Dr. Mohammed Benayoune
What do all successful men and women have in common? Persistence!
The Quran instructs us “O ye who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy; vie in such perseverance; strengthen each other; and fear God; that ye may prosper.” (Quran 3:200)
This verse clearly tells us that prosperity in this world and the next only comes with permanence, perseverance and persistence.
Moreover, for Muslims this worldly life is but a testing ground. Allah tells us “Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere.” (Quran 2:155) According to this verse, only those who persevere and persist will pass the test and get the reward.
Organisations that persist in their quest for greatness and are constantly in search of better ways to serve their mission are the ones, which not only survive, but go on to lead their peers.
How do you build the character of perseverance in your organisation?
The best example comes from the lives of the prophets sent by Allah to their people over the ages, especially the final one, Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). The life of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is the best example of persistence in the face of adversity. With patience, perseverance and persistence he built the best nation brought forward to mankind.
What are the lessons we could learn from the life of the Prophet (PBUH) when it comes to persistence?
Belief in the mission
All the prophets were sent by Allah with a mission, which is to invite their people to the way of Allah and to worship Him alone and on His terms. Being prophets, they believed more than anyone else in this mission. They explained this mission to those around them till they believed in it and were ready to die for it.
Does your organisation have a clear mission? I do not mean the one that has been phrased for public relations purposes or for posting on your website. I mean the real one that drives your day to day action plan. Do your people understand it well, believe in it and are willing to do what it takes to deliver it?
Ensure your people know what is in it for them
Do your people understand what is in it for them when they strive to deliver the mission of your organisation? The first thing Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) explained to his followers is the end game. He told his followers that if they believed in him and followed his message, they will get paradise. If they do not, they will burn in hellfire forever.
People cannot be persistent if they are not clear about the end game. How would they be rewarded for their persistence?
Have a clear set of values
People are more likely to stay the course if they believe that what they are doing is right and their approach is right. The Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) taught his companions the best of manners and exemplified the best of ethics.
Does your organisation have a clear set of core values? Does everyone adhere to them religiously? What happens when someone fails to live up to these values?
Have a clear strategy
People cannot remain persistent if they do not know which path to follow in the first place. The Prophet (PBUH) instructed his followers on what to do at every phase of the journey. Although the tactics changed over the 23 years of his Da’awah, the strategy and its end game never changed. It is simply to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Prophets, the Day of Judgment and the belief in Divine Predestination. They needed to perform the prescribed acts of worship and top this up with acts of charity and the best behaviour towards others.
Do you have a clear strategy to reach your organisational objectives? If so, do all the stakeholders believe in it? Do they understand their roles in it?
Clarify why the alternative to the course you are pursuing is not acceptable
The mission of the prophets is to guide people to worship Allah as He wants to be worshiped. They insisted that not following the straight path described by the prophets will lead to Hellfire. Similarly, you need to convince your people that the course of action you are pursuing is the right one and any alternative is bad. If people are not convinced that the path your are taking is the right one, they will start searching for alternatives as soon as they hit the first obstacle along the way.
As a leader, are you convinced that the course of action you are taking is the right one? Have you convinced your people that it is?
Persistence on the right way is critical for success in this life and the next. It is the nature of this world that we get tested as individuals and groups. Allah explains to us in the Quran “Ye shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and ye shall certainly Hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship many gods. But if ye persevere patiently, and guard against evil,-then that will be a determining factor in all affairs.” (Quran 3:186)
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