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Monday, November 4, 2013



The leadership crunch is the agony an organization goes through when it lacks the ability to realize its goals. A business can experience shocking failure even after a successful change of its top leaders. The leadership crunch is not about the lack of leaders. It is about the lack of leadership. Leadership is enabled by the people and process needed to achieve goals. Many leaders know what needs to be done, but not enough know how to do it. A business may have a clear purpose, but lack the structure to ensure that its goals are met. Though a business, under a new leader, may appear to be on the right track, it begins to stall when staff are expected to put the new plan into action, take on significant responsibility and work independently to realize results.  At this point, it becomes frustratingly clear that the business lacks the ability to meet customer expectations. This sends the business into a tailspin, downward performance spiral and, if unchecked, eventual crash. In short, a change of leaders does not change an organization.

On the surface, a business can have all the right leaders in the right offices, but lack the people and processes to get things done. Such a business can limp along for a long time. When the crunch comes, the public questions the integrity of the leader, but lack wisdom to identify the depth, root and cause of the problem. The popular solution is to change the top leaders in the hope that new leaders will provide the much-needed leadership. However, it is not hard to see that the leadership crunch will happen again unless systems, structure and suitable staff are developed to take on the vision and mission of the business. It takes time, effort and a well thought-out plan to create new organization leadership. Such a plan is needed whenever a business or environment changes state.

The economy and governance in Kenya has experienced fundamental change under the new constitution. There are no experts on the unfolding drama as the country, counties, courts and companies struggle to find their feet in the new reality. Many of the challenges business and leaders face in the coming days will have less to do with the leaders themselves than with the lack of development of leadership within their organizations. Those that do not have a well-defined leadership development plan stand little chance of survival, leave alone success, when the crunch comes.

Allan Bukusi



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