By Cornel Congco

You may have ridden one of the icons of Philippine culture—the jeepney. History will tell us that jeepneys were rehabilitated jeeps or GP (General Purpose) vehicles left by the United States Armed Forces after World War 2. It was armed with a machine gun mounted at the back so it could be used as a deadly weapon for land assaults.

How did the Filipino use the jeep afterwards? First, the gun was dismounted and the chassis made longer to accommodate more passengers. The seats were made to face one another, so the passengers could see each other face to face. A roof was added to give shade to the passenger during the heat of the noonday sun. Two or three steel horses were mounted in the hood were added for aesthetic effect. The body and roof were painted with bright colors and at times tussles were tied so the passengers could see them like kites flying as they are brushed by the wind. Later, stereos blasting music were installed. It became a travelling fiesta! Jeeps are now known as jeepneys!

What leadership secret does this reveal?

Leaders have the uncanny ability to adapt weapons of war and change them into a travelling fiesta! From being an assault weapon that brings death, jeepneys became a major mode of transportation that brought agricultural and commercial goods and passengers, breathing life to the country! From swords to plowshare as the Bible says in Isaiah 2:4, “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Leaders have the uncanny ability to see a potentially fatal or dangerous situation as an opportunity to breathe life into a solution and make life like a fiesta for many!

Are we facing a threat today? How could we see it as an opportunity to be an excellent solution? Like the jeepney you can ride the threat and celebrate life as a fiesta! Ride your jeepney today!