Who Are Your Four Best Friends?

By JoshOkello

Entrepreneurship is about dealing with people. Treat all equal and give them the best. They define you. Entrepreneurship is a road taken by a few and a bigger percentage of those few also fail miserably. In entrepreneurship or any leadership position, failing is the only thing guaranteed but for success, you must be ready to work for it. This then demands that you have the right team to work with.

Some people just like to make easy things impossible, get rid of them. Birds of the same feathers flock together. This is probably one of the most undervalued statements of all times. Look around you and count up to four of your closest friends. These are the people you hang-out with and have fun with when you are free.

Do these people believe in you? Do they believe in your efforts? Do they believe you can make it as a leader or as an entrepreneur? There are some people we entertain in our lives yet they cause more damage to us than good. Starting a business is so hard and stressful that it is wise to spend your time with either other business people or people who are successful in it and so is leadership of any kind.

Of cause this is not how society should be, but we either decide to sacrifice our time for the success of our business or entertain every Tom Dick and Harry that we meet. If you are honest with yourself, you will find it more beneficial to be with people who add value in your life than those who take value away from it.

It requires wisdom to discern who to be with. If your mindset is for success and happiness, then there will be tropism towards achievers. They should be your external stimulus to do more, dream more, and value more. This is the time, do not wait. If possible do not even finish reading this post, prune out people who always attract you to negative things and get close to those who have a mindset of success and happiness.

Failure is not enough reason to not try doing greater things. If birds of the same feathers really flock together, then why are you with people who do not change you for the best? I have been meeting a lot of business leaders and investors who are successful trying to learn what makes them successful. One of the things that they all agree on is hard work and being with good company. Your group defines who you are so stop wasting your time with people who have no dreams. The fact that somebody cannot dream big should not infiltrate in your mind. You coin your own destiny. Be smart.

© Joshua Okello 2014.

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 Know You are an Entrepreneur

Darlene Lopez

By Josh.

This week on our Entrepreneurship Bench is non other than, an entrepreneur, a mom, a herbalist, an adviser, a consultant and a coach. Darlene M. Lopez. She takes everything she is doing as a ministry. She is ready to serve her clienteles globally through the help of internet and social media platforms. This is what she had to say on entrepreneurship

Josh: One thing I admire with you is how you keep people engaged. You are a net-worker for sure and I would like to learn from you.

Lopez: Thank you so kindly, that is very encouraging of you. I enjoy learning and you inspire me to keep pursing my dreams, knowing the outcome will be to fund ministries/work like yours

Josh: You are most welcome. So what are some of the challenges you have met on your way as an entrepreneur and a mom?

Lopez: What a good question, I think the most challenging thing thus far is that in both is being disciplined with time management along with always remaining a humble servant.

Josh: Oh yes that is a tight balance to hit. It is a challenge to me too. How did you come to learn that you are an entrepreneur?

Lopez: I never considered being an Entrepreneur, the concept had always interested me but I never fully pursued it but when people began offering to pay me for doing what I loved I began to entertain the idea but still didn’t pursue it.

I just love helping people in herbalism/natural living and friends and family and friends of family etc. would call me or ask for my advice etc. and I offered it and wrote protocols for them, they would come back with amazing testimonies thanking me over and over some would offer to pay me of which I would decline.

This sometimes would lead our family into small amounts of debt as I would purchase the necessary herbs and supplies for my clients thankfully it was never a burden to us and the debt never accumulated but nevertheless it wasn’t wise.

I still was reluctant to receive monetary compensation for my consulting it was something I loved and enjoyed doing, so I felt a bit guilty to receive money for doing what I loved, after all why charge for something that you can give for free and it is helping others.

I began to look into wholesaling houses and investing as a stay at home mom, I wanted to help contribute to the family income so Id take side jobs like providing childcare for families this helped but the concept of wholesaling and investing interested me but I needed information that only real estate professionals have.

We have some friends who are Real Estate agents, and have been in the business going on 40 years. I called her and began to explain my interest in investing in real estate and my interest in wholesaling, she educated me on the risks involved and the pros and cons.
Without discouraging my adventure she explained how I could get the access I needed in order to succeed, which the only way was to become a professional realtor.

I didn’t want to do that because well, it wasn’t something I had a passion about it was merely a means to make some extra income for our family, so I didn’t want to invest in schooling for this if I wasn’t going to pursue it passionately.

She then suggested I become her virtual assistant and manage her social media marketing for her and in exchange she would give me the access I needed to flip houses etc. I agreed and she paid for my social media for sales and success marketing class.

I became her online virtual assistant and I love marketing and social network, I have a passion and love for it, so I said sure why not. She offered to pay me and yet again I refused compensation because I felt guilty for being paid to do something you love.

