There was once a young fisherman who owned a small boat. He was out on the Atlantic one morning when a large yacht sent out a distress signal that it was sinking. The young man sailed to the larger boat and rescued the owner of the yacht. The owner was wealthy and wanted to give the young man a large reward for his good deed. The young boatman refused, saying he had done nothing special. The wealthy man insisted. At that point, the younger man asked the man to give him one Ghana cedi on the first day of March and to double it every day until the end of the month The yacht owner stated that he was very wealthy and could give him more if he wanted. The young man wanted only what he had requested. The request was agreed to and on the 1st of March, the young man received one cedi. The next day it was two Ghana cedis and the next day four. On the eighth day, the accumulative amount was over a hundred Ghana cedis. The amount that the boy received at the end of the time was, however over one and a half billion Ghana cedis. The young fisherman understood the law of multiplication and thus was able to extract more from the rich man than the man may have been willing to part with at the start of the month.

Many leaders succeed in starting and growing a company or an organization. Some leaders succeed in making a positive impact in their organizations. A few special leaders succeed in creating a movement. A movement is a significant change in behavior in a large mass of people that profoundly changes their way of life. Movements lead to enduring legacies and great leaders yearn to create movements. Some of the leaders that have successfully created movements are Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, and the founders of Youtube (Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jaward Karim). Then there’s Jesus Christ, who also started a movement. How did these leaders do it? They learned how to replicate themselves by opening their palms and sharing their secrets. If you are interested in becoming a leader that does more than just creating jobs or wealth; if you are interested in more than becoming the richest person in Africa; if you are intentional about becoming a leader of great impact and significance, then read on…

Amazon started as a book-selling website. It then expanded into becoming a retailing site, focusing on selling product from its world-class fulfillment centers. The continued meteoric growth of Amazon in the past decade has been fueled by a realization by Amazon’s leadership that they do not have to purchase or hold possession of inventory. By allowing others to sell on the Amazon site, Amazon became a gateway for global commerce, eschewing the burden of having to purchase, store, move or manage inventory in favor of simply trading on information that buyers need to connect to sellers and creating a platform to enable this to happen in a safe and secure manner. The Amazon sellers program may have initially reduced Amazon’s margins on products, but it resulted in a multiplication of Amazon’s sales through the empowerment of other mini-Jeff Bezos’s to become successful e-retailers.

Apple Computer Company was founded on April 1, 1976, by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne as a business partnership. Today Apple is the largest technology company by revenue (totaling US$365.8 billion in 2021) and, as of June 2022, is the world’s biggest company by market capitalization, the fourth-largest personal computer vendor by unit sales and second-largest mobile phone manufacturer. More importantly, Apple has created a movement.  Steve Jobs, a co-founder who was pushed out of the company in 1985 but would later return to Apple in 1997 to resurrect the flailing company, recognized the power of multiplication. By opening up its platforms to other developers who could create applications (appropriately called “Apps”, a nod to Apple as well as the word “application”) to enhance the utility of the apple devices and platform, Apple created a community of promoters and tech entrepreneurs that continuously solved problems and innovated the brand to be continuously relevant.  By enabling others to become replicas of the ever-curious and creative Jobs, Apple not only created a rabid following, but also created a movement of people who were encouraged to create software solutions on an Apple platform that helped both the developers and the Apple Corporation to grow exponentially.

Youtube started out first as an online dating platform that ultimately failed but had an exceptional video-sharing and uploading platform. The founders discovered that they were unable to find videos of famous incidents (including the infamous Janet Jackson Superbowl wardrobe malfunction) very easily and decided to use their dating platform to share videos and encouraged others to do the same. The platform grew exponentially when the founders encouraged users to create their own channels and generate revenue from those channels. In essence, the founders enabled other users to replicate what they had done, creating a multiplication effect. As of February 2017, there were more than 400 hours of content uploaded to YouTube each minute, and one billion hours of content being watched on YouTube every day. There are more users watching Youtube than the next three largest television channels combined.  Based on reported quarterly advertising revenue, YouTube is estimated to have US$15 billion in annual revenues.

Jesus Christ walked on the earth for only 33 years, and his ministry is believed to have had a duration of only three years. During these years, instead of focusing his time on holding large crusades or preaching to large crowds, he spent the majority of his time pouring his knowledge, skills, secrets, network (to God the Father) and talents into twelve people. One of them (Judas) turned out to be a dud; however, the other eleven went out and spread the same skills, network and knowledge to others who then spread it to others and before long, the message of and belief in Jesus Christ was the largest movement in the world. Jesus understood and practice the leadership theory of multiplication.

Dear African leader, some of you may define success as having a profitable year or paying off your bank loans or achieving $100 million dollars in revenue. If, however, you are one of those special leaders that is fueled by a desire for significant and impact in addition to profits, then consider adopting a policy of replication. Allow yourself to be replicated and allow your business to be replicated by others with whom you may share the secrets to your success and the secrets to your business’ success. While there is a perceived risk to this strategy, the rewards are far greater than the risks. Do not be like those workers who are afraid to share their skills with others for fear of being replaced by their juniors. Recognize that for you to go to the next level, you have to find a replacement for yourself at your current level. For your company to achieve the next level of performance, you have to become elevated to the next level of performance and thus need to replicate yourself. Do not be satisfied with replicating yourself with one person; invest your time into ten or twelve people that you can influence to learn everything that you know in order to unleash them upon a world that will be forever changed after your disciples have spread their wings and replicated themselves.


Create a movement, and you will move the world.

Leave a Reply