Leaders know when to follow

“You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too.” —Sam Rayburn

A key component of any organization is its connectivity with suppliers and partners. Sometimes, however, this connectivity is broken by other parties external to the organization and its intended audience. This is exactly what happened last week. In urgent need to get product costs for an upcoming event, the desired supplier could not be reached on their hard line. Unfortunately, not having a correct email address did not help any bit to bridge the communication gap.

Interestingly, Telkom Kenya – the reason behind this communication breakdown – was featured in a post “Of leadership dinosaurs” a few weeks back. The company found its was into the leading weekly regional newspaper in East Africa for all the wrong reasons. The EastAfrican ran a two-page article on Telkom Kenya’s financial woes. Unfortunately, this is an example of a previous monopoly gone south. Despite France Telecom’s majority shareholding in Telkom Kenya, the future looks very bleak indeed.

The irony is that Telkom Kenya has not been able to keep many of its customers connected. Numerous breakdowns of their network, complacency, poor customer care and lack of follow up of new connections are robbing this company of much needed revenue. If only the company could consolidate its existing customers, then maybe there may be hope in the horizon.

Perhaps this is a company that could borrow from Don Mercer’s Followership: the Corollary to Leadership posted in an ongoing international blogathon hosted on “A slice of leadership”. Here, Don outlines the 7 principles that make up the Followership Culture: Instant Response, Initiative, Imagination, Integrity, Inquire, Inform, and Involve.

For one to be a leader, intimate knowledge of followers is critical. Follow your followers, and they will help guide your decisions and strategic direction.

“Trying is just a noisy way of not doing something.” —Ken Blanchard


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