The heart of enterprise
Imagine you were in a state-of-the-art conference room and a renowned research and business development mogul was about to address the audience on his business principles.
Your pen was out and you made sure there was enough space on your notepad. Then he strode in, everyone suddenly became very attentive. Then with little ado, he mounted the podium and began to speak. Perfect silence prevailed as you took notes on his lecture entitled, “My School of Business.” Meanwhile, having been informed of the topic earlier, you had modified it into “The Abrahamic School of Business.” That had a deeper appeal to you as it reminded you of the speaker himself who happened to be a “FATHER” in the field of business.
Below are excerpts from the notes you took at the lecture, together with your observations on the gestures of the speaker and the reactions of the audience:
The primary reason for the vision is for growth — to make us partake of a different nature. You must be aware of who you are and why you are what you are.
(Speaker pauses, and then continues)
You must leave home. This implies emotional, spiritual and financial independence. The greatest hindrance to immense business capacity and thought is the entitlement mentality. Nobody owes you anything. You are indebted and responsible to God and humanity for resourcefulness. You’re not entitled to financial provisions from uncles, siblings and parents even when they think you are. The vision demands that you leave those.
Establish a line of dependence – it is between you and God. Be responsible and get ready for the difficult times. The time of separation is a time of self-discovery and it is said that hardship introduces a man to himself. Hardship does not imply poverty (though poverty is very much hardship). Hardship is a seed’s first day in the soil. It is the shedding of the seed coat — a degeneration that reveals the stuff within: life. It is designed to train you and not to kill you. Learn from it.
Be independent, dependent then interdependent. After declaring your independence of people and establishing dependence on God as your source and authority structure, you will need to learn interdependence. An independent man does not bend to the whims and opinions of others when they are not aligned with his God-dependent values. He is interdependent enough to listen to the advice and opinions of certain people (not everyone) but independent enough not to be coerced to any decision, indecision or hurried decision.
our interaction with people should be born of choice and not under any duress or certain obligations. Dependence on God entails you don’t place yourself at anyone’s mercy or trade your honour and glory for rights or privileges.
You are in business to be a blessing, to create value for humanity. You are blessed to bless. This posture assures that your own needs are met already; you will find this true when you adopt this mentality. It is a man’s gift that will make room for him, a man’s offering – a man’s talent. We are successful when we make our gifts (our unique abilities) our gifts (our proposals) to the society. Be a priest and a king. Remember the Melchizedek posture; the king of righteousness is the priest of the Most High.
Come out to the King’s valley and present bread and wine to those returning from battle. Offer processed products, not raw materials; don’t come with flour and eggs, come with bread…and wine. Your bread and wine are the finished products and services you must offer to your clients.
Do not be materialistic – let your internal scoreboard be more important than the external scoreboard. Never judge things by sight alone; be spiritual. Obey your spirit and divine instructions. Heed your “gut-calls”. It is your soul’s duty to be loyal to its own desire.
There is no one-man army and you’ll need an army to win most of your battles. Therefore, you need to work with people but don’t expect all of them to share your values. You’ll have to work with folks who don’t share similar values. Respect agreements and deal charitably with everyone.
Never forget that legal matters matter. File patents, sign non-disclosure agreements, memorandums of understandings, have witnesses and don’t have optimistic opinions about human commitments. Try and have guarantees when possible but don’t be embittered when you’re disappointed. Yes, get a lawyer. If you cannot afford one, have one as a friend or on your board. You can go the whole length and go to a law school! Anything you do, seek legal counsel.
Eschew strife – it will kill you. Your kind cannot bear strife. It robs a man of his creative potential, changes his path of dependence and drains the hearty spirit that great enterprise demands. Let the acid test be your willingness and even readiness to give 99 per cent of your fortune away. Don’t hand over dynastic fortunes to your offspring; give them the intangible resource that made you great.
Never forget to daily speak those things you believe – even when they seem impossible because faith will work in your heart even with doubt in your head. Speak and do not relent, you’ll be amazed how long I did.
(He pauses and takes a drink…)
Let your vision be global
(He said this with so much calm that you almost didn’t hear, but then the audience exploded, thrilled by the force of the oratory)
Let your vision be global. Seek to bless the whole world.
(The hall was quiet again)
Seek to be a blessing to your nation and to all the nations of the earth. Create products that will bless the ICT world, the health care industry, the insurance sector, pharmaceutical, banking, real estate, media, commerce, energy, entertainment, hospitality… These are the nations. For every industry, there is a culture and a language. They are more important than the geographical nations; bless both. In every sphere of influence, decipher the dream of the future and interpret it. Don’t stop there, though. Make a thorough proposal to the king or the management system. That is often a sufficient demonstration of your capacity to execute. We did that in Egypt. The king’s name was Pharaoh.
Your proposals must be articulate and should create value. Before you ask, “what’s in it for me?,” find out if it will bless the king or he will not buy it. The king will not mind to crown you if you will make him greater. You must have an abundance mentality; there are plenty of resources on the earth. Be willing to give of your intangible resource and folks will supply your tangible needs.
The way to be an owner is to create, and every creator is a father. That is why I am called Father Abraham. I have created in every sector, industry and nation.
Every solution is looking for a man to stand behind it and such men are scarce. Be the man. You will need to begin locally and small, but have a global perspective. When you get to a land, walk through the land/industry. Do your due diligence, learn, research, collaborate and innovate. Keep developing competence and stay creative. Fatherhood is creation. Creation is ownership. The results of ownership will increase your purchasing/exchange power.
Always allow compassion to move you to action. I’ve learnt that in helping others you meet your Melchizedek.
See the invisible, embrace it.
Your vision, character, values, creativity and passion are invisible. Value the invisible resources above the visible. They are the sources of the visible. Things don’t happen to you; things happen because of you. We are not victims, we are creators.
Your thoughts are things, don’t mess with them.
(He adjusts the microphone)
I must tell you to forgive yourself when you make mistakes. There are things about your life you can never change, such as where and how you were born, some of the things that have happened to you and some of the things you did. Look at the past and please do well to heal yourself. Lock the door and say goodbye to these things. There are things, however, you need to go back and resolve: some relationships and grave mistakes. Resolve them as soon as possible. After then, move on.
I am not perfect, nobody expects you to be either; but let your intentions be perfect.
In closing, always remember that the true test of character is persistence against odds. It will be required that you persevere at that which you believe and please never give up.
The arena resounded with a thunderous ovation as all stood to applaud. The revered “father” smiled and quietly walked out of the auditorium. You sat down to assess your notes. You resolved it was time to CONQUER!
Adapted from “The Abrahamic Posture” in “The Heart and Art of Innovation” by Nelson Okwonna, Onel Media Services, Lagos 2012.