OMOLUWABI WORKSHOP • GÖTEBORG 19 MAJ 2008
WELCOME TO OMOLUWABI WORKSHOP!
We are living in a world of flux, complex and dynamic. The markets – for labour as
well as for commodities and services - are becoming increasingly global. What is
happening on the other side of the planet is affecting our daily lives. We are truly
experiencing another reality then what we did just a few decades ago.
Is the present “Western” leadership, apt to guide us into a sustainable future?
Or do we need more resilient approaches, better adapted to new circumstances, when
facing present and future challenges?
It would not be surprising if the most innovative leadership approaches will emerge
from parts of the world where leaders must confront and adapt to immense complexity on
a daily basis.
The Omoluwabi workshop, run by Adewale Ajadi and Simon McIntyre, is our first
workshop in a planned series, opening up for new perspectives on leadership.
In Africa there is an increased awareness of the need for management and institutional
systems that are more in balance with cultural roots and traditions. A number of new
management systems, such as African Renaissance, Ubuntu and Omoluwabi are
All have in common, that in their pursuit of new and innovative approaches to
facilitate the development of Africa, they experience a need of returning to the roots of
During centuries the Yoruba people have recognized character as the core of
evolution. While developing the Omoluwabi framework Adewale Ajadi together with his
team at the Equality Foundation, explored how this ancient concept may be used in
leadership practices of the 21st century.
Do the prevailing western leadership models and approaches provide the ultimate
solution for the future? Or is it time to open up for new dimensions?
When: 19th May, 13.00 – 16.30
Where: Företagarna, Erik Dahlbergsgatan 3, Gothenburg
Registration: latest 12th May to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cost: 350 SEK ex. VAT. Will be invoiced.
The workshop will be held in English. Welcome!!
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Unlike most everyday Americans who accept the simple narrative and strap line that they are Gods own country the Nigerian accepts their country is exceptional because they through their remarkable power of deduction can confirm it is the home of chaos and failure. I await my time on the balcony to find the depth of the lessons of my latest visit. There are little nuggets that emerge that in spite of the criticism of the space and place the average Nigeria does not feel it is necessary to risk innovation until he or she is in a fight for survival or expressly desperate situation. I have however been blessed on this visit to meet one person who I have known a while positioned to fully shift the paradigm and unlike me he has the money and influence to deliver. More on this sometime soon.
My favourite book in the world is the Prophet by Khahil Gibran. It speaks to me more deeply than text in the bible and I often wondered why. I realised during this visit why it does. It is like the Ifa Corpus , the many poems that are the platform of divinity for the Yoruba Geomancy. So in my cultural DNA there is already a programming to decipher wisdom encoded in poetry and to reveal the power of the layered insights that shape the universe. The 400+1 divinities that are of the right of which the Orisas are an express part and the 200+1 of the left which the Ajogun are expressly visible are coded for in the express pursuit of universal laws that shape the pull of gravity, the cycles of rain and the magnetism of the moon. In the mixing of the three layers of Yoruba holistic epistomology or meaning making which are :
Asha : Popular culture
Imo Ijinle: Deep intellectual knowledge and understanding
the modern Nigerian has reduced them to caricatures unfit of anything other than the adulteration that is Juju. An offensive stereotype of philosophy, chemistry, physics, biology and religion to a corruption of magic. So as this visit draws to a close, I give a shout out to those who do not allow the laziness of Nigerian exceptionalism to reduce the true magic of this space. To Wura Samba and friends at Bogobiri house music is the rythmn of life; the administration of Governor Fashola for their honest attempt at transformation; Brother Muhtar Bakare whose mission to capture the stories will not be compromised; Doctor who blew my mind completely with the mixture of intellect, savvy, power and vision, Ko ni re yin O!(You will not tire)
As I leave this land of possibilities for another stint in the matrix I ask you to take a shot at seeing anew with truly African eyes. I nearly forgot Asha whose beautiful music made morning tears an addition to any powerful day (Eye adaba funfun iwofa ire) (White pigeon servant of blessings), Alhaji Haruna Ishola (Late) 'Baba Ngani Agba' whose blues put me into communion with the depth of my soul. Now for time with my running mate and worthy adversary Omosimbo, Ibadi Laiye wa, Omoge adu ma dan, arin legbe bi eni egbe dun egbe o dun mi ola oluwa lo wa lara mi. Let the leave this as only those who know the resonance of the sun and the moon to decipher but not explain. I will be back for more.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Human beings have infinite capacity for self justification. Evil we exhibit is usually so banal cemented into conventional wisdom by obsession with reason and disdain for passion. In fact fear for it. British are a people who pride themselves with a detached calmness and a stiff upper lip. Nigerians are quite an explosive and passionate in their expressions. The fear and irrational stereotype of angry black people whether Reverend Wright or Ayo Omotade or even Mr Bell who got shot in NY on his stag night must have been a justification for the crew of the BA flight to Lagos. Well here is more about British Airways a truly poor and disgraceful organisation.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Adewale Ajadi British Council :African Science Cafe Catalyst and Coagulants of Change 04/02/2008
CATALYSTS AND COAGULANTS OF CHANGE
Miles Davis was one of the greatest trumpeters and Jazz musicians the world has ever known. In fact he recorded the most successful and top selling jazz album ever called ‘ Kind of Blue’. This album was recorded in mostly one take with a cast of characters who were diverse and contradictory including pitting his regular pianist against another one in order that there would be competition. It was also one of the earliest shift of jazz to African based tonal music using George Russell’s theory. Amidst all of these was Miles pulling together the many dimensions of the complex matrix and dynamics to create something so ﬂuent and exquisite.
