High-grade brain and high-grade common sense.

The choice, at this critical crisis, isn’t that between a high-grade brain and high-grade common sense. Make no mistake, a high-grade brain does not mean high-grade common sense. They aren’t one and the same either!

Common sense is more common than high-grade brain. Common sense is the light that guides society. It’s the common language shared commonly by and understood better in society.

The world has been under the reign of high-grade brain – that has its merits – but with a dearth of high-grade common sense. The emphasis on high-grade brain, through the education system, has been done so much to the severe detriment of high-grade common sense.

The result is that too many high-grade brains are severely impaired in high-grade common sense. This may explain, in part, why too many specialised high-grade brains are robotic. Slightly deviated from their small areas of specialty, they’re discombobulated, many rendered kaput.

This crisis – COVID-19 pandemic, needs both – a synergistic demonstration of high-grade brain and high-grade common sense. This is not the time to choose one over the other. This is not the time to put emphasis on high-grade brain while ignoring the urgent need for applying and demonstrating high-grade common sense in all aspects of life.

While it’s said that common sense is not common, it’s at least far more common in society than high-grade brain.

The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, is as much a high-grade brain as it’s, not so much for a high-grade common sense but merely the application of [simple] common sense approaches to personal hygiene and consideration for others.

“Social Distancing” in the fight against COVID-19, is a challenge to many with little options.

“social distancing” is possible – a privilege – for those who can afford it but challenging to many who can’t. “social distancing” for many people- many of us- who mostly travel using public transport, on a daily basis, is nearly impossible to maintain. It’s simply not feasible, to say the least.

It’s, in fact, a joke! Except that it’s a dangerous joke, one with far more devastating consequences on both an individual and public level.

But on a more profound level, the underlying challenges to the practice of “social distancing” as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, speak deeply to the socioeconomic inequalities.

The COVID-19 pandemic is, as most crises of its nature do, exposing the world’s social and economic inequalities. It’s mainly those who usually have little contact, who have the means necessary to avoid mixing with the hoi polloi – the unwashed – who have no trouble keeping the much emphasised “social distancing” as a preventive measure.

They can afford to keep away from the public. They live in uncrowded high-end neighbourhoods with space, with little and easily controlled contact with the unwashed. They hardly, if ever, use public transport. There’s no doubt they won’t be getting anywhere near public transport networks during this crisis. They can afford the luxury or the requirements of working at home. This is a privilege many cannot afford.

The reality of the matter is, “social distancing” is not at all new. Social and economic distancing has long been around us. It has been and remains a way of life to people with the economic means to afford it. It’s these – such – people who are not struggling with “social distancing” in the current crisis, as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

Majority of people can’t afford the luxury, the privilege, of “social distancing” because they, forced by circumstances, still have to move so to afford a living. That means, they need means of travel, and the only such means available to them is public transport.

But there’s little “social distancing” in public transport. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to maintain. The risk of catching and/or spreading COVID-19 for many people without alternative means or modes of transportation to public transportation, is inevitable, possibly high too.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-52003076

https://www.echolive.ie/corknews/This-is-not-social-distancing-Drivers-and-passengers-call-for-plan-to-stop-spread-of-Covid-19-on-public-transport-4e679493-4292-4ab2-8573-8b10d0dd2d25-ds

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-trains-still-packed-as-commuters-fail-to-observe-social-distancing-11962213

COVID-19 at a glance – some effects.

Information pinching and the truth.

As is said of war, “the first casualty of war is Truth“. So it’s in any war-like crisis. The COVID-19 outbreak quickly became an epidemic. The response to that epidemic – the way it was initially handled, led to a crisis. Once in crisis mode, “information pinching” was, as is always the expected norm, the default position. It became the ‘natural‘ course of [re]action, in desperate attempts, presumably, to control the true nature of the extent of the crisis and subsequent effects.

In the course of “information pinching”, truth is told in bits and pieces. The likely consequence of this truth rationing in pieces for the purpose of calm and a semblance of peace, truth is eventually grossly distorted. Distorted truth becomes the casualty of distortion.

Whether the distortion is deliberate or not, it matters less, if at all. Therefore, in any war-like crisis, truth is as much at risk, if not the major enemy that must be dealt with urgently, and removed out of the way.

In most major crises, truth is treated as a major obstacle. Efforts are made to remove that obstacle by all means necessary and available. Nothing and no possibility, tactics, techniques and/or methods are spared.

