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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Now I understand Leverage

Yesterday I learned the principle of leverage. I’d like to think I knew the concept, but I did not understand it because I have not used it much. The principle is very simple. We were taught it many years ago in primary school. But the idea that you could use it to get the most out of life was not in the curriculum. The syllabus said it would help you open a bottle or enjoy a seesaw.

The principle as I said is very simple. Do the least to get the most or use what you have to your greatest advantage. What will give you your greatest return and what action will advance you the furthest. Sometimes we are taught to prioritize, but that is not quite the same thing. Priorities are elementary compared to leverage! Priorities means you put all your energies on the most important things, leverage says to use the least energy to get the most important things so that you can do more things.
By concentrating on some specific and often simple initiatives leverage says your achievements will multiply themselves. With a little focus and determination you can improve yourself from a small position to one of greatness. That is easier said than done. What that little focus and determination requires is a great deal of patience, diligence, courage, unwavering will and dogged resolve to succeed – that is part of leverage. Most of us know it but are not willing to follow through with it. Working hard is a good discipline, but working hard and honest labor without leverage is very noble, but wearisome and can be exasperating because everything depends on your effort. Leverage on the other hand shares and spreads the risk along the lever and takes advantage of available synergy to benefit everyone amplify, magnify and multiply returns everyone can enjoy. Leverage takes work, but leverage is much more important than hard work!

Allan Bukusi

Life is a stream

Life is a stream. We pass this way only once.

Allan Bukusi

Friday, July 17, 2015

Do you have a passion statement?


You have heard and are familiar with vision and mission statements. These are good. Visions excite you and missions give you something you can commit to, but none of these things really drives you. A passion statement is the sum of your dreams and desires that inspires you and energizes you to pursue a vision and commit to your mission. In this sense a passion statement of what you are willing to commit yourself to bring about is perhaps the most compelling statement of achievement. It may be “I want to improve myself” or as complex as “ I would like to see this place turned green”. In both statements any incremental progress towards these desires inspires a new surge of energy. In this regard, your passion statement makes you courageous, resurgent and energetic when you make progress, but also bold and positive when you face challenges.  Make such a passion statement as to empower any move you make towards your goals as well as harness and inspire new vigor, energy and drive to achieve it.

When working with directors and boards during strategy planning sessions, before into developing or interrogating Vision, Mission and Values statements I take some time to assess the passion in the room. How much emotional energy have the directors committed to the organization success? How much energy are the directors willing to invest in the business? This may sound simplistic, but when you compare the summary statement of the hopes, dreams and desires of everyone in the room and compare it with the vision, mission and values statements it will give you a very good idea if you have the right people in the room, what direction the business is receiving and/or if the organization is on the right track. Simply put the directors will naturally place their energies where their passion is and if that passion is not aligned or does not drive the vision and mission the business, serious questions need to be answered.

A passion statement drives vision and provides the get-up-and-go of the mission. The heart desire for a free South Africa of Nelson Mandela and millions of Africans drove the vision of freedom. The passion of entrepreneurs is what drives a business, vision alone is not enough. Would be successful organizations flounder the CEO has a clear vision but no passion to get the work done. Indeed finding a passionate (rather than visionary) successor after the founding CEO is the greatest challenge of successful enterprises. You don’t just need people who can do; you need people who believe in what you do! A passion statement is as powerful in personal life as it is to a corporation. A life with no passion is merely a passage of time. A life with passion does not have to live a long time.    

Allan Bukusi

Monday, July 13, 2015

Are you missiing out on life?

If you can’t make your bed and wash dishes, you are missing out on life because life is about getting up and preparing the next meal.

Allan Bukusi

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Unless the heart is moved....

Unless the heart is moved, the mouth will not speak.

Allan Bukusi

Friday, July 10, 2015

A mind shifted by degree...

There is no telling what a mind shifted by degree can achieve or where it will end up ten miles from here. Too often we make judgment based on the facts of what we see now rather than what will be. Don’t be fooled by the moment of transition it is only a sign. No sign giving direction is ever found at the destination. Minor shifts in perspective have established nations, scaled mountains and spawned inventions all because one eye saw things differently. A shift in focus and commitment to purpose changes the final result. A change of heart will change your situation. One new idea changes the outcome and one bold move will change your destiny.

Allan Bukusi

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

When a man must have faith!

There comes a time when a man must have faith; when there is nothing else to hold on to, when the tears are dry and all opportunity past, when regret no longer pains and joy leaves a dull ache, when the only thing you can give up is hope, when you have tried your best and your best is not enough, when you wish that there would be no tomorrow - but tomorrow does come. When what you used to do with joy is now a burden to imagine, when there is nothing left within you to go on and the body died long before you woke up, when things are bad and then get worse, when feelings are numb and words of comfort slide off your heart like water off a rock. When the spirit departs and all you have left is fate. When the last friend departs like the last bus that would take you home. When you have no more reason to believe that anything is worth the effort, then look up and read the sign that says, “faith” and wait.

Allan Bukusi

What would you do?

