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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

Three levels of followers

A follower is one who lets another take the lead, give direction and set goals. Poor followers do not do what they are asked, rebel and find it hard to submit and need repeated coercion. Good followers are obedient, take instruction and respond positively to authority. The best followers follow through to the next instruction, are actively engaged in the pursuit of goals and take responsibility for the outcome of their actions. The greatest followers become good examples, show others how to follow through, handle responsibility and become leaders.
Allan Bukusi

Cynical by nature

Cynicism always sounds witty, wise and clever, but is always self defeating as it hides behind a lack of will to take responsibility for anything including personal progress. It works desperately hard against those who embrace it and totally absolves them of any blame that may arise out of any situation they face, are in or see as unfit for them. Unfortunately, cynical by nature is easy to sell. It costs nothing. It is free of charge, but very costly to keep.
Allan Bukusi

The power of knowledge

Knowledge has power, but that power is not acquired by mere exposure. There are many who walk up to knowledge, look at it in the face and walk away without it. Knowledge has to be engaged, challenged, tried and tested in order to yield its power. It must be questioned, analyzed, applied and tried in order to bare the fruits of its soul. Knowledge smiles and is showered on many, but only shines in a few like the sun. Those who accept the challenge glow with power. Those who do not accept the challenge never grow. So punch and pummel, strive and struggle and do not come away from any brief contact with knowledge with nothing to show for all that you know.
Allan Bukusi

Language is more than meets the ear

Mastery of language is beautiful to listen to. Mastering another language allows you to communicate to new populations, but the power of language is not in numbers. Language is the collection of wisdom of a people. It is coded history, culture and learning. It opens a door to a new perspective a new world of understanding and realm of interpretation of the world. Learning another language for the sake of speaking another language defeats the purpose of language. Language allows you to advance in thought word and deed. A language that will advance your station will enable you to traverse centuries of learning human existence and civilization.   
Allan Bukusi

The power to transform

Only the original and authentic has the power to transform. Everything else may not be fake but all it can do is duplicate.
Allan Bukusi

The flame of the will

The will to develop, to grow, to learn and to become is not natural. It has to be lit and fanned into a flame. Indeed its absence is replaced with a dullness no emotion can describe. The frustration of dealing with a dead spirit can only be matched by weight of having to live with it. The body grows naturally, but if the will does not mature, the two can be horribly out of touch. Dysfunctional. However, once the will is lit, it becomes a passionate living flame that ignites or burns everyone with its touch.
Allan Bukusi

Struggle out of life

It is quite evident that if you don’t want much out of life you will never get it. But if you want a great deal out of life then you must struggle. All achievement is born out of struggle whether it is coming out of a shell or concluding a sale. Nevertheless there are those who choose not to struggle, but are not happy with what comes to them and those that struggle and do not always achieve what they want. However, on the balance it is better to struggle and fail than fail without a struggle.

Allan Bukusi

Of learning and learners

Over time I have observed various types of learners. Those who have been sent to learn, those who have no urge to learn, those who are open to learn and those who take away what they learn. In all courses and programs at whatever level of corporate organization or academic development all four usually show up in various ratios. The predominance of the former is a very hard and frustrating work for the teacher and a great waste of effort for everyone. The predominance of the later is a proficient experience for everyone with a productive outcome. 
Those who have been sent to learn come without spirit, spark or resolve, since they have no personal conviction nothing the teacher says can be convincing. Those who have no urge to learn show up for the record and add a great dead weight. Without an urge to learn, they leave with no value no matter the urgency of the matter. Those who are open to learning open up streams of knowledge even the teacher does not know. Those open to learning draw on the energy and engage the ingenuity of the teacher. Yet those who take away what they learn grow in significance and change the world from that day on. After many days I may hear from and of the latter but never have I ever come across the former.

Allan Bukusi

Trials and success have nothing in common

Trials are temporary and are to be endured. Success is fleeting and too fast. The two have nothing in common.
Allan Bukusi

The power of purpose

The greatest thing you can do for a person is to help them get a sense of purpose, a cause and an object of attention in this life. That purpose becomes the drive and the motive to strive and overcome. It becomes a reason to be and become. A sense of purpose will heal the inward flaw and lay the groundwork for your life and all your life’s success and achievement.
Allan Bukusi

Get a person to where he needs to be

To get a person to change you must get him to appreciate what he is. To get a person to develop, you must get him to understand where he is. To get a person to advance you must get him to realize why he is. And to get a person to succeed you must get him to believe who he can be.
Allan Bukusi

Professionals & Amateurs

A cultured person plays to the rules. The amateur plays with the rules. A talented person has great ability. A skilled person masters of his abilities.
Allan Bukusi

Where did you get your degree?