This type of thinking some how held me back. I realized that there is nothing wrong with being paid, a worker is worthy of his wages. This led to me launching my own business.

I’m still a new entrepreneur and still learning to market myself as I Have spent so much time marketing and networking for others that doing it for myself on a professional level has been a learning experience.

© Joshua Okello 2014.

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.

For Success, You Have to Build Synergy

Statue of Lib Pyramid

We all know the United States of America as the only super power that has ever been but this is not true. Go back in history and study how many super power nations have been there. You will be surprised to find out that the continent that is now currently the poorest on planet earth was once a super power. Yes Africa. So what made Africa and or any other superpowers successful? The answer is simple, they build team synergy.

Think of the Roman Empire, British Empire which is also considered to be the most influential and effective superpower in history. On this post I am  only going to focus on Africa as the then super power.  Egypt a country that is today run by guns was once at the level of America in dominance and power. It ruled Africa and its neighboring countries mostly under the influence of kings and pharaohs.

We all have a dream of one day taking a trip to Africa to tour the stunning architectural work that was put in building the Egyptian Pyramids. These are some of the stamps of authority that we can trace about Pharaohs. Historical analysis tells us that the Egyptians built the Giza Pyramids in a span of 85 years between 2589 and 2504 BC.

It is estimated that some pyramids took up to 100,000 people to build yet it goes down in history that Pharaohs build the pyramids. One thing that these pharaohs knew was how to build team synergy. Thy knew that thy could not do it a lone and therefore they used other people to implement their dreams. Unfortunately most people who took part in building pyramids were slaves but nobody talks about them. Everybody thanks and wonders at the marvelous works of pharaohs yet I am sure they hardly placed a brick to build the most astounding architectural work in the history of the world.

Pharaohs dominated and oppressed people until they saw their dreams come true. In the world today, we do not have to practice that to see our dreams come true but we can pick a team of qualified people to implement our dreams for us. No successful person does it a lone. We need people and that is why human beings are social beings. There are some people who know more than we know, some are gifted in different fields that we are. Let us give them a chance to shine. This does not mean that we are going to be successful by randomly places people in our work environment.

We have to select the right people for the right jobs. One of the most important knowledge and wisdom every leader or entrepreneur should have is the ability to pick the right people for the right jobs.  Just as Pharaohs picked wisely their architects, engineers and slaves who were strong, skilled and proficient, we also need to follow suit but with one thing in mind. That we have to create opportunity for growth to people who serve with us.  Add value in their lives and not turn them to slaves.

Let them enjoy what they do, let them love their work place and above all motivate them to go extra miles. Treat your people with love because they are the ones who build team synergy that results into success.  You need people, you can and will not do it a lone.

What is important, success or happiness?

By Josh Okello.

As is with any debate, there are always antagonists and protagonists, those against an idea and those who hold it firm and do not want to lose it. And this week’s topic of discussion is, what is important, happiness or success.

Some of the debates, comments and answers I got from twitter over this topic were that success and happiness are complimentary. This might be true but contrary to my beliefs. In my opinion, a continuous pursuit of happiness is more important than a strong desire to succeed. What is it that you find joy in and you value so much that you never get bored doing over and over again?

How many people do we know who were once successful, (however your definition of success is) but today are going through tough life challenges? So is success all that is?  For what is a man who has not been taught what to do with success after attaining it? These achievements can lead to frustrations and boredom of the highest calibre.

The dictionary definition of success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.  While happiness on is defined as a mental and emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Is it therefore good to be happy or successful?

Albert Einstein a theoretical physicist once said, “Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value.” (Wisdom quotes app). If what makes you happy is creating value either in your life or in other people’s, then you are headed in the right direction.  It is very rare to be successful without failing, does that mean that we have to quit after a few attempts? If we make pursuit of happiness our ultimate goal, then no matter how many failures we go through, we will still be able to rejoice knowing that there is that one moment when we will succeed and it does not stop at success.

Success is always considered greatest by those who never succeed. For any moment you attain a prize, you will realize that there is more to be done to maintain that rank. After all why would Olympians try to break their own records? Usain bolt the fasted human being a live on the surface of earth keeps working hard towards beating his own record. Why? Because all he needs is happiness not success.  He has already been successful by breaking world records. It does not only stop at being the best.

A purposeful living consists of incessant desire of happiness that can only be attained through hard work. Just as Benjamin Franklin, a scientist and a writer once said, “Happiness consists more in small conveniences of pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune, that happen but seldom.”  (Wisdom quotes app).

Happiness therefore, underwrites a greater drive of all beings. The entire purpose and end of human’s actuality should be planted in happiness.

© Joshua Okello 2014.

