Two Dozen Basic Management Principles (Pt. 3)

Chapter 2

Escape

 

“You’re going to see your Mom again.”

“What?” Lopez nearly shouted.

“Shh, not so loud,” one of his three teenage friends said. “You can’t tell anyone.”

Most of the boys had settled down for the night, although one or two were up walking around. “This is our secret, okay, Lopepe.” These three older boys – angels to Lopez – chose to take this six-year old boy with them when they planned an escape.

After everyone fell asleep, the group of four worked their way across the room. Once they reached the door, they stopped dead still. After what felt like an eternity, one nodded toward another. They cracked open the door. One of Lopez’ friends poked his head out of the door. The coast was clear. The guard who normally sat at the door had left his post. One after another, the four boys crawled out of the hut.

For the first time in three weeks, Lopez smelled fresh air. The four boys crawled toward a chain link fence. Everywhere around them, guards smoked cigarettes, talked, and laughed.

It took ten minutes to cover the distance from the hut to the chain link fence. Once they were at the fence, Lopez noticed a very small gap in the bottom of it. One of his friends crawled under the fence. Lopez couldn’t believe that the guards could not hear the clanking of the fence. Once all four were under the fence, they ran for their lives.

None of the boys wore shoes. Rocks cut into the soles of their feet. They kept running. Bushes suddenly appeared in front of them slapping them in the face. They kept running. Thorns tore their legs open. They kept running. They do not know how they could run so far, so fast, and so long. They did not run with their own strength but with strength from God.

Management Lesson #2 — Protect The Weak

In this day of lean staffs, it is easy to leave the weak behind. Yes, we can always fire the weaker team member and replace them with a stronger team member. Or, we can coach and mentor the weaker team member. What would have happened to Lopez had the three teenagers left the six-year old boy with the rebels? Their gift of including him in the escape was finding out that he was able to keep up with them! Why not see if we will similarly be surprised by the younger, weaker employee who we bring along for the ride.

The boys ran for three days, with little food or water. They rested in the middle of the day and ran largely at night. They valued caves, trees, and the rare oasis with muddy water.

Suddenly they came upon a tin-roofed building. A couple of trucks were parked next to it. Before they could escape, soldiers rushed towards them. They were caught! The questions the soldiers asked made no sense. They spoke in a language that the boys did not understand.

They had been arrested – not by Sudanese rebels or Sudanese soldiers. The whole time they thought they had been running towards their village, they had been running straight to Kenya. These soldiers were Kenyan border guards! And the soldiers knew who the boys were. They’d come to recognize the rail-thin build and the rags on their backs as distinguishing marks of boys escaping the civil war in Sudan.

Management Lesson #3 — Perseverance

It is easy to quit when the going gets tough. Lopez’ three day running odyssey is a picture of perseverance. Likewise, we as managers need to mimic this perseverance. We need to persevere when projects get difficult. We need to persevere when their are leadership changes. We need to persevere when there are personnel changes. We need to demonstrate that leadership is about putting the hand to the plow and finishing the job — no matter the challenges.

 

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