In desperate attempts to manage the crisis due the COVID-19 epidemic, it’s quite likely that “information pinching” became the default norm – the practice- that truth suffered and possibly continues to suffer the same fate in and during this crisis as it does in war.

This might partially explain why the epidemic spread and has quickly grown from an epidemic into a pandemic. This is how disastrous “information pinching” – deliberate or not – especially in critical times such as the current crisis can be. It obfuscates and inevitably kills truth.

God is in intensive care

With the outbreak of COVID-19 and how quickly it has spread and grown into a major pandemic, the ever increasing death toll; people, out of desperation, have unprecedentedly turned to God for salvation.

This sudden massive increase not only in interest in God but mainly demand for quick help from God, hypothetically, has overwhelmed God into a crisis.

Consequently God has suffered a major breakdown and is on life support machine. But the life support machine is quickly running out of oxygen. What’s even more troubling is that there’s no [oxygen] replacement. Not only falling victim to COVID-19 and sent into intensive care, COVID-19 has been exposed God as pathetically ineffectual in crises.

Only the incurably affected by “COVID-God” are still hopelessly praying and supplicating to God for help – for redemption from the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating consequences.

Otherwise, it’s Goodbye God. From whence you came, you’re disgracefully sent back by COVID-19.

Globalisation is under attack.

Globalisation has been laid bare. While COVID-19 demonstrates – far more than the 2007-2009 financial crisis did – how globalised the world is, that what happens in rural China can quickly spread to European cities and beyond; it has also exposed the dark underbelly of globalisation. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that it’s relatively easy to control and/or mitigate effects of an economic and/or financial crisis than it is to control the spread of an outbreak of a novel virus such as COVID-19.

The return to national borders

The return to national borders and restrictions in border movements as a preventive mechanism, to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, is inevitably cultivating a growing sense – in fact, in some cases, a sharp surge, in nationalism.

Countries are, rightly so, closing their borders as prevention measures against the spread and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even countries within the same regional political and economic blocs, like the EU, have gone back to border restrictions.

What we learn – the lesson that the COVID-19 outbreak and its threat to world health provide us with – is that in critical matters of life and death, each will concern primarily with saving their own life. Countries – nations – are no different in this primal instinct.

In a crisis such as the current one, countries – nations – will and usually do act first, in self-interest and self-preservation. Collective regional interests are secondary, although regional cooperation may still be necessary.

Border restrictions and closures are merely an act – a worthy and human act – of self-interest and self-preservation in the face of danger of the COVID-19 magnitude and its devastating consequences.

We learn that globalisation works well, makes sense, only if it’s beneficial not detrimental, as it clearly seems to be the case with the outbreak of COVID-19.

A Kinyarwanda proverb which, unfortunately is not easily translatable into other languages as any attempt to do so would do serious injustice to it and greatly diminish its essence/message, aptly captures what’s happening with the COVID-19 pandemic and the world reaction.

Iyo amagara atewe hejuru, bur’umwe asama aye” A rough translation into English, at the risk of doing it the injustice mentioned earlier, would be: when [collective] life is tossed in air, each and everyone scrambles to salvage their own piece of life from shattering on the ground

COVID-19 and the myth of independent institutions.

The idea of “independent” institutions – free from meddling by powerful interests – anywhere in the world, let alone hapless Africa, is and remains such a wonderful ideal; beyond which, it’s such a joke. Sometimes an irritating joke!

The challenges in the handling and dissemination of information on the #COVID-19 outbreak worldwide, has exposed the myth of “independent” institutions.

Suddenly the #COVID-19 outbreak and its continued spread, has brought with it and/or, as a result of it, the outbreak of “information pinching” – which is being deliberately minimal with information and with its dissemination.

How information on the continued spread of #COVID-19 worldwide has and continues to be made available and reported on, mostly in “developing” parts of the world, is and will prove equally vital or fatal in dealing with it.

Proper information dissemination will help in the containment of further spreading of the #COVID-19 pandemic as well as treatment efforts.

Poor information dissemination or indeed, deliberate “information pinching“, falsely or not, confused for “information management“, on the part of those who otherwise have a responsibility to inform, to ensure they provide proper and adequate information, may exacerbate it and prove disastrous.

Information pinching” is not information management. “Information pinching” is being deliberately minimal with information and its dissemination. The unwillingness to provide adequate, factual and relevant information.

