Throughout history humankind has made quantum leaps into the future. In many cases such leaps have changed history for the better. Many examples of such ‘leaps’ can be mentioned such as FW de Klerk’s decision to release Nelson Mandela from Robin Island, such as the invention of the incandescent light bulb, the Internet, such as a million other happenings. On the other side history can probably record a million quantum leaps that resulted in terrible failure, pain and suffering. Examples are such as Hitler’s vision of the 1000 year millennium of supreme power and governance, or Stalin’s murder of 30 million plus people to protect his power and authority, or millions of quantum leaps in business resulting in considerable loss and hurt of many innocent lives.
South Africa is presently experiencing what may be termed a quantum leap in political governance with the present initiative of President Jacob Zuma to pursue ‘drastic’ and ‘revolutionary’ methods to solve serious political and social challenges facing our great country.
Let’s for a moment separate our own prejudices and emotional perceptions on this subject and consider the nature of leadership quantum leaps.
Demand for quantum change
The issue in our country is that there are many issues that knock on disaster’s door. Reality dictates that if we keep on doing the same thing then we are unrealistic in expecting different results. We see a very similar dynamic unfolding in the USA and other countries as well, including Brexit. The worldwide reaction to the socially and politically correct strategies followed by the previous government in the USA and elsewhere is arousing a strong push-back response and demand for not only change, but also quantum change. This may very well apply too our job, business or family life as well.
Challenges of quantum change strategies
At this moment in time we have a clamour of voices, many so-called expert voices, at loggerhead around the President Zuma efforts.
When leaders are united and passionate they can create miracles. Many examples in history can attest to that principle. Alexander the Great’s conquests is one example of what a united team can do. Oddly enough the tremendous strides that communism made during the past century was also an example of what a relatively few united people can do with sufficient will. The rapid demise of many of the communist empires is also an example of what happens when quantum leaps embrace corruptive power and conspiracies.
Looking at South Africa, the single most important factor that will probably lead to the failure of the existing quantum leap strategy is the human rights nature of our society. Social commentators are passionate about claiming their support for dramatic changes in our unfair society, especially when the topic of addressing the gap between rich and poor is debated. Most of these public supportive comments are made by fat cats in their own right with fancy suites, cars and good salaries. I believe that the ruling political party’s leaders are not prepared to let go of their own power and material ambitions in the process of meeting the needs of the large majority. Corruption takes many forms, and in our country the pursuit of personal ambitions and money has been entrenched in the thinking and actions of many of our political and social leaders, including our media.
Leaders and quantum leaps – unity at the top
In spite of the many serious challenges facing us, our country has a remarkable heritage of quantum leaps by leaders resulting in a degree of freedom that is unique in many ways. We think of the Mandela/De Klerk era of Nobel Peace Prize awards as an example of a truly quantum leap of leaders, but we have many other examples. Ironically, the fact that this country was able to produce a nuclear bomb in the past whereas much larger countries with much larger budgets have been unable to do so is but one of many examples of what can be done. We certainly do not need nuclear devices at this time, but we desperately need the will and passion to move the obstacles standing in the way of our society.
We need to aim for quantum leaps in our life styles, our business ventures, our political agendas and our social order, but we also need to pay the price needed to succeed in changing old and selfish habits in and around us.
This is an age that requires authentic leaders driven by authentic inspiration, authentic values, authentic efforts and authentic unity at the top in whatever area of society we may be operating in. This applies to our small or medium or large business. It applies to our social or political party affiliations. It applies to our personal self, our desire to lift those around us. It applies to the most important unit in our society – our families.
A united few can make a difference!
The Old Man – Louis Groenewald is a leadership expert and commentator.
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