewage plant to be spilled into the water supplies of an entire area.
To be effective in leadership we must see and to see effectively we must learn to engage distant lands in information, knowledge and understanding. Then our leadership will be enhanced. Look at the issue of covid 19 .The hypothesis for today is that needed changes for post-pandemic years in Nigeria should include an overhaul of the country’s political, economic, and social systems. Readers of this column must have noticed that citizens who were not regular commenters on the country’s governance came out in large numbers on social media to rain curses on those in charge of governing Nigeria over the years, including those currently in the saddle. And these curses started when the coming of COVID-19 to Nigeria met the country in disgraceful state, one that is too comatose to respond to any disease of the magnitude of coronavirus. Many of such commenters worried openly while countries which were in the same income group with Nigeria sixty year ago, such as North Korea, could respond with confidence to Covid-19 while Nigeria was already with bowls in hand to beg for grants and loans from the international community. Locus of focus.