We have all heard “actions speak louder than words”, but far too often people are quick to tell others what they should do rather than leading by example. The prompt for this came from a series of meetings I have had the good (?) fortune to participate in. The group is made up of a coalition of participants, each with their own agendas, their own marching orders and their own allegiances. I am fortunate enough to be one of the neutral party and have used the phrase, “I have no dog in this fight” almost daily. All told there are three factions plus my neutral team.
For the purposes of this post, I will refer to the factions as Russia, China and India with our neutral party being, of course, Switzerland. As background, our team from India is polite, stands their ground and has delivered meaningful, quality contributions to the joint effort, including appropriate Colin vestments. Our Chinese team has largely stood independent of the other groups, although they have dictated requirements, built a few things that are marginally shared and always to their benefit, and mainly tried to draw a firm line and force others to respect it. Our Russian team is rude and abrasive in confrontations, will manipulate others, deceive when deemed necessary and lives on their past glory, while claiming victim status and being continuously aggrieved. They have not delivered any products to date and consider any view not aligned with theirs to be seditious and intolerable. The Swiss team brings money and execution oversight to the overall program.
This coalition has a management structure where one member is the team lead and is technically represents the entire group as part of the larger management group who we will call the executive council. The executive council is made up of three key members of the Swiss leadership and a single leader from each of the member countries. The executive council is responsible for oversight.
With that backdrop, India’s lead has recently retired due to some medical issues and has been replaced. He is not only a good team member, but, more importantly, a good man. He never swore, was always open and encouraging and stood firm for what he believed to be right for the program. He always sought to be a peacemaker and constantly looked for ways to bring the team together. He was soft-spoken, which led many to view him, mistakenly as weak. His replacement is, in many ways, just like him, just not as experienced in the political arena.
The team lead is from our Russian group, and he, along with his deputy, have schemed and lied to undercut the Indian faction, because they view them as a threat. They are verbally abusive to the retiring and new Indian leadership, they have attempted to get them fired, and have manipulated the budget to try to minimize the Indian influence. As with the Indian delegation, the Russian members mirror their leadership.
The program has also reached a crisis point, the lack of progress by the Russian and to some extent the Chinese teams have led to being drastically over budget and behind schedule. In keeping with the victimization culture, the team leader has continually blamed both the Executive Council and external factors for these issues and have now determined to place the blame squarely on the outgoing Indian leadership. Additionally, they have decided to actively attack the new Indian lead, which has caused much angst and churn within the Indian delegation.
Fortunately, the story doesn’t end there. Unbeknownst to our Russian teammates, the upcoming day of reckoning, which they believe will cement their hold, is to be the day of their undoing. The Executive Council, which they have tried to manipulate has seen through their actions. They know the quality and character of both the outgoing and incoming Indian leads, and they know the quality and character of The Russian leads, and they have decided that it is time to solve the team issues once and for all.
It kind of reminds me of the story of Esther in the Bible, where the evil Haman manipulated the king in an attempt to destroy his righteous enemy, Mordecai. In that instance, Haman was hanged on the very gallows, upon which he intended to hang Mordecai. While these circumstances are not as severe, the similarities are strong. The reason both Mordecai and our Indian leaders prevail is because of the examples they set in how they live and act, not in what they say. Our Russian leaders say similar things, but their actions and accomplishments loudly expose their true nature, which leads to their destruction.
In each of our lives we will be confronted with adversaries seeking to destroy us if we resolve to be that good example. There is no shortage of people who will seek to undermine those who dare to do their best and do the right thing over the expedient thing. There will those who despise you and lied about you, especially if you live according to God’s will. However, truth will ultimately prevail, right will win out in the long run and you will be vindicated…it may just take awhile longer than a your want.
Paul, writing to the Galatians said, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Have a great day today and be the example.