Ok, it’s Tuesday, so how about a story?
There was once a great and powerful CEO. He had grown a huge global empire, and the time had finally come for him to retire, so he began to look around for a successor. One afternoon, he called his three top executives to his office.
Andy was the Director of Marketing, Sara was his Human Resources Director, and Paul, his newly appointed Director of Public Relations. The ageing industrialist smiled at his three best brains and said, “I will retire in two months’ time, and one of you three will replace me as CEO of my empire. To help me choose, I have a test for you”.
He handed each of them a small flower pot with a simple instruction: “Come back here in two months’ time, and let me see which of you will have the most impressive, healthiest looking, best-tended plant”.
Obviously, they were all very baffled by their leader’s strange directive, but none of them was more baffled than young Paul. He was new to the organisation, and had still not quite recovered from the fact that he was even being considered for what was arguably the biggest honour in the corporate world, but, like he always did with every task he was assigned, the young PR Director immediately gave the problem his full attention.
He took the pot home, placed it on a window sill where it could catch the longest stretch of sunlight every day, and started to water it religiously. Every evening after work, he would first stop by the window and check on his plant to see whether it had germinated. For days, nothing grew out of the soil.
Days turned into weeks, and still, nothing grew. Paul started to get very worried. What could he possibly be doing wrong? To make things worse, Andy and Sara’s plants were coming along quite well. They had kept their pots in the office, and every time Paul stopped by to see them, they would be fussing and preening over their little green plants.
Soon, two months passed, and the appointed day arrived. Paul didn’t sleep a wink the night before. He couldn’t possibly show up with a flowerpot full of nothing but dirt. In the end though, he decided to just go and face the music. If nothing at all, he would learn why his seed failed to germinate, and know what to do next time.
On their way up in the elevator to the CEO’s office, Andy and Sara took one look at Paul’s empty pot and burst out laughing. Paul tried to block out their ridicule by guessing which of his colleagues’ two plants would emerge the winner. Andy’s was taller than Sara’s but Sara’s had more leaves than Andy’s. It would be a tough call.
When they walked into their boss’ office, he took one look at the three pots and said, “Congratulations Paul. You’re the new CEO. As for you two, please explain how you got such wonderful plants from the dead seeds I gave you”.
My friends, I guess the moral here is simple: Honesty is everything. Our leaders are under immense pressure to fulfil the massive promises they made to win our votes. They don’t want to come before us with empty hands when they promised us milk and honey. They don’t want to tell us the coffers are bare when they promised us prosperity.
Sometimes, the temptation to polish glass and call it a diamond can be too strong to resist because nobody wants to be seen as a disappointment. But the truth is that we chose you to lead us because we believed in you. If you take our faith in you and repay it with fudged figures and creative accounting, telling us we’re floating when we’re sinking, THAT is when you really disappoint us.
Ghana is ours. We all feel the effects of our problems in equal measure, and so we must all contribute equally to overcoming them. But how can we overcome our problems together if we don’t even know what our problems are? We CAN come out of this trough and resume our place at the peak, but Step One must be honesty and transparency. Let us know the size of the farm, so we know how to share the weeding.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and I’m ready to help. Just tell me what the problem is.
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!
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