Feb 27, 2016
Rev’d Tope Popoola Speaking to Leaders at an international Conference.
Tope Popoola is the Chief Empowerment Officer of HERITEK SUPPORT SERVICES, a consultancy outfit. He was for many years, the Executive Secretary of the NIGERIAN PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION. He also briefly served as the National Executive Commissioner for the Boy Scouts of Nigeria.
A seasoned administrator and Manager of men and resources, writer, inspirational speaker, pastor and entrepreneur, he is a man of many parts but only ONE passion – cultivating men and women of influence and affluence for whom godly excellence is a culture.
Rev’d Tope Popoola is the founding Pastor of the Business Church and travels around the world inspiring leaders from all walks of life. He was recently awarded the honorary citizenship of the State of Nebraska, USA. In this interview, he offers profound insights on Life, Leadership and Success. The sky is not the limit, God is! Enjoy.
–Sir, can I meet you Sir?
I am Tope Popoola, child of God and Minister of the gospel. On the professional level, I am a Human Capital Development Consultant. Husband of one wife and father of three lovely children.
–Recently Sir, you were awarded the honorary citizenship of the state of Nebraska, USA and later inducted into the Judicial Service Commission of the Ekiti State here in Nigeria, how did all this come to you?
I really wish I knew. Without sounding religious, I adduce it to the grace of God. Scriptures teach us that whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might. I was on a visit to the State of Nebraska in November 2015 and was privileged to meet with the Secretary of State and a Senator of the Nebraska legislature. The meetings bordered on issues of national development and how my nation can benefit from the giant strides of Nebraska in agriculture. The Honorary Citizenship Award was a fallout of that visit. My nomination into the Ekiti State Judicial Service Commission came on the eve of my birthday in December 2015. We had just finished a fasting and prayer program and I was headed home when my phone rang and it was the Governor of the state His Excellency Peter Ayodele Fayose on the line. He requested to see me and discussed the nomination with me. I was initially hesitant and did not give him an immediate answer for various reasons, one of which was the fact that I am not a politician. I requested for time to pray and consult with my spiritual mentors on the matter. And when I was convinced that it was an assignment that God would have me do, I agreed to serve.
–Was your appointment as a member of Judiciary Committee of Ekiti State a political appointment?
I do not believe so. I am not a card-carrying member of any political party and I made that very clear to the Governor. He assured me that my nomination was based on my integrity and non-partisanship. Besides, it is a Part-time appointment. For that reason, he felt that I would be able to contribute significant value to the work of the Commission. Unfortunately, in the opinion of many, the fact that the nomination was made by the Governor makes it political.
–Is this not in conflict with your ministerial assignment as a priest?
Ministry must be properly redefined and understood by the church. Ministry is simply a work of service and can be carried out on any platform that God chooses, not the straitjackets that religion has defined for us. We are the light of the world, not the light of the church. Joseph was a Minister in Egypt. The scriptures tell us that he taught the Senators of Egypt wisdom. Daniel was a Minister in Babylon. Ministry is not restricted to the pulpit. By the way, every child of God is a Priest. Our priesthood is in Christ and after the order of Melchizedek who was both a king (rulership) and priest
–What will you say your new challenges are?
Raising a new generation of leaders in the body of Christ who will understand and run with God’s mandate on their lives to take responsibility for their world under God until every sphere of human existence is touched by the glory of God and the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and His Son Jesus. This has nothing to do with an age bracket but about new paradigms that take the church out of the defensive mode to the offensive mode where we can ACTUALLY begin to influence value systems and cultures with the culture of God’s kingdom. This is in furtherance of God’s mandate on my life to “cultivate a people of influence and affluence for whom Godly excellence is a culture”
–Sir, you’ve been involved in training leaders both in the Corporate and Kingdom world for many years, how would you define leadership?
Leadership can simply be defined as the ability to influence people to accomplish a common goal. The leader is not just the one who is out in front but the one who actually galvanizes the people, at any point in the line, towards the attainment of set objectives
–Hmmmm, thank you Sir, from your definition, we can say a leader is who?
Everyone who has a platform on which he can influence others to attain a common cause. God has given everyone an elastic capacity to influence others but for what purpose? This is where the rubber meets the road. Anyone who is able to envision a future so good that people are willing to brave any odds to see that future attained is a leader. This can be used for good or for ill. Someone has well said that a leader is someone that people will follow if only out of curiosity.
What are the greatest leadership qualities exceptional leaders must possess (in order of importance)?
I dealt with this issue on a teaching I once did titled THE 10 COMPETENCES OF EFFECTIVE LEADERS. Some of these are CONVICTION, COMPASSION, COMMUNICATION, CHARACTER, CONFIDENCE, CREATIVITY, and COURAGE just to mention a few and not necessarily in order of importance because they all are important
–How is leadership important to personal, home, career and nation’s building?
All leadership begins with self-leadership. Scriptures teach us that the man who is able to control his spirit is stronger than the one who takes a city. If you cannot exercise leadership over your own life and the resources God has given you, you cannot do the same anywhere else, family, career or at national level. Leadership is first and foremost a disposition before it is a position. Positional leadership is what most people recognize as leadership. This is why we have flagrant displays of irresponsibility at various levels of society simply because many people believe that until they attain a position, they do not need to be responsible
Is there way we can inculcate Leadership Intelligence (LQ) into our school curriculum?
