When Charles Darwin claimed that “survival goes not to the strongest or most intelligent of the species, but to the one most adaptable to change”, many did not really take him serious until recently. In this brief article, I want to make a helpful attempt at whispering to individuals the secret to thriving in a fast-paced labour market, and also let companies understand the key to sustainable market dominance.
Yesterday, I had a chat with a new, friendly and vibrant client – one of the trainees in our 16th intake of the Certificate in Public Speaking and Presentation Mastery short course. Her role in the company she works with is to keep ears on ground and eyes on the horizon, monitor changes that are happening or likely to happen soon, and then “re-engineer the processes” involved while managing the change at hand. A very intelligent and up-to-the-task lady, she indicated that without this, they would be humiliated by competition and overwhelmingly run into irrelevancy to customers.
In recent years, great companies (and individuals) have been rudely awakened by the ruthless waves of unstoppable changes in their industries – changes that left them down and out. During an acquisition brief, a CEO of one of those companies, tearfully said, “We did not do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost”. The reality was that the world changed too fast and their opponents were too powerful.
A World on a Rollercoaster:
The world is on a terrible rush!
- The rate of information “growth” is startling. For example in 1980, about 220,000 new books were published each year in the US. In 2013, it was estimated at more than 3 million new books, plus millions of articles on every imaginable subject. Today, one idea can build a huge industry and replace an old one in just less than a week!
- The speed of technological advancement is unprecedented. While one is busy bragging about the “newest super-fast equipment” they have procured to shorten the duration of service delivery to “one hour only”, there is already a newer, ultra-fast alternative that makes delivery instant on a click of a button.
- The hitherto respected approaches to doing almost everything have become obsolete. The once revered methods of handling operations no longer deliver the results they used to deliver.
I could go on and on about the dizzying rate of change but time and space won’t allow me to (unless it was a training I often give staff of companies on “Being Friendly to Change” or the training for CEOs and managers on “Business Leadership in the 21st Century”. There, we go deep.)
The Way Forward:
I suggest three starting points, among many others:
(1) Individual re-engineering.
As an individual, you have to keep reinventing yourself to remain relevant. One of the top banks in the city of Kampala invited me to take their staff through a whole week of empowerment, equipping them to productively transition from the old to the new realities of a certain department. Adding two small words just in the name of the department meant unimaginable implications to staff therein in terms of attitude, personal branding, self-packaging, and personal development in general. You either re-engineer yourself or, I lovingly warn you, you are about to become institutionally irrelevant and be systematically phased out.
Most of the training institutions where most people were trained from taught them what to learn and think instead of how to learn and think. As a result, these people have had to struggle with fixed mind-sets, rigid attitudes, and quite stiff necks in the way they approach life and work. If you are one of them and re-engineering has not come to your mind, the time to start is…? Yesterday! That is why, like I am going to be equipping 1,000 civil servants for 3 days this week, you have to learn dynamics of personal development and how to be the most valued employee / employer.
(2) Continuous Staff Development:
At institutional level, companies and/or organizations have to build highly effective teams, continuously equip those teams, not just in technical aspects of their work but mostly in the soft skills area. The CEO and General Manager of a group of companies that operates transport and agricultural businesses visited my office yesterday morning. In our discussion, I shared with them that quite often, what customers look for is not what we are offering them – until we go an extra mile to study their needs and offer relevant services. We concluded that most of the top needs of the clients in any industry are not goods and services themselves, but how clients are served, the quality of the relationship, the swiftness of the staff, the customer care, among others – most of which are intangible yet uncompromising determinants of success. I intend to write another article on this issue especially in line with who empowers the staff.
(3) Strategy and execution:
This is why strategy and swift strategy execution have never been as important as they are today. This is requires a leadership and/or management team that knows what to focus on a daily basis, not being distracted by the nitty-gritties of operation and forgetting the gigantic role of strategic direction. This is requires the kind of leadership that will leave the fire fighting to the right team and concentrate on holding the binoculars – like an MD of a huge institution called it in our planning meeting for an intensive 3-day team building retreat we are facilitating for all their top managers next week.
