There is an old Chinese proverb which says, ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.’
One of the key tasks as well as challenges of leadership is the need to identify and build strategic alliances.
In the world of business, collaborative partnerships with complementary organizations are not new. However, in recent years we are seeing a number of such partnerships being forged between seemingly rival firms. What such firms have realized is that there are times when it fundamental for survival and success to strike such unusual alliances.
There are therefore times when individuals and organisations that are not normally aligned in terms of values deem it necessary to form an alliance, defining and agreeing underlying protocols that would govern their relationship, as well as their respective spheres of operation.
The first time we come across an example in the Bible of such an arrangement is in Genesis 26. The essence of the story is that Isaac entered a treaty with the Philistines, a hostile people led by a king named Abimelech.
As one reads through the narrative, what is manifestly self-evident at the beginning is the jealousy and intense hostility that the Philistines showed towards Isaac and his family. On several occasions they not only quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, they filled up the wells that Isaac had dug. Each time they did that, Isaac moved on to a new location, and dug a new well; all in an effort to avoid conflict. It is worth noting that in those times, digging wells and building altars was a way of laying claim to the land.
Isaac moved from one place to another, re-digging wells, harried by the Philistines. Finally, he arrived at a place where he dug a new well and was able to live there undisturbed by his enemies. Even better, what we find is that Abimelech, along with his commanders and advisers, went to Isaac and offered to make a peace treaty with him. He and his people had seen that God had blessed Isaac.
The deal was that Isaac would do them no harm, and vice versa. Isaac signed the agreement without harping back to the torment he had endured at the hand of the Philistines; demonstrating that this was a man who was confident in himself and the God he served. Isaac was operating from a position of strength.
I would like to submit to you that this was a clear case of a leader recognising the need for peace with his neighbours; given that peace is the foundation for prosperity. In addition, he was also acutely aware of the fact that conflict would lead to a loss of life and the depletion of precious resources. So, the wise leader is one who, like Isaac, would enter into strategic agreements in order to ensure peace that would, in turn, safeguard the vision, as well as current and future prosperity.
Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2017©
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About the Author:
Emmanuel Mbakwe is a Pastor, an apostolic leader, business advisor, leadership coach, mentor, and published author. He is the immediate past General Overseer of the Apostolic Church UK. His vision and heart’s desire is to help people realise their God-given potential and fulfil the purpose of God for the life.