Today we feature a recap of last thursday’s Food For Though session on Joy Fm
Sometimes it takes a while for the significance of something to hit you. I have known and celebrated Mr Prince Amoabeng for being voted Ghana’s Most Respected CEO three times. But I must confess that the significance of that achievement hit me only this week as I read a book entitled, Living Naked written by Daniel Amuzu. The book talks about the wit and wisdom of Mr Amoabeng and I recommend it to every manager and every boss. But the thing that caught my eye was the possible reason Mr Amoabeng is the most respected CEO in Ghana.
UT Bank has 6 values and each value is given an icon. The values are: Ubuntu, Integrity, Stepping up to the plate, professionalism, Why Not and Respect. The icons for the core values are individuals whose life and achievements personify a particular value. Now for Respect, the staff and management of UT Bank choose its CEO, Amoabeng as the icon. This was not a matter of sucking up to the boss or fan-fool respect. The staff made the unanimous decision based on Mr Amoabeng’s value of respect. Mr Amoabeng takes issue with the statement that respect is earned. He believes that no one has to earn respect. He believes that we owe each other respect because we are human beings created in God’s image. No human being as the option of deciding whether he should respect someone or not. As far as Mr Amoabeng is concerned, you owe it a duty to respect everyone you deal with. Simple.
And he does not just preach respect; he lives it. He believes that he does not need to know you and what you are worth before he respects you. In his office, he attends to people in the order in which they arrived and not in the order of their relative importance or status in society. So that if you are a taxi driver and you went to see Mr Amoabeng with a minister of state and you got there before the minister of state, he will see you first before attending to the minister. He believes that the taxi driver and the minister deserve equal respect.
We know of CEOs who do not permit anyone to ride the lift with them. If they come to the lift, everyone has to get down so they alone can go up or down in it. We know of CEOs who do not permit anyone to take the stairs with them. If you meet them in the stairway, you are supposed to get back or stand aside for them to pass. This is the picture of the typical Ghanaian CEO. He sees himself as superior to his staff and creates a gap between himself and his staff.
But that is not the style of Mr Amoabeng. I once had an appointment with him for 8.30 in the morning. I got there just in time and I was told that he had just arrived. So I went to his office to wait for him. It took him a long time to come. When he finally showed up, he apologized for keeping me waiting and explained what had kept him so long. He said he had to go to every office to hug his staff.
“Hug your staff,” I asked.
“Yes, I hug every one of my staff every morning when I arrive for work. I go from floor to floor doing that. And I get into trouble if I omit anyone.”
In the book, Living Naked, Daniel Amuzu gives several instances of the respect Mr Amoabeng shows everyone. Amuzu writes that Mr Amoabeng takes his respect for others further to respecting their time. As far as Mr Amoabeng is concerned, if you don’t keep to time, you are disrespecting those whose time you are wasting. And since a person’s life is measured in time, when you waste someone’s time, you have robbed them of some of their life and you are guilty of reducing their life and so you are guilty of partial murder. That is just how seriously Mr Amoabeng takes respect.
You know the bible says we reap what we sow; that we receive when we give. Mr Amoabeng gives respect. And he receives respect. And for three times, he has been voted Ghana’s Most Respected CEO.
There are simple principles that have huge returns when we adhere to them. Many of us want to receive so much and yet we give so little. No wonder we never receive what we want. Many of us want to have great relationships. We want to receive love and attention and affection and yet we do not give these. And we complain and are bitter because love and attention are not coming our way. Well, pay attention to the principle. Give and you will receive. Indeed the full principle as taught by Jesus goes like this:
“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)
You cannot withhold goodwill from others and hope to receive goodwill yourself. You cannot disrespect people and not be disrespected yourself. You cannot be critical of others without being criticized. You cannot cheat without being cheated. It all comes back to you. Everything we give, comes back to us.