I believe that EQ or Emotional Intelligence is the foundation of LQ and both should be deliberately inculcated in the child. Every child must be taught how to live within the dynamics of a collective. Leadership is first about people before it is about function. When a child is taught how to build character within a relational dynamics, he is sure to manifest the traits of leadership that make him stand out in a pack and for which many of his peers would gladly surrender leadership to. In many cases, the Head Boy/Girl in a school is determined by IQ. Without EQ, such pupils end up as apologies in the leadership position
What is your counsel to emerging leaders?
Lead WHERE YOU ARE NOW! Leadership is responsibility and influence finding a position of expression not a position seeking influence or responsibility. If you don’t have the two before you get a position, you will abuse the position. Secondly, Don’t seek popularity. Seek RELEVANCE. If you are relevant, you will be known. Several times, in His ministry, Jesus would withdraw from the crowd and go to a solitary place. Yet they sought Him out and followed Him on foot for long distances, sometimes going without food for days! Value is self-advertizing. Instead of struggling to be the best, just see to it that you DO YOUR BEST in every circumstance even when you don’t know if anyone is looking. David was alone in the wilderness with his father’s sheep. The audience he played his harp and sang his psalms for comprised the animals whose only response at best would have been a bleat or two! But someone from the palace had taken time to observe David without him knowing it! So when there was an emergency in the palace with the king losing his mind, that observer who was a Commander in King Saul’s army knew just who to call. When he reeled out the credentials of David in 1Samuel 16, it would have been a marvel to David himself if he had listened to it. Joseph came to Egypt as a slave. Consistency of character took him to the top of the ladder in a space of 13 years. If you are more concerned with being a person of value, the limelight will seek you! However, if you are in a hurry to arrive, you may disappear before your arrival!
Today in developing nations, leadership has been identified as the major problem to socio-economic-political development, what do you think is the panacea to this? –
Don’t forget that the people who make it to positional leadership started out as ordinary people. A position is only a platform. Champions are not made in the ring, they are only advertised there. Most people in leadership in the developing world had no specific vision of a corporate goal before getting there. As they say in law. “Nemo dat quod nao habe” translated, No man can give what he does not have! You cannot build something on nothing. Leadership as a disposition must be deliberately taught to everyone from the cradle. Our children must be taught to embrace RESPONSIBILITY within a collective. Leadership is first about PEOPLE. Personal interests must therefore be subsumed in the interests of the collective before there can be sustainable development
–Sir, at certain point in life, we all encounter failures or setbacks, how do leaders bounce back after personal or moral failure?
Never personalize or internalize a failure. By the way people don’t fail. Ventures do. Failure was not one of the software installed into man’s hard disk at creation. So failure is not your person. It is an event. Every man’s failure is simply an indication of the limitation of his strategy. In other words, it is the strategy deficiency that results in what we call failure. Just like the past, failure is a school, not a prison. So take responsibility for the deficiency in strategy. Then confront the issue. Admit that there is a better way to do things and resolve to find that better way. Regard whatever you lost to the failure as the fees you paid for going to school to learn how NOT to do it. Master the lessons in the experience. Re-strategize and re-launch. Be willing to repeat the cycle again if need be. Every success story that you see was produced by series of failures. People only succeed significantly because they are not afraid to fail significantly!
To wrap it up Sir, in several of your articles, your closing signature has always been “the sky is not the limit, God is” can you elaborate on this?
Too often, we allow the environment to condition our thinking about possibilities. What this translates to is that we define what can or cannot be done by socio-cultural precedents and thought patterns that have no bearing with the mind of God. Any environment that conditions your thinking will condition your conduct too. For everyone with the mind of Christ, the only limit we recognize should be a limit set by the word of God not the perceptions of men. The only thing I will not do or cannot do is what God says is not feasible in Him. When Peter came to complain to Jesus about tax, he came with a feeling of exasperation. He knew their purse but did not know God’s bank! Or when there was need to feed five thousand men (not counting the women and children.) Five loaves of bread and two little fishes would hardly feed a full grown adult. In fact it was the contents of a young boy’s lunch box. But that posed no limits on Jesus because He was connected to God’s riches in glory! So are we! With God, impossible should actually read “I’m possible”! God’s will is always God’s bill! The sky is only above your head but God is above the sky!
–Thank you Sir, what is your closing remark to regular readers of my blog?
The quality of your life is a function of the information available to you and what you have done with it! Study is the discipline of champions. Readers are leaders and leaders are readers. There is no difference between the man who will not read and the one who cannot read. But be careful what you read. Jesus not only counseled that you should be careful what you hear, but also HOW you hear. And always remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!
-Thanks Sir for your time.
You are welcome
Rev’d Popoola can be reached via E-mail: [email protected].
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About the Author
He helps businesses and individuals craft compelling stories, expand their concepts of possibilities, and dream bigger dreams. His vision is to impact at east 3 billion people for time and eternity in his lifetime.
When he’s not learning new concepts, he’s speaking or writing. Reach him at [email protected]