Saturday, December 6, 2008

"What's the use of Steering?"

A strange question that some might not understand. Steering is the so-called 'leadership committee' in the Boy's Brigade Primers. But in a way this question is relevant to us all - just change the words 'Steering' to 'Manager', 'President', 'CEO'.

Many of us nowadays, me included, seem to walk around with the concept that all the work in the company is done by the managers. By the IT Experts, by the salesmen, by the custodians and maintanance men. So what the, are the point of the big bosses? If the organs run won't the business grow?

What if the heart still functions while the brain is dead?

It is a redundant topic I suppose. All of us know this. Yet how many of us truely act on it? I once thought that the world had too many leaders. I now know this is false. The world has too many sheep thinking to be leaders. The shepherds are now all lost.

Humans have always been creatures of habit. Patterns, logic and order. We establish rules and fixed methods for accomplishing things, for the sake of efficiency, for the sake of economy. And now I believe, for the sake of our sanity.

How many of us can truely, truely say we live spontaneously, through our lives? Even while the greatest of comedians and stage actors laugh with the audience on stage back home they have a favourite chair or sofa that they sit in every evening to relax, worn out from a good day's work. Perhaps its only my mentality, but when I analyze it, when I plumb the depths of my brain, and then compare it with the actions and behavior of the world around me I find the only conclusions I can make is this:

We are all followers.

Some of us claim to have vision. When asked about it they say: Oh, I want to make my first million by the time I'm 25. Others look to becoming CEOs, scientists, great writers. Yet how many of us have a concrete plan, a long-term step process - a path as to the goal?

Its useless saying you want to get to the port if you do not even have a map.

Back to the original question. Steering Committee is supposed to be the unifying committee of the Boys Brigade 12th(I) Company. It is supposed to be the Seer, the old Soothsayer that sits in its hut recieving visions of the future from the Officers and sometimes CE Committee. Then we find the Heroes (i.e. chairmen of the respective committees) and send them on a Quest.

But are we really doing something like that?

Steering now, simply organises and plans. We sort out a schedule, and say "on friday this is the time table". Which, while being a definate duty and neccessity, seems rather...lacking. It is like the soothsayer from earlier suddenly overseeing the runnings of the village. We have village elders and matrons for that. So what can the Soothsayer do?

Believe. That's what.

The role of Leaders, of Kings and Generals, has never been to carry out the tasks. They can do so to inspire, they can do so to push - but these are the facilitators, the sub-leaders, the link between the future and the present. For the leaders, they are the future, they have to be. The sub-leaders cannot concentrate on the men and their orders at the same time (though there exist a precious few who can). No, it is the leaders who must be the "lazy bastard" that gives the order to charge. Because if he doesn't, then who will?

Who is willing to take responsibility for the lives of a hundred men? A hundred employees, soliders, farmers, villagers.

A hundred BB Boys?

Administrators are what we are now. What most of us believe to be leadership. Create a plan, carry it out. That is simply processing. It is stupid, its idealistic, but thats what them leaders are for. A central nerve, someone to whom all the orders go, all the information is fed, so that the whole system can function as a whole. And because of this, there is the risk, the horrible risk of losing sight of the source of all this information, and forgetting, just for a moment, just who you are responsible for. Throwing away, sometimes for good, responsibility altogether. And that's what makes a good leader fall.

We live in fear of this. We keep saying: we must not forget the little guy, the commoner on the street. And this is true. We cannot ignore them. But we cannot glorify them either. AS leaders, as someone appointed to the position, we cannot simply look at the day-by-day processes and crack our skulls over it. We have to...create. We have to explore. And we have to take the risks, and absorb the responsibility when we do explore. And by exploring, we find success - but at what cost? This Dilenma, this situation, is the painful question I believe many leaders, true leaders, are often forced to ask: what is the price for our success?

The key word here is 'our'. And the moment the leader forgets that, he is a shepherd no more.

Always remember that Butchers keep sheep and goats as well.