Leadership and Human Development

"The basic purpose of development is to enlarge people's choices. In principle, these choices can be infinite and can change over time. People often value achievements that do not show up at all, or not immediately, in income or growth figures: greater access to knowledge, better nutrition and health services, more secure livelihoods, security against crime and physical violence, satisfying leisure hours, political and cultural freedoms and sense of participation in community activities. The objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives." - Mahbub ul Haq

Links to the reference in UN Development Programs

I disagree with the quote and the tenets of human development as proposed through the UN Development Program. The basic purpose of development as I see it is to increase self-knowledge, so the need for more choices are eliminated per person, but differentiated among people.

I also disagree that "the objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives."

In my opinion, saying that the objective of development is a long, healthy and creative life is an emergent set of properties that extends from a flawed paradigm of unlimited physical resources and in large part is not possible.

The objective of development should in fact be an enabling environment, but not for the long, healthy and creative life...but for a life of knowing one's self. However long that is, however healthy it can be and however creative it is depends on things that we as of yet, have no control over.

One of the reasons that the efficacy of so many development programs is continuing to produce diminishing returns: poverty, children in poverty, child mortality and death from hunger is the current leadership paradigm is flawed.

Clearly, a system stemming from the quote/system described above by the UN is resource intensive in some ways and not enough in the other.

Here's my point: if I give you a fish, then I have to keep giving you fish, and you learn to come and collect your fish. What's more, you teach your children and those around you to come and get fish.

Look at the basics of most aid programs.

They are teaching people to learn to collect fish, that someone will take care of them, provide for them if they will do x, or y or z.  Now, I don't want to generalize here and throw the baby out with the bath water, there are a lot of good programs teaching fishing.

Yet, in general they, when they do, merely perpetuate the meritocracy that has arisen out of blank slate..."that if you will just work hard enough, do the right things, go to the right schools, etc., you'll have what everyone else has."

This entire paradigm of leadership is off the mark.

What has to shift in my view is the attention to self-knowlege--not self-improvement. Too many people today are confusing three things:

  • self-knowledge
  • self-improvement
  • self-awareness

They are not the same thing and they should not be necessarily inclusive because not all people will grow in self-awareness with self-knowledge and in most cases, people should NOT be working on self-improvement!

I realize this comes as a shock to most people because that's all the "blank slate" paradigm says and conditions. Find a gap and fix it.

On the contrary, if we focus our available resources in providing enabling systems that continuously create opportunity for self-knowledge, we need fewer choices for everyone, hence we conserve valuable physical resources.

Don't bring rural people into the 21st century, take the 21st century to them!

Don't cause children to learn every subject, let them focus on those they are good at...and you say, "what will this do to our children in the future when they need to understand how to balance their checkbook?"

Believe me folks, there are systems, which can balance your checkbook, you don't need to know math, and believe me, most of the people who THINK they know math, don't know it, in fact they know it well enough to not only be dangerous to themselves, but to everyone around them--to be easily influenced because of "thinking they know" by people who know they don't know.

Do you see the dangerous paradigm we've succumbed to in our educational systems?

If I didn't know math (or think I did), I'd find someone who did...and in 90% of the cases, I'd be better off for two reasons:

1. I went to an expert.

2. I didn't miss doing what I should do because I hate math (balancing my checkbook!)

The same applies in human development in a modern age.

We need post modern thinking...but more so than just a bunch of psycho-babble being proffered today, we need to re-innovate the way we see the world.

Poor people are poor because they don't have leadership...it's that simple, it's not because they don't have food!

You take any person without food and give them a leader and they'll find, grow, or come up with food.

The crises today is not hunger, the crisis today is leadership!

I have written extensively about coaching and all the items that I mentioned above. If you wish to read more intensively about any of the topics I mentioned, feel free to visit my personal website, or join us at Leadership University for coach training.


Until then,

Still time to reach my inner circle….

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