A year or so ago, a friend sent me an article about corporate progression; just that this article was about cars but making relevance to our ever evolving working environments. Somewhere on a high way in South Africa, amidst peak traffic, was a driver in a Range Rover SUV, driving around 100km/h on a 120km/h zone.
Behind this powerful machine was another driver on a sleek BMW travelling slightly faster than the Range Rover driver. Fast forward, whenever the BMW driver tried to overtake on the right shoulder the Range Rover driver moved onto that lane and purred more with power. This went on for a while until both cars were travelling well over 180km/h. To cut the story short, for those who drive, you know the keep left, pass right rule right? Well, the BMW driver took to the left lane, which could be frowned upon and sped off past the majestic Range Rover driver.
Moral of the story is the Range Rover with its powerful stature represents a mature, vastly experienced and almost stuck in ‘what has been tried and tested works’ senior executives. The BMW with its sleek agile nature resembled the younger executives who want things done, and done right now. Your techno savvies if you may.
In summation, the Range Rover kept changing lanes in front of the BMW if not at the same time holding the latter back. This was until the BMW took an unorthodox decision and decided to pass the massive machine in an unexpected fashion. We can learn from the behavior of these two drivers and their cars without knowing them.
The above inquiry is often what we see in the workplace, you have senior supervisors who want things done in a particular fashion as it has worked and given the business great results. Whenever a junior executive pitches an idea that is new and foreign to the business, the senior executives aren’t quick or eager to adopt it.
The junior executives may want to go toe to toe with the latter to prove the value of their idea but this may be seen as presumptuous, insubordination and downright hard headed in taking instructions. Today’s article focuses on making your 21st Millennia ideas heard and how best you can sell yourself and ideas to your superiors without offending their experience as well as their shrewd business intelligence.
Respect the past, but embrace change – the idea here is synonymous with cultural upbringing; we should embrace our culture and also fuse it with the much heavy evolving influence from the modern world. In short, do not disengage from what worked for the business previously, but rather adopt its strengths and combine them with the ever changing world dynamics. That way you are guaranteed to meet both expectations of the BMW and the Range Rover.
Keep quiet and listen to understand – It is the always the smart thing to listen to the problem, ask questions to fully understand the entire scenario before adding your comments. By so doing, you also come across to your seniors even fellow colleagues as sensible and calculative to both sides of the argument.
Get others on your team. Always embrace team work when you are in the work place. Not to say share whatever intelligent thought you may have with everyone but engage others onto your ideas so you brainstorm collectively and share thoughts. That way, the popular the idea gets, the more senior management will lean towards buying in.
Avoid ganging up on the latter as they will become defective and shut out the idea before hearing its merits. Remember to get respected members of the work force as your back up, not Tom who misses work for three days after every payday. This idea also shows your superiors that you are a team player and transparent in the work place. A plus for you!
Humble yourself – It has been said that one of the biggest barriers to gaining buy-in occurs when the owner of an idea is viewed as argumentative, defensive, or close-minded. People will always have different opinions and may not necessarily see things your way. If this happens, remain calm, take constructive criticism and try to understand their perspective and return to the blueprint to work on the kinks. Make a comeback that incorporates their suggestions but not losing the bedrock of your original idea. This level of maturity will portray you as understanding and respectful of what the senior executives bring to the table.
When all has been said and done, whether you are the Range Rover or the BMW driver, always understand and embrace where the view point the other party is coming from. This will create a pseudo-link in any workplace and would possibly result in a tradition enriched, dynamically balanced work environment. We do encourage the Millennia to stand their ground and gather enough courage to present their well-balanced ideas to the senior executives who should be open minded and embrace change. Who knows, it could work wonders for your organization.
There is a saying in South Africa which avers that, “the White man has no kin: his kin is money”. The saying rings very true considering what Mayer Amschel Rothschild – he of the planet’s wealthiest family – once said, that, “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!”
To the white man, the dollar sign looms so large in his optics that it was precisely the reason he appropriated Africa towards the end of the 19th century. The idea was to develop his continent, Europe, at the same rate as he underdeveloped Africa. Yet he was driven as much by economic imperatives as by sheer greed and prejudice.
A “pagan” King violates the Jewish Temple by setting up an idol in the Holy of Holies
Why, General Atiku, has the Judean setting (present-day Israel/Palestine) being the focus of so much geopolitical fervour over the ages when it is so resource-poor and is not even that agriculturally fecund being a virtual desert? Why have all the superpowers of history locked horns over it since days immemorial?
Just a ‘teaser’: we are all complaining of the ‘hot weather’ and ‘heat’ – but think about it, is this a reminder / warning from the Almighty that if we find this weather ‘hot’ can you imagine what the ‘fires of hell’ will be like should we get there?
