THE POWER OF PROCESS
In my part of the world, people build businesses for power and for sustenance, not for legacy or sustainability. One is for short-term survival while the other involves an enduring process of long-range planning and a trans-generational vision. If we are to grow as a nation and truly prosper as individuals, we must learn to respect and endure process. The difference between the baby and the man is not age, size or height. It is process. Maturity is not a state, it is a process. Whatever will grow must evolve. It is a law of nature. To try and circumvent process is to jump the protocol of creation. Creation took a process that took God some days before He finally declared that it was very good! You may get a certificate without seeing the four walls of a school. At Oluwole,(a place in Lagos, Nigeria notorious for forgery of documents) they would even ask you what exactly you want written on it. You may even get a job on the strength of the certificate but the truth will emerge when you cannot measure up to the level of responsibility attached to the professed qualification.
The difference between the developed and the developing world is process. No nation permanently prospers by selling only raw materials. Violence was not the most effective weapon of colonialism. It was the way we were taught to despise process by demeaning his own channels of growth and development through the wholesale merchandizing of our raw materials in exchange for the finished products of the colonial master. In order to take our eyes off our eternal dilemma, they gave us an educational system that only produces a workforce that sustains and even perfects the exploitation of raw material. As a corollary, the largest black nation on earth and one of the top ten producers of CRUDE oil globally cannot consistently boast a refinery that works all year round and she has to import fuel to run her economy! It’s easy to see why the West will not deliberately want process to work here. We sell oil to them at almost $100/barrel. They buy it, subject it to process and from that barrel they produce over 50 products like petrol, kerosene, aviation fuel, condensates, polymers, petroleum jelly, diesel, to mention a few! Then they turn round and sell all these products to us. Result? They take back from us multiples of what they paid us for the raw material. Transaction over, we are still indebted to them!
As a people, we are very comfortable with instant gratification and if our leaders have to steal more than what their children can use in 10 lifetimes and even if the rest of us are left to rot in poverty, so be it! Our impatience with process is the only reason why while the rest of the world is talking wealth creation, we are still talking poverty alleviation. What’s the difference? Poverty alleviation is a short-term palliative while wealth creation takes a wholistic, long-term sustainable approach to building capital. In his book The Mystery of Capital, Hernando de Soto contends that there is more wealth in Africa and the rest of the developing world than there is in the rest of the world. By his well-researched analysis, even a country like Haiti has absolutely no business being poor. So what is the problem? Inability to convert assets to capital!
True wealth is built over time. Be committed to process. Build for the long term. A business man friend of mine confided in me recently that the average time it takes for you to master the ropes and get out of survival mode in serious business is about seven years! Just because things are not working now does not mean they will not work. With time, your resilience will pay off and your consistency will be noticed and rewarded.
At the end of a packed-out seminar he was conducting, Kenneth Copeland was accosted by a lady who asked him for the secret of his overnight success. To which he replied, “That must have been the longest night of my life.” He told her how for 10 years he ran the programme speaking to near empty halls, renting a 1000-seater auditorium only to speak to about a dozen people, sometimes less! But he learnt and grew as he progressed, without one day thinking of quitting!… continued
Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!