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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Strong White


There was once a farmer who needed to plough his farm and get rid of pests on his land. The farmer worked hard, but was not able to till all the land and the insects ate much of his crop while it was still in the field. One morning he told his wife he was going to the market.

When the farmer arrived at the market he found a horse trader. He bought a strong white horse and then went over to the fly catchers den and bought a chameleon called Color. In those days chameleons used to help people get rid of insects. The interesting trio of a strong white horse, a chameleon called color and a tired farmers arrived home late at night to eat, rest and prepare for work the next day. At night the horse turned to the chameleon and said, “My name is Strong White what is yours”. The Chameleon said, “well I don’t have to be strong I just change color, play dead and get to eat the insects”.

The next morning the farmer took his new team to the field and White pulled the plough through the mud and got himself all dirty. Color, the Chameleon, put on his dead color and ate all the insects that passed by. The farmer was very happy with their work. In the evening White had to take a bath and thought that color should too. But Color was too lazy to clean himself up and went to work the next day without taking a bath. This went on for many days until Color began to emit an awful smell. White pleaded with Color to clean himself as he was beginning to raise quite a stink! White told Color, “You only have to look dead, not smell dead to do your job”. But Color just laughed and would not listen to White and said, “I told you I don’t have to be strong like you all I need to do is play dead”.


One day a vulture appeared in the sky above. Vultures do not have very good eyesight, but they can smell a dead frog from a mile away. That night White mentioned the vulture, but color said, “No one can see me when I change color”. The following day the vulture appeared again slowly circling the farm. When Color had eaten enough for the day he settled down to sleep. That was when it happened. In one sweep of its wings the vulture swooped down and gulped up Color in less than a second. Strong White never saw Color ever again.  

Allan Bukusi

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Wedding Dress & The Dish Cloth

A long time ago when men used to leave their wives in the Homelands and go to work in the South African Gold mines, there was a man whose dear wife passed away and left him with twin girls aged ten years old. The conditions in the Gold mines were very dangerous and it was not uncommon for men to die in the mines from exhaustion and accidents. The men who survived the grueling experience often came home sick and unable to work on the farms. However, the money was good and was enough to cater for the needs of a poor family.

The man took his daughters to his widowed mother’s house and asked her to take care of them. He turned to the girls and said to them, "Now my dear ones you are young and beautiful I am going to work, but you must prepare for your wedding day". Your grandmother is wise and will guide you. You must listen to her carefully because she will give you what you want. The young girls were excited and said goodbye to their father as he took a train to Gauteng Province.

After many months a letter arrived for grandma. Inside were two envelopes – One for each of the girls. Each had the same amount for money inside and clearly labeled. The man had become sick, but sent the money home and wrote – "This is my present for each of my girls. Guide them, but give them what they want". As the girls grew they began to notice that other girls in their class had many things they wanted, but did not have.

One of the girls began to get impatient and asked grandma for rings, cream and new dresses. Grandma reminded them of what their daddy had told them - they must prepare for their wedding day. But this was too much for Joyce who wanted everything today! Grandma did not have the strength to refuse and let her have what she wanted. Unfortunately, Daddy never came back.

On the night before the twins wedding day, for they were to be married on the same day, Grandma gave each girl her envelope from their father and told them. “He wanted each of you to have a beautiful dress”. Jane took her envelope and went and bought a beautiful white dress, but all that was left in Joyce envelope was only enough to buy a dish cloth.

Allan Bukusi

TRAINING LEADERS

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Employment or Enterprise


When you complete your basic education (formal schooling) you have two options; One, to become an employee or two, to be an entrepreneur. At some stage in life you will experience both of these conditions. It does matter which path you determine to take. Because you must excel in order to succeed.

Allan Bukusi


TRAINING LEADERS

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

“How to turn entrepreneurship into enterprise: The case of an African entrepreneur”.


This report, presented by the NGCL Leadership Class of June 2017, outlines and analyses the challenges founding entrepreneurs face in turning their enterprises into corporations and how handing over power to management teams. Turning a business into a corporate enterprise requires the entrepreneur to take his hands off operations and create an environment where the organization can grow beyond him. The transition requires emotional intelligence on the part of the entrepreneur and empowerment of employees. This case-study proposes how this can be done.

