I Asked Three Leaders what Books they Read, the Answer I got Will Shock You

Books

By Josh Okello

One simple question I like to ask new people I meet, leaders, managers, CEOs etcetera is “what books are you reading these days?”

People are always very honest to share ideas especially in the realm of entrepreneurship. My better-half knows and understand my love for books and it is almost predictable that most gifts I get from her are leadership books. We both like to learn even though we are in different fields. In general, we read a lot.

Back to my story, do you like to learn? As a leader, entrepreneur, how many books do you read in a month? I once walked in a store and asked three managers what they are reading and the answer I got was shocking. I am putting into consideration that not all like to read therefore it is not a crime to not read. You can acquire knowledge through other means.

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One manager told me that reading is not important as the books do not tell you how to deal with each individual customer. Different customers have different attitudes, emotions and personality therefore you cannot read a generalized book and work with that on each and every customer. How true is that? My answer is, “It is very true”. But how can you know how to deal with different customers without learning how to deal with different personalities? How does one acquire emotional intelligence (EI) without learning? Reading might not be your thing but are you in constant pursuit of acquiring knowledge? In philosophy we call it epistemology. Epistemology is the enquiry of what distinguishes justified true belief from opinion also referred to as knowledge.

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The other manager referred me to the manager who gave me the answer above. What does this boil down to? “Resistance to change,” and the mind set of “doing it our way.” how can we be open minded without being ready to learn? You do not have to read in the world of technology we are living in today. Listen to podcasts, audio books, and videos and learn at least one new thing every day. Never be bound to repeating the same old mistakes because you are resistant to books.

I would like to hear your honest feedback and hopefully books that you are reading/listening to this month. If you are looking for a simple leadership and entrepreneurship book to read, you might consider: Strategies of Entrepreneurial Leadership. Comment by suggesting at least one book for our leaders to read.  Let us learn together.

© Joshua Okello 2015.

Joshua Okello is a B.A graduate in Business Administration, International Development and Philosophy. He is also the author of the book Strategies of Entrepreneurial Leadership He has exceptional skills in organizing, coordinating projects and capacity building initiatives with key emphasis on livelihood programs; microfinance through savings and credit led models; business development services and entrepreneurial leadership. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Succeed Africa Relief Organization, a Canadian Christian Organization geared towards giving hope and transformation in lives of the chronically poor in Africa.

Balancing Family Time & Work

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By Josh Okello

There is no such thing as a balance between family and work. Irrespective of how great or big your company is or the amount of work you have as a leader, family should be your top priority!

In most of my literature, I always describe success as happiness therefore we cannot be successful in our businesses or organizations if our families are going through rough time. It is hard to make a successful company when our families are not happy. Leadership starts at home therefore it is important to understand these tips:

Money is not everything
One of the greatest boxer Floyd Mayweather once said; “money is not everything but it is the only thing.” This statement is very wrong. Money cannot buy you a happy family, this is something you have to do by yourself and the best way to do it is to increase your time with them.

Time
Some of the greatest world leaders I know of try to create time for their families. An example is Barack Obama the president of the united states who tries to have dinner everyday with his family. That is a great success. Try and do something with your family at least everyday.

Find a Fun Activity
My father used to be a music teacher and he nurtured music in our family. He taught us music and started a family choir that we still have to date, nearly two decades after he passed away.
This was our bonding time with him and it was always fun to be around him. What is it that you are good at that you can share with your family? Click here to listen to or download my free music.

Remember Your Vows
One thing I admire and still cannot fathom is the motherly love. Our mothers and wives deserve respect from us. If you exchanged vows on your wedding day, then go back and read it again. If you follow everything you promised to do with or for your partner then I will encourage you to continue being a responsible man. If you do not follow your vows to the latter then I do not have to tell you what to do. Do what is necessary.

Do you think your husband, wife, father or mother deserves to be treated the way you are treating her now? He or she is worth more. Vows are not only for the wedding day, but a public binding agreement that must be followed. You do not have to abandon your work for the family but creating at least two hours a day to have fun and add value in your family is one way of attaining business success.

Be Productive
The reason why we fail to go home in time and hangout with family or bring work home is because we procrastinate in the office and take a load of work home with us. As an entrepreneur and a leader, I understand that there is always more to be done but there is also a family to show love to. If you are not their for your children, who will? If you are not their for your wife or husband, who will? All these can come if we redefine and redesign what family and work means to us. A happy family leads to success at work.

 

© Joshua Okello 2015.

