How to Fight Fear

Dragons_mystical_creatures

By Josh Okello

The biggest challenge that most entrepreneurs and other leaders go through is fear. Fear is a dragon, it can consume you in no time, it is scary, and looks like a giant. It can kill you before your time, It can hinder you from success despite the potentials you have of blowing the completion out of the water. Fear always comes in two forms; the fear of success and the fear of failure. The former can be worst and devastating while the latter is equally as bad and can hinder you from freely expressing your potentials. The question we need to ask ourselves is “how do we slay this dragon?” It does not matter what form of fear it is, what is important is growing out of it which can be achieved by doing the following.

Avoid Cynics

Some people and surprisingly a lot of them, will forever doubt your potentials. What you need to do is to repel them with facts and works. They are not worth your time so why pay attention to them. They will reduce you to a tiny particle and blow you away like dust.

One thing you need to know is that you are already in motion. You are reading this article because you are a snow ball rolling down from a mountain, ready to cause an avalanche.  Sweep away the skeptics before they wipe you out. They will show you how much you do not know, how weak you are how uneducated you are and how useless your efforts are. Never believe them. Believe in yourself and understand that we all have our own weaknesses. The fact that you have a mindset of running your own business puts you in a better position to succeed in life because you are a thinker. Soon enough, you will be hiring your doubters to work for you. It is just a matter of time. Never give up.

Do Not Let Age Deter You

This mostly affects young ambitious leaders and entrepreneurs. People will rule you our because of your age but they fail to consider what you have between your ears. It does not matter whether you are tall, short, skinny, big, young or old. If you can reason well, use logic appropriately and see ahead, then nobody should stand on your way. Never listen to people talking behind your back. They were not meant to be in front so let them stay right there at the back. After all, you lead, others follow.

Know the Dragon

You cannot fight the war you do not know. Each and every one of us have their own dragons to slay. As I have mentioned in a number of my literatures that failure is the only thing guaranteed in this world. We should not fear failure because it does not need any effort to fail. It is the only easiest thing to achieve in life.  Know your fears and build a plan to overcome them. Courage becomes a strong weapon to fight your dragon.

Be Strong and Very Courageous

Courage does not mean you do not fear anything. It simply means you have your weaknesses and fears but you take a bold step to face them. We were born once, we live once and die once so why not be adventurous and try to be courageous. After all we do not want to be trampled upon by every single challenge we meet on our way. Go out there and try doing new things. Success favors risk takers so if you cannot take the risk to use the weapons you hold in hand to slay the dragon in front of you, you will live a miserable life until you get in your grave. Why live in regrets if you had the opportunities to try. Trying is always better than not trying.

Act Out in Faith

Do it big, we do not have time to act small. When you are going to a war, prepare to conquer kingdoms, set captive your opponents and above all act in faith. Believe that with God you can do everything. We are blessed with wisdom and God’s protection and love. Just believe that you can do it and when you do, do it real big.

© 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.

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.

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.

Planned Leadership (Aim & Shoot)

business_planning

By Okello Okello

“Failure to plan is a plan to fail,” (Unknown). This statement is misleading and not accurate, failure to plan is not a plan to fail, why so? A plan of any sort is an elaborate scheme or arrangements of a project execution. To fail is to lack a plan. Leaders who do not do well mostly do not plan. Think of a leader of a successful company, he/she reports to his board members, overseas the organization’s operations, holds meetings with his managers, strategies for the future and also takes care of his/her family. Without a plan, this leader is going to fail terribly. It takes a piece of paper and pen to write a plan. As you read this, check if you have a piece of paper and a pen on your desk, pocket, bag etc. That is where planning starts.

Professor Bob Gernon covers this in details in his “Success by Design” plan. I would highly advise any business or organization that faces challenges to consider using “Success by Design” plan.  Let us not confuse this with strategic planning. For more on strategic planning, check the chapter that follows. The part of planning covered on this chapter is a one week plan. I will call it “Aim & Shoot Plan.”

“Aim & Shoot” is a daily/weekly plan that divides portions of a project in fractions that can be worked on and achieved on a very short period of time. “Mile by mile it’s a trial; yard by yard it’s hard; but inch by inch it’s a cinch,” (Unknown). As the name suggest, Aim and shoot is a plan where you directly set an objective and you hit it immediately. Hunters know that when they are in the field, they have to act one step at a time, once they notice a target, they take aim and before the animal or the hunt knows of their presence, they take the shot. That is what you need. Have daily/weekly aims and hit them unexpectedly.

Polar Opposition

Life is full of endless battles. We strive to excel, we want to beat our rivals in the market, we fight for our families, we fight for justice, we fight for human rights, we fight for better pay, we fight for promotions and above all, we fight to make it to heaven with Jesus someday. With all these fights come’s opposition. If we give up and cave in to all oppositions we encounter, then we are going to lose. Failing to plan is a gateway of caving in to oppositions at work place.