Let us take this as a reminder and a ‘warning’ that we should change our lifestyles so that we follow in the path of righteousness and that which our Lord has directed. Failing this we will face the ‘fire of hell’ which undoubtedly will be many times worse than what we are facing on this earth.
Because as humans we have been favoured and bestowed with the power of intellect thus we enjoy greatness over other creation, coupled with a greater responsibility. Should that responsibility be misused then only on the Day of Reckoning will he know we will live in joy or in grief forever.
Since the dawn of creation Allah has sent down thousands of messengers, dozens of Divine Books but only ONE universal Message to humanity. That message of Divine Revelation and guidance is clear, unambiguous and eternal:
Allah is One, He is Master and Creator of the universe and of mankind and to Him is due all worship and obedience.
He has sent humanity Divine Revelation and guidance through His Messengers and His Books.
As death is inevitable in this world, equally is our resurrection in the Hereafter where everyone will face the consequences of their belief, unbelief and conduct in this temporal world.
This is the basic message, teaching and belief of every religion and without doubt we will all be called to account for our lives in this world and the manner in which we conducted ourselves, will be rewarded thereafter, the consequences of which may be joy forever for some or grief forever for others.
“It is He [Allah] Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deeds and He is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.” (Qur’an: 67: 2)
In Islam the teachings of the Qur’an and the Last and Final Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) give clear guidance to the believer on how to live a life in this world so as to achieve success in the Hereafter.
‘If any do wish for the transitory things of this life, We readily grant them, such things as We will, to such persons as We will…… those who wish for the things of the Hereafter and strive for them with all due striving, and have faith, they are the ones whose striving is acceptable to Allah’ (Qur’an 17: 18-19)
In this world when a person sets out on a journey towards our Maker (Allah), he finds two paths, one leading to God and the other path to different destinations. A sincere and faithful believer will always try to find the right path and to live by the Divine injunctions, laws and code that his religion lays down. This requires us to live in harmony with the will of the Creator, in harmony with our own selves, and with the needs of the rest of creation. Unfortunately we have a tendency at times to toy with Divine Law and to surrender it to the laws of man and in the process to translate and interpret them into what fits in with our lifestyle of today.
If we are to use the intellect and the freedom of choice bestowed to us by God Almighty and follow His guidance, we will then live consciously in a state of “submission’ to Him, thus we will be virtuous. On the other hand when we ignore our Creators injunctions we work against the natural order, we tend to create discord, injustice and evil – and we become one without guidance. Therefore it is the intellect and the freedom of choice given to us that we are fully responsible for whatever we do.
However, it would be foolish for us to think of ourselves as totally independent and self-sufficient. If a person thinks in this manner, we become proud and. We will be inclined to become ungrateful for the bounties that we enjoy – the air that we breathe and the food we eat to sustain us, the eyes and ears we use to perceive the world around us, the tongue and lips we use to express our needs, wants and our inner most feelings and emotions. And being ungrateful, we will be inclined to forget or to reject the truth of the existence of God Almighty.
Unfortunately, people have varying views with regards to what the most important characteristic of a person is: for some it is the colour of his skin; for others, it is his economic situation – whether he is wealthy or poor; others think it is his , social or political standing, whether he is ruler or ruled; for others it is his social standing as an aristocrat, middle or working class; yet for some is his birth place and the language he speaks or the tribe he belongs to, etc..
‘Do men think that they will be left alone on saying “We believe”, and they will not be tested? We tested those before them, and Allah will certainly those who are true and those who are false’. (Quran 29: 2-3)
In Islam, these have no significance rather they are merely taken as signs of the creative power of God to enable people to recognise one another. The Almighty declares “O Mankind! Indeed we have created you as male and female, and have placed you in nations and tribes that you may have mutual recognition. However, the most honourable of you, in the sight of Allah is the one who is most God-conscious” (Qur’an: 49: 13)
Hence, the most important characteristic of a person is whether he is conscious of his Creator, believes in Him and through that consciousness submits to Him at all times and in all circumstances.
According to the Islamic view man is created by Allah in a pure state, free from sin. He also created us with the capacity or power to do both good and evil. He gave us the freedom to choose between doing good or evil. The good and evil therefore is connected with mankind’s freedom of choice and responsibility for their actions. “Good” may be whatever is pleasing to Allah and therefore beneficial to us. Whereas “Bad/evil” may be whatever incurs the anger of God and is therefore harmful to man.
‘By the soul, and the proportion and order given to it; And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right – truly he that succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it….. (Quran 91: 7-10)
Therefore one of mankind’s main tasks is to keep away from and ward off evil. This is why Taqwa, piety and God consciousness is repeatedly mentioned in the Qur’an as the most important quality a person should develop in this regard. This means one must be conscious at all times not to over step the limits set by God. It works as a defence against evil and temptation by keeping a person within the boundaries of piety.