Dr Martin Luther King arrived in Selma Alabama to support and encourage the bus boycott that had emerged out of Rosa Parks refusal to go to the back of a segregated bus. He used his approach of non-violent confrontation to raise the moral difference between the victims of Jim Crow Laws and the perpetrators of racism. It not only captured the imagination of the broader American population but it also accelerated the enactment of desegregation laws across the USA.
Both stories are not the same in magnitude they are also different in the process that created the desired change. In our conversation here we are raiding the ‘library’ of sciences for metaphors that capture complex human dynamics. In the process we are moving away from a tradition of using the metaphor of machines that breaks things down into component parts. We are replacing it within the metaphor of natural phenomenon that is holistic and capable of capturing the interconnection as well as the evolution of things. Essentially we explore how we engage in a process of transforming any arrangement that we are part of as either a catalyst or coagulant. Without going to much into depth people are generally self organising i.e they naturally seek order and patterns. The real challenge is how do we productively or constructively intervene in this process to either fast track their efforts or re-orientate their interaction to a greater purpose.
A catalyst agent or facilitator is especially powerful where the ingredients are in place. The people are already signed up for a change because the reality they have, makes the status quo untenable to them. They also have an idea of what alternative they prefer for themselves. They might not have the process of change thought out or the passion to make things happen plugged so that their energy is regularly replenished. A catalyst makes the process more efﬁcient towards the ultimate change goal. To be an effective catalyst an agent or facilitator should have the capacity , competence and attitude to:
1) Understand the dynamics or chemistry of the group that you are intervening with or trying to facilitate. This means that you understand the different roles and relations that underpin the approach of the group.
2) Have questions that helps the group to deepen their insight into what, why and how of the change they are engaged in so that their choices connects with their personal motivation rekindling their passion and aligned enthusiasm for transformation.
3)Have data and information that increases their foresight . Especially opening up dialogue about pattern recognition on trends as well as past habits.
4) Empower effective and timely decision making so that their choices addresses challenges in prompt and deﬁnetive ways.
5) Maintain momentum through the use of an holding space in which focus is maintained on the root causes rather than the symptoms.
6)Maintain constructive discomfort so that the pressure to reform is not replaced by complacency.
An effective coagulant agent or facilitator is quite a different space completely to the catalyst. The
challenge here is both self evolution as well as intervening in a system to transform it. It often means
that unlike the catalyst where there is a common purpose here there is most likely a disparate set of
interest and constituencies who are far more in conﬂict and competition rather than co-operation. It is the coagulants own commitment and vision that inspires the bonding and transformative result
which will be delivered with ﬁngerprints and elbow grease. To be effective the Coagulant has to
have the following competency, capacity and attitude:
1) A conscious incompetence or vulnerability about the limitation of what they know compared to what they do not know. This opens the mind to the world of possibilities. It is no accident that this is the ﬁrst element in the Omoluwabi , character evolution model which can be seen at http:// web.mac.com/omoluwabi/.
2) A proper understanding of the hungers and drivers that fuel their passion for transformation, their area of focus and the process that they choose to make things happen. This an area where most coagulants get tripped up. If you are not familiar with your own hungers others will expose them to the detriment of the change you seek. It is critical to have the discipline to engage the most productive aspects of these at any given time.