CEOs need to be clear about their roles. Top on the list in my view is: Strategist (future direction of the company); ambassador (meet with important customers, know them and they too know you); inventor (find the customer’s pain and develop products and services to relieve him of that pain); mentor (become a teacher, coach and mentor to your direct reports to help them get the big picture); investor (treat your company like an investment, know its market vaue and try to grow it); the student (actively pursue professional development even as a student of leadership, not just in your area of expertise). Stay focused on your CEO role.
Malcolm Gladwell rightly said, “What brought you here won’t take you there”. Do not be your worst enemy. Keep re-engineering yourself as an individual and collectively as a company so that you do not become irrelevant and be overwhelmed by the inevitably fast changes. It is up to you. Do yourself a favour. Do the most patriotic thing: offering your nation or continent the most holistically developed human resource for development.
I look forward to hearing from you, as regards how you would like me to come in and practically inspire real change, strategic realignment, team building, executive and personal development coaching, and continuous staff development processes. Let us re-engineer.
| Live . Love . Lead |
Samuel A. Bakutana
SAMUEL A. BAKUTANA is a Senior Leadership Consultant, Executive Coach, Inspirational Speaker and Author. He is the Chief Executive Officer, Inspired Leaders International (ILI), located on Plot 731, Mawanda Rd, Kamwokya. He can be reached at +256782163416 or email@example.com. Follow his inspiration on Twitter (@SamuelBakutana / @InspiredLead) and http://www.excellentleading.WordPress.com
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Will you bring out the best of you or die average? Will you dream big – just like leaders in every endeavour? There is something better than “three keys” – a key for the car, a key for the office, and a key for the personal house! There is more to life than a vacation, a debt-free retirement, or an army of grand children. There is more to life!
To Dream Or To Have A Dream? I meet dreamless people in my travels in different countries! But also, we often confuse mere dreamers and people with dreams! Dreamers talk much and do less; those with dreams may talk less but do much. Dreamers shout thunderously and hit an ant! They hatch up earth-shaking plans but act on none. In contrast, people with dreams may say nothing or say something without fanfare but if you observe, you see their dreams strongly in motion, affecting those around them.
Understanding Your Dream: A dream is a powerful force. I have often referred to a dream as three things:
- A treasure you shouldn’t lose
- A test you shouldn’t fail
- A trust you shouldn’t betray
Great men are stirred up by their dreams. Martin Luther died because of his dream. Mother Teresa is known for her dream. I am daily stirred up by my Vision Plan 2050 – a simple yet inspiring embodiment of sweet dreams in my heart. I take the dream seriously and ignore discouragers. But every day, I wake up and go out to make it happen.
Your Dream is Your Life: A dream lost is destiny foregone. Losing the dream in your relationship is losing the relationship itself. Lose your business dream, and your business is lost. Lose faith in your country, and you have lost the country! Lose your marriage dream, and your marriage is gone! Your dream is your life. It is God’s deposit of greatness, service and a huge difference inside you!
So, be purpose-filled, dream-obsessed, and vision-consumed. Don’t ask people to wish you a good night. Instead, look back every evening and see a day well invested into your dream. George H. Lorimer said, “You have got to get up every morning with determination if you are going to go to bed with satisfaction.” Invest your days into your dreams.
Believe Your Mind, Not Your Eyes! I too have a dream. I don’t consult my eyes. What I look at is what is but what I see in my mind is what could be. I go for what I see with my eyes closed. Today’s circumstances make me want to lose energy, dampen my spirit, and lose my courage for the pursuit. But I stubbornly insist on my dream. I ignore the voluntary discouragers who demand no payment for pouring ice on my dream!