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.

Busy but NOT Successful – Is It Possible?

“I’m busy.” That is probably the most abused response when you ask someone how they are. You may also be faced with that kind of situation -almost every day! But make no mistake: Going to work every day does not make one an effective worker. Yes, being busy doesn’t always equate with being successful. At times, it may be the other way around. Some may be confused about the issue because they focus on the number of hours they work. Well, we all have 24 hours a day but just to think of it: why do others have more successful life? Why do others are more accomplished, more fulfilled? It is because being busy is a state of existential reassurance. When you’re busy, there is no room for emptiness.

Time is not a factor. In fact, daily activities like going to work, sending emails, attending meetings – these are the usual things that make one busy but not necessarily leading to accomplishing anything. So what constitutes to success, you may ask. We ask different successful people and here are the 3 things that matter most to success:

  • Quality
  • Progress
  • Goal Accomplishment

If you want to hit the 3 essentials of success, you must first learn to avoid being busy and be productive instead:

Sure Ways to be Productive, Not Just Busy

  1. Avoid interruptions.

 What can help

Manage your time and space. Limit technology interruptions. Organize your workspace to minimize visual distractions. Learn self-management skills to help you increase your focus and reduce stress. Create a strategy and have a goal to stick to it.

  1. Avoid doing the easy menial things first. Start doing the most urgent.

 What can help

The first hours of work should be allotted to the most urgent projects. Spending a few minutes each day checking personal e-mail, handling an online bank transfer or texting is not a problem as long as you know your limitations. Doing trivial things first without control may rob your time that should have been used in more important things. It may also sap the energy out of you leaving nothing left for the more important things. Remember priority and productivity are partners to success..

  1. Avoid working without goals or purpose.

What can help

Take time at the end of the day to reflect what happened the whole day, what was accomplished, what was not, what should be done and what other things should be done to make things more productive. Focus on the best things to do for the day to come. Write your priorities for the next day and review your list when you come in.

  1. Avoid multitasking.

 What can help

 Do one thing at a time and do it well. Get it started and get it done effectively. Focus on your work and be engaged with people working around you. Always check your to-do list and don’t let your focus float to other tasks before the current one is not over yet.

  1. Avoid decision-making paralysis. This can be experienced when you are always making decisions left and right that you feel tired all day. , making any decision makes you tired, instead get good habits, do the right things habitually, do them with unconscious effort, and save your mental energy for the things that matter.

What can help 

Making decisions is made more accurate when it is based on information. To nurture your informed decision-making skills, learn to collect the right data. Mapline, a mapping software. is often used by companies to provide them with data visualization. A map visualization usually helps entrepreneurs and business leaders to identify factors affecting operations, marketing and sales. More advanced analytical features are used to uncover powerful relationships between data sets.

The next time that you’re busy doing your usual routine, sit back and really think: Are you busy just for the sake of having activities to do, or you are busy because it meant you are productive? Productivity is indeed the key to success so aim to be more productive.

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Author’s Bio:

Marga Dela Cruz is a thought leader and a consultant in data analysis and data visualization. She works in Mapline, a business mapping software that helps organizations simplify data and use it to optimize logistics, enhance market planning, identify growth opportunities, or mitigate market risks.

Successful Leadership

 

By Joshua Okello

As much as we have been talking on leadership on this blog, there are some points that we will continue reiterating until we drive the facts home. Leadership theories are like economics, they are the same in every country and in every business. So what makes leadership a daunting task? A leader and an entrepreneur should master these three concepts:

Persistence not stubbornness

I have come to realize that there is fine line between persistence and stubbornness and one can easily find him or herself on the other side of these two. Stubbornness is wrong, persistence is right.  Most of your clients will be touched by how persistent you are in achieving your objectives. With that said, you should expect rejections. That is the truth of the matter.

Back when I was starting our newly incorporated not-for-profit organization, I got so many rejections to a point I felt that it was not worth it pursuing my dreams in changing other people’s lives. I planned events that got shut down, I raised project proposals but all were aborted. Nothing is more frustrating like cancelling an event that people have signed up for. I got our organization event cancelled one week prior to the event. It was the most frustrating thing I had ever gone through.

I am very happy to report to you readers that I thank my team who cancelled the events and plans of the organization today. With the help of our amazing board members, we managed to register the organization and get projects going on. Entrepreneurship is not easy. Keep doing the good work you are doing and never be discouraged.

Most people will be converted by seeing how committed you are to your goals. Keep sending those newsletters but remember that when somebody tells you that they do not want to get your newsletter, then do not send it to them. That is just one example of stubbornness that will harm your start up or business. If you truly believe in what you are doing, then let nothing stand on your way towards achieving your dreams. Hard work pays.

