Friday, 29 April 2016

CONSPIRACY OF CONVERGENCE: THE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE ~ DR. JIMOH IBRAHIM, CFR

Barrister Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim, CFR
A world with 70 trillion dollars in balance sheet requires a leader. This figure, perhaps, instigates the conspiracy of convergence in real economic terms. America is 12 trillion dollars in balance sheet, while China’s balance sheet is 18 trillion dollars. In addition, China has 1.26 trillion dollars in America’s Federal Reserve Bank. This is about 10% of America’s total balance sheet.


The central issue today is the leadership of the world: Who will lead the new world order? Who can lead the world? It is also important to try and answer these two important questions: What does the world want from her leader? What quality must the leadership process? If we are able to answer these questions, it may translate to benefits for the new world as the conspiracy of the convergence continues.


What is leadership? According to Robbins and Judge (2015), “Leadership is the ability to influence a group towards the achievement of a vision or set of goals.”

Peter Drucker argues that: “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitation.

Jimoh Ibrahim (2015) states that: “Leadership is a desired journey that does not have a destination, but has the capacity to realise part of its objective in the progress of time without reaching a final destination.”

The way leadership is difficult to define precisely is a reflection of the difficulty of leading a world with as much as 70 trillion dollars in balance sheet and over seven billion people in population! The theory behind the trajectory of the leadership paradigm in itself is clustered with difficulties. Studies show various characteristics of leadership from classic theories to contemporary theories and to new developments. The demands differ just as the characteristics differ. The time also differs. What you learn from the attributes of yesterday’s leaders may not be relevant for today or for the leadership challenges of tomorrow.

One demand of the conspiracy of convergence is the quality of who will lead the new world economic order? Such a country must create comparative advantage and lead in innovation. This is where China comes in. It’s by no means a matter of choice! It’s clear that if you don’t go to China, China will come to you very soon. The dragons are here. Doing nothing is not an option!

But will China be able to deliver leadership in the context of her overcapacity in institutional void? Think corruption, closed data, closed culture, closed language, closed praxis of behavior and closed currency! The question of self-determination requires some level of autonomy and self-concordance. How will China handle this? How will China handle democracy? Is China prepared to learn basic lessons on democracy and its vulnerabilities? Freedom of citizens, rule of law, strong and autonomous judiciary are not issues that can be compromised in the new convergence!

How will China react to the basic demand of laws in the interest of justice for everyone? The challenges include, but are not limited to, the orthodox view of conflicts between common law, civil law and Islamic laws, the fresh view of alternative dimensions for clustering, practical regulatory differences emerging from degree of harmonization in trade agreements, bilateral and multilateral issues. Again, on daily basis, what plays out in business, which remains a burden to China includes the commercial issue of Corporate Governance, Tariff and non Tariff barriers, enforcement of contract agreements and contract exchange relating to intellectual property. Will China be ready for international compliance standards? If not, can the conspiracy of convergence succeed assuming it is China’s move? Will China ever support the conspiracy of convergence if it is not in her interest? Will it be in her interest in the present circumstances with the disclosure of the new facts?

Cultural distance exist that could create leadership challenges to China or any other country interested in leadership. Again, can America lead when a single country like China, with 20% of the global population, is not in the cultural net?

Hofstede identified such social network of variance in social ties when he defined culture as “Collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others.” And it is those unwritten games of culture that China or America needs to navigate. How much the complexities of human nature will allow the navigation remains a constrain to the new conspiracy of convergence.

What will play out in the spectrum includes Evil against Good, Dirty against Clean, Dangerous against Safe, Forbidden against Permitted, Moral against Immoral, Paradoxical against Logical, and Rational against Irrational. Who is prominent in Evil, Dirty, Dangerous, Forbidden, Moral, Paradoxical and Rational? And who has Good, Clean, Safe, Permitted, Immoral, Logical and Irrational in short supply? The main challenge before the new world leader is to find a convenient balance.

The new leader must hold firm the major essentials of leadership. These include identifying common good, establishing credibility, providing evidence and connecting emotionally. This she can only do effectively if she knows what to drop, what to keep and what to add as the world demands.

Max Depree argues that “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say ‘thank you.’ In between, the leader is a servant.”

Is China or America ready to be the servant in the new world convergence?
Organizational management is struggling to provide empirical evidence of possibility of these essentials in global leadership. They are moving fast in leadership behaviour of improving structure, organising, teaching, supervising and evaluating the vision of their direction on one hand. On the other hand is the continuous facilitation of supportive issues of basic principles of ‘ask for input, listen rather than talk, facilitate problem solving, explain rather than define’ as well as the need for leaders to always encourage. Today’s managers are encouraged and are indeed ready to do more. But like I have often said, it is important to realise before frustration sets in, that leadership is a journey and not a destination. And as John Quincy Adams also insists, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, you are a leader.”

The conspiracy of convergence is a big project that cannot be premised on a budget or a schedule of delivery. It may be demanded in this generation, but certainly, it will not be delivered in this generation. It is a destruction of the current peace of the world. When it is successful, it will be a celebration of the Third World War.

In the meantime, its contentious debate is the unguided spending of resources on what is otherwise seen as an otiose ambition of a few. No one is against a new chapter in History, but it is my submission that a progressive world is not beyond the sincere implementation and total submission to the United Nation Chapters and the appropriate funding of the United Nations organisation. (National Mirror)