When you leave…leave the place better than you found it



When a leader, be it in the public or private sector voluntarily decides to step down or retire from their position of influence to pave way for new blood, it must be commended as this sets the tone for others to follow suit.


Such a decision sends the right signals, individuals are not greater than the countries, institutions or countries they are leading.


Lately Namibia is experiencing a number of leaders in both the private and public, stepping down.


His Excellency President Hifikepunye Pohamba announced he will be stepping down in line with the constitution.  Siseho Simasiku the CEO of the Electricity Board has joined the fray, while Johannes Gawanab of Old Mutual surprised the nation, he had begun clearing his desk well ahead of time.  Nilo Tapopi, the CEO of the City of Windhoek is also on his way out of the city affairs.


As announcements for retirements are going on, Festus Mogae the former Botswana president, reminded us that there is life and value when one leaves State House. At a recent Namibia Business School 2nd Founders and Alumni Gala Dinner, the former president received a rapturous applause from the crowd, as he unpacked the opportunities that Namibia and Botswana during the launch of the Kalahari Dialogue.


It goes without saying, Namibia and Botswana have a lot in common, and hence these opportunities will enhance economic growth, create employment and improve the quality of life for its citizens


As these leaders leave office, the question is, in what state did they find their offices? In our cover story of the October edition, Madam Pohamba mentioned her husband’s love for the people and country. This had been confirmed by a number of significant tangible developments which have taken place during President Pohamba’s term. The opposition which is hard to please, lauded him with praises for his leadership qualities during his last state of the nation address.


Siseho Simasiku, one of the humblest CEO’s Namibia has ever seen, has set a precedent at the ECB, creating the so called “big shoes” to fill for his predecessors. He gave character to the ECB, making it a darling of the SADC region.


The story of Johannes Gawanab is humbling, under his leadership, the profit contribution of Old Mutual Africa increased from N$128 m in 2006 to N$1b in 2013, with assets growing from N$22 b to N$64b over the same period.


Here is a man who spent over 166 days away from home on business, he had all the reasons to stay put and bask in his success but instead has opted for early retirement, after transforming Old Mutual into one of the top five companies in the country.


Tapopi can also look back with pride at some of the achievements during his tenure. The City Police initiative comes to mind, which has improved the City’s safety, despite its various challenges.


We may not be CEOs or even rise to the President’s level but what it means is in whatever role you are assigned, you too have a responsibility to leave your place better than the way you found it. You don’t need to wait for retirement to tick the boxes of your achievements but rather we can make it our objective to contribute to the betterment of our organisations and the nation.


Therefore, it is up to you to make that impact, you are the game changer, and you are the differentiator. Till next time, Happy reading! PF