Joshua Okello is a B.A graduate in Business Administration, International Development and Philosophy. He is also the author of the book Strategies of Entrepreneurial Leadership He has exceptional skills in organizing, coordinating projects and capacity building initiatives with key emphasis on livelihood programs; microfinance through savings and credit led models; business development services and entrepreneurial leadership. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Succeed Africa Relief Organization, a Canadian Christian Organization geared towards giving hope and transformation in lives of the chronically poor in Africa.

Success is for Open Minded People

 open-minde

By Josh Okello

Have you wanted to attain a dream in your life, so bad that you cannot sleep without thinking of it? How irresistible do you get when you come up with a big, crazy and scary idea that could either lead to epic failure or epic success?
A lot of people generate great ideas but only about 20% of the total ideas generated by human beings are implemented. Are you in the 20 percent? Good news is, that you do not have to belong to the group of 20% to generate an idea. Ideas can be generated by anybody and if changed to practicality, they can be achieved by anybody.
Another great news is that you do not have to be all knowing to attain your goals. If you have an idea with potentials of transforming and improving humanity, then you can assign other people to implement it.

It takes people with open mind to attain big and scary dreams in life. We are living in a world where technology has made life easier, communication easier and so is networking. So what does it really take to succeed in life?

Focus
You can be gifted in a number of things but you can only succeed if you put your focus in one of them and execute it to the best of your ability. Pick one thing and do it to the final.

Open Options
This ties very close to the title of this post. To be successful, you must have more than one option. If you are thinking of designing an application for android or iOS, OS, your options are either, doing it yourself, asking a friend to do it for you or hiring a paid professional to do the task for you. You do not have to be a wizard to design a techy-app. Apps can be build by nearly anybody through a number of programming platforms such as Java and android with Java as the core language. One of my strong philosophies is that if you can think it, you can attain it. Find ways of executing your vision.

Try to Fail
One of the reasons why I admire failures is because they try. It is better to try and fail than to fail to try. One of my driving force is being told what I am not great at. We are living in a world where failing is nearly immoral. This ideology has immortalized failure making failures look like outcasts in societies. This school of thought can only drive us backwards.

Another problem is that those who fail do not like being corrected. If somebody is showing you what you are doing wrong, never take it personal. He who corrects you loves you. Be open and receptive to challenges and great ideas.

Empower Others
In our organization, we have a team of Five and once a year, we take one week to do nothing but to develop new ideas, write down the plans of execution and present it to the group. Each and everyone comes up with their own creative idea. Ideas always range from technological advancements, new programs, project proposals, communications, new software, new apps e.t.c.

Everybody always look forward to this week because it is a week of freedom. Nobody is tied to the company principles but to their own creativity and open minds. The more ideas we generate, the likely chances that we will find one that works. We are already having a team of geniuses that we cannot let come to office and go back home in the evening. Our goal is to tap into the wisdom they brought to the organization after their interviews.

Make Tough Decisions
If an idea is not making you uncomfortable then it is most likely not to be a great idea. Big ideas, come with big stresses, they are scary and ugly. They leave you wondering how your customers will react, they are risky but they are also the ideas that transform the world. The world is not transformed by cowards but by those who believe that they can positively impact humanity. Be restless and relentless, do things that make you uncomfortable, test your guts and the more you do it, the more you become flexible with big changes.

© Joshua Okello 2015.

Joshua Okello is a B.A graduate in Business Administration, International Development and Philosophy. He is also the author of the book Strategies of Entrepreneurial Leadership He has exceptional skills in organizing, coordinating projects and capacity building initiatives with key emphasis on livelihood programs; microfinance through savings and credit led models; business development services and entrepreneurial leadership. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Succeed Africa Relief Organization, a Canadian Christian Organization geared towards giving hope and transformation in lives of the chronically poor in Africa.

Success Hackathons #1

Success Hackathon Image

By Josh Okello

How bad do you crave to be successful? How desperate are you towards attaining it? Do you take success as a basic need or as a want? What if you were to be successful? What would it look like? Our next seven series post is going to coach you to be disciplined in your desperate hunt for success. Success just never comes; it goes to people who crave for it the most, those who hunger and thirst to be on top. This could be you.  Sign up for this 7 series post that will help you transform your life and improve your life standards to where you should be not where life wants you to be. For a start, let us check two major ways of joining success hackathons:

Doing Good

Every good work you do, deserves a reward. Are you doing a good work? Better off if you could do an excellent work. Every day when you wake up, before you slip your shoes on and get ready for a long day work, what is your goal? Do you dream of being productive every day? This is a simple transformative question that I ask myself every single day I get my feet off the bed; “What good am I going to do today?” To me this is not a question to be comfortable with, it is a question that disturbs me the whole day and every evening I evaluate my performance with the same question. What good did I do today? Adopt the concept of giving the world your best and not your mediocre.

