The Art of Leadership By Dag Heward-Mills
Remember that diligence is defined as the persistent and relentless effort by an individual to solve a problem, to overcome difficulties and to accomplish great things. This means that diligence will not give up until he has accomplished feats. This means that diligence will do exploits. A leader needs this trait called “diligence” to accomplish his goals and achieve his objectives. And the good news is that diligence will bear fruit!
And beside this, GIVING ALL DILIGENCE, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For IF THESE THINGS BE IN YOU, AND ABOUND, they make you that YE SHALL NEITHER BE BARREN NOR UNFRUITFUL in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-8
How Diligence Created the World-Famous Kentucky Fried Chicken Business
When Colonel Harland Sanders retired at the age of 65, he had little to show for himself, except an old Caddie roadster, a $105 monthly pension cheque and a recipe for chicken. Knowing he couldn’t live on his pension, he took his chicken recipe in hand, got behind the wheel of his van, and set out to make his fortune. His first plan was to sell his chicken recipe to restaurant owners, who would in turn give him a residual for every piece of chicken they sold – 5 cents per chicken. The first restaurateur he called on turned him down.
So did the second.
So did the third.
So did the next one thousand.
In fact, the first 1008 sales calls Colonel Sanders made ended in rejection. Still, he continued to call on owners as he travelled across the USA, sleeping in his car to save money. Prospect number 1009 gave him his first “yes.” Here you may understand the definition of diligence better: The persistent and relentless effort by an individual to solve a problem, to overcome difficulties and to accomplish great things.
After two years of making daily sales he had signed up a total of five restaurants. Still the Colonel pressed on, knowing that he had a great chicken recipe and that someday the idea would catch on. Of course, you know how the story ends. The idea did catch on. By 1963 the Colonel had 600 restaurants across the country selling his secret recipe of Kentucky Fried Chicken (with 11 herbs and spices).
In 1964 he was bought out by John Brown, a future Kentucky governor. Even though this sale made him a multi-millionaire, he continued to represent and promote KFC until his death in 1990.
Colonel Sanders’ story teaches an important lesson: it is never too late to decide to never give up! Earlier in his life the Colonel was involved in other business ventures – but they weren’t successful. He had a gas station in the 30’s, a restaurant in the 40’s, and he gave up on both of them. At the age of 65, however, Sanders decided his chicken idea was the right idea and he refused to give up, even in spite of repeated rejection. He knew that if he kept on knocking on doors, eventually someone would say “yes.”
This is how Jesus has commanded us to approach life. Diligence! Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). We must be relentless and inexorable in our mission.
The Diligence of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln, a famous president of USA, is another good example of an inexorable, never-give-up/never-give-in man of diligence. In spite of repeated failure and difficulties, he persisted in his political mission until he was successful. Notice how his numerous defeats did not deter him. He persisted and his relentless efforts paid off in the end.
He failed in business in 1831,
He was defeated for legislature in 1832,
He experienced a second failure in business in 1833,
He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1836,
He was defeated for Speaker in 1838,
He was defeated for Elector in 1840,
He was defeated for Congress in 1843,
He was defeated for Congress in 1848,
He was defeated for Senate in 1855,
He was defeated for Vice-President in 1856,
He was defeated for Senate in 1858,
He was finally elected President in 1860!
In history, diligence is what has created wealthy and successful people. A close look at leaders, millionaires and men of abundance will often reveal lots of diligence and hard work. You have read the story of how KFC was established; it is a classic case of the importance of diligence. You have seen how Abraham Lincoln persisted till he became the President of the United States of America. Perhaps now, you understand why a person with the positive trait of diligence is usually a successful person.