Deliberate “information pinching” is and can be as harmful as deliberately denying or blocking dissemination of vital, factual and relevant information, especially in times of crisis of the #COVID-19 magnitude.

Social Respect and Coronavirus (#COVID-19)

Every crisis in human history has, almost always, been and continues to be the case of a “Croesus“, i.e, a wealth of opportunities. It also does have the ability to expose, and more often, without fail, the good, the bad and the ugly of society.

If there’s one good and hard truth that the #Coronavirus crisis (outbreak) has brought about and out into the open; it is that #Coronavirus, as are many other outbreaks of its kind, is undoubtedly no respecter of persons.

#Coronavirus respects indiscriminately in its attacking ability. It can and will attack with no regard or exception to a person’s (its victims) social status and respect. That is, it unashamedly does not discriminate in who it attacks and will attack, at anytime. It is capable of attacking and it will attack anyone indiscriminately.

While we humans are conditioned through society’s purposely designed social conditioning and indoctrination mechanisms to discriminate in our respect of [to] other people, based on trivialities such as social positions, power, wealth, fame and glory, #Coronavirus, on the other hand, is no respecter of such things. It does not discriminate on who it can and will attack based on such socially discriminating factors.

If anything, #Coronavirus is daring the famous, the wealthy, especially the powerful with all their ostentatious display of power to bring it on, head-to-head, nose-to-nose, while exposing their cowardice.

None of the world’s powerful, the wealthy and famous is daring to take up the challenge. They are all, each and everyone, scurrying away, frightened to their bone, going into hibernation – self-quarantine – in the mistaken hope or worse, belief, that #COVID-19 will quietly disappear.

Perhaps #COVID-19 is nature’s smack in our faces, a harsh reminder no doubt, that irrespective of our social status, our stations in life, ultimately, we are all weak and equally vulnerable to its power. That if we disobey nature, it will strike back hard, often with a vengeance.

Africa is being sold – prostituted – to anyone who poses as a foreign “investor”.

You have so-called African “leaders” – a few people in positions of power and with power – prostituting their countries to the next pretentious so-called foreign “investor”, who is promised and given preferential treatment over the nationals and their business efforts. Who comes in and literally handed free resources such as free land and free labour (not accessible and granted to nationals except a few with umbilical connections to the powerful who have [the] unchallenged power to decide who to cut off from or connect to the umbilical cord of national resources) and given free rein yet comes in with nothing substantial to invest except to piggyback on all government resources and incentives such as grants and other privileges to make a killing and run away, without any social responsibility whatsoever.

The value and greatness of any so-called “great” companies and organisations and by extension, potential “investor“, in Africa (any African country), should not only be based on the stock price or “great” but certainly fuzzy promises of value creation made and hence laid out in their “investment” proposals submitted to African authorities. But, more importantly, on what value they create and have, hence, created in their home countries. How they treat their most valuable asset [resource] – the people who work for them and therefore the people who ultimately create [organisational] value. Particularly their welfare, how they live, their quality of life, which is essential [key ingredient] to any working life.

It makes no sense for a company or organisation to be highly regarded, highly rated as “great” and valued, while its workers – the very people who make it great and highly rated by creating its value – are struggling to make a living, to afford or keep up with the cost of living and can’t afford [to buy] decent homes or pay rent in fairly decent neighbourhoods and have to supplement their lives with extra jobs.

There’s no way such company or business organisation can honestly intend and/or claim to want to create value in (to) other (foreign) societies – in form of foreign investment – in Africa or anywhere else. It’s simply intent on extracting value – whatever value there’s to extract in foreign economies (markets) – and as fast and quick as possible, at the least possible costs, and exit (run out) as fast and quick as possible.

The language and talk of “creating value” is simply a snake oil salesman’s tactics. It’s a gimmick only the gullible and ignorant or the wilfully  corrupt, especially as is widely the case across many African countries, will fall for and accept.

The value and greatness of any company and/or organisation must therefore be substantially measured by and reflected [correlated with] in two fundamental aspects: a) the welfare and quality of life of its entire workforce (personnel); not merely and only its so-called “senior” management [executives] and how well spoken and articulate they are, at articulating the values and culture and greatness of the company and/or organisation without regard for [the plight of] those who are the real creators of its value, who make it great by [with] their hard work, who do the hard grind under such extreme working circumstances and low pay; (b) what value it has created within society – the environment in which it operates – and how it has positively contributed to the preservation [protection] of the environment and how it treats its workers and their welfare.