Being stubborn closes you off to new understandings, new realities, and even new opportunities. Persistence, on the other hand, allows you to be malleable to discovery and learning from  new insights, while at the same time being resilient in achieving our shared purpose

By being persistent, we are able to see obstacles and challenges as opportunities to learn and evolve; to find new avenues where we can become stronger and do better job serving our customers.

Embrace Failure & Persistently Search for New Opportunities

You are going to fail! I wish I would put it in a better way but I do not want to sugar coat the truth. Failure does not really matter, what matters is how you get back after a hit. You have an option of staying grounded forever or picking up your pieces and taking it as an entrepreneur. Successful entrepreneurs know that the road to success has got so many stops, most of them failures. If you fail, never give up, go for new opportunities, search and research and actually from your failures you can draft a  plan that works since you already know what does not work.

One good thing I like with failing is that it only leaves you with one option and that is, how to do it successfully. After failing you do not have to do trial and error since you already know what works and what does not.

 

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Check out my book coming out this month on Leadership and entrepreneurship.

 

 

Uncertainties & Risks

F-Heisenberg_uncertainty_principle

By Okello Okello

Often times people talk of risks as the only fear to getting to entrepreneurship but do they really mean risks? What are risks? Is there anything else other than risks that can raise an entrepreneurs adrenaline. As an entrepreneur, if an action does not cause you to take a deep breath before you do it then it might not be risky enough and that means that it is not as important.

It is also good to understand that there is no perfect risk out there. There is a lot of uncertainty with decisions we make since we mortals can only operate in a linear time scale unless we are supreme beings. Therefore, people are always not scared of risks but the uncertainties that come with entrepreneurial decisions you make. What are uncertainties?

Uncertainty refers to outcomes not contemplated during the decision-making process while on the other hand risks refers to outcomes that have been contemplated, and are quantified as probabilities. The fact that risks are premeditated makes them expected in a way but uncertainties are those happenings that are not thought of and those are the most dangerous ones.

Duo-contemplation is about how to react in such occurrences of uncertainties. An entrepreneur needs to have clear thoughts when things do not go as planned. It can be drenching to operate in such a situation. Uncertainties can also include unexpected positive results or unexpected successes.

Uncertainties can be as a result of , Workers skills not matching the required standards of performance, low productivity due to low employee moral,  or the general mishaps in assumptions in the forecast sessions. Entrepreneurs should then give more weight to non-financial and qualitative factors than financial data. This is not to say that financial data are less important, but seeing past financial data can help give a second come back after uncertain occurrences.

Duo-contemplation matrix covers recovery from both risks and uncertainties and it heavily relies on the leaders ability to absorb market shocks and make wise decisions after a fall. For duo-contemplation to happen successfully, a leader should be ready for drastic changes. Employees should also be in a position to take the change with minimal and if possible no resistance however before these changes happen, an entrepreneur or a leader should consider;

Emotional Effects

How are the changes going to affect the entire team that an entrepreneur is working with? Are they comfortable trying new things? If they are not, how can we transform their fears into a cash flow generating ideas. That is the reason why business gurus do well. Dismantling failure, uncertainties and fears that come with it forms a strong base of success. As an entrepreneur, you do not want to be at the mercies of your emotions. Use your emotion to defeat itself. Change your emotions into happiness and enjoy the outcome no matter what it is. Sharing this attitude with your employees build confidence and a strong belief in the organization after drastic changes have happened. It is also important to know that when making changes, they should not be hard to adopt.

Psychological Effects

Let us take mind as the function of feeling, awareness and motivation. Anything that interferes with your state of mind negatively is what you do not want as entrepreneur. This is not easy as it may sound especially after a failure. The idea of duo-contemplation is to have a strong and stable state of mind to help you fight all the emotional effects that might come with a failure. Human mind is the most versatile organ in a body and can be trained to respond positively to any action.

As devastating a failure can be, human mind never run out of tentative solutions to the main problems in other words, there is no big challenge that human mind cannot handle. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13). I wish every entrepreneur would read a bible as it boosts one’s faith when it comes to trying risky things. Based on this bible verse, you can meet challenges of different kinds but God has promised that you will not be over come by temptations, therefore do not let your challenges affect your state of mind.

Why the Change

Entrepreneurs should not just propose a change because they feel like it is good to implement one. When going for a change, plan and always remember to maintain your core values intact. Always have a positive and a better reason than before of why you think a change is important. A change can be too big that it becomes insignificant. That is when a change is leading to a permanent failure. Based on keen observation of British Motor Works (BMW) X series, Starting from X3 to X6 there has been very slight changes on every stage, either on chassis shape, gearbox setting, interior space, engine size etc. The changes are always minimal, direct and less complex. They are identifiable changes that does not need extra work to learn or adopt especially on a consumers perspective. The fact that you can also order a custom design BMW makes it even better so the changes suit your preference. The point, always have a reason why you are introducing a change and let it be easy to adopt.