A person with a degree in Africa and a person with a degree in America do not graduate at the same point in time, history and society. Their contexts do not allow them the same options or destiny. They graduate to meet different needs. It is impractical to attempt to compare the two.
Allan Bukusi

The advance of nations and a third world mindset

The advance of nations is not in quality of education or infrastructure development, but in the development of the people, the breath of language, depth of culture and richness of options they have. It is possible to create a first world nation with a third world mindset.
Allan Bukusi

What is vision?

Vision is the ability to correctly position an event in the context of history and eternity.
Allan Bukusi

Find your place in the world

To find ones place in the world is to seamlessly occupy the space between history and eternity by establishing a connection with the past and a foundation for the future. That is your destiny; the space you occupy between history and eternity.
Allan Bukusi

Of History & Destiny

There is great danger in judging history for its past form and greater danger of evaluating ones circumstances in the context of their present form. It is even worse to consider the future as a set of discrete elements. The present is a contribution of both history and destiny.
Allan Bukusi

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A life well lived has a price and is work much more than gold; it is told for eternity.

A life well lived has a price and is work much more than gold; it is told for eternity.
Allan Bukusi

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Transforming Africa: Ethics or Ethnicity?

Some time ago we had the privilege of working with a multiracial group from a international institution on a team building program. Our brief was to break down racial barriers and open up communication between the nationalities and ethnic groups and help integrate interdepartmental working relations.  In the beginning the group response to our activities was mechanical, lukewarm and far from enthusiastic. We then divided the group into racially balanced teams. The object was to eliminate ethnic tensions and make teams focus on working together to achieve specific objectives. Nevertheless there was still some ethnic huddling even among members of the same team. Ethnic groups command loyalty that judge others as below, above or apart in varying degrees of dignity or disdain.
However, as the games progressed and competition became more intense, with some teams losing and others winning games consistently we noticed that both winning and losing teams began to trade accusations of ethics or the “lacking ethics”.  As the competition turned passionate, each team focused on how to win, “with or without ethics” especially if they believed the other teams was not going to play fair. This created strong bonds between team members to the extent that some teams mustered the audacity to accuse referees of wrong and unjust rulings. The question of ethnicity was forgotten or at least suspended for the rest of the day. All that mattered was ethics! This prompted me to ponder the question of ethics a little deeper.  A code of ethics does not depend on ethnicity. Creating a code is a matter of honor, identity and pride that exceeds ethnicity. But a code or a constitution is not created at the stroke of a pen. It is born out of struggle, strife, failure and success.

Many of Africa’s challenges, conflict and struggles are thought to be rooted in its ethnicity. Perhaps not. Ethnicity is a global phenomenon and there are high ethnographic concentrations in cosmopolitan locations all around the world that do not dissolve into conflict. Whereas ethnicity may be a clue to the complexity of war and conflict, we are more inclined to believe that ethics is at the root of the ethos and ethers surrounding the challenge of transforming Africa. Nevertheless, we need a communal understanding of the word “ethics” to appreciate and unpack the significance of this finding.

Ethics has been defined as a moral code. But ethics is not as much a code as it is codifying ethics.  While ethics refers to a set of rules, regulations, principles and practices to live by, it is more about a people’s response to a set of rules, regulations, principles and practices they are made to live by. If they have not participated in evolving, developing, making and establishing those rules, regulations, principles and practices, their response will be askew if not outright rebellious to the demands of those rules, regulations, principles and practices. Asking one ethnic group to abide by a code prescribed by another group is to invite conflict. On the other hand, agreeing or signing consent to a code of conduct does not mean compliance to the ethics required by the code.

Ethics is about the virtues, values, self-perception and vision of a people. Ethics is the lens through which people define, re-create and interpret the world. Ethics is the individual and collective response of a people to rules, regulations, principles and practices, but also a people’s response to circumstances, situations and opportunity. Ethics is the sum of the values of a people’s collective learning, culture, art, science, history and believed destiny. Ethics is the composite state of mind of a people governing their interaction with each other and outsiders in family, business, sports and politics. It is the sum of the learning and advancement of a society. It is evident in a people’s accumulated writing, history, eating, language, behavior, lifestyle, habitat and collective wisdom where the house of lords, the jury and elders of the community hold sway. Ethics is a code of honor observed by the honorable in society.

