By Assegid Habtewold
A large-scale national change like what is happening in Ethiopia right now doesn’t just go smoothly without some ups and downs- without experiencing some setbacks. The reformists just experienced a serious setback since we began this outstanding journey under their leadership. They are thrown off from the main course they chose five months ago because of the current chaotic situation. That is it. Nothing more, nothing less.
Unless they are careful, however, this crisis has a potential to distract Team Lemma, and the people they lead from the MAIN THING- transforming the nation to defeat poverty, building democratic institutions, and establishing the rule of law for once and for all.
Had it not been for this recent setback, they would have been focusing on taking the change to the next level by translating their promises into realities. Unfortunately, things went south. It seems the nation is going back to square one. This is a very critical moment in the change process where we need strong leadership.
Thus, the reformists shouldn’t allow what is happening to take their eyes off the ball. Please calm down. Refocus. Let’s be thankful for how far we have come. Let’s be hopeful again. We can come out of this!
The nation needs your leadership. Know that true leadership is tested not during peacetime but rather during such challenging times. Don’t retreat nor take a defensive position. Keep leading…
However, you need to regroup. You need to go back to the drawing board. You need to rechart the change journey by taking into account what has happened since the start of the change. Take lessons but don’t get disappointed by the setbacks.
This temporary setback shouldn’t preoccupy you and stop you from outlining the overall change process, putting in place the roadmap, consulting with key stakeholders, developing the nation’s human capital, and building its institutions while stabilizing the nation by putting in place some boundaries and guidelines to maintain law and order.
I don’t see you as managers. And thus, you shouldn’t waste the majority of your time in managing the current situation. Give direction and let the relevant bodies take care of the rest. You’re leaders and lead the nation in the right direction.
You have the public’s support, tap into this social capital to advance forward. Don’t slow down. Don’t get bog down by this temporary setback nor retreat nor take a defensive position.
 Dr. Assegid Habtewold is the author of five books that are available on Amazon. He is a leadership speaker and workshop facilitator for some government agencies and major corporations. Assegid can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org