So, carry on, like Robert Service says. If you are to live, live for something big. Give up who you are today and go for who you could be. To lead, get dreams big enough to shake mountains, pull Heaven and change Earth. Act on them now. Every day, look back to a day well invested into your dream. Remember, today is the remaining day of your life; tomorrow may never be yours. Invest it in your dream today. Don’t settle for second best today. This is my story. This is my song. This is my belief. Why don’t you join in the orchestra, and let us harmonize life beautifully?
I hope you have already secured your copies of my latest book “YOU WILL MANAGE: The 7 Keys to a Life of Perpetual Victory, Unstoppable Success and Doing Impossibilities.”
| Live | Love | Lead |
Samuel A. Bakutana is Africa’s foremost Leadership, Business and Education Consultant; Inspirational Key-note Speaker; and Personal Development Author of 10 books (the 11th comes out this month). As a regular Inspirational Keynote Public Speaker on national and international platforms, he delivered 98 electrifying talks in 2012, 164 in 2013, 191 in 2014, 171 in 2015, and he already given more than 182 inspirational, high-impact presentations in 2016 to a diversity of result-oriented audiences in public and private sectors – e.g. faith centres, education institutions, government, multi-national NGOs, etc! Follow Samuel A. Bakutana on:Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/amutusam) , Twitter (https://www.twitter.com/SamuelBakutana), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/samuel-a-bakutana-56ba046b?trk=hp-identity-name), Skillpages (http://www.skillpages.com/samuel-a.bakutana) or blog (www.excellentleading.wordpress.com). To book him for your next event, send an email now to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +256782163416 for immediate feedback. You are blessed beyond measure; so fly like an eagle!
You were created to LEAD. You were made to MANAGE the Earth. You are fashioned specially to have DOMINION over creation. Why now are you there chickening down, miserably flocking with the helpless ducks, and fearing to fly, O you eagle?
Rise up right NOW and fly higher than you have ever dreamt possible. Higher and higher and higher you go now! No more time to just keep eating dirty worms on the ground when your real feeding-trough is situated right up there on the higher Rock, near the blue skies.
You are a king, an ambassador, a co-regent with the King of kings. Arise now. Stand up now, speak up now, and stand out NOW – now, now, I said NOW. Get off that ancient chair of self-pity and move forward now. Get off that filthy mat of hopelessness and stride forward now. Get off that destructive bed of low self-esteem and spring forward with graceful boldness.
Forward ever, and backward never. Forward you go – without fear or favour or fever. You are the Chosen one of the Creator, the Elect of the Owner, the Royal priesthood. Show me the person who mercilessly pushed you down to the endless depth of untold sorrow? Let me know who violently pulled you down from the lofty mountains grandeur? Who is he – I ask – who jealously closed your doors of eternal opportunity before your hitherto lovely but now weeping face?
Stop looking at how badly you’ve been knocked down and start looking at how high you are going to bounce back.
Stop looking at the heart-breaking trials that have burnt you sore and start looking at the enjoyable triumphs that will surely result from your unshakeable tenacity, unbeatable determination, and unrelenting perseverance.
Stop looking at how ugly the stumbling blocks that life has scaringly pushed before you along your journey of progress are and start looking at them as the much-needed and long-awaited stepping stones to the shining summit of monumental achievement.
You are the head, not the tail. Chest out now, legs straight, and move forward. Forward into your God-given destiny. Forward into your bright future. Forward into the eternal purpose for your existence.
Forward. Forward. Forward. NOW. NOW. NOW.
To your success,
“Inspiring transformational, exemplary and authentic leadership worldwide.”
Samuel A. Bakutana is Africa’s foremost Leadership, Business and Education Consultant; Motivational Key-note Speaker; and Personal Development Author of 8 books. He gave 98 invigorating talks in 2012, 164 in 2013, 191 in 2014, and has already given 69 inspiring presentations ever since the year begun (January – May, 2015). Follow Samuel A. Bakutana on: Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Samuel-A-Bakutana-Leadership-Expert-Motivational-Speaker-and-Author/563444270356475), Twitter (https://twitter.com/amutusam), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=250332707&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic), Skillpages (http://www.skillpages.com/samuel-a.bakutana) or blog (www.excellentleading.wordpress.com). To book him for your next event, send an email now to email@example.com or call +256782163416 for immediate feedback. You are blessed beyond measure; so fly like an eagle!