Reason why we wake up early and go to bed late is because we want to face all the challenges and be successful. The ability to encounter your challenges and stay on top is what I prefer calling polar opposition. There will always be polarity in the leadership scenario therefore fight it back with a plan, repel it with a strategy.

Split Your Time. 

Take each day of the weak and split it in three; morning, afternoon, evening. You can cheaply find day/weekly/monthly/year planners cheaply in the stores these days. If you do not want to spend a dime then this is so basic, just write it down on a piece of paper you are seeing on your desk. For most of us who like to preserve the environment, you can plan it on your phone, tablet, computer or any other electronic devise that technology has blessed us with with such capabilities.

My best friend Keith Brink an entrepreneur, former school and classmate once told me how he splits his time in potions of 30 minutes with 5 minute breaks after every portion. The 30 minutes are for intense and rigorous work and the 5 minutes are for breaks, exercise, refreshments and relaxation. Find what works for you and divide your day in blocks of hours or minutes.

Top 5 To Do List

This is one of the best advises that professor Bob Gernon gave me. That to work efficiently you should never have more than 5 things to do in your daily list. beyond that it becomes useless. Remember that as an entrepreneur, there is no time to waste, you want to finish everything once and for all.

My personality results according to Myers Briggs Test shows that I am an ENFP. This sometimes pushes me to brinks and as a negative out come, I can wait until last minutes to accomplish tasks but after taking Entrepreneurship and New Ventures class with Gernon, I learned and trained my self to be on top of things and to avoid tight deadlines.

Splitting my work in top 5 or less things to do in a day makes it very easy for me to follow with my schedules and organization goals. I will encourage all readers who have not adopted this practices to not do them but try them and if they yield good results then make them a routine.

Plan for Tomorrow Today

Take the last 15 minutes of your day before you retire to bed to plan your following day. Wake up to a list of set objectives and with a plan in your mind, you are reducing time wastage in the morning, boosting your efficiency and drawing away from burn out. Mind works best in the morning, so do your best when fresh. Waking up to a planned day gives you a rough structure of your day making it easy to show up in meetings in time. They say, the early bird catches the worm, therefore hit your errands as early as possible.

Have Time for Family and Friends

Were it not for the support of my friends, family and everybody in my contact list, you would not be be reading this book by now leave alone the organization I founded. This is not an acknowledgement page therefore let me be precise. You need friends and family in life. Engage with people, and get to learn from them. After every long day of work, the only thing I enjoy is to sit and have some refreshing chats with my girlfriend or play games with friends before we do devotion together. “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus,” (Romans 15:5-6, KJV). Be there for people who need you and they will be there for you too.

A family that prays together stays together. Be part of a family and enjoy the refreshing moments with your loved ones as you glorify in Jesus name.

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.

Leadership, Management Dilemma (II)

Frustration

By Okello Okello

” You have touched on some good concepts here. Leaders must not just wield power,but place the bulk of the responsibility on themselves. While we need to share responsibility with our teams, the leader must shoulder the responsibility to ensure teams are provided with the information, tools, and guidance necessary to be successful. Individuals should be shown that their contributions are valued and learning from failure should be encouraged “  (Lizstincellis’s comment on my blog post).

Entrepreneurs are people who understand that there is a little difference between obstacles and opportunities and are able to turn both to their advantage. This needs strong leadership skills. “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him” (Niccolo Machiavelli). As a leader, you always want your name to be clean at all times and at all costs. Guarding your reputation builds your credibility and trust therefore remember that you are not only protecting your name but your brand as well. As a leader you should;

1. Build Alliances

Leadership and management of all kinds has got bits of politics in it. Politics as much as it has been defined as a dirty game, game of numbers or power struggle. To digress from these definitions, let us focus on business politics as a strategic move to form undefeated alliances. Successful leaders talk to great people, men of wisdom, the experienced and people they look into as mentors. In my last posts, I have mentioned the importance of having mentors and these are some of the simple actions that can propel you and your team to higher levels.

No politicians does it a lone and they will always merge into parties or bring parties together to form strong coalitions to defeat their rivals. As a leader, you gain a lot forming coalitions with experienced people. It is all about learning, copying and advancing what other people have done. Yes you might be having great ideas but you cannot stand a lone. You need people and therefore, take your time and listen to the lowest person holding the lowest rank in your organization. They are also part of the alliance and they might bring valuable information to you.

2. Be Ready to Serve.

Kyle is one of my best friend who has served in the army and it has become part of him that as a leader, he serves those under him first. He puts them ahead of everything including when it come’s to simple things like serving meals. Since this has been part of him for so long, he is nowadays extending it involuntarily to everybody everywhere he is. This is one major discipline in the forces and if something that leaders and managers should imitate from our boys in uniform, then it should be the heart of servant-hood.