CONTEXT OF THE STUDY:
The organization is a sole proprietorship in his late fifties and has been in operation for the last 20 years. He has won favour with many County Governments and won contracts running to billions of shillings over the last 3 years. He is fairly successful and because of leadership challenge, over the last 2 years, he has contracted 4 consultants to drawn up a strategy for the organisation but he has been very reluctant to implement. He has infused good management practice by bringing on board management team (Head of Finance, Technical, Sales) who have not lasted 6 months and end up resigning. He is not receptive to change and feel threated by professional manages. He operates a highly closed enterprise which relies entire on his decisions and feels out of control when new effective measures are executive without him sanctioning the strategy. 

DEFINE THE CHALLENGE:
The leadership challenge faced by the proprietor is the fact that he has acknowledged the business has grown and requires to be management professionally for the next phase of growth. However, he finds it absolutely difficult to relinquish control of the enterprise to third parties since he will not be in-charge. He feels he still need to make decisions even as he hands over the organisation to professionals. The dilemma is the realisation that he needs management that can grow the organisation into a market leader without him ceding control in decision making.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE/INFORMATION ABOUT THE CHALLENGE
Leadership Competencies and Traits
Leadership is commonly seen as an important variable affecting organizational performance. Leadership is a process by which an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve common goals. Yukl (2006) found several traits that were related to leadership effectiveness which include a high energy level and tolerance for stress, self-confidence, including self-esteem and self-efficacy, an internal locus of control orientation, emotional stability and maturity, and personal integrity. The skills approach suggests that while leadership abilities can be developed, whereas traits are more inherent in an individual.

Leadership competencies have been defined as “the combination of knowledge, skills, traits, and attributes that collectively enable someone to perform a given job”.  Yuki (2006) offered some general suggestions for applications on leadership styles. These styles include maintaining self-awareness, developing relevant skills through continuous learning and leadership development, noting that strength can become a weakness in a different situation, and compensating for weaknesses by using delegation or staff with complementary skills.

Attitudes are a complex combination of things we tend to call personality, beliefs, values, behaviors, and motivations.  An attitude includes three components: an affection (a feeling), cognition (a thought or belief), and behavior (an action). Attitudes help us define how we see situations, as well as define how we behave toward the situation or object.

According to Yuki (2006), leaders who want to be great must think about the future most of the time by thinking about where they are going rather than where they have been, maintain a positive attitude and think about the opportunities which tomorrow may avail rather than focusing on the problems of the past and finally maintain a positive attitude in addition to being long-term thinkers. At all things and in any situation, one of the most important leadership qualities is the acceptance of personal responsibility. Leaders never complain, never explain and instead of making excuses, they make progress and accept responsibility for either success or failure of any action taken.

Leadership Succession Planning
Winn (2005) noted that a business owes its success to the drive, vision and creative energy of its owner and identified four main components to leadership succession planning.  These are: identifying the potential successor; changing management style; successor training and development and selecting the successor. The sole- proprietor must be able to identify what the firm need from the future leader, what the future leader needs from sole - proprietor owner, the extent of would - be leader strategic thinking and consistent drive for results, ability to lead and build talent, entrepreneurial edge and commitment to the firm’s mission and values. In the same vein, the future leader needs the support of the owner to ensure consistent drive for results, commitment to the firm’s mission and values, identify opportunities for firm growth, and ensure competitive compensation and give rewards and recognition by acknowledging value of contribution of the future leader.

The role of leaders, according to George (2003), in today’s turbulent environment is crucial. Leaders can be identified and chosen through their skills and talents. According to Mumford et al., (2007) there are cognitive, interpersonal, business and strategic skills. A future leader must be able to communicate clearly in writing or by discussion, be an active listener and be able to weather turbulent periods with less stress. It must be borne in mind that leaders, depending on their intentions, Visions, experience, strategies, objectives, hidden drives and motives, education and expertise have the power to cause either significant improvement or degradation of the world around them. In the words of Hollenbeck et al., (2008), a high potential leader must always seek opportunities to learn, act with integrity, adapt to cultural differences, be committed to make a difference, seek broader business knowledge, bring out the best in people, sees things from a new angle, has the courage to take risks, seek and use feedback, learn from mistakes and be open to criticism. It is through all these that a potential leader can be identified and chosen

Leadership and Change Management
Intensifying competition for resources and demand for profit maximization is pressing firms to become more flexible, more results-focused, and more fast-acting. Organizations are finding that such competition requires competent leadership and the challenge for organizations and business schools alike is to help build effective leadership both in the next generation of managers and throughout organizations. Change management involves a sense of critical reflection.
  