3) Understanding of the context is critical especially what the environmental drivers e.g the politics, sociology , economics of the issue.
4) Building the coalition especially understanding the difference s between allies and conﬁdants. It is quite dangerous to have a conﬁdant within the coalition you build for change. the turbulence of the process is too much to make anyone so loyal they are asked to betray their own interest.
5) Facilitate original thinking by disrupting conventional wisdom. It often means being unpopular or taking a contrary stance.
6) Use scale to see the difference in dynamics of individual or constituent parts and the whole process. In short be able to see the woods from the forest, they are not the same things nor are they sending the same message. It allows you to harvest a vision that emerges from all the interactions and dialogue with the credibility that it is not exclusively yours.
7)Inspire others about the power of the vision to respond to intractable problems whilst being open to the wisdom of the multitudes to edit and even fundamentally change it in parts. The dialogue here is shaped by your own capacity to recognise when the essence of your commitment is under threat which means you exercise your authority as opposed to when your ego is being bruised.
8) Protect the sceptics from true believers because just like the in the oyster it takes an irritant and heat to turn grit into a gleaming pearl.
9) Orchestrate the dynamic equilibrium between competition and co-operation to ensure transformative work gets done.
10) It is not about you personally so ensure there is enough distance between your role and yourself to take feedback about how it is playing.
11)Know when your role becomes redundant and adapt accordingly
Many of these thoughts are shaped out of my education and reading of Dr R Heifetz on Leadership especially his book Leadership on the line ; also by my education and reading of the work of Professor Yaneer Bar-yam ; in my own 12 year practice as a leadership educator and form a cornerstone of my yet to be published work on Omoluwabi organising system.
Posted by Onibudo at 5:47 am
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The facts are emerging slowly after the Nigerian Newspapers have gone to town alleging corruption in the Obasanjo regime. Here is a very credible response by one of the companies who have been tarred with Corruption tag in this hysterical probe Obasanjo climate. I think facts should be fully revealed before people jump to conclusion. $16 billion deserves a proper and competent review , the behaviour of former members of the Obasanjo administration before the Senate Committee reviewing the spending only added fuel to fire. To my friend and debate partner Toye let all the facts come out.
Posted by Onibudo at 6:32 am
Let me quickly wax lyrical on a few things:
Friday, April 18, 2008
'Ni Owe, Ni Owe ni a lu ilu Agidigbo. Ologbon ni O ma jo, Omoro ni mo'. Translation from Yoruba, 'the drum of Agidigbo is beaten in proverbs. It is the wise that dance to it and the intellectual that understand'.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
There is a great report by Mamadou Dia called Africa's Management in 1990s and Beyond 'Reconciling Indigenous and Transplanted Institutions' for the World Bank. It is one of those seminal pieces of work that captures a powerful dynamic but imprisoned by a sponsoring institution which is incapable of grasping its transformative qualities so it is mothballed. Its forward was very revealing in its purpose saying " The overarching theme of the research is that the institutional crisis affecting economic management in Africa is a crisis of structural disconnect between formal institutions transplanted from outside and indigenous institutions born of traditional African culture."
Posted by Onibudo at 12:31 pm
Monday, April 07, 2008
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
I am in Lagos, sweating, smelling and generally full of life. No bills through the front door, no treadmill existence (all measurements no outcomes) , no electricity but just sheer life. Loads to do . I still need to post the deconstruction of the Obama Speech even though I did an Omoluwabi podcast. It will be posted shortly on the Podbean website. I have just completed a meeting where I have been dropped into giving a speech tomorrow by a group of young men. They are putting together an African Under 30 entrepreneurial Award. Their website is worth your visit at www.top30under30.com. The are truly worth the time.
Quick aside is why are people hating on the Chinese so much. I know it is fashionable to be down with the Dalai Lama but people get a grip eh! I frankly blame the Chinese leadership for what were they thinking going for hosting the Olympics? People's addiction to Western approval and standards also affect the Chinese? Na wa O.
Got to rush and find the other side of Lagos before the traffic madness starts however here is quote attributed to Adegoke Adelabu, if accurate shows how truly special he was.
“I am a deliberate egoist. I do not regret it. I do not apologise for it. I am an artist. The artist has nothing worthwhile to offer you besides glimpses of his inner self. My philosophy is that the world would be much better and happier if we would only dare to be ourselves completely, instead of trying to be faded copies of other unknown and misunderstood mythical heroes."
Authenticity Rocks !
Posted by Onibudo at 1:02 pm