LEADERSHIP AT THE PEAK – The battle for survival

By George W Nyabadza

Over the past two months I have spent time in an ongoing personalised life coaching process with a close friend. This friend once occupied a comfortable middle management position in a l

arge company headquartered outside of Harare and for a long while life, taking into account the obvious ups and downs, was good.


Then the economic downturn hit; in the early days our talk centered around the downturn in business evidenced by the gradual decline in productivity as measured by overtime worked, normal time worked, reduced weekly hours, and finally requests for staff to take unscheduled leave.


Then came the decline in profitability, constrained cash flows and for the first time in years, since 1986 when he joined the organisation, delayed salary payouts.


My friend stuck it out as much as possible, because he hoped that things would turn. However, the impact on his own family became so severe that he faced the real prospect of seeing his children kicked out of school and starve in front of him. My friend and his family made a decision that he never would have reached had the difficult situation not prevailed.


He packed his bags and left for a far off land over the borders knowing that there lay his only hope to save his family. The sudden changes he has had to cope with present an enormous opportunity for personal growth.


At least that’s the light I have been hoping he sees. It’s not all gloomy. His life circumstances, clearly desperate and at the cliff’s edge, have forced him to explore opportunities that have always awaited him. The forced circumstance where he lives far away from his family in a foreign land have forced him to introspect more and to question and seek to understand the core of his and his family’s human experience.


This close encounter of a personal kind has made me even more appreciative of the depth of the challenge facing many families these days.

It’s very difficult to be prescriptive in terms of how to deal with these situations, the “10 steps to success” process won’t wash when hunger is lurking at the door, the situation is desperate and demands immediate attention rather than a retreat to the mountains to meditate, visualise and descend with the grand plan of success.


In my personal experiences and research there seems to be two ways to create successful living; the first is, when everything is manageable and you have time to think and work your way through the “10 steps to success” process and all that it entails; discover your purpose, hold onto all of your dreams, embrace empowering beliefs, clarify your values, hold onto powerful positive attitudes, develop positive affirmations, have a well formed goal, visualise, work within the depth of your mind and take positive external action towards your goals. The second, specially applicable when the wolf is at the door, has its core processes structured around making a reality check of the brutal facts of your existence and taking whatever responsible and ecological immediate action you need to in order to save the day.

In such a situation it’s the battle that has to be won, even by strategies falling far out of scope with the grand war plan. My friend quit his managerial position and opted to travel to a far land to take up menial work to put food on the table, all the while carrying with him the emotional pain and anguish of leaving his almost starving family behind and having to scrap around the bottom of the economic pecking order.


His first battle is simply to win over the encroaching poverty trap then and only then can he begin in his own way the “10 steps to success” process.


To this latter end he has two weapons in his arsenal, a book called Think and Grow Rich and another one called Leadership At The Peak 2004. I am not sure what challenges you are facing but possibly you need to engage as fiercely as possible in the battle and then resort to the grand war strategy when the wolves have been chased away.

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