These should be part of the key components (elements) of any “investment” proposals made by potential foreign “investors” in Africa and they should constitute (comprise) the core criteria upon which African authorities judge and hence accept and allow foreign “investors” into African countries. Short of that, they should effectively not be accepted and allowed entry into African countries and given access to national resources.

We must not shy away from asking what makes any company or organisation that purports itself as “great”, great? What makes it great?

How does it create and/or where it ultimately derives its value? What is the [social and environmental] cost of such value and greatness?

There’s this prevalent and but nonetheless naive and frankly pathetic tendency to glorify the so-called “captains of capitalist industry” without asking whether or not those captains are captaining their industrial ship empty or full? And if their industrial ship is full, what is it full of?

A captain captaining an empty ship is no captain. He or she is a sole-ship cruiser on a leisure, if not entirely ego trip.

Similarly, a so-called “captain of industry” captaining an empty industrial ship is captain to none but himself/herself and own interests.

It’s similar to this equally pathetic tendency of glorifying a leader for their leadership prowess and achievements while completely ignoring the contributions of the leader’s followers – that is, the led – in that which and what makes the leader great and therefore, essentially and ultimately, for which and what the leader is being glorified.

No leader becomes great alone without the help of their followers and certainly no one can be a leader without [the] followers. A leader is as good or great as, and hence, reflects the quality of his or her followers.

Great leadership is (a manifestation/reflection of) great followership. A good or great leader is a good or great follower too.

Similarly, no single individual creates value alone, and no company or any organisation becomes good or great without the help and dedicated and selfless contributions of others within the company or organisation and society as a whole.

Leadership is overrated and followership is underrated.

Leadership is overrated and followership is underrated.

Lead or follow. Or get out of the way” Thomas Paine

What do all great leaders have in common? They all have willing followers.

A leader is only as good as his or her followers [followership] and more preferably, willing followers [followership].

If having willing followers [followership] is such an important factor to any leader and their leadership, in any environment, then the leader must earn followers [followership].

If the leader must earn followers [followership], what then must the leader do and/or how must the leader behave to earn the followers [followership]?

A leader must be credible and have credibility!

The great and best-selling author John C. Maxwell put it best, “credibility is a leader’s currency. With it, he or she is solvent; without it, he or she is bankrupt.”

We learn that credibility is not only the currency of leadership but also the foundation of leadership upon which any leader stands and is measured. If that foundation is weak, consequently, leadership is impaired and automatically weakened.

The question then becomes: what are the inputs to credibility?

It is said that “credibility is like a stock price. It rises and falls over time according to what the market…” – in this case, the people – the led and hence the assumed followers [followership] – “…determines it to be”

If a leader makes outstanding decisions, that enhances his or her credibility, that is, stock price goes up and vice versa.

If a leader makes outstanding interactions with people, even if they are difficult but crucial conversations, his or her credibility [stock price] goes up correspondingly.

Inversely, if a leader has difficulty and sucks in his or her interactions with people, the led – followers [followership] – that will have a corresponding downward effect on his or her credibility, that is, stock price.

The major inputs to credibility are; a) the quality of your [leader’s] decisions and; b) the quality of interaction with the people – those led, the followers [followership].

Credibility in and/or of a leader is what drives, motivates and influences people to turn into willing followers [followership]. This, therefore, means and requires that leaders develop a credibility bank.

NB: it is the followers [followership] that determine, not only the quality of a leader [leadership] but also whether or not the leader can, indeed, lead.

If you have any desire whatsoever to pursue a career in and around leadership, you must be highly conscious of the credibility factor. You must be conscious of the power of credibility and how it is vital for both leadership and, emphasis: willing followership, because that’s both and not only the currency but also the foundation of leadership.

Leaders should be humble, because leadership is teamwork (collaborative leadership) between the leader and the led – followers. Leaders should – as we all should – have the humility to accept the fact that we have to listen to other people with respect without regard to; and without necessarily discriminating in how we accord respect based on positions. This is leadership in its core essence.

There are also times where we’ve to understand how and what to do, what other people ask us to do, even if we don’t necessarily agree with their perspective, if it is in the [best] interest of many – the great good. This is about followership, particularly willing followership.

Leaders should also understand and have the humility to accept that they are part and parcel of the followers [followership]. Because without and in the absence of this core understanding, particularly on the part of leadership (leaders), that leadership and followership are both inseparably intertwined; logically leadership is rendered non-existent. Without followers there are no leaders.