For some of us who do not have jobs, it can be really hard to answer this question. I personally have been there until I started writing. So far I have written three books in one year and two of them are coming out this year. You can also decide to do good even if you do not have a job. Write something, help somebody, create a plan, volunteer in an organization or a church, volunteer for other businesses. Just do good.

Being Positive

Nobody likes to be with people who wine all the time. Being positive is key to success. This is a tip that has been mastered by a lot of business gurus. They understand that their efforts transform the world to be better than what it has been. People relate well with happy people therefore learn to be positive. Smile.

Do not miss any of our 7 series simple life hacks to success by signing up to our blog and news feeds. I will also be responding to questions on the same link so feel free to ask questions and we will post it to our team to get more from those who understand and experienced in business and leadership world.

© Joshua Okello 2015.

Joshua Okello is a B.A graduate in Business Administration, International Development and Philosophy. He is also the author of the book Strategies of Entrepreneurial Leadership He has exceptional skills in organizing, coordinating projects and capacity building initiatives with key emphasis on livelihood programs; microfinance through savings and credit led models; business development services and entrepreneurial leadership. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Succeed Africa Relief Organization, a Canadian Christian Organization geared towards giving hope and transformation in lives of the chronically poor in Africa.

How to Handle Stress

 

stress_managment

By Josh Okello

This  is a brief post I am posting after finishing a very hectic project. I wrote it on a train on my way from work after a very stressful month. I hope you can relate. 

In some way, the amount of stress we get from work is directly proportional to level of success we get. In this case, the higher the stress levels, the greater the rewards and that is how it should be. This does not mean that stress leads to success but it is a possibility.

There are small risk takers and mega risk takers. Entrepreneurs are known for their ability to absorb stress with strong hopes that they will get better rewards out of it.

If you are committed towards solving a big challenge and if you do it right, then you are going to reap all the benefits. A lot of people focus on how big the challenge they are going through is and that is what wares them out. Any time you meet a tough challenge, it is important to first position yourself above the challenge. This way, you are in control and not the challenge controlling you.

Human beings are blessed with one of the greatest tool ever and that is our brains. Often times it is easy to panic than to solve a problem and that is the wrong way to handle work stress. The difference between successful people and not so successful people is the resiliency to take the worst beatings.

No stress is big enough to challenge those who fully believe in their efforts. Most challenges we meet on the way are questions asked by fellow men and if we do not have an answer then we shift to panic mode. Another cause of stress are multiple imaginary problems that are not there but our minds tell us that they will never let us succeed. Leaders who see value in their efforts understand that there is nothing that can challenge them to change their minds on what they are passionate about. Keep plugging in, you are about to succeed and above all, never let your ambitions to succeed be tainted by dreams of failure.

 

© Joshua Okello 2015.

Joshua Okello is a B.A graduate in Business Administration, International Development and Philosophy. He is also the author of the book Strategies of Entrepreneurial Leadership He has exceptional skills in organizing, coordinating projects and capacity building initiatives with key emphasis on livelihood programs; microfinance through savings and credit led models; business development services and entrepreneurial leadership. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Succeed Africa Relief Organization, a Canadian Christian Organization geared towards giving hope and transformation in lives of the chronically poor in Africa.

Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone

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“A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.” —Denis Waitley

By Elizabeth Stincelli

          Your Comfort Zone

Why break out of your comfort zone? You will never create anything new if you don’t stretch your boundaries and break out of the status quo. Getting out of your comfort zone allows you to see new possibilities and forge a new path to achieve your goals. Your life experiences are fuller and your horizons are broader on outside. You get to define who you are and how you view opportunity. Are you going to play it safe? Or, are you going to risk it all outside of your comfort zone?

                    Overcome Fear

Dan Stevens believed, “The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fear.”  Don’t let fear prevent you from thinking in new ways and trying new things. You’ll be amazed at how resilient, capable, confident, and courageous you can become. Learn to let go of the need to be in total control. Step outside your comfort zone, set aside your fear, and try something totally different.

Welcome Challenge

  1. R. Martinez said, “I’ve learned in my life that it’s important to be able to step outside your comfort zone and be challenged with something you’re not familiar or accustomed to. That challenge will allow you to see what you can do.” You possess a wealth of knowledge and experience. Trust this knowledge and experience to help you confront and overcome the challenges you will face outside your comfort zone. The satisfaction you receive from successfully prevailing in light of challenge allows you to create rewarding work. If you never feel uncomfortable you are limiting your possibilities and your growth. Embrace challenge; reframe your goals so they include learning new things and exploring new experiences.

