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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow his inspiration on Twitter (@SamuelBakutana / @InspiredLead) and http://www.excellentleading.WordPress.com
ILI Vision: “Empowered Leaders, Transformed Nations”
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I BELIEVE. I BELIEVE. I BELIEVE.
I strongly believe I am more than capable of causing exponential, positive change wherever I find a fitting platform, helping many to breakthrough in life — the only reason why I believe in others, often reminding them thus: #YouWillManage!
I do believe I can unstoppably germinate in whichever soil I land on – be it rocky or loam. I truly believe, just like an eagle, that I can always successfully soar above the storms of my life regardless of the at times tough turbulence along the flight.
I undoubtedly believe I am being very useful to this earth, udeniably beneficial to my country, and progressively profitable to my family. I, without debate, believe I am an intelligent, handsome, sociable, inspiring, multi-gifted, loving, empathetic, principled, bold, multi-skilled, observant, and visionary results producer.
I believe I am intentionally touching many lives of young adults, deliberately making a focused difference among thousands of leaders, and affecting the affairs of millions of professionals on my continent… and beyond. I believe I can excel in my work, be exceptional in my faith, and produce outstanding results in my treasured relationships!
I believe I am the most effective leadership consultant, the best organizational trainer, and the most practical inspirational speaker from East Africa alive today. I believe I can make very many mistakes and learn many lessons from them; I can fail several times and succeed from it all; and I have the ability to fall many times but rise up more times each time!
I do really believe I was born at the very right time, in exactly the right country, to do the right work of my life: this blood-warming work of empowering and inspiring leaders through training and resource development for personal, institutional and social transformation. I believe I have the hard but possible task of living an exemplary life, the responsibility of loving people authentically and the noble duty of leading myself and others relationally!
[Live. Love. Lead.]
I believe this year is going to be ridiculously amazing, next year is going to be exquisitely productive, and the year that follows is going to be exceptionally profitable. I believe I add a lot of unrivalled value in the lives of those in my life, a friend worth keeping for those I choose to be friends to, remaining humble as I grow stronger at all fronts.
I believe I am a believer: a thinking believer in commonsense, a fruitful believer in relationships, a repentant believer in Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Yes. I believe I can be (and I going to be known by the end of my life as) a very loving husband, a responsible dad, and an influential citizen.
I believe. I believe. I believe.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?
Samuel A. Bakutana
Chief Executive Officer,
Inspired Leaders International
P.O. Box 12844, Kampala
Twitter: @SamuelBakutana / @InspiredLead
As I write this post, today, it is July 1st. In just 8 days, my daughter Petra makes 5 years. As I calmly had a chat with my best friend – Charity K. Bakutana – this morning, we agreed not to talk about it until that day comes because once we talk about it in her hearing, birthday celebrations will have to begin immediately – TODAY! A huge success lesson is hidden herein as I will expose down this piece.
In fact, yesterday, our friend Estar Chozen came home and asked Petra about her birthday to which she responded, “9th July.” Good enough (to me the one to foot the celebration bill!), she doesn’t know WHEN that date will be. But just after saying that, she started a movie-like imaginative narrative of what she will do on that long-awaited day: “I will get a big cake, a big knife, and a big plate. Then I will count 3 and cut it. I will put the shining thing in my head and celebrate. I have grownnnnnnnnnnn! I am no longer a baby. I am a big girl. Not so daddy?”
Of course, I had to bow and agree that she was now a big 5-year-old girl, not a baby – at least for the sake of peace in the home! Well, at the end of it all, 3 powerful lessons for a life of success pop up – lessons I have personally learnt and are happy to be practising as often as possible:
1. KNOWLEDGE: The only way not to get what you want is to keep ignorant about it. Blessed are the ignorant for they don’t know what they are missing! I have taught her to be a reader already and she knows very well… Just ask her the next time you meet her: “Petra what do you get when you read books?” I bet she will answer: “Power in your head!” That is it indeed! Leaders are readers and readers end up becoming leaders.
2. QUESTIONING: The best way to tickle your imagination is to face questions. Questions – whether from people or yourself – create a knowledge gap which triggers all the creative buds in your mind to start the process of discovery and creative thinking. Petra is heavy laden with questions. Every now and again, she has a question about everything – questions about the bulb on the ceiling, the cat in the compound, and the motorcycle by the roadside; questions about the chair in the sitting room, the pillow on the bed, and the paper bin near daddy’s study table; questions about the purple tie, the blue flask, and the white plates; questions about the big book, the tall pen, and the huge stamp. She will ask and ask and ask until you are dried up of every type, colour and size of answer! (I am only worried that school may suffocate this curiosity… but I will keep arousing it as much as I can.)
3. PASSION: The most effective way to have words flow from your mouth is to talk about what you love. It is like when you do what your heart enjoys; you will no longer complain about additional time, fight for a salary increase or think of going for vacation. The very work you do becomes more of a hobby and a vacation all the time. When Petra starts to dance or sing or play her guitar (she saved 36,000 and I donated 3,000 to make it 40,000 with which she bought her small beloved guitar), she does so with a height of passion that even Mt. Everest cannot rival. When she starts to write, she can show you that she is able to write with both hands at once in the same book and produce writing worth giving attention to. That is passion!
So, ask me what the formula for success is… and, while I may not give you a full equation, I can kick-start you with the “KQP Approach”:
a) – Knowledge: Be as informed in your field of interest as a woman is informed about what goes on in the home of her co-wife… and jealously yearn to get more information, for “My people perish because of lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6);
b) – Questioning: Don’t evade questions; instead face them to make your mind salivate with imagination, for listening and asking questions are two greatest hallmarks of the wise.
c) – Passion: Do what you are already enthusiastic about or else throw enthusiasm in what you are already doing.
And of course, when you find Petra with her dolls and everything she uses to write, read, and play, that is when you know how serious she is about her own type of success!
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 102 inspiring presentations ever since the year begun (January – July 1, 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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or call +256782163416 for immediate feedback. You are blessed beyond measure; so fly like an eagle!