Small Head Vs Big Tail

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Working out at the gym today, amidst my sweaty face and body I noticed a fellow gym user. This elderly man reminded me of my father, he has similar gesticulation and mannerisms as my Dad. I smiled and travelled down memory lane, reminiscing over the good times we spent together. My Dad traveled out of this world in 2017, July 18 precisely.

A bit of background, my father was a banker. I grew up seeing him dressed in Italian tailored suits and starched shirts. When I was about 7years old he was transferred to a small town to manage the branch of the bank he worked for, the city is called Saki in Oyo State, Nigeria. It was about 6hours journey (on road) from Ibadan; the city I grew up.

The bank my Dad worked for was the only bank in that town at the time, Daddy spent about 8years in Saki. During the 8years, the economy of the town improved, more banks opened new branches. The interesting thing was, Dad was recognised as the go to person in the town for finance matters to the extent that he was given honorary chieftaincy title – “Alaje Oba”; this means The King’s Economist.

When my Dad was transferred from Saki to be one of the Senior Managers of The Loan and Advance Department at his bank’s head office, he was upset. That was one of the few times I saw his vulnerability. Although I was young but I remember a statement he made to my “Big Brother”, he said – IT IS BETTER TO BE A SMALL HEAD THAN A BIG TAIL.

Those words have echoed in my ears over the years; 22 years later I still remember.

You can give it different interpretations, but I choose to call this the power of Influence. As you walk through life, do not pursue big titles, fat salary, high market share only – but pursue influence. Be at a place where you can make impact, where your voice can be heard, where your progress can be measured.
And if it seems like you are a “Big tail” today, think like the head, think of ways to help the head and launch out boldly. Engage in impactful conversations and projects. Dare things, attempt things bigger than you – do it afraid.
Think like the head, Be the head – FORWARD EVER!

‘Lanre Oke

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