Don’t you just love a winner? Be honest now, we all do! Getting behind a top performer is motivating and invigorating. Even leaders love engaging with and learning from other leaders. This understanding is our ninth principle
in a series.
This principle works at every level – in a family, a business, a country and in faith.
[Pic: Inside a Samoan bus. A driver, always in jandals. A cashbox on the fluffy dashboard. A stereo system - always. A flag, or two. A favourite picture pinned up onto the wooden roof. Wooden plywood seats on angle-iron fittings, "sexy" pictures outside on the back and sides of the bus and everything just screams "Look at me! I'm soooo cool! I'm a winner!" And they all love it.]
What child doesn’t get the goosebumps when their Dad wins something, or does something way cool? We look to our parents for leadership and mostly respect them for setting the way in life. That’s just the way things are!
In any business we look to achievers, usually those who have and who make money best. We read their books, their life stories and listen to them on how they made it. It’s natural to look up to winners, or certainly those that we think are the winners.
In sports, up and coming athletes attempt to emulate and even surpass the achievements of other winners. What greater achievement is there than conquering the records of our own sporting heroes? We honour the greats of sport. That’s just the way it is!
The Roman leaders really knew how to get the masses going – chariots, sports extravaganzas, lions and throw in a few Christians for good measure. Every Caesar knew the political power in creating heroes for the people they ruled.
In the Western world it is common for our culture to goad us into being leaders in our own right. The idea that “you can do it!” is pummeled into us from our dearly beloved cultural guardians the Mass Media day after day. We are taught to look after ourselves, to divine truth and righteousness and right and wrong for ourselves; to protect ourself; to defend ourself. In essence all about me, me, me.
But this is not the Samoan way. Samoans value family and relationship. Their values are to respect, to look up and to respect and also unfortunately to obey without question. Put simply, Samoans are taught by their cultural system to NEED a leader. As a rule they do not seek to BE a leader.
Again as with all my writing this is not meant to be a put-down. It is more of an observation.
Leadership is still sought after here – to gain a Matai title is an honour and gives power in Samoan society, but it is done in the context of a relationship – back to a family, or an extended family, or to a village.
Palagi on the other hand generally WANT to be a leader, less commonly of their immediate family but of more anonymous, distant or disparate group such a company of employees, or a group cause such as sports, social, religious or philanthropic purposes.
The desire to help and to do something meaningful, is very strong in the modern Western world. There is a lot that can be done
in Samoa. It is not for Palagi to come here and tell Samoans what to do – more that Palagi come here to engage, and to understand. Understand both the Samoan people and their culture, but also the needs that are here and the ways to help wisely and
We see our role here to act as a leader, a conduit if you like, for both parties. People that others from both cultures can look up to and gain understanding and advice. Protection and understanding for the Palagi. Guidance and mentoring for the rural Samoan.
One of the things that we understand so well here is that being an achiever, a “winner”, requires us to treat others as if they too are achievers and winners. Sometimes that is hard, but while hard, helping build people from zero to hero brings enormous dividends long term.
Of course we all want to change the world for the better but we want to see measured and godly benefit to Samoa, and that requires strong, thoughtful, meaningful, intelligent leadership.
The trick is leadership with vision and purpose, wisdom and tenacity.
A winning combination, as we know – everyone loves a winner! Again, it is a biblical principle – especially if it comes from clear vision.
- Barter – exchange – collaborative commerce – whatever you want to call it, the principle we are
working with is that of exchanging and sharing the assets of two parties, for the benefit of both.
- It’s not about money. It’s about people; sharing a vision and building relationships.
- Use what we have in our hands (exercising faith), as instructed to do (obedience).
- We wish to use only the best available to us.
- Our Take Nothing Home policy means that we eliminate excessive personal gain.
- It is more blessed to give than to receive
- We encourage a Cross-Cultural Partnership, blending the best of two cultures
- We aim for Financial Equivalence whereby we attempt to level the playing field financially.
- We offer strong leadership through a clear vision