How “The Art of Execution”

Doing the same thing all the time, tremendous repeat or repeated abuse as one of my friends describes it is unhealthy. It is said that change is as good as a rest therefore change should be constant and always in motion. That is when you change the change. So how should people execute the art of change? Implementing the art of change can be hectic yet it can also be simplified through these key points.

  •  The vision: It is important to lay out the vision, what exactly is changing and how is it going to change. The vision gives a broader picture of what the team will work towards. This vision should be clear, short and precise. By making the change vision clear, short and precise, you are simplifying it for your team to easy adopt it therefore there is a higher chances that they will buy into it.
  • Specialization: You want to match the tasks with skills required to accomplish them. Through specialization and division of labour, you are already simplifying the change making it easy to adopt. Clarity with each individual on how important their tasks and roles are to the vision of change helps develop a team synergy. Duo-contemplation work best if you match your team with what they can do best. It is all about maximizing the output from your team.
  • Follow-up: Great leaders go to their employees to inquire if they are meeting any challenges. Try it, it works. You do not have to implement a change to do this. Just ask how you can help them meet their goals, make fun and create a lively work environment. How many entrepreneurs like to crack jokes with their juniors? You want to create an environment where your team enjoys your presence and the work they do. It is also important that you make them know that you are in control, a manager, a director, and the boss if you like calling your self that.

Span it Takes to Change

How drastic are your changes? Are they changes that need 10 years to adopt? Since you are working with start-ups and growing businesses, a change should not take your team more than three months to adopt. It should be that simple. Design a change that impress, a change that every body wants to flock to. If you find it difficult to come up with one especially after failure then look at the reason why you failed or what you want to improve on and just tweak it a little bit.

Let us look at this example, you are a fruit vendor who sells a lot of bananas every week. In one week due to bad weather your sales went down and you are left with a lot of inventories that are perishable. Since You want to maximize your cash flows and revenues, you can decide to have a banana cup cake business along side your grocery to take care of the left over fruits. This is an example of a change that does not require a long span of time to adopt. It is easy, almost obvious and can still generate some income to support the business.

Realistic Goals

If you are a start up, you do not want to tell your employees or yourself that you are going to generate 1 billion in the first week of your business launch. Not that it is impossible, but setting realistic goals is always good. Start small then grow big. You do not want to risk a lot of your resources in a start up therefore losing it all is not good. Be economical, take it one step at a time and sent achievable goals with a reasonable time limit. Most entrepreneurs are big dreamers, I am saying this out of experience. This can make it extremely difficult for your employees to match your expectations because you always want your books to read 100 million revenue in your first year. Give your employees enough time and realistic goals that they can attain. It is better you give them short term and easy to achieve goals that will grow your business than giving them big, dreams that they cannot achieve making you close your business in the first few weeks it starts.

Planed Plans

When a King wants to concur another kingdom, he meets with his military heads to plan and strategist the attack patterns. This is something that has existed through the ages. Planning. You do not want to attack a giant with bear hands. Think of a story in the bible; Joshua 18. Joshua is sending out three representative to go and survey they land, they were to write  a detailed plan on what they saw, and how to get in the land they were promised. He is also laying strategy on how to divide the land, who settles on the south, who goes to the North and who remains in the East.

Key lesson is, plan your movement. Plan your action. plan and again plan the plan. It is really hard to win without a plan. That is why most politicians work with a campaign team. These are people who meet everyday to lay strategies depending on the location of campaign. Having been in African Politics as a strategist to a member of parliament, I can say that strategists do more than what you see politicians say on screens or on a political rally.

After the speech, then we analyze the clips word by word, gesture by gesture, information by information then we do a quick meeting every day to update the potential candidate on what he did well in and what he missed. We also monitor his dressing cord and match it with the tribe or a particular group of people he is going to address. All these are planning and if well executed, they can result into a big success.

Uncertainty, Risks and Fear works like three horns of a triangle. Once you dismantle one side the whole structure collapses.

Lead and Inspire

Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be lead. —Ross Perot

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

The Old Way

Early organizations were run by authoritarian leaders who believed that employees tended to be lazy. These leaders focused on ways of improving productivity through a command and control structure of leadership that was based on the belief that leaders were born and not made. The hierarchical organizational structure was born.