According to Brookfield (1995), there are three major cultural barriers to critical reflection that inhibits change management: the culture of secrecy, the culture of individualism, and the culture of silence. The culture of secrecy is one born of insecurity, fear, and unawareness (Brookfield, 1995). The leadership of organizations tends to encourage a certain level of secrecy; for example, managers may fail to take their employees into certain areas of change because of feelings of fear and insecurity that they may not be able to expertly describe what is happening in that particular arena (Dimmock, 1995). Brookfield (1995) believes the second cultural barrier is “individualism.” Although individualism may have its place in the corporate world where it fits, but it can sometimes lead to personality clashes, undeserved promotions, and inefficiency. Moreover, the “transformational leadership” style places a premium on teamwork (Bass, 1997). The third barrier is silence. Brookfield believes individuals are reluctant to voice their opinion, and as a result, they remain silent (Brookfield, 1995). Individuals may see inequity and instability within the organization and feel the necessary response should be silence. Employees have sometimes noticed, for example, that they have erred in what he or she said, but fail to say anything because they fear the manager may respond negatively. Sometimes employees have alternative explanations for events. Employees may fail to acknowledge them for fear they may clash with the manager, and the manager will hold it against him or her during evaluations (Leithwood, Begley, & Cousins, 1994).

When viewed in terms of leadership styles, the flexible leader adapts to new situations, whereas the rigid leader maintains consistent patterns of behavior in almost all situations. A flexible style does not mean changing personality. It does, however, involve the use of different tactics, depending on the situation. Flexibility is one of the core tenets of the “transformational leadership” style (Cohen, 1998).

KEY QUESTION TO BE ANSWERED
Discussion
For leaders to gain acceptance of organizational change, there are a series of factors that need to be understood. The first and foremost is to understand the “human side” of transformational change. Inevitably issues are destined to arise. There will be new leaders, new jobs, and new skills that will be needed. This creates uncertainty and resistance follows. The method that the organization deals with this may determine morale and acceptance. This method demands data collection, analytic planning, and implementation processes as possible. This method should be based on a timely assessment of the readiness for change.

Another consideration is to start with strategic management. Everyone is the organization will look to the top for leadership during the process of change. The leaders must articulate the vision and the challenge faced to motivate others. The vision must be consistent and speak with one voice as to the changes and they must model the desired behavior necessary for change. They are aligned and committed to the direction of change, understand the culture and behaviors the changes intend to introduce, and can model those changes themselves.

A further consideration is for the leadership to insure there is a sense of ownership and communicating the message. This ownership requires more than mere buy-in or passive agreement that the direction of change is acceptable. Ownership is often best created by involving people in identifying problems and crafting solutions. It is reinforced by incentives and rewards such as financial compensation or psychological. Too often, change leaders make the mistake of believing that others understand the issues, feel the need to change, and see the new direction as clearly as they do. The best change programs reinforce core messages through regular, timely advice that is both inspirational and practicable.

COLLATION OF FACTS AND DATA
The organization is a sole proprietorship in his late fifties and has been in operation for the last 20 years. He has won favour with many County Governments and won contracts running to billions of shillings over the last 3 years. He is fairly successful and because of leadership challenge, over the last 2 years, he has contracted 4 consultants to drawn up a strategy for the organisation but he has been very reluctant to implement. He has infused good management practice by bringing on board management team (Head of Finance, Technical, Sales) who have not lasted 6 months and end up resigning. He is not receptive to change and feel threated by professional manages. He operates a highly closed enterprise which relies entire on his decisions and feels out of control when new effective measures are executive without him sanctioning the strategy. 

