People are ammunition!

Posted on March 14, 2018

As published in Businessday: http://www.businessdayonline.com/people-are-ammunition/
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Gun laws and the need for them to be checked has been a perennial issue and floated yet again to the fore as headline news.
There are those who are for (some are against it) and the divide continues to cause a rift with the people from the “land of the free and the home of the brave”.
In a recent episode of a popular political crime drama television series, a crisis management associate turned part-time assassin requested for her remains to be cremated and the ashes to be used as bullet fillings! The idea was for her to “go out” in grand style!
So with the thoughts of guns and bullet fillings, people being ammunition floated into my subconscious and started prodding for deeper mind processing which resulted in this introspection.
Have we ever processed people as bullets & ammunition in the context of work, leadership and in organisational development?
Ammunition is defined as a “quantity of bullets and shells”. Ammo is short form for ammunition and comes from the French la munition, for the material used for war. The word can be traced back to the mid-17th century.
So if people are to organisations what ammunition is in warfare, then there are four types of people using the ammunition analogy.
Case: Usually made of brass, steel, or copper, the case is the container that holds all the other ammunition components together. The case could be the executive team, management or leadership team.
Primer: An explosive chemical compound that ignites the gunpowder when struck by a firing pin. Primer may be placed either in the rim of the case or in the center of the base of the case. Primer could easily be good & impactful leaders across cadres.
Gunpowder: This is the chemical mixture that burns rapidly and converts to an expanding gas when ignited. Gunpowder could very easily be the high performers or “talent” as some are generally called.
Projectile: This refers to the object expelled from the barrel. Projectile could very well be market facing teams across the organisation.
According to Wikipedia with my annotated comments in parenthesis:
• The purpose of ammunition is to project a force against a selected target to have an effect (tantamount to having a vision, goals and objectives as organisations)
• Ammunition comes in a great range of sizes and types and is often designed to work only in specific weapons systems (as with teams, their expertise and capabilities)
• There are also specific types of ammunition that are designed to have a specialized effect on a target (probably client facing and/or business development teams)
When one looks deeply, the similarities in the definition of ammunition and people in organisations is loaded. As with the prevailing issues of guns & ammunition in the ‘land of the free & home of the brave‘, we also have our ammunition challenges of unemployment and employability to contend with here.
We would just have to bite the bullet and soldier on by exploring solutions one leader at a time because people are ammunition!

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Ngozi Adebiyi is the Lead Consultant at OutsideIn HR. Our focus is practical interventions that address the challenges of businesses today. We specialise in HR Business Partnering, Engagement & Retention with the goal of “Revolutionising HR in Nigeria”. Ngozi@outsideinHRng.com

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