What would you do if you found out that your boss had secretly advertised your job and received 6000 applicants? What would you do differently?
I have been working with employees and employers for the past 20 years and I can tell you that I have come across more than a few people who have seen their jobs advertised in the newspapers under some coded classified Ads or cleverly crafted profiles.  It is like coming face to face with reality, the future and death. I have seen GMs jobs advertised while they are still in office and I know that some people here might have benefitted from a similar process. - For the boss it is a practical thing to do whenever you suspect that you are not getting all you can possibly get from an employee

The reality is that we don’t give the matter of losing a job much thought until we discover the bosses presumably illicit move to lose confidence in us. A number of years ago I discovered my boss had lost confidence in me and it drove me to look for another job. I was facilitating a two day training workshop at an Up-market hotel. Unfortunately, the VCR we were using got lost. I reported the matter and the firm immediately hired another one to enable me complete the training. However, a few days after the training I was called in to the hotel and sat opposite the hotel guard and my boss who proceeded to question me on what happened to the VCR. The discussion was such as to suggest that I had stolen the VCR. I served notice and quit 3 months later. I was incensed that my boss could even think that was possible. Good riddance would you say? Think for a moment.
The damning revelation of the question we are investigating today is that the heart question is not the boss but really the declaration that you are irrelevant, dispensable, no longer useful and that you have been living a lie in the self belief that you are the epitome of your existence and that you have a right to the position you hold as an employee, husband, wife, businessman or CEO. The damning revelation that the boss can do without you would suggest that you occupy the position as a mere privilege!
6,000 OPTIONS!
The story I am telling is not far fetched. Employees at the port of Mombasa went on strike last week. Their jobs were advertised by their employer. 6,000 applicants turned up! That should send a powerful message to those employees. The question is did they get the message? I doubt it. On my training programs I routinely remind employees at all levels that if, for some reason they had to re-apply for their jobs today, none of them would get it. With some reflection, most employees realize that this is true. However, they all continue to live as if it wasn’t. I make it a point to remind employees that employment is a privilege, to be a husband, a wife, to have a job is a privilege. Indeed to be alive is a privilege.
The fact the your boss can call on 6000 options for your position is a little demeaning and is sure to puncture the largest ego. To be only one in a possible six thousand makes you feel rather small if not irrelevant. Most of us would have to fight to believe that we have a right to all we have worked so hard to achieve.
What would you do if you discovered that there are 6,000 other people who can match your opinion, your ideas and indeed your performance? What would you do if you found that 6,000 people would happily attend your funeral to get a free meal? What if you appreciated that your departure would directly benefit 6,000 people? What would you do if you knew that 6,000 people are waiting in the wings to take everything you think is valuable away from you. What would you do different if you find out that what you think about anything really does not matter to 6,000 people. What would you do if you understood that 6000 people would gladly take away what you take for granted.
In these circumstances, the focus becomes the boss. I quit the job because I could (that may not be a solution), but what if your boss is your wife or God? What if your wife or husband secretly advertised your position and received 6,000 applications. If you found out you would begin to ask very different questions; What have I done to deserve this, why are they doing this to me, how did this come about? That question would trigger some real soul searching. The more important focus is not the boss but “me”! “I thought I was doing okay. I thought I am the best. How did this happen to me? Did I miss something”. That question immediately throws you out of your comfort zone and far away from your umbrella of self deception. You begin to think “what am I doing” and “what should I be doing? Maybe I should be doing something else?” When you discover that you are not the man you thought you were to your boss, husband or God – it is not comforting. You really thought you were the best. You beat the greatest odds to be where you are now. You beat 40 million sperms to get into this world and that makes you indeed the best heaven could offer. However, 6,000 applicants for your job should tell you that the competition is regrouping. “
Several years ago I was doing roaring business running numerous retrenchment, retirement and similar programs for multinationals, government and private organizations. The one thing that was common to all those programs was the shock employees expressed at being sent home “early” (in their opinion) and deep, expressed regret of wasted opportunity. I try not to conduct these “late-date” programs any more and encourage employers to conduct retirement training as part of new employee induction. You get better mileage out of employees that way. A job is pointless if you leave it with regret just as living is pointless if you cannot leave a legacy.
As an employer I can tell you 6,000 option is good mathematics and exceptional economics. There are hundreds of employees, including CEOs and business owners who have overstayed their welcome in their positions. What these self satisfied people don’t usually appreciate is that there are 6,000 perhaps cheaper options to their inefficiency and ineffectiveness.
The issue is not the boss, the advert the 6,000 competitors nor that heaven is investigating its options. The issue is, “what should you be doing?”. Most people never get to know that their job has been advertised, but if you ever find out I’d like to suggest the following;  

1.       Live with greater purpose than your ego permits.
2.       Do your job so well that you will lay a firm foundation for those who come after you.
3.       Find something else to do. Learn a new skill – learn to play a violin!
4.       Stay relevant -Keep learning in your organization. Find out who the boss is.
5.       Take whatever comes to you with grace as a divine privilege and go through with it.
6.       Chose your successor. Rebrand and Reinvent yourself… move out!
7.       Humble yourself and serve others more. Be less selfish. Someone out there who is better than you.
8.       Set fire to your comfort zones. Enjoy the privileges you have, but hold them lightly (not tightly).
9.       Plan your family holidays, retirement, your trip to the moon and for when you are not there!
10.   If all else fails - Advertise your own job!
Allan Bukusi

The Purpose of Knowledge

The purpose of knowledge is wisdom. To have knowledge without understanding is to misuse knowledge and to have knowledge without wisdom is to abuse it. There is much knowledge we have about many things that we do not understand and therefore lack the wisdom to put it to proper use.

Allan Bukusi

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Foolishness is not immediate. It dawns on you slowly - after the event!

Allan Bukusi

Three is a Gift!

There are three kinds of people. Those that work with their heads, those that use their hands and those that work with their hearts. To find a person with one is possible, to find one with two is a struggle. To find three is a great blessing. A person with three is a gift.

Allan Bukusi

The Law & The Heart

The law does not make it right. It is my heart that makes me do it. Therefore that which governs my heart is the law.

Allan Bukusi