ANALYSIS OF INTERPRETATION
The above shows that the sole proprietor is not able to let go of his own organization, though it has outgrown him. He is unable to retain professional staff as there is high staff turnover. He threatened by staff who are qualified and know their jobs. In fact he thrives when everyone depends on his input so as to execute their work. He has 4 very good strategies for the business developed by consultants but he is very poor at execution. This can be attributed to:
  • a)     Poor leadership
  • b)     Lack of vision and mission of the organization
  • c)      Lack of Emotional intelligence
  • d)     Inward flaw
  • e)     Failure on strategy implementation
  • f)       Competing priorities- Business Development & organisational Development
  • g)     Dysfunctional structure
  • h)     Lack  of prioritization of resources



CONCLUSIONS

“Leadership is the energetic process of getting other people fully and willingly committed to a new and sustainable course of action, to meet commonly agreed objectives whilst having commonly held values” Mick Yates

Leadership is about understanding people, and about getting people pointing and acting in the same direction. The unique role of a leader is then to provide the energy and commitment to see this job through, and ensuring execution is perfect. Leadership is about listening, and making a real "connect" with others. It is a process.
Without a need for change, the concept of Leadership is meaningless. Leadership is not an abstract, Platonic concept - it is a practical activity, with a specific goal in mind. We believe everyone can train, develop and enhance their Leadership skills. This is true regardless of the size or complexity of the Enterprise. And, because everyone can train, the results can be measured. You cannot have Leader’s without followers, and you cannot have followers without Leaders. Paradoxically, therefore, the Leader is also a follower, in the sense of reflecting the wishes of others. Leaders and followers are thus fully interdependent.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Adopting the 4E’s Leadership Framework is critical in running a sole proprietorship. It is built around four sequential activities – Envision, Enable, Empower and Energize. It integrates strategic planning with Leadership development, and is both a personal improvement process and a tool to use to build high performing organizations.

Envision
A robust view of the external world, contextual and competitive possibilities drive the formation of the enterprise mission. Increasingly, focus on the customer and creating innovation networks are key. On the “Organizational” axis, Leader and Follower must share coherent values to provide a solid foundation for all activities. Strategic choices must be defined, as must clear goals and a practical time sequence (for “Operational’ clarity).

Enable
The best enabling mechanisms are built on innovation. The first type (on the “Operational” axis) includes the right information, tools, technologies, and business methodologies. The second set of enablers (on the “Organizational” axis) includes processes and structure. It requires ensuring that the right people and the right skill sets are in place to get the job done, building towards interdependence across the functions and geographies of the enterprise.
A useful deployment tool is the OGSM, which connects Envision with Enable. We distinguish between verbal objectives (O – the mission), and numerical objectives (G – the goals) and between strategies (S – choices of what to do and what not to do) and measurement (M).

Empower
The Leader has a contract with his or her Followers, for mutual success and failure, reward and sanction – so the two are interdependent. Both sides are given freedom, yet held jointly accountable. On the “Organizational” axis, the team needs the training to get the job done.  Empowerment must bring rewards, and also sanctions or challenges for improvement. On the “Operational” axis, Leaders and Followers must both measure progress, which encourages dialog and continuous improvement.

Energize
On the “Organizational” axis, maximum energy will result from the combination of winning (in the marketplace) and achieving a sense of personal success and satisfaction. The more energy the team generates, the more energy the Leader has – in a virtuous circle of reinforcement. On the “Operational” axis, continuous communication and course corrections are key. This includes “walking the talk” and having a clear, truthful and persuasive “Leadership story”.  The Leader (and the Leadership team) is the motor for change, providing energy to the entire organization.

REFERENCES
Yukl, G., Leadership In Organizations (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2006

George, B., Authentic leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Mumford, T.V., Campion, M.A. and Morgeson, F.P,The Leadership Skills Strataplex: Leadership Skills Requirements Across Organizational Levels.The Leadership Quarterly, 18(2): 154-166, 2007.

Hollenbeck, J. R., Ilgen, D. R., Sego, D., Hedlund, J.A., Major, D. A., & Phillips, J. (1995). The multi-level theory of team decision-making: Decision performance in teams incorporating distributed expertise. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80,292–316.


Authors
  • ü  Paul Ooga
  • ü  Liz Kimwene
  • ü  JeremiahMunji
  • ü  Fridah Ombogah
  • ü  Dr. George Mbugua





  

Friday, July 14, 2017

There is only one difference between champions and the average...

There is only one difference between champions and the average. It also occurs between the excellent and mediocre and marks the distance between the successful and the “also ran”. Champions love feedback. The average hate it!

Allan Bukusi
Training Leaders.

Responsibility cannot be assumed!