In the early 20th century, Fredrick Taylor pioneered scientific management. This form of leadership focused on production by breaking projects down into tasks. Employees could then be trained to specialize in a specific task. Taylor emphasized efficiency, control, and predictability. This view of leadership treated employees like instruments that leaders could manipulate. The focus of leadership was on the needs of the organization and not those of employees.

 

A Paradigm Shift

The scientific approach to leadership failed to acknowledge the complexity of organizational operations as a whole. The approach to leadership began to shift to forms of leadership that focused on the relationship between leaders and followers. This new generation of leaders believed that leadership was dependent upon one’s ability to inspire others through the building of relationships and development of trust. These modern-day leaders serve as role-models for followers. They place the needs of followers over their own personal needs or those of the organization. These leaders enable and encourage autonomy and participation in organizational decision-making. They empower others and inspire them to work towards a shared vision.

The traditional, top-down, hierarchical organizational management structure is changing. Leadership can be seen as dynamic and fluid rather than fixed. It is an emergent property where a group of individuals bring their expertise together in pursuit of a shared goal. The emerging leadership paradigm characterizes a leader as an individual who inspires and influences others with or without holding a formal position of authority.

 

Who Can Lead

Leadership is not about a position, it can come from anyone. Leadership takes place all around us on a daily basis. Being a true leader goes beyond title or position. Every individual within an organization, team, or community has the opportunity to inspire those around them. An effective leader encourages every individual to participate in the learning and leading. An individual who is seen as knowledgeable, friendly, open, trustworthy, and always willing to help can serve a leadership role by inspiring others.

The performance of a team or organization is directly related to the ability of the members or employees to share knowledge, experience, and skills in the coordination and completing of tasks. The development of close relationships based on trust and respect lays the foundation that enables one to inspire others. These relationships can be developed by employees at every level of an organization.

 

Lead and Inspire

Leadership is all about the ability to inspire others to work towards a shared vision or goal. Leadership has become cooperative, the leader playing the role of coach and supporter with an emphasis on the individuals working under them. The role of a leader is to allocate resources, serve as a role-model, coach followers, and to inspire others. It is the leader’s responsibility to offer followers the opportunity to grow. By developing and maintaining trusting relationships, leaders enable individuals to collaborate, share knowledge, and contribute to the development of new organizational knowledge.

The ability, knowledge, respect, and confidence that an individual possesses contribute to his or her ability to inspire action in others. Inspirational leaders communicate a clear vision, set high expectations, and motivate followers through encouraging individual creativity, development, consideration, and intellectual stimulation. We can inspire others with a sense of trust, respect, purpose, value, inclusivity, confidence, and encouragement.

Gone are the days of command and control leadership. People want to be inspired by the leaders they look to for guidance. Look around, your organization is brimming with individuals who have developed the relationships, earned the respect and trust, and demonstrated the knowledge that allows them to inspire others within your organization.

 Please if you find this blog informative, share it on your social media, comment, follow, favorite and let other people learn from it too. That is the spirit of entrepreneurship. We are here to support each other. No one knows everything that is why we share, exchange and learn from one another. God bless you.

 

Leadership

Leadership-Cranes

It is better to lead from behind and put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front like when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership ~ Nelson Mandela

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. ~Max DePree

 

By Okello Okello

Over the years, I have believed that business is the most important factor (apart from God) in our lives especially with the metamorphosis brought up by globalization. As I started writing more and more on business, innovation and entrepreneurship, I came to learn that without leadership, there is no success. So before a business is founded, there must be someone in charge. Leadership therefore stands triumphant over all else that pertains to success in our communities.

  • Think of a family set-up, there is always a breadwinner, who is most of the time the leader of the family, children and other members who either form nuclear or extended part of the family fully rely on the leader. These people needs a leader who can provide, take care, protect, support, advice and be a role model etc. It does not matter whether you are from a single family or with both parents, you still need a leader and if you are the leader, then you must be ready and willing to show your team the right way.
  • Leadership is also needed in our faith based organizations. There must be an individual who holds all the responsibilities and can be held accountable for all successes and failures of the organization. I am talking about successes and failures because most of the times, leaders performances are scaled in between the two points.
  • Institutions and community centers also need leaders. People who can report the management and affairs happening in the institution to both the government and the public. They take part in overseeing operations of different projects, and they also plan the future of the institutions they work in.
  • Politicians are also leaders who are engaged in daily errands and affairs of a country. They manage the country’s economy and hold the jurisdiction that governs their nations and states. Political leaders are most of the times the head of their countries security.
  • Businesses also need leadership. For success in the market that is either highly regulated or open, there needs to be a person with strong leadership skills. Somebody who is good with finances understands the market patterns, an organizer, a planner, a manager and if most likely a people person. In general, we cannot live without leadership because leadership transforms chaos into order.