“Prepare for greatness and set yourself up for success.”
One day, a very big opportunity of a lifetime came to me and, sadly, I saw it go away just because I was not yet in position to welcome it appropriately, utilize it maximally, and benefit from it fully. I saw it go back the way it came, and it left me with tearly eyes. Over the years, I have come to believe that it is always better to prepare and an opportunity fails to come than for the long-awaited opportunity to arrive and find you totally unprepared for it.
The Complaining Team:
I meet many people complaining, saying, “I have waited and waited and waited for this thing but it is not coming. I have been ready for the last seven years but nothing is materializing. I feel something is wrong.” Well, something may be wrong, but also chances are high that something is very right. If you are ready, as you claim, then something is right – YOU are ready… and that IS great. Maybe, the timing is what’s not yet right for what you are ready for. It may just demand some bit of MORE patience before you lay your hands on that long-awaited break!
Like I said in my previous post, the only difference between a live birth and a miscarriage is TIMING. Some things cannot be rushed the way we would want to do. As someone said, you cannot produce a baby in one month by making nine women pregnant! It simply has to be NINE months. Timing is important.
The Unprepared Waiters:
The problem, however, is that many are NOT prepared at all for what they desire to have in life. They only WISH they could get that better job, bigger house, higher position, etc, but they have done nothing serious about getting themselves rightly positioned for those things.
A much-needed better job comes and finds you lacking the minimum requirements for it. A bigger house is advertised but you have not saved the needed money to purchase it. A higher position comes but your character is not prepared for it. So, all the needed opportunities come but find YOU not prepared for them at all.
The Ignorant Accusers:
The funny bit of it is that such people who are really not prepared when opportunity knocks on the door go ahead to falsely accuse the prepared of many negative things – tribalism, corruption, luck, among others. They declare themselves unlucky, disadvantaged, and hated, yet it is a matter of not being ready enough!
Wisdom of the Wise:
Stop complaining or accusing others. Simply prepare yourself enough. Prepare for greatness and set yourself up for success. Stop complaining that your life partner has delayed to come; just ensure you are growing deeper and better in issues of marriage. Stop accusing others of
bribing to get jobs (even if this was true); start standing out of the crowd to a point of being “unignorable.” Stop complaining about not being voted into leadership; prepare yourself better for the next election. Stop waiting for someone to sponsor your business start-up while you are busy doing nothing; prepare your documents, premises, marketing plans, and much more. Stop complaining about not YET having a child of your own; be getting ready with skills and knowledge on parenting and child nurture as you patiently wait. Like we used to say in Scouting, “Always Be Prepared.”
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th US President (1861-65) once said, “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” That is the exact attitude with which all of us should live our life. Prepare, and one day, YOUR turn will come. It should not find you turning in your bed, not ready. Your chance will come. It should not find you just taking chances with life! Your opportunity will come. It should not fail to find a ready door on which it can knock.
In fact, IT IS COMING. The break is coming. The opportunity that is going to catapult you to your next level is just doing push-ups. The turn for you to do what you have always wanted to do is around the corner, negotiating the last lap towards your home. The opportunity of a lifetime that you have prayed to God about for long is about to enter into your house.
The question is one: ARE YOU REALLY PREPARED FOR IT? Opportunities will always punish the men and women that yearn for them yet not prepared to receive them at all.
To your success,
“Inspiring transformational, exemplary and authentic leadership worldwide.”
