Short Biographies of 3 Great Leaders & Principles for Success.

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This blog post is different. It is a simple analysis of 3 great leaders and the principles that helped them to succeed. I have not met them personally, so all my musings are made based on the literature that I have come across over the years. My next blog will focus on 3 female leaders and the principles, which have led to their success.

1. Strive Masiwiya

Strive Masiyiwa (b. in 1961), is a publisher of Zimbabwe’s Daily News, a paper critical of President Robert Mugabe, and the CEO of telecommunications group Econet Wireless International. He is a Zimbabwean national who lives in South Africa. Strive Masiyiwa certainly has an eye for a good deal. The electrical engineer who founded the Econet Wireless Group has made his name and money on a knack for a smart move and a quick decision.  He is probably best known as a kind of African David, a CEO who fought off the Goliath of government monopoly repression to take the mobile phone revolution to Zimbabwe in 1998. Since then he has expanded into or bid for telcos in Botswana, Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon, Malawi, Burundi, and Lesotho as well as taking on ventures in the UK and New Zealand. In 2002, he was crowned one of Time’s Global Influentials – one of 15 selected in a global poll from a list of more than 100 – for his potential as well as achievements as an entrepreneur.

2. Jim Collins

Jim Collins is a student and teacher of what makes great companies tick, and a Socratic advisor to leaders in the business and social sectors.  Having invested more than a quarter century in rigorous research, he has authored or coauthored six books that have sold in total more than 10 million copies worldwide. They include Good to Great, the #1 bestseller, which examines why some companies make the leap to superior results, along with its companion work Good to Great and the Social Sectors; the enduring classic, ‘Built to Last,’ which explores how some leaders build companies that remain visionary for generations; How the Mighty Fall, which delves into how once-great companies can self-destruct; and Great by Choice, which is about thriving in chaos—why some do, and others don’t.

3. Bill Hybels

Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., and chairman of the board for the Willow Creek Association. The bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Axiom, Holy Discontent, Just Walk Across the Room, The Volunteer Revolution, and Courageous Leadership. Hybels is known worldwide as an expert in training Christian leaders to transform individuals and their communities through the local church.

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The first law that made these men great is that they were all able to identify a need and reach out to meet the need. They took responsibility for their spheres of influence. Strive Masiyiwa realized that 70% of Africans had never heard a telephone ring. Masiyiwa a young engineer used his gifting and resources to extend the telecom services to South Africa in 1994.

The second law which worked in these leaders’ lives was the practice of patience and persistence. For example. In 1993, when Masiyiwa set out to establish Zimbabwe’s first independent mobile telecoms network, he encountered stiff opposition from the Zimbabwean government. Masiyiwa took the battle to court, and the case lingered for close to five years. It was a slow and long process, but Masiyiwa never gave in. His persistence paid off. By 1997, the court ruled in his favor and Masiyiwa was able to launch Econet wireless.

The third principle I see in these men is the need to work hard and stay focused. All these men identified above are successful in their spheres of influence. However, this success has come at a cost. Each of these men works hard and stays focused. From their examples; it is clear that success requires lots of hard work.

The fourth principle I see clearly in two of these men is the discipline of prayer. The leaders selected leaders spend time in prayer. God will do nothing except you pray, and you have to be clear what you want Strive Masiyiwa. While I  personally believe that God will do whatever He wants, I agree with the underlying principle of being clear about your requests. Bill Hybels has authored a number of classics such as, Too Busy Not to Pray and Becoming a Contagious Christian. Hybels is known worldwide as an expert in training Christian leaders to transform individuals and their communities through the local church. These leaders have started a number of community initiatives and written lots of interesting literature, based on biblical principles.

The fifth principle that is a common thread through the lives of these great men is their generosity. All these men have given generously to their communities. Masiyiwa is Zimbabwe’s biggest philanthropist along with his wife, Tsitsi, Masiyiwa is a co-founder of the Capernaum Trust, a Zimbabwe-registered privately funded Christian charity which sponsors the education of over 28,000 Zimbabwean orphans. Although these leaders are not perfect, they have invested time and resources in continuous learning and mentoring of others. The principles above, that led to their success, can be applied in our own lives today.

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