Responsibility cannot be assumed. It must be learned, developed and deliberately cultivated.

Allan Bukusi

Training Leaders

Monday, July 10, 2017

Aligning Staff Behavior

  
Many people do not like to be corrected while some do not appreciate that value of timely advice and wise counsel. It is not only teenagers who struggle with receiving guidance and constructive feedback. Many senior officials and employees would rather achieve average results without feedback than seek feedback to attain excellent performance. Nonetheless, there is a difference between correcting behavior and aligning behavior. Lack of understanding of these two terms results a great deal of misdirected emotional energy resulting in animosity between colleagues, juniors and supervisors alike.

Correcting behavior implies that the person receiving feedback as regards their behavior knows, understands and willfully digresses from expected behavior to do something “wrong”. The mood in such incidences quickly sours to blame and animosity before “corrective” action is taken. However, it is not uncommon for corrective action to be taken in instances when the person being corrected has no clue of what they have done wrong. This latter incidence leads to bitterness and resentment all round. Is correcting behavior a bad thing? In the first instance, if a person has been trained, informed and warned about avoiding specific behavior and continues to do it, corrective action seeks to eliminate the behavior that may be unwanted and injurious to the individual and others. In such cases, while it may be justified, it needs to be done with tact starting with a discussion of the a) agreed expectations, b) description of the digressions and c) appreciation of the consequence’s and the need for corrective action d) corrective action itself may be accompanied by a punishment, penalty or fine.

Aligning behavior is a developmental approach to facilitate development growth or congruence in behavior in line with proposed ideals, values and principles. The object of feedback in the instance of teamwork is to enable and empower the person to develop shared values. While rules and regulations are rigid, values and norms are adopted principles that ensure organization success. The process of aligning behavior is not punitive and the feedback is intended to facilitate agreement and collaboration within and organization in pursuit of corporate goals. Aligning behavior is a powerful leadership tool and is not punitive, but aimed at working for the super-ordinate common interest of the team. When people understand the principle of aligning behavior they are less threatened, fearful and actually embrace and welcome feedback to improve themselves and their contribution to organization success. The process of alignment is based on a) the understanding or pursuit of a standard b) the evaluation of a persons contribution c) the communication of knowledge skills and attitudes to align behavior with set standards d) opportunity to receive coaching and feedback on individual attainment of (performance) standards. Correcting behavior is a judicial tool. Aligning behavior is a leadership competence; receiving corrective action is seen as punitive. However receiving feedback on alignment is meant to equip and empower the individual for effective organization contribution.
    
Allan Bukusi
Training Leaders

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Seven Scars of a Wounded Life

THE SEVEN SCARS OF A WOUNDED LIFE
There are seven terrors that we carry with us rather casually and even with a mark of pride. Little do we know that these prizes we so deem to be righteous are in fact the scars of a wounded life. They are; cynicism, blame, unbelief, selfishness, entitlement, laziness and a hatred for those who would change our circumstances. This list is not conclusive, but it is clearly indicative of the ugliness of the challenge that an unfulfilled life loads upon us.

Take cynicism, nothing is more influential on our attitude than adoption of a cynical stance about on anything. Cynicism basically ensures that you will not lift a finger to bring about anything good because you have already decided that it will not work. Such an approach to life robs you of opportunity, health and wealth. Cynicism is a vice that colors your opinion and shades your contribution to team efforts with a veneer of disgust. Cynicism has the power to kill any idea. Cynicism is a jail cell where the jailer and the jailbird are one and the same. Cynicism is a scar, a permanent sneer on the face of its victim.

Blame pours forth furiously from the abscess of the wounded mouth oblivious of the pain it is willing to inflict on others. Blame absolves the blamer of any need or responsibility to act in any measure on anything good or bad. Blame is a vice that makes a viceroy of the angel of darkness. It makes the angel look good and everyone else look really bad. Its cutting edge is that it proclaims salvation without a solution.

Unbelief and cynicism may be considered twins, but while cynicism conducts the requiem mass, unbelief digs the grave. Unbelief does not care what is being buried. It is only concerned that there is something to be put away forever. Unbelief is so insolent it is determined to bury every vestige of hope and scars the carrier with a permanent stoop and a mindless bent.