Now that we briefly understand how leadership is important, ask yourself; “What if I was the one to be in charge?” Some people do not consider themselves’ leaders and often times decline a position that puts them in lime light. But can we really hide from leadership? At some point in life, you must be a leader. Either leading an organization, a ministry, a community group or your own family. It is therefore better to familiarize yourself with leadership and be ready to be called upon at any time.

In the history of the bible, God used people who were not considered naturally born leaders, therefore it is never wrong to decline that you are a leader, but if God has anointed you to become one, then what you need to do is to heed his calling.

Think of Moses and how he was anointed. He was a man of no charisma, was not fluent in speech and was the one who God picked and used. David was the last born of Jesse, and we know in our societies today that last born’s are always the spoiled ones. Probably it was the same back in the days and that is who God anointed. It is therefore good to understand that leaders are people who are anointed by God to fulfill a purpose and a need that is affecting His people.

What then is leadership? Here are a number of definitions of the word leadership.

  • Leadership is the ability to give a social aid to a mass of people who come together to achieve a common goal.
  • Leadership is doing the right things. (Peter Drucker).
  • Management and maintaining order in an organization
  • The guidance and direction of a group of people
  • The time when a person holds the position of a leader (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

Leadership is laying yourself down for the sake of other people. Not to say that the definitions above are wrong, but I like to give a different approach and view to leadership. As a leader, are you called to lay yourself down to the people you lead? Are you fully in charge of the situations and ready to be responsible for the good and the worst that your organization might encounter? Are you ready to stand for your employees and be a voice of those who are in need? Are you ready to show love? A leader is a person who considers these questions and tries to live by the standards that uplifts the people they are leading.

As the son of man gave himself to be nailed on the cross for the sake of the world, we should be in a position to stand firm for the people we represent. Some have called this type of leadership “Servant Leadership.” In the history of the world, Kings ruled and reigned, Judges lead and dominated, presidents have expressed and shown power in different ways but very few have been there to lay themselves down for the sake of their people.

In the world today, we should be in a position to differentiate market celebrities and leaders. Most of the people we call business leaders are good examples of market celebrities, they are there to dominate without love, promote themselves and finish their rivals. Where is love? How are they laying themselves law for the sake of the common people?

It is good to understand that there are social leaders, spiritual leaders, business leaders, consanguinity leaders and this work is to generalize all of them to come up with shared traits and also how to empower people to take up the role of leadership with a lot of confidence.

Please if you find this blog informative, share it on your social media, comment, follow, favorite and let other people learn from it too. That is the spirit of entrepreneurship. We are here to support each other. No one knows everything that is why we share, exchange and learn from one another. God bless you.

Building a Team Synergy

Synergy

By Okello Okello

A synergy is a systematic interaction of multiple elements projected to release higher magnitude results than the elements invested in the general output. This is every leaders dream but not so many attain its right formula. Building a synergy is like reacting elements in a chemistry laboratory where you observe the risks and expect the best end-results. So what exactly does it take to build a team synergy?

Self-Evaluation

As a leader, the best thing to do to your organization is to first evaluate yourself, be honest with your self and accept your weaknesses. We are not perfect. Even the most beautiful when asked to change anything on their looks, they will identify a feature that they do not like in themselves.

Being honest with yourself and accepting your weaknesses and strengths is where it all starts. The importance of starting with self evaluation is because you want your team to compliment your strengths. Therefore where you are weak, you find the right fit that can replace your weaknesses with amazing performance. After all why would you higher someone with same qualities as you?

Never Hire a Resume and Forget the Candidate

There are over 340,000  hits you can get if you type “job interview questions” on Google. So why bother waste your time interviewing people who have crammed all the questions  and possible solutions to the challenge? People who have sat in my interviews know and understand that I never ask ordinary interview questions. Job interviews are not high school enrollment questionnaires where you can cram the whole night and succeed in the morning.

As much as it is good to look at the resumes, that should not be the only or main reason why you are hiring. I have a high preference of hiring a high school graduate who is logical than a university graduate or a PHD holder who cannot think on his feet. To make it clear, I also understand that there are different personalities and I factor it all in before I make a final decision. Some of us are thinkers while others who are extroverts can constructively come up with an answer as they talk.

The success of your team and power they unleash highly depends on who you higher therefore take your time and get the right person. Most presidents who newly assume power are always given 100 days to change economy and revolutionize the government operations to the public. This is not possible as no economy in the entire world can change for the better in 100 days of taking oath of office.

However, in small organizations, 100 days is enough for you to understand the strengths of your new recruit. Always give your new recruit at least the a fore mentioned number of days to keenly follow up with the quality of work they do. These 100 days should also cover second chances, learning, correction, and teachings  opportunities. Never fire any employee by stroke of a pen. It is inhuman to do so. Let your employees know where they go wrong, correct them and give them second chances, talk to them, discuss with them your expectations and if they are not the right fit for the job then advise them to resign.

