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Monday, December 4, 2017

All volunteer work is paid....

All voluntary work is paid. It is paid in life, health and happiness.


A profession is what you do for a living like - religion, career or other service to humanity.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Sharing the wisdom of change

We live from truth to truth, fact to fact. From discovery to invention; information to knowhow until we come to the wisdom of understanding that all things change.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Thoughts on Retirement

Twenty years ago I mused that people were facing retirement. I was a young consultant and was making my way up in the world. Part of my job then was to train people and get them ready for imminent retirement. I mean a few months or less before they were bumped off the employment ship. I did not think much of it then. But then what did you expect. I had things to do and placed to go. Retirement was on someone else’s radar.  But I did make a mental note to be careful about how I lived. Today two decades later what was a mere aphorism has struck reality. As the Americans would say “pay dirt”. To those who don’t understand what I am saying retirement has come calling.

Well then what do I make of it. I have some advice for one group of people and some thoughts for another. To one group I say 20 years is not as long as you might think. To the other “retirement” is not a new in the English vocabulary. It may have changed meaning over time, but it does suggest moving away, de-linking or becoming de-listed from something like demobilized from the army. Interestingly, at various points in our lives we retire from school, home, college and variously from any number of jobs and employment engagements at one time or other. Given this truth we should all be familiar with the term retirement - getting ready for the nest assignment in life. That’s it! Getting ready for the next phase of life!

Nonetheless, retirement attracts an ominous echo when it is attached to a relatively senior age. It sounds like the “last chance”. Having observed those who have gone before and around me I realize that retirement presents three challenges. The first, associated with employment, is to secure a means of living. Notice I did not say “means of income”. Enough to live on. The second concern which is related to being delinked from employment is to have something to live for. Employment gives people something to do (not necessarily something to live for). When facing retirement one has to set their own agenda and keep to it. Being your own boss is not as easy as many people make it sound especially if you have not done it all your life. The third joy is to engage in creating a legacy to pass on to your great grandchildren. I love this one. While the first may be provided for, the second depend on your personal discipline. However, the third I find liberating – working on something to gift the world gives one energy to face the world not just another day but every day! These three things are what I consider retirement or whatever you want to call it to be all about. There are those who would say that these three are the same thing. But then they are not facing retirement.

Allan Bukusi

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

TEN Questions for Every Employee

1. Is it important to have a plan for a job before you get employed? Explain your answer
Planning to benefit from a job or work assignment ensures that a person is not just motivated by the offer of a job and anticipated income, but that they stay motivated to pursue higher goals and implement fulfilling growth plans in their own circumstances in life.

2. Why do people lose work focus and become demotivated after earning a salary for a few months?
People can become demotivated after their basic needs are (briefly) satisfied such as is facilitated by a consistent salary. Or, become complacent once they have mastered the job, but make no effort to perfect or excel in their work. This makes employees miss out on opportunities for their own personal development that employees may offer. 

3. How long should you take on a job before you look for “greener pastures”?
People looking for greener pastures they are often looking for more money and less work. But advancement is not always about a simple promotion. It could mean an opportunity to complete a personal project by virtue of the location of your current job or accumulate capital to change your economic status. My advice is before you make a move to another job make sure you have planted some grass of your own.

4. Is it possible to work for 20 years without accumulating any assets? Yes or No? Explain your view?
Yes it is possible to work for many years without making any savings or accumulating wealth for yourself and family to live on after you leave the job. While having a retirement plan is important, having a wealth creation plan based on your monthly income that can sustain you should you lose your job is very wise!

5. The purpose of a job is to “earn a living” ; true or false – explain your response
False; Employment provides many more and greater benefits to employees than earning a living. The core of a job is work. If you are able to work you can live off your work. Nonetheless, formal employment provides you the privilege of at least four things financial income, experience, exposure to enterprise and the opportunity to develop yourself. There is more to work than living. In the long run it is what you are giving that is important.

6. The job belongs to the employer; true or false: explain what this mean to the employee?
True; employers create jobs for people to access employment and help them to create wealth. This means that the only stake the employee has in an enterprise is to do his assigned work and receive the agreed remuneration. If an employee wishes to remain employed he or she must do the job. Nonetheless, both parties are free to agree or disagree over terms and go their separate ways!

7. Write down three objectives for employment; How does each apply to you as an employee?
a) To create wealth for your employer, b) to learn enterprise and c) to provide you with an opportunity to develop yourself. The first thing I should do as an employee is focus on creating value for my employer to justify my employment. Then I should profit from the exposure to the process of enterprise and exercise and develop skills (capacity) to create more wealth over time.