Selfishness can do nothing for anyone. Indeed it is so selfish it cannot do anything for itself. It needs others to do everything. But the pain of the selfish one is not in the little it has but in the abundance of what it does not have. It is pained by the fact that there are so many things it cannot have because it will not share with any.

Entitlement sits and waits. Sits and waits for those who have to provide for it. Its scar is on its backside. Mainly from sitting too long in the expectation that someone else is supposed to provide all it needs for its existence. The scar of the lazy is obvious; There is nothing to show for its efforts. The lazy has a public scar; the scar they leave on the environment of what they could have done and the scar they leave because they could not be moved. The lazy has no love of life and wonders what there is in life to love.

The scar of hate it is the most compulsive and convoluting of all. Its passion drives the one with the scar tissue to rebel against others. It does not need reason in fact the absence of any reason is perfect reason to hate all the more. Those who carry this scar make it their duty to infect everyone else with the spirit of jealousy, envy and arrogance. However, while the effects of this scar are external it originates from within. The scar is not on the skin, but in the heart. This makes it a deep and difficult scar to heal. Before you determine to carry these seven scars with you for life take time to consider the seven signs of a victorious life; joy, work, courage, sacrifice, giving, and the advancement and welfare of others. The sum of these is love.  

Allan Bukusi
Training Leaders

Sunday, May 7, 2017

PROUDEST MOMENTS




It is not often that anyone gets to impact the next generation through the creation of structures that will guide the development of great minds into the future. I am privileged to write about this high point in my career as the Professional Trainers Association of Kenya (PTAK) sign an agreement with the Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM) that will simultaneously raise and regulate the standards of training delivered in workplaces all over Kenya - thus energizing the regional workforce for new and greater levels of productivity and prosperity.

It has been a personal journey since 2007 to have the Association registered (2009). And now, in 2017, I am privileged see the day when we open up the Training Profession, as a career that has served me so well for more than two decades, to thousands of talented young individuals, entrepreneurs, employees and employers across Kenya and the region through the Certified Professional Trainer (CPT) qualification.

I want to personally thank my colleagues at PTAK who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this new future a reality. And, express my deep gratitude to my far sighted professional colleagues at IHRM (Executive Director, Dorcas Wainaina- pictured) who have shown selfless and visionary leadership to ensure that the legacy of an empowered national human resource lives on and grows stronger beyond this generation. This is one of my proudest moments. 

Allan Bukusi
Chairman, Professional Trainers Association of Kenya.
May 2017

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

No is not a reason to give up on a good thing!

Many of my prized accomplishments in life have been because I have been told NO enough times to find another way getting it done. Frustration has its place. It can be intimidating and depressing. But perhaps it is telling you something – to be more creative, adaptive or persuasive. If it be a good thing, it may just mean you need to find an alternative; take a longer and perhaps more challenging road to realize your objective. NO is never a good reason to give up on a good thing!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Gender Question

The gender question in cities has merged the roles of the sexes. Men and women do the same things. The social distance between the two has been shortened to the extent that a look, a handshake and a hug are equated to intimacy. The urban setting challenges the benefits of the natural diversity of men and women built in by the creator. Unfortunately, because men and women are equal and no different there can be no such thing as promiscuity.

Choose life

The moment you refuse to work with your hands is the moment you choose the life of a beggar.

Give me a man

Give me a man who works with his head and he may become a smart worker. Give me a man who works with his hands and I will teach him a trade. Give me a man who works with his heart and you can teach him anything!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Too many great men are dead!


Too many great men are dead!

Allan Bukusi is the author of the following ebooks
Thinking Leadership in Africa
How to Prosper in employment
Transforming Africa
The Master Trainer

Share the amateur leader’s prayer.

The Amateur Leaders Prayer

Lord I want to serve you.
Give me a heart to do your will.
To work hard and not complain;
to be brave when it doesn’t make sense to take another step.
To do the best I can with what I have.
And when my strength is gone and my zeal to wane;
please come and fan me back to flame.
Give me the courage to try and try and try again.
And when there is nothing left to gain, please ease the pain to give again.
And when the day comes, when I face shame, stand by me and defend your name.

AMEN

Allan Bukusi is the author of the following ebooks
Thinking Leadership in Africa
How to Prosper in employment
Transforming Africa
The Master Trainer

 

 

The long and the short


While long terms thinkers may tend to gloss over details and look for possibility in opportunity, short term thinkers consider any opposition to be the enemy and may believe that victory in a battle is equivalent to winning the war.