The team you build determines the magnitude of your organizations synergy. In case an employee resigns from your company, call them a month later and ask them how they are doing. Show concern be willing and ready to teach them where they go wrong even if they no-longer work in your company.

Display Positive Image

As a leader, you are a man of the people! Groom your self and build a positive self image. As an entrepreneur, especially start ups, business meetings are not the same as sitting in a classroom lecture. Dress appropriately. The image you display will always give people an idea on how to classify you. If you are not in entertainment or art business that requires you to dress casually, then avoid those jeans with holes on their knees and graphics all over them.

Work on your wardrobe and if possible, have some dress pants or trousers as some like to call them, repair your jackets or suits, get your shoes shining, iron your shirts. Your team reads a lot in you and since you are looking for respect, authority and honor, maintain your outlook and set the image pace.

Personally I am more confident when I am smartly dressed than when I am in casuals therefore it is best for me to attend business meetings and go to work dressed up. Find some cheap stores that offer quality products and invest in your self. Be crispy clean.

Build Impeccable Character

Everybody is important. I am saying everybody because most entrepreneurs and leaders always know how to classify people with importance. God created us equal therefore take your time and listen to people. Create time for people and people will create time for you.

Are you the type that never responds to phone calls? texts? emails? I highly recommend responding to people even if it means informing them that you got their email and they should wait for your detailed response when you are free to do so. A lot of entrepreneurs wake up to full inbox of emails, mails on their desks, texts messages, and missed calls. Try your best to clear them out of your way and remember that someone thought of you and spared there precious time to contact you. Show respect back.

If your team sees how committed you are to communication with all, they will be propelled to keep the standards and pace you set. At worst, respond to messages in 48 hours.

Use Surrender Tactic 

It is an inbuilt feature that comes as part of the package of human being to fight back. The ability to resist this strong urge to revenge and hit back can propel your organization to higher levels. It is about building a synergy therefore never forget to surrender in heated debates. Get me right, always get guidance from the organization chore values. Now this is what I mean; If a customer calls you and they are not satisfied with the work you have done, you really do not have to be rude however insulting they might be.  “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger,” (Proverbs 15:1). Since you exist because of your customer, always remember to tone down your voice. It can also make your customers think that the mistake is  mundane and you are ready to address it once and for all.

The lack of resistance disarms your opponent and keeps you at the fulcrum of the topic.  Since you always want to swing and sway the discussions your way, it is better to keep calm. Tell it to your team and let them serve your customers with respect and dignity. Your customers talk and any little thing that turns them off can spread like a bush fire and ruin your business.

Value Your Team

If you keenly evaluated your self as  described in the first point of this section of synergy, then you probably realize that you are dealing with people with gifts that you are lacking. Nature them. Your team holds the horsepower that propels the organization therefore show them that they matter in your team.

Nothing motivates people like letting them know that they are valued. Have effective communication with them and call them aside when something is wrong. Show them that you care but above all, do not pretend but show them that you really care. Lies can only go so far and they will all be unearthed. Value your team, they hold the potentials of your organization.

Coach Your Team

If you cannot be a coach, then advise your team to find a coach in their lives if your organization cannot afford mentor programs to your employees. Let your team pick their idols and work towards working to their levels. Remember that it is all for the synergy and conjoined success of your organization.

Coaches challenge, train and push people to go extra miles on what they can handle. That is what your organization needs for success. Successful leaders inspire and coach their team to go extra miles. Show people the way and let them walk. As much as you are setting goals and targets for your team, they should set their own goals and break their own records. That is when your team enjoys being part of the organization. As a coach train them to have healthy competition and to go an extra mile.

Have Faith

In a formal introduction I did, after meeting a fellow entrepreneur, I told him that my background extends to Business Administration International Development, Philosophy and Christian Apologetic. His question to me was, “Why did you mix those three contradicting things together? You must be a trouble maker.” In response I paraphrased this verse, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 ESV).

It is just not about having faith that your business will do well but to anchor your faith in Christ and being ready to defend your beliefs. It can be great to have a team that share common beliefs with you but if you are not working with believers then use that opportunity to share with them the gospel. It propels your team to greater levels if you all believe in a common faith and goals and expectations that come with that belief.

Build a synergy and catapult your organization to elevated grounds of success.

Please if you find this blog informative, share it on your social media, comment, follow, favorite and let other people learn from it too. That is the spirit of entrepreneurship. We are here to support each other. No one knows everything that is why we share, exchange and learn from one another. God bless you.