Posted tagged ‘Nelson Mandela’

My Experiences -Last time (MELT) – 1113

December 29, 2013

As promised in my last blog, I am dedicating this blog to one of the greatest man ever lived on this planet.

Nelson Mandela- Greatest transformation Phenomenon of our life time

Prisoner number 466 of 64, Nelson Mandela released were the headlines on February 11, 1990. The 46664 Mandela number also became the symbol for the AIDS campaign. 46664 was the Nelson Mandela number that is known all over the world, both for the suffering he went through and as the AIDS campaign that he supports and that runs his birthday celebrations. The Nelson Mandela number and the Nelson Mandela date will live on. 27 years of suffering and never once faltering from the cause he eventually won are just part of what make up the nature of this man. Nelson Mandela in jail, Nelson Mandela as President, Nelson Mandela the man was and is an inspiration to us all.

Almost after 4 years from date of release of Nelson Mandela, Mr John Kotter wrote an article for Harvard Business Review entitled “ Leading Change: Why transformation efforts fail?” This paved way for development of Eight-stage process of creating major change. As I was writing this blog an interesting thought surfaced on how Mandela’s change and transformation would fit the Kotter’s model. So I have attempted below to plug in some quotes, speeches and thoughts of Mandela to the eight stage process of creating major change.

How do I describe Mandela?

The best way to describe Mandela was to reproduce the poem by William Ernest Henley. This  pretty much personifies Nelson Mandela.

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

He drew his inspiration from this poem. While he was in prison, Mandela would read William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus” to fellow prisoners. The poem, about never giving up, resonated with Mandela for its lines “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” He truly was captain of his soul which transformed the world’s thinking. Now I attempt to fit Mandela’s thought and action into Kotter’s Model.

Mandel’s Leading Change- Action fitted into Kotter’s Model

  1. 1.      Developing a vision and strategy

“Vision without action is just a dream, action without vision just passes the time, vision with action can change the world.”

“I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent. I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses.”

  1. 2.     Communicating the change vision

Nelson Mandela clearly held a positive vision of a racially harmonious South Africa during his 28 years in jail and helped bring it into reality peacefully– to the amazement of the world. His medium of communication was not words but demonstrate through his actions.

  1. 3.     Establishing a sense of urgency

This is what Buthelezi has got to say about Mandela “ From the beginning, I perceived in Mr. Mandela a sense of urgency in almost everything he did, as though there was just not enough time to accomplish all he had in mind, or as though there was no time to waste in achieving it. There was always a dignified air about him, but always that underlying sense of urgency.”

  1. 4.     Creating the guiding coalition

“As a leader, I have always endeavoured to listen to what each and every person in a discussion had to say before venturing my own opinion. Oftentimes, my own opinion will simply represent a consensus of what I heard in the discussion. I always remember the axiom: a leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”

  1. 5.     Empowering employees (people)  for broad-based action

But Mandela used his training as a lawyer to hamper many of the attempts by warders to harass prisoners, and insisted on their right to study for university degrees. He also made a point of trying to talk to prison guards, most of them Afrikaans-speaking whites.

Besides his iron will and principled stance, Mandela’s easy charm and generosity helped to chip away at the prison’s strict rules and disciplinarian barriers. “The inmates seemed to be running the prison, not the authorities,” Mandela said. Educating the prisoners and giving confidence to them was one of the key success factors in his fight against apartheid.

  1. 6.     Generating short term wins

Remember to Celebrate Milestones As You Prepare for the Road Ahead

Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison in his struggle for justice, said, “I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”

An entrepreneur’s work is never done. We can always do better.. Sometimes it feels like we haven’t accomplished anything at all. It’s important to stop and celebrate those small successes and milestones and take in the “glorious vista” along the uphill climb. Remind yourself how far you have come as you look at the road ahead.

  1. 7.     Consolidating gains and producing more change

“The power of imagination created the illusion that my vision went much farther than the naked eye could actually see”

Nelson Mandela consolidated the democracy by setting important precedents in acknowledging the constitutional limitations on his executive power. His good-tempered acceptance of Constitutional Court judgments that ruled against the government was particularly important in this respect. His famous gestures of reconciliation and empathy with white South Africans fostered among white South Africans broad acceptance of the new government’s moral authority. His role in shifting ANC policy perspectives in the direction of a pro-market policy undoubtedly helped to reassure white South Africans and foreign business. In choosing to serve only one term and presiding over an orderly succession procedure within the ANC he certainly strengthened ANC commitment to constitutional procedures

  1. 8.     Anchoring new approach in the culture

I recall how he stoically announced the passing of his eldest son, Makgatho Mandela, in January 2005. In an environment still reticent toward disclosure, he boldly stated that his son had succumbed to HIV/AIDS, urging us to break the silence around this disease.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Dessert

Mandela had a great sense of humor and audacity. Mandela even amused the British royal family with his casual, overfamiliarity with the Queen, whom he called “Elizabeth” and not “Your Majesty.”  “Well, she calls me Nelson,” was his repost, when one of his grandchildren asked if it was not perhaps in bad form to call the Queen by her first name.

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

With those inspiring thoughts, I bid good bye with my usual signature Life is Beautiful

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