Archive | September 11, 2012

9/11 Legacy – A day that changed the world

Defining moment

The world today is a far different place than the one before the fateful morning of 11 September 2001.

Whether the world has become a better and safer place remains an open question and it a question over which opinions differ and differ strongly.

There can be no doubt that what happened on 11 September 2001 was a defining moment in history. The visuals of two planes crashing into the Twin Towers and another into the Pentagon, the symbol of ultimate power, will stay etched into the memory of the people who saw it first hand or followed the drama unfolding on TV.

Much that has happened over the past 11 years in hot spots around the globe can be traced back to that eventful day.

Intriguing observation

One perceptive analyst made the intriguing observation that horrendous as it was, the cruel murder of over 2000 civilians after the second of the towers collapsed was not the only major crime of that day. It also initiated a war of retaliation and revenge with consequences that will still be felt for years to come.

On the evening of 11 September 2001, President George W. Bush declared a global war on terror when he told the American nation that “we will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbour them.”

Originally justified to hunt down those who ordered and were involved in planning the  murder of thousands of innocent people– many not American –  the war on terror has become a terror war.

The cost to Africa

The killing of Osama bin Laden may have quenched the American desire for revenge, but there is the prospect that it may further radicalise Islamic fundamentalists to continue bin Laden’s mission. The evidence is there for all to see that bin Laden’s “crusade” did not die with him. Al-Qaeda might have lost their charismatic leader but his legacy lives on and has found acceptance in parts of Africa.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al-Shabaab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria and Ansar Dine in Mali are all to a more or lesser degree franchises of al-Qaeda and primed to further bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s ideals in Africa.

This in turn has attracted US interest and Africa is firmly in the crosshairs of those in charge of the global war on terror. General Carter Ham, commanding officer of Africom, the US regional military command for Africa, does not mince his words; “Countering the threats posed by al-Qaeda affiliates in  Africa remains my number one priority.”

Africa can but hope that something similar never happens again.

Garth Cilliers  (Leadership Intelligence Bulletin)



When we think about “success,” we often think about rising to positions of responsibility, prominence, and financial reward. And we often attribute that kind of success to things like ambition, perseverance, and expertise.

But success is about a lot more than making the most of your intellect, talents, and creativity. It’s also about building strong, lasting relationships—personal and professional.

Relationships that yield a treasure trove of memories and experiences are rewarding in and of themselves. Learning how to build and foster lasting relationships will lead you toward your personal and professional bests. Whether you’re still working your way up the ladder or already sitting in the catbird seat, there are three (3) sure-fire ways to help build relationships at work and home.

First, listen. Yes, it’s a total cliché, but it’s true. Listen to your co-workers. Listen to those who report to you. Listen to your managers. Listen to your kids. Listen to your parents. Perhaps especially when—they disagree with you. No matter how old you are or how experienced you think you are. Why? Because you’re bound to learn something. After all, every person on earth has lived through a set of unique experiences you may never have. Even if you still disagree afterward, you’ll learn something about them, about you, about work relationships. In the end, you’ll earn (or retain) people’s respect—and their willingness to follow the direction the group decides to take.

Second, the crucial counterpart to listening is honesty. Everyone believes honesty is “the best policy,” but sometimes we throw that belief out the window when we think it will lead to hurt feelings or awkwardness. This inevitably ensures that problems repeat themselves. The trick is to learn how to be completely honest while being discreet and diplomatic. This requires real forethought about what you say.

Would you want someone to approach you about a problem? Find a personal hero in the art of sensitive, effective communication. When you get the words and delivery right, what could’ve been a headache turns into a profound learning experience that could change a co-worker’s life and career forever.

Third, none of this action will do any good if you don’t keep your word. When you say you’ve got some crucial part of the project covered, give it your all because you know the team is depending on you. When you promise to communicate the team’s concerns to management, be a dependable voice for those you represent instead of shrinking from a potentially daunting task. In good times and bad, keeping your word is an insurance policy.

Build a reputation for it and you’ll get your share of the reward and praise for successes, and people will give you the benefit of the doubt and go to bat for you when problems arise.

Besides increasing your ability to build trust and influence at work and at home, the biggest reason to make these three practices a habit is simply because they make life a lot easier—and more fulfilling.  Remember:

  • Listen
  • Be honest
  • Keep your word

Adapted from an article I read some few years back.