Stop being a Ghanaian

IMG_2408.jpg

“Stop being a Ghanaian, yes, Stop being a Ghanaian”. Hold on to that thought!

Workshed had the rare privilege of playing host to renowned playwright Uncle Ebo Whyte at our maiden Strategic Leadership and Empowerment Series themed ‘Being the Difference’. This series is aimed at empowering young professionals and entrepreneurs who are spread across vital sectors of the economy.

Uncle Ebo, as he is affectionately called by many, kicked off his presentation by building on the prelude, which had participants sharing their views on the state of leadership in Ghana. He started off by citing the ‘proverbial wish’ of Ghanaians moving to become the New Americans, and Americans becoming the New Ghanaians. There was a general consensus by the audience that if the New Ghanaians were given a few years to till the land, it won’t be long before the New Americans start applying for visas to move to what was once their land. At this point, we all saw that the fault was not with the land, the land that provided minerals, food and weather plusher than any other. Rather, the problem was with the people. The clarion call therefore was stated, “Stop being Ghanaians”.

Uncle Ebo suggested that there is no country as blessed as Ghana, and yet there is no country as poor as we are. The Ghanaian will start a business selling eggs from as high as ten crates a day and drop in sales as low as two crates a day, the Ghanaian sets up shop and as soon as it begins to flourish starts an acquisition spree. The Ghanaian follows angrily empty patriotism, the Ghanaian loves making an impression, the Ghanaian makes impulse decisions based on what they see a friend do- Yes! That’s the Ghanaian. There is enough evidence to show that a paradigm shift in thinking and leadership is no longer a luxury we should wish for but a non-negotiable necessity for our progress as a nation.

Uncle Ebo used Ghana’s success in individual sports, the rise of giants like an Azumah Nelson or Asamoah Gyan over team sports as a typical example of how we focus on the spotlight instead of working for the collective good. Team work and strong work ethics, he says, will make us exceptional business people and eventually, customers will feed off this energy by buying more, engaging us more often and ultimately recommending us to others.

Continuing softly, so his audience did not suffer the weight of the topic and premise, he went on to speak about how undoing these traits will make us better people. He shared amazing lessons on how to treat customers well and grow your business by doing so. An assertion everyone would remember vividly was his description of faithfulness, loyalty and honesty as currencies in doing business. The latter, in Uncle Ebo’s own words, almost cost him his job but eventually turned around to be what would bring him lot more valuable customers.

In conclusion, he went to say that hard work does not kill. To the entrepreneur, weddings, funerals, social activities must die. If you are running a business, you cannot live a normal life. For young leaders seeking to build businesses that will transform lives and nations, we have to dream big and walk humbly.

By: Isaac Quainoo (Sikasem Africa)