From the Zimbabwe Independent, 5 May 2011:
Brett Chulu: Bible school business school: The art of giant-killing
THIS is the second instalment of our monthly series called Bible School Business School (BSBS). BSBS takes insights from the Bible and applies them to business, leadership and personal development. BSBS appears once at the beginning of each month.
Interestingly, the field of strategic management developed from adapting the principles of warfare to business. What’s startling is that the Bible, arguably the oldest known book, is populated with events brilliantly showcasing the application of the principles of strategic management.
David versus Goliath is an all-time famous Bible story found in 1 Samuel 17. This well-known story paints beautifully strategy development and execution.
David, the son of Jesse, being the last born, was the one sent to tend the family’s flock. The Philistines, a nation sworn to permanent enmity with the Israelites, regularly goaded Israelites into war. With Goliath, warrior supreme, a tower of human flesh that sent shivers down the spines of even the bravest of Israelite warriors, the Philistines were on a roll. Not until David came to give his warrior brothers food. The Philistines’ roll would soon turn into disarray. “And one little stone went phew! And the giant came tumbling down” rings one popular tune.
Today’s leaders can learn from slings, stones, shepherds and the staff about the anatomy of giant-killing.
A sling is a home-made weapon, certainly not meant to slay giants. It took a teenage boy to see what others could not see. That’s called intuition, the separator of exceptional leaders from good ones. Intuition is facts plus perception. David could do that because he spent much of his time in the laboratory of the wilderness, getting his hands dirty. Business leadership is not purely scientific, meaning decisions are not based on facts only. Sad to say, business schools teach leadership as a science. A sling could take down a giant. That’s resourcefulness. Military universities of the time did not have such unorthodox military tactics on the syllabus. David dumped the heavy armour that the king gave him. Think outside your business school notes. See beyond your certificate. Use your strengths. Someone else’s strength could be your weakness. Your business is struggling? Look for slings. They are everywhere. Be prepared to shed the baggage of “military armour”, the unchallenged ideas of yesteryear.
David capped his resourcefulness in style. As the human tower crumbled, David seized Goliath’s sword. With his own sword, Goliath’s head was cut. Slings effectively used bring swords.
Blue Ocean Strategists
Zimbabwe has an abundance of slingers — the modern day Davids of Zimbabwean business…
Just five little stones, a sling and skill kill a giant, news headlines screamed in ancient Middle East. The simple and unthinkable brings a breakthrough, cried another tabloid. Bellowed the CNN of the day: “sling mightier than the sword”. Giants often thrive on sophistry and complexity. In a show of arrogance and contempt, Goliath took off his helmet. That was an opportunity for David. He seized it fully and planted one little stone into contemptuous Goliath’s brow. Out of five little stones one did the job. That’s precision. Giant-killers make it their point to accomplish much with little. Sadly, many business giants have not learnt their lesson. IBM, the showcase of American business supremacy allowed an upstart like Steve Jobs to upstage it in the computer market (their initiative). Jobs is a believer in the doctrine of “little stones”. Apple, his company, is well known for thriving on simplicity. Here in Zimbabwe, some business giants are beginning to take off their helmets. Watch out. Only a boy named David with a little sling.