Though ethics is often described as moral sense or social norms its foundations are justice and  right. However, ethics are developed over time out of struggle and competition to find out what works and what is unprofitable. This corporate learning is stored away in the group conscience as ethics. If a society has no science, art or civil behavior it stagnates in its learning and does not encourage the development of its institutions. Its advance in ethics is limited. A society is advanced when all its individuals and institutions work for the good and welfare of individuals, society and the state.

While other nations have long recorded history that has helped them journey through centuries of ethical development, Africa’s history seems scattered, spattered and dispersed. Its distant history is a record of the destruction of whole civilizations.  It needs to be shored up and codified into a respectable whole. Much of Africa’s history (read ethical development) is fragmented, not written, lost unknown and untaught. The plunder, pillage and persecution of Africa’s peoples in the recent past has not helped the development of ethics across the continent.

For a society to advance it must raise its own teachers, writers and chroniclers. It must raise philosophers who format the thinking of a society and advance the state of learning, culture and statecraft. The state must sponsor social institutions that advance ethics. This is the only way to raise a nation from its past. This is where Africa must invest. A society that does not advance its own history is plagued to return to it, remain traditional and intransigent or imitate another and thus fall short on many of the counts of ethical development and practice. The advance must be home-grown in order to speak the people’s language. An advanced society has breadth and depth of language, literature and original thought to strengthen the society to address the challenges within and perils outside its existence. The advancement of a society is in the advance of its justice, righteousness and welfare of its people. In a world where tribal wars are no longer justifiable and ethnicity is no longer a principle of conflict, should we not invest and pay more attention to the development of ethics rather than the inordinate focus on ethnicity?

Allan Bukusi

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Why Next Generation Leaders?

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The world has changed dramatically over the last century. Changes in agriculture, industry, medicine and education have made the world more productive, healthier and habitable in many ways. But the world has also changed fundamentally over the last decade. Education has revised the way children are education while information technology has changed the way we define our world. Even war has been redefined from fighting “objects” and people to fighting concepts such as terrorism and “human rights” and “literacy”. The corporate world has challenged the image of the super manager to run organizations and now demands process leaders to ensure corporate success. No single manager knows enough to run the corporation by him or herself. CEOs today must rely on leaders to run the business of the corporation.  
The Next Generation CorporateLeaders face a different set of dynamics that their predecessors. In the past there was relative stability in professions, markets and industry structures. In the early part of last century it was possible to plan for 50 years of production for a stable market based on a single invention such as the motor car. Today strategic plans are outdated by a single innovation in a matter of months – and there are hundreds of innovations every day. In the old days markets were closed. Today anybody can do business anywhere. In the old days careers were guaranteed by education, today if you do not go for training you are outdated as soon as you graduate from college. Next generation corporate leaders must handle dynamics, diversity and turn dreams into reality.
Dynamics is not the same as change or change management. Corporations today house dynamic order. People come and go, technology is adopted and revised, products and processes are in a constant state of modification in a bid to keep up with external competition and innovation against the erratic demand of customers. Gone are the days when careers were permanent and pensionable and staff were reliable and guaranteed to stay for 20 years. The nature of the corporate process is “here today gone tomorrow”. The leader must be comfortable with these dynamics.
The very definition and advantages of a stable corporate culture demand a significant degree of uniformity. However, the new world does not guarantee uniformity. Globalization goes against the very core of uniformity. Organizations struggle with generational ethics where old and young work in the same environment. Analog and digital exist side by side. Diversity is more than race or color. Diversity is about integrated systems, accommodating religions beliefs, worldviews and educational backgrounds. It is about mainstreaming gender issues, but also providing opportunity for minorities to develop themselves. The demand is for corporate leaders to understand how to interpret a single product effectively in four different countries with multiple cultures and several different time zones. The next generation leaders will not deal with consistency indeed they must master inconsistency!
The only way that the next generation can advance the cause of their organizations is if they have vision. Vision is the capacity to not only see the future but bring it about today. In the past it was enough to see the future, today leaders are expected to bring the future to the people. Such is the challenge of NEXT GENERATION CORPORATELEADERS – Today!

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