Allan Bukusi is the author of the following ebooks
Thinking Leadership in Africa
How to Prosper in employment
Transforming Africa
The Master Trainer

 

 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Are you worth your pay?


Are you paid for what you are worth or are you paid for your work? Do not be fooled, we are all employees whether you are an entrepreneur, consultant or members of staff. Are you paid for your papers or are you paid for your position. Are you paid for your capability or are you paid for your competence. Depending on which side of the employment divide you stand the both perspectives can be easily justified. However, these perspectives are invariably tied to an attitude of gratitude, service and the interpretation of opportunity.

There is a story my daughter told me of a phenomenon she has observed which she finds quite disturbing. She has been working as a volunteer on a project and has come to realize that not everyone works for the same reason. There are those who come to work to get paid, others participate in covert and overt theft. Still others engage front row theater seats to be able to tell the story of how the work is not being done. She was, however, able to pick out one person who seemed to understand the purpose of work.

That one person had begun work as a lowly ranked member of staff. But she immediately recognized the path to her own dreams was being offered to her by her employer who provided work, resources, benefits and multiple opportunities for personal development. Recognizing that by working hard for her employers she could gain lifetime skills that may never come her way again, she put her heart into her work, offered to do more than she was paid to do and took every opportunity to train herself to drive a vehicle, operate computers and relate well with children. She knows that when she one day walks away from that institution she will have done her duty, advanced the organization and her career, but more important transformed herself by the opportunity. Are you paid for your worth or your work? The difference is in the heart.

Allan Bukusi is the author of the following ebooks

Friday, January 27, 2017

DROUGHT, POLITICS & STRIKING WORKERS

The current predicament prevailing in Kenya is one that does warrant some scrutiny in detail. The trend of conditions indicate that though several players are pushing their interests and trying to create the advantage for themselves, the outcomes are really beyond all of them. The current global mood of intolerance does not favor strong international relations. In this environment every country is to fend for itself as everyone concentrates on their own business. In these circumstances I strongly recommend that we re-examine our national values and the spirit of our personal commitments to the land God has entrusted to us.

We know that drought is an (unfortunate) environmental phenomenon that man may bring about, but is certainly not in control of. Only God can right that wrong. Man is not in control of the elements and therefore his destiny is in the hands of God. Indeed, there are areas with no water; no crops and animals are dying in the fields. The people affected in these areas cannot vote in a government that will produce rain, nor will the award of higher rewards for striking workers produce crops in the fields.
There is a misplaced belief that politicians have the answer to the nation’s problems, but any set of politicians that will inherit leadership will be saddled with a government and a country to lead. I would be very careful in these circumstances and consider the fact that leadership at this time in the nation’s destiny would require divine intervention.  

The case of striking workers is one which entrepreneurs look on in pure wonder and amazement! No entrepreneur can go on strike. His or her livelihood depends solely on his or her own initiative. Save for the grace of God the entrepreneur has no recourse to his future. Employees, for some strange reason, entertain the privilege of unconditionally determining their pay. This is a most unfortunate circumstance in which no one benefits, people die, industry suffers and workers compromise their personal integrity.  Whether it is drought, politics, strikes or corruption the victims are the people. To my mind, these set of circumstances cannot be solved by any one man or even group of women. I beg you my people that it is time to seek the face of God.

Allan Bukusi is a leadership consultant and author of several eBooks


Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Strategic Business Forum


I have just worked through the essentials of the Strategic Business Forum with Harris. A Strategic Business Forum (SBF) is not a board, a stakeholders meeting or a think tank. Though it may appear to have similarities to all those institutions, the SBF has a core focus and specific purpose – to chart out a strategic path for businesses within a market. Those businesses may a) be facing a specific challenge within a market, b) wish to benefit from perspectives of other businesses under the same market conditions. c) SBFs can also be used to create industry direction and focus for the greater good (i.e. corporate success and survival rather than individual success). The motivation for participating in an SBF is in engineering the greater good rather than financial success.

FORM
The SBF is made up of entrepreneurs in the same market, but not the same industry who gather together to analyze and interpret global and macro environmental trends that affect and impact the  operations of their individual business(sectors) and try to determine a strategic framework that will ensure the survival and success of the (represented businesses) into the future.