Take risks

Edward Whitacre, Jr. told us, “Be willing to step outside your comfort zone once in a while; take the risks in life that seem worth taking. The ride might not be as predictable as if you’d just planted your feet and stayed put, but it will be a heck of a lot more interesting.” Let go of the idea of perfection; it is a concept that is unattainable and causes you to avoid risk. With risk, you face the chance of failure but, also the opportunity for great success. Visualize obstacles, see yourself overcoming them, and then take the risk. You may not always win, but you will always grow.

A New Normal

Robin S. Sharma explained, “As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal.” That which is scary will eventually become comfortable. You will open yourself up to amazing new experiences. You may even meet new people and develop new relationships. You are a work in progress.  Break out of your comfort zone, face your fear, overcome the challenges, and take the risk; you’ll be glad you did.

 

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

Stay Calm And …

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By Josh Okello.

Business and leadership is where the unexpected frequently occur. Some news can destroy you and even result into serious medical problems if not well taken care of. There is only one solution to entrepreneurship and leadership bad news; stay calm.

It is not easy to stay calm when bad news is fresh. When you are disappointed, discouraged and covered in rubbles. That moment when your roof caves in and walls crumble apart, when all hopes are gone and failure is the best you are left with. The worst is yet to happen and that is why you need to be calm. Here are some importance of being Calm.

Decision Making

When your world is shuttered, it is highly probable that the decisions you are going to make are going to cost you more. It is hard to make informed decision when you are torn apart. It is therefore better to recollect yourself before making decisions especially when you are angry or highly disappointed.

Take your Time

If any moment when patience become a virtue is when things go wrong. It is hard to stay patient and calm in such a time but best solutions are not made when people are mad. Take your time to calm down and see the challenge as a mare hurdle that tests your genuine heroic strengths behind your efforts.

Build Trust

Nobody trusts a leader who paces up and down in time of turmoil. People tend to love more those leaders who are brave or can put a smile despite the biggest challenge an organization might be going through. Once people learn of your confidence and ability to take a beating, they will look at you as their hero, a person they can confidently confide in to change their lives.

Positive Thought Process

It is often very easy to switch into retaliation mode by making hasty decisions when angry. Staying calm will make you sober and start thinking positively instead of negatively. Staying calm will make you act on your failures and challenges. Making decisions when you are angry and frustrated is a sign that you are reacting to the challenge making the challenge bigger than what it actually is. You should be controlling the challenge not the challenge controlling you. This is a concept that is widely adopted by those who go for mega success.

Despite the fact that you are challenged, never react but rather act on solving the problem. Challenges are there to be solved not to be fueled. By making decisions on the spot when you are not emotionally stable, you show a weakness that can be read by many.

Take Deep Breaths

It might sound silly primafacie but try it when you are rattled. It really does help. Different people have different ways of calming themselves down. Some people find solace in crying while I personally find solace in retrieving and thinking critically on the next step. I try not to work in panic mode. If the stress is more than I can handle then I just take a nap and wake up when I am fresh. Take a few deep breaths and make a decision on the best and realistic solution for the challenge. I then immediately start working on it and the more I get done the more my stress and anger goes down.

Find your philosophy of dealing with such challenges and be disciplined at implementing it.

Never Communicate

Anytime our organization faces a challenge, I try to cut all communications from emails, phone calls, social media, texts and anything that can show my emotions at that moment. People can read your emotions in the way you communicate with them even if it is not a face to face communication. Let nobody read your emotions when you are rattled. People will always think of you as a calm leader who knows and understand how to solve problems.

In some organizations, you might need to call a crisis meeting. Make sure that before you sit down with your team to inform them of the challenge, that you have digested the problem and have come up with possible ways to reduce the magnitude of the challenge so that your team can see it as a minor thing that they can act on and solve. Any moment you magnify a challenge, your team will double the magnifying glasses and make the challenge look twice as bigger than it is.

Mega success achievers understand these factors making them great problem solvers with high emotional control. For mega success, remember to stay calm.

© Joshua Okello 2015.

Joshua Okello is a B.A graduate in Business Administration, International Development and Philosophy. He is also the author of the book Strategies of Entrepreneurial Leadership He has exceptional skills in organizing, coordinating projects and capacity building initiatives with key emphasis on livelihood programs; microfinance through savings and credit led models; business development services and entrepreneurial leadership. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Succeed Africa Relief Organization, a Canadian Christian Organization geared towards giving hope and transformation in lives of the chronically poor in Africa.