Vote for the leader with a strong team


“Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare” – Patrick Lencioni

From the above quote by one of the world’s bestselling authors and consultant in team development and organizational health, Patrick Lencioni, I dare to add to his emphasis on the importance of teamwork.

That the Ghanaian 2016 elections is not just about the flag bearer of the party but the strength of the team he will work with is not an understatement.

I recall the flak and public disdain the current Minister for Trade and Industry, Dr. Spio Garbrah, received in 2009, from loyalists of his party, the National Democratic Congress(NDC) when he described appointees of President Mills as ‘Team B Players”.

Many thought he made that statement out of bitterness over his exclusion from the ministerial list. I agreed with him perfectly and have since been pondering over the reality and relevance of his assertion.

Frankly, I have followed keenly the overt and covert actions of some of the people who made the ministerial list and have been left with no choice but to agree that Team B is truly at play.

As for the comportment and problem-solving abilities of some of them, the least said about it, the better.

The current crop of ministers aside pledging and living their loyalty to the elected president, have demonstrated a complete lack of competence in managing the responsibilities assigned to them.

Obviously there are some who have endeared themselves well in their official positions and have been very decent in their public discourse.

Names like Marrieta Brew Appiah Oppong, Attorney -General and Minister for Justice, Haruna Iddrisu, Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Henry Seidu Danaa, Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, Nii Osah Mills, Lands and Natural Resources, Armah Kofi Buah, Energy and Petroleum, Seth Terkper, Finance Minister, Joyce Bawa Mogtari, Deputy Minister for Transport, Dr. Victor Bampoe , Deputy Health Minister, John Abdulai Jinapor, Deputy Power Minister , Ato Sarpong, Deputy Communications Minister, just to mention a few.

These personalities by my score have distinguished themselves.

But where am I going with this? I just want to share some thoughts on some events in our political landscape in recent times. I wrote a piece calling on Ghanaian Youth to vote a third force political party into power and retire the traditional National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The leaders of the smaller parties always win the pre-election debates yet are unable to annex the presidential throne. So I ask, what informs the voters choice? They say Papa Kwesi Nduom comes across as the most capable, time-tested, visionary aspirant yet they swerve him at the polls and go back to their old love (what we call in the ga dialect, “lai momo”) , NDC or NPP.

Every Ghanaian of sound mind has the inalienable right to vote for the candidate of choice without having to explain the reason for the decision.

Some vote on political ideology and traditions, others on looks or personality of the candidate, others on ethnic lines, others on religious lines and even for others, it how much you give them in the run up to the election. It doesn’t matter how small. They will still vote for you.

All these reasons are the sole preserve of the individual. If only all these people can look just beyond their noses, their parochial interest and think first of our dear country, then maybe a competent leader who will put together a competent team will be voted for.

George Washington, first President of the United States of America is believed to be his country’s most influential leader because of his leadership style. He was able to appoint a strong team as members of his staff. Washington was well aware that he had been given the power to shape the American Presidency. “ I walk on untrodden ground” , was a frequent comment he made in the days leading up to his first inauguration.

George Washington’s original cabinet consisted of only four members. He held his first full cabinet meeting on February 25, 1793, with Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of War Henry Knox, and Attorney General Edmund Randolph. One prominent individual who did not attend cabinet meetings was Vice President John Adams.

In fact, Adams found his role as vice president to be so tedious that he once referred to it as “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.”

The cabinet was often filled with tension, particularly between Jefferson and Hamilton, over the issue of a national bank. Despite the acrimony, Jefferson believed that the tone had little impact on governance, explaining that “The pain was for Hamilton and myself, but the public experienced no inconvenience.”

Casting our minds back to the Ghanaian experience, can we have such experienced and strong-willed men appointed as ministers, who can stare the president in the face to disagree with him on any “misguided” policy directive? The likes of Hamilton do so solely for the convenience of the public.

I will one day vote for a presidential aspirant from any of the smaller political parties if only he could show me his competent lieutenants whoAnchor will manage my tax, the heritage our fore fathers shared their blood for and the enormous natural resources God has given us through mother earth.

On hindsight, I would not have voted for certain presidential candidates or their parliamentary counterparts. The human resource presented at both legislative and executive levels do not produce the deliverables we require of them.

Patrick Lencioni in his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a team, gives an overview of a model which best describes the attributes of a dysfunctional team.

I choose the opposite of his model to describe the behavior of a cohesive team – they trust one another, they engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas, they commit to decisions and plans of action, they hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans and they focus on the achievement of collective results.

Please mirror the current leadership against these traits in the light of recent happenings in our socio-politico-economic life as a country. Use the same mirror to view those who want to capture power from the incumbent.

May I enroll anyone who shares in the citizen’s right and power in electing the right leadership to manage our affairs, into this school of thought that wishes to tread the untrodden.

We will look beyond just the personalities and the parties they represent; we will look to the available and competent team that can efficiently and effectively manage our destiny as a people. Mr. Presidential Aspirant, please show me your TEAM!


By: Gabriel Nii Otu Ankrah