KEY QUESTIONS
SBFs ask themselves several key questions that result in a strategic development framework for a business to craft a plan for its future survival and success;

1.  How have we survived so far? What have we done right in our businesses, what have we learned to do, what systems structures have we put in place that have enabled us to survive. (Do we have good products; do we have competitive systems, people, or just opportunities? Or are we just favored by fate?...)
2.  What are the global trends that could lead to the butterfly effect and impact us directly as a market?
3.  What are the current macro Social, Economic and Environmental (SEE) conditions that have immediate short or medium term impact on our operations as a business in this market?   
4.  Given the global trends and macro market conditions, what are the best and worst case scenarios that could emerge the medium term given these conditions.
5.    Given all the above; how can we position our businesses for survival and success in the prevailing environment and future environment. How can we proactively influence that future environment by creating models, designs and concepts that will mitigate the adverse effects of that future and advance positive survival in that environment.
6.   Finally, what strategic operational framework will enable businesses represented in the SBF to succeed and excel in future, by implementing those principles today?

From the outcomes of the six discussion guidelines above it should be clear that this forum cannot go on forever, unless it turns into a think tank with an unlimited range. It should also be clear that this discussion can be held without individual businesses fearing loss of their trade secrets to competitors and simply draws on the master mind that drives business in the market. Neither does the SBF guarantee specific outcomes. All the SBF does is to benefit from the multiple perspectives of common challenges faced by entrepreneurs within a market, industry, sub-sector, street or building. Nevertheless, it does give instrumental direction to (business) communities within a market, industry or social interest groups.  

DISRUPTION
The objectives of an SBF can be achieved in one meeting or in three or four meetings spread out over a few months. SBF members need to maintain the flexibility to engage and pursue their own business interest in order to generate value at the forum. However, since SBFs are not boards they can be “banded” and “disbanded” without any feelings of disloyalty. Indeed. If SBFs stay together for too long or meet too frequently they will begin to develop “constructive” rather than “disruptive” thinking and become convergent thinkers that will no longer benefit from divergence of their experience.

The SBFs harness concrete business sense and because the wisdom generated at the forum is from real players (entrepreneurs) and not market observers. Nonetheless, SBFs can benefit from perceptive consultants who can trigger insight on wider and “bigger” picture issues and complex considerations - You cannot see the full picture when you are in the frame.  

The SBF does not develop micro-operational plans for businesses, but it does provide food for individual business boards and senior managers to create specific action plans and policy framework to ensure the future survival of the business in the short to medium term. This means boards and senior management teams must ask themselves the transformational 7th question – How does all of this apply to us and what are we going to do about it?

CONCLUSION
The SBF is a powerful market intelligence instrument and can serve to raise the success levels of businesses present by enabling entrepreneurs and senior managers to take strategic decisions with respect to market trends. Indeed effective SBFs in a given market can also influence the short and medium term direction of that market. The other benefits of SBFs include the development of strategic and problem solving industry skills and market mechanisms.    

Finally, the selection of persons making up an SBF is of great import in terms of the nature, quality and outcomes of the forum. The selection should be careful to harness diversity of thought experience, exposure, education and expertise. Nonetheless, this forum will benefit more from entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial mindset than seasoned leaders, managers or administrators. The process skill sets of an SBF are more or less the same as those of an effective brainstorming exercise documenting specific outcomes under each key question. An SBF can create a sound foundation for transformative action, a movement, community action or social commitment program.

Allan Bukusi is a leadership consultant and the author of the following eBooks

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Never say never!


I never thought I would ever want to be on a golf course for any reason. I thought that the concept of swinging a “bat” and searching tall grass for a “lost ball” was something that only people with nothing to do could spend time doing. But lo and behold – I am in! When I took my first swing at the club, I felt that I should have started this a long time ago. It was enjoyable and challenging at the same time. And of course, just like any other sport requires skill and a good sense of discipline.  Was I surprised? – Yes! Should I have been surprised?– Well no! Standing in the way for my opportunities was an attitude block. My misplaced assumptions about golf have kept me away from a chance to swing the club for 50 years! Save for the gentle nudging of David, It would never have happened. Sometimes you need friends like that. They don’t force you. They just let you try what you can do and what is good for you.


 Allan Bukusi is the author of the following eBooks

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