“Poverty is not the problem… leadership is.” were the words spoken by Charles Buregeya earlier today as we sat down to discuss Africa, Rwanda, and what’s currently going on over there. It was funny in that I totally believe this statement, but, I suppose it was how it was said and by whom it was said that seemed to turn on a lightbulb over my head. You could also apply this statement to business as a whole.

But is the case with Africa, too often, you can be left feeling like you have been giving and giving, but nothing ever really changes. In some cases, the leadership will even prop up the poverty to receive “more aide.” In this, I would love to recommend a great book by a friend of mine called, Giving Wisely. It is by Jonathan Martin.

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Is The Money We Are Generously Giving Causing More Harm Than Good? We see the needs. We hear the cries. We listen to the emotional appeals to sacrifice and to be generous with all we have. So we give. But we give without knowledge. We give without understanding and viable relationships. In our ignorance, the very gift we have given to help so often destroy. The inequities created by our gift divide entire communities. Jealousy and fights ensue. We create beggars. Good men are corrupted. Tragically, such stories are not the exception but the rule. Is this Generosity? Our guilt is appeased but great harm is done. That is what this book is about. It is a tour of our own culture and the many ways our money destroys those it was intended to benefit. It also shows us how we churches, foundations and individuals can apply timeless principles so we can know our stewardship of Gods resources is accomplishing Gods purposes both in our lives and in the lives of those who will die if we dont learn to give wisely.

My Reflection on my own leadership methods…

Leadership… it is so important. As a business leader myself, I too have been challenged by how to lead effectively. With this, and over the years, I have found four key principles that I believe are critical to success. Now, I must add, I am not claiming to be an expert here or that I have mastered these principles,  which I also believe must be in step with one another. In other words, 3 out of 4 won’t work. For it to work, we must learn to effectively and consistently reflect these.

  1. Vision – without it, you perish
  2. Clarity – without it, there is anxiety
  3. Leadership – without it, there is chaos
  4. Accountability – without it, there is no correction

For me and with each day, I must ask myself how effectively am I reflecting these principles. Now, these aren’t silver bullets with a guarantee, however, I do believe that they are absolutely critical to a sustainable plan and are a foundation for a path that can lead to success.

But, I do not believe this alone is the answer. I do believe that connecting your leadership with effective cause to do good with your platform is incredibly important. In this, how can I first minister to my people to help encourage, strengthen, and grow them and then secondly, how can we then, together move forward towards impacting a cause that will touch the lives of the less fortunate and the least of these? It is in these steps that I believe is the real reward for you truly do reap what you sow. So… what are you sowing into your people and your communities?

My inspiration for this is found in the book of Isaiah, chapter 58, verses 6 and 7:

6 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
  lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
  and remove the chains that bind people.
7 Share your food with the hungry,
  and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
 and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

What does this look like personally and professionally lived out? Is it possible to intertwine the two? You bet?

bonoPerhaps, in this, I can learn to live by that which Bono once quoted… “Stop asking God to bless what you’re doing. Find out what God’s doing. It’s already blessed.” In this, am I always seeking to line up God’s word with what I am doing or am I seeking to line up what I am doing with God’s word?

In this, perhaps I will begin to understand what really matters and in this, perhaps leadership will no longer be the problem and maybe poverty would begin to go away, one child and soul at a time?

Anyway, just a thought.