Samuel A. Bakutana is Africa’s foremost Leadership, Business and Education Consultant; Motivational Key-note Speaker; and Personal Development Author of 8 books. He gave 98 invigorating talks in 2012, 164 in 2013, 191 in 2014, and has already given 56 inspiring presentations ever since the year begun (January – April, 2015). Follow Samuel A. Bakutana on: Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Samuel-A-Bakutana-Leadership-Expert-Motivational-Speaker-and-Author/563444270356475), Twitter (https://twitter.com/amutusam), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=250332707&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic), Skillpages (http://www.skillpages.com/samuel-a.bakutana) or blog (www.excellentleading.wordpress.com). To book him for your next event, send an email now to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +256782163416 for immediate feedback. You are blessed beyond measure; so fly like an eagle!
Leadership has never been a bed of roses but always a bunch of responsibilities. One such obligation is to keep the ear on ground and address yourself to the needs of those you claim to lead – not by giving lip-service but implementing strategic policies, transformational programs and enduring processes that relevantly speak to the daily welfare of the people being led.
Today I watched on TV the leader of a Teachers’ Service Commission of a certain African country being heckled during an Annual Delegates Conference of their National Union of Teachers. Amidst very uncooperative storms of noise, he kept on begging, “Listen; give me time. Please let me finish.” Good enough, after about 15 minutes of braving through his speech, the mammoth crowd brought the shouting a bit low and gave him some audience especially when he started addressing issues that their General Secretary had highlighted as important to them, threatening industrial action in the next three weeks.
Running into the risk of sounding judgmental, I learnt this one lesson:
“If any leader abuses the privilege of responsibility by deciding to treat the REAL NEEDS of the people with a deaf ear, he risks losing relevance, being denied their cooperation, and gaining their intolerance, for no man learns if he refuses to listen. Life without ears is the surest recipe for suicide.” – Samuel A. Bakutana
Fellow leader, you better address their NEED or you will be addressed as a WEED in the garden of their life and welfare. I welcome and deeply appreciate your comments to this stand, just in the “comments” section below this post.
To your success,
“Inspiring transformational, exemplary and authentic leadership worldwide.”
Samuel A. Bakutana is Africa’s foremost Leadership, Business and Education Consultant; Motivational Key-note Speaker; and Personal Development Author of 8 books. He gave 98 invigorating talks in 2012, 164 in 2013 and has already given 182 inspiring presentations ever since the year begun (January to December 8, 2014). Follow Samuel A. Bakutana on: Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Samuel-A-Bakutana-Leadership-Expert-Motivational-Speaker-and-Author/563444270356475), Twitter (https://twitter.com/amutusam), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=250332707&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic), Skillpages (http://www.skillpages.com/samuel-a.bakutana) or blog (www.excellentleading.wordpress.com). To book him for your next event, send an email now to email@example.com or call +256782163416 for immediate feedback. You are blessed beyond measure; so fly like an eagle!
– Be intentional about wanting to move forward in your life
– Set appropriate goals to get you there, for goals are the seeds of greatness.
– Take organized action on your goals. If you do not DO something, nothing will change. You will arrive nowhere. Take action.
– Ensure you are taking the right action that takes you to the right direction. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how active you are… if you are moving in the wrong direction, you will not arrive at your desired destination.
– In the process, beware who you associate with – who you walk with. The people in your life make you. They influence almost everything about you: words, actions… decisions. If you walk with nine fools, you will become the tenth.
To your success.
Samuel A. Bakutana is Africa’s New Generation Leadership, Business and Education Consultant, an Inspirational Keynote Speaker, and a Personal Development Author of 7 books. He is the National Coordinator of Delta Communities Uganda, a husband to Queen Charity and father to Princess Petra.
