In the South African political sphere, nothing seems more important to me than the catalyst referred to as political will. I am not a political commentator and do not want to become one, I do observe and I have taken note when inaction is the result of a perceived lack of will.
One cause of lack of will, is division
Division in a team can result from having sides which disagree, especially when each side has equal weighting. Majority rule is one major powerhouse but when the majority has their own internal divisions, their will is compromised. The best example for me was when everyone in the country believed that Zuma must fall – the ANC, however, behaved in a way as if we were crazy to think this.
Then there is the question of the economy, violence in general, drugs and the way people drive. My observation is that things seem to be getting worse and nobody seems to be wanting to take the tough decisions and implement them. The political commentators make mention of internal divides – how one half of the governing party does not support the decision and what they will do if the decision is made.
So what is will?
As I try to make sense of it, I’m reminded as to how we use the word – willpower, free-will, willing, last will and testament, as you will, at will, the will to survive, what you will, an iron will and against one’s will.
For the purposes of this blog, I found the following definition of will:
“the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action.”
From the above definition, we can see that will is the starting point – no will, no decision, no action initiated.
As the world contemplates the way forward it is clear to me that unless there is the will, there might be no way forward that comes to light. While there is any form of in-fighting, the will, shall be compromised.
Do I have the will to accept lockdown?
Do I have the will to adapt?
Do I still view my will as being free?
Do I believe that the power has been taken from my will?
Have I started to will something new, some different, something more relevant?
Will implies open. It requires zero impediment. It should always be applied mindfully.
Develop an ‘I will’ attitude
Many people believe that it is important to develop an ‘I can’ attitude. I know many people that have an ‘I can’ attitude and still do not take action. Cultivating an ‘I will’ attitude may be better than an ‘I can’ attitude as, returning to the definition above, will introduce a decision and action.
We must first develop the will – the intent – the desire – the energy – the focus. Decisions need to be made. An actual decision that goes beyond the thoughts, discussions, debates, disagreements, doubts, fears and constraints.
Will starts at the level of the individual
Every time we move from the individual to the many, will needs to be aligned. The will of the married couple, the will of the family, the will of the team, the will of the nation and the will of the earth’s population.
Considering the names of the parties in our political landscape – we find words like National, Alliance, Freedom, Movement, Cope, People’s Organisation, Green, Good, Peace, Justice and United. Their names say similar things but their names are the result of segmentation. Until there is a will to work together South Africa may never find the best way forward.
Our blogs are not normally intended for political leaders, as we work more in the business space. Politics is, unfortunately, part of business life too. We create political divides within our teams when we give internal names to parts of the organisation. Names like Sales, Development, Customer Care, Account Management, Finance, Admin, Human Capital Development have a nasty way of resulting in different agendas forming. Unity is strength, silos weaken and divides result in internal competition.
All situations benefit from a unified effort
When a situation like coping with the Corona virus requires a unified effort, we should remember all situations benefit from a unified effort. Everyone working together for education, healthcare, water, power, rail services, safety, security, economic wellbeing, food security and the soul of the nation. In business, everything requires a unified team effort too. There cannot be success when different agendas pull in various directions.
At home, Caroline and I are going to spend time ensuring that we are willing the same things. That we are on the same page when it comes to priorities. We are going to ensure that our vision for our future is aligned. We are going to make joint decisions and we are going to check that the will to succeed is present. This may sound over the top but we are avoiding the risk of an underlying apathy, an underlying commitment gap and an underlying mismatch, that we know all too well will lead to nothing.
Beware of personal agendas
Please be on the look-out for the moments when personal agendas come to the fore with our response to COVID-19. When political point gaining becomes more important than the good of the whole. Watch and learn and then reflect on what is happening in your own sphere of influence.
Just because people are older does not mean they behave like adults. That childlike response “I don’t want to” may not be heard, but if it is there, will is absent.