Monday, 16 June 2014


 My parents used to talk about a Bishop who used to say 'Do as I say, don't do as I do'.  

This Bishop was reputed to regularly and openly indulge in alcohol consumption and womanizing. He was a ' hard rocker' when it comes to partying and even though he died many years ago, he is still a reference when talks border on lack of integrity or insincerity.

I read recently about Mahatma Gandhi - the great Indian leader, who was once approached by a mother who wanted him to have a few words with her son about the perils of sugar.
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The woman was concerned that the boy was eating too much sugar and it was harming his health.
When the mother asked Gandhi to advice her son, his response was that she should bring him back in a month.
Obviously the woman was discouraged because of all the travel involved to see Gandhi and over what she felt should have been a simple answer to a simple request to support her parenting skills, but sensing Ghandi might have some profound nuggets of wisdom to impart on her child she agreed.

One month later she returned with her son and endured the long wait to see the sage.
When they eventually got to meet Gandhi, Ghandi tenderly held the boy's hands, looked into his eyes and said "young man you must stop eating sugar because it is harmful to your health".

The mother was chagrined by the simplicity of the sage's speech to her son. 
She had spent a month imagining Ghandi preparing a profound and elaborate speech for her son's benefit. 
This simple sentence, she felt, could have been uttered a month ago, why make her endure another long travel just to hear something anybody could have said to the boy???
She asked him why he had not simply said this to the boy a month earlier during her first visit.
Gandhi reply was, "Well, a month ago, I was still eating sugar, I needed to stop eating sugar before I can advice your son".

This is a very important lesson for anyone in leadership - National, instituitional, family etc. 

Don't expect from your followers values you are not ready to personally commit to.


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