World over, there is a growing emphasis on building teams to improve results. Personally, I’ve done Team Building Sessions (TBSs) for a wide range of entities both in public and private sectors. Research supports the notion that building great teams helps achieve set goals. As J.C. Maxwell says, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
Team building activities with Samuel A. Bakutana and FINMAP II – Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Republic of Uganda (1)
However, I want to expertly emphasize that teams do NOT work! Unconventional as it may sound, that’s the truth. I’ll tell you why, but to begin with, consider two insights:
- One, every vital variable in organizational development depends on another which depends on another that depends on another – all of which work together to make exponential results possible. The impact of some may more easily be felt than others but there isn’t a purely stand-alone factor for organizational development. (Leadership comes just close, intending no contradiction.) Whoever suggests one has probably seen your fat purse!
- Two, they say that two heads are better than one – a genuine statement that always flies across boardroom tables when team building plans are being discussed. However, it’s not about putting any heads together; it’s about what kind of heads are being put together! One good head may produce better results than three disorganized and uncoordinated ones.
Having said this, objectively consider four major considerations why teams do NOT work:
- First, most entities carry out Team Building Sessions (TBSs) for the sake of carrying them out, not to build the team, probably due to some organizational policy requirements. I know an entity where remaining with money on the account by the end of the fiscal year means the line employee didn’t some tasks well – even if he rightly used cost-effective procedures and saved funds for more activities. As a result, such workers may not set specific objectives to achieve with the TBSs. They don’t engage the external facilitator in a healthy discussion to generate a solid plan for effectiveness of such sessions. Once the TBSs are only in place to prove that someone is working, a lot will be missed and the team will NOT work.
- Second, most people compromise on the investment needed for the results craved for. Once you cut corners, you risk reaping a corresponding cut in the value delivered. Many human capital developers will convince you that they’ve reduced on the “cost” but what actually happens is slicing off a certain corner of the final value delivered. (You may only hear this from me and nowhere else – no pun intended!) So whereas Churchill said that the price of greatness is responsibility, the price of organizational results, to me, is meeting the full investment required for the results craved for. What we put in is what we get out – ceteris paribus.
- Third, most entities do not sustain the energy generated during a one-off Team Building Session. They often insert it in between two “more important items” on the agenda during a strategic planning meeting. If TBSs are made an annual event, a cap is put on results. Many organizations are increasingly learning this and have monthly TBSs where staff meet and shake off stress. Once a lot of time passes by without deliberate efforts to sustain and even improve team cohesion, the cumulative stress and growing intra-team bad blood may not be easily bulldozed away in an annual two-hour session! The more often the sessions, the better the results.
- Fourth, the teams described above do NOT work because they have never been teams in the first place! All along, they’ve been GROUPS, not TEAMS. To put it differently, “teams” don’t work because most of them are groups – just a collection of individuals who are characterized by the following: they do not know each other. They communicate wrongly if at all they even try to. They focus much more on making their personal scores than achieving organizational goals. They do not trust one another at all and so are always looking over their shoulders. They ritualistically report at 8am, sign out at 5pm, wait for 30 days to elapse and get their bundle of paper notes! They are merely active and not productive, yet they are expected to be productive even if they were less active.
You realize that actually, teams are powerful tools for boosting performance only under the following quick conditions:
- That the Team Building Sessions (TBSs) are carried out with clear objectives to build the team, not for the sake of carrying out an activity.
- That these activities are made part of the organizational culture to sustain generated momentum for exponential results, not an annual insertion!
- That the organizational leaders do not take shortcuts on meeting the investment required for the results craved for, given that what we put in is what we get out.
- That groups get transformed into teams and teams into very productive dream families that know each other, communicate effectively and focus on achieving organizational goals together.
Therefore, what doesn’t work is not inherent in teams themselves but what we do with the people we put together – and how often we do it – in the process of assembling the most productive team. While Andrew Carnegie rightly said that “teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results,” I add that the teams may not work unless the right things are done at the right intervals in the right place with the right people for the right reasons. If we continue doing what we’ve been doing, we’ll surely continue getting what we’ve been getting. To your success, as you build a great dream team.
Samuel A. Bakutana, the National Coordinator of Delta Communities Uganda, is a Leadership Consultant, Inspirational Speaker and Personal Development Author