To those of us who are Christians, the bible says “Each one of us should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms,” (1 Peter 4:10).  It logically follows then that if you are gifted in leadership, then you should use it to serve others. In a deductive argument, I would put it this way;

  1. Leadership is a gift from God.
  2. Leadership is one way of ministering God’s grace to people
  3. Serving others is a way of using our gifts for Gods glory
  4. therefore leaders can use their positions to glorify God through stewardship.

The world needs servant leaders therefore try and be one.

3. Risks

Entrepreneurs and leaders are known for their risk taking capabilities. This is actually one of the most important characteristics of all business people. The ability to expose their valuables to danger, harm and or loss. Since entrepreneurship is all about increasing your NPV (Net Present Value) and always keeping it positive, it is worth doing your calculations right before you try out a new idea. Plan every step and act with a lot of boldness. What this means is that you should eliminate unnecessary risks in your business life.

4. Mind the two extremes. 

As a leader, you should be both a manager and a friend. Never cross the boundaries and never offend the wrong person. You do not want to appear too bossy because then you will be scaring people away. As a manager, you want to build a harmonized team that brews the best chemistry at work.

As a leader, you should also be a friend of many, your employees or people under your leadership should be in a position to see you as a man of wisdom whom they can freely walk into and ask for help. Design a way that works for you and always  let your people know that you are the leader. Remember to be a servant leader. You definitely need respect from your team therefore be willing to show respect to them too. Respect and attention are two of the virtues that can be afforded by any body, pay attention and attention will pay you back.

By this time, you probably understand that leadership challenges come in pairs and the decision you take is not important. What is important is living with the standards that come with the decision you make. What comes after the decision is what is important. For more of this check our leadership and management Dilemma series posts.

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, Management Dilemma (I)

Leadership Dilemma

By Okello Okello. 

Should a manager lead? or should a leader manage? I am generally speaking about management, not specifics such as micro or macro management. Leadership is one of the tightest ropes to walk in life and the balance it needs is more than you can imagine. Most CEO’s in organizations always get mixed up by the myriads of roles that come simultaneously under their titles. This post is going to extract and display some of the greatest dilemma that most leaders go through knowingly and or unknowingly.

1. Power and Responsibility

Of cause leadership automatically puts you in power and most leaders always find it a challenge to differentiate power and responsibility. This is also where leaders start to use their responsibilities despotically and the result is always a devastated team. Leaders should know that they are in a delicate position and everything they do and say is keenly being monitored by those under him or her.

As a leader, first you should learn your responsibilities. Once again, learn your responsibilities before you exercise power over anybody. Know your limits, understand your people and know how much pressure you have to mount on your team otherwise you are bringing more harm to your team and to the organization.

2. Give Incentives

Every Good Worker Deserves Favour! Always reward your best performers and remember to discipline your non performers but remember to do it with love. Give them second chances and be polite especially when dealing with failures. It is not a must that the incentives must be in currency form but even thanking your team can mean much to them and can be a source of motivation to a lot of people.

Take your team out for lunch, order pizza online and celebrate victory, give your team a half a day break to show them that you are concerned and appreciate the quality of work they do.

3. Dealing with Failures

You are having angry customers who are unsatisfied by the work your team has done. You have called your team in a board room and they can read tension on your face. Their heart is racing and their faces can read that “At the end of this meeting, one person must be fired!” Dealing with failures is more like giving incentives only that instead of giving tangible rewards, you are going to educate your team instead.

Please remember that we are not equal. Some are more gifted than others and for them to make it to your company, they have shown some wisdom or strengths that you wanted to tap into. Therefore, avoid calling names and do not shout. Self control is more than important in this case. If someone fails, always remember to give them a second chance. Nothing inspires people like telling a failure that they can do it. Be ready to show them the way, that is why you are a leader and not just an employee.

You are dealing and handling someone else future, therefore take a lot of caution on what you say. Encourage them and never set your hands flying in disgust. Show love, motivate and encourage non performers in your company and if the same problem continues then shuffle your staff, maybe they are the right people in the wrong seats. Always remind them of their calling and educate them to be great performers.

4. Change Top-Down

It starts with you! Yes as a leader, you should be a role model to people not a scare-craw. Mind your language and treat people with respect. It does not cost a penny to pay respect yet it rewards more than the revenues you can earn. Simple rule, “The Golden Rule.”  In “Our Lords Prayer,” there is a line that says “forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespasses against us,” This should be a leaders prayer at all times. Learn to forgive, and change your self before the team you are leading change for the better. And always remember that “True transformation only comes from God” (Unknown).

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.