8. “My salary is for paying my rent and meeting my expenses. When I need capital I should go to the bank”. True or false. Explain your answer?
False; there is no difference between the money the bank loans you and what you earn as a salary. The first thing the bank will ask you for is your payslip as evidence of your ability to create wealth to repay the loan. However, the bank will benefit from your work being the wealth you use to pay back the loan. Your salary is just as good money as the “capital” you get from the bank. It just depends on how you chose to use it.

9. It is not possible to create wealth with a small salary. You need to earn a lot of money in order to become rich? Discuss.
Many employees despise the power a predictable and consistent income gives them to create wealth and spend most their career trying to earn higher salaries in order to get rich. Nonetheless, those with patience and a plan end up owning more wealth than those with no patience and high incomes.

10. Does having a job make you a responsible person? Explain your answer with an example.
Having a job may make you self-reliant, but does not guarantee that you will become responsible. Responsibility is a choice of character. Carrying out the requirements of a job allows you to earn an income. You can choose to spend all your money on alcohol or feed your family.  The choice is yours.

Allan Bukusi is the author of How to Prosper in Employment: A book claims that most employees throw away a lifetime opportunity to create wealth for themselves and family because of a lack on knowledge and understanding of the purpose and power of employment to create wealth. Poverty in Africa can be revered if employees stopped making excuses for living from "hand to mouth" and started applying the simple principles of wealth creation today!  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My Seven Fathers...

As siblings called him dad, pops or buda depending on the dictates of the situation. His office colleagues  called him Sir James. Sir Jim was a strong choleric with a towering intellect. He taught us that nothing comes to you except by hard work. You could get passed him with very few things, but the one that could never pass was laziness. I am glad he folded in me the principles of hard work, diligence and self-reliance early in life. They have taken me to the top of my career.

Mr. Akhwale was not my ideal father figure. He was not a personable man, but what he said made a lot of sense to others in the office. I thought it was because he was among the oldest employees in the firm and knew a thing or two about football. But he did have a heart for a young man who had just landed in the accounts section on his first job like a lost puppy in cell with Vikings. After observing, my meek existence in the hostile environment where everyone spent everything they earned, he came up to my desk one day and pushed a set of forms in front of my face and said “fill these”. I had no care of what the forms were about. I just wanted him away from my space. I left the company two years later with $150. The money saved for me by the cooperative. If Mr. Akhwale had not given me those forms I would have left with absolutely nothing! My financial father taught me that it is a good thing to have a job, but it more important to prosper from your work. Since then I religiously reinvest 20% of my earnings and create wealth for myself and family.

My grandfather Enoch, was born of the soil. We didn’t talk much because we did not speak the same language and lived in different times. We hardly met even though we were related. But after I dug his grave, graduated from college and took up my first teaching post, I began my own journey into the world. Later I came to realize the meaning of his last words to me – wherever you go and whatever you do never forget God. A spiritual father is really a misnomer, but in the crisis of life and if you will remain sane, I would rather you had one. Every time I come to the end of reason I go one step higher.

Then there was Sande. In him a mighty man you will not see. At least not a celebrity. But to him all that mattered was that I be sincere even if I was sincerely wrong. As a youth I needed someone to believe in me for me. That was important to me then. He taught me to hold on to my dreams, admit my failings but rise up with integrity to be all that I could be.   He taught me never to lose faith. For without faith no man can be. Everyone needs a mentor.

Mwangura was as unique as they come. When I met him 20 years after I departed from his classroom  he not only recognized me but called me by name and asked after my brother. A classroom is nowhere to meet a father, but he abruptly settled me into the math class and forever framed my paradigm of success. He never rewarded us for being the best in class. The only competition you will face in life is to better yourself. To earn his respect, you had to do better in the next test.

My sixth father was a white man. Hawkins did not know me except for what I presented on a paper CV. But after he interviewed me in the parking lot he made me the manager of his business and promptly left for Europe. To this day I don’t understand why anyone would do such a thing, but that meeting established my lifelong career. I am still feeding off the challenge he placed before me. He said to me- you are stepping out of a Jumbo jet and boarding a biplane; there will be turbulents. Life has taught me that both planes fly. Do it anyway!

My seventh father MacMillan is a man who would gain nothing from standing with me or speaking for me. He believes I have something to offer the world has yet to see. I am still looking. No, this is not a happy father’s day message. It is about my fathers whose impact on me is still working on me 50 years on. To be a father is a special thing. To be a father is; to give a name, to bear the blame, to seek out, to draw out, to challenge, to mentor, to teach, to be strong and stand with the weak. It is to take a risk, to believe and be a bridge to another man’s future and make an eternal difference by touching a life where it matters. Munroe never knew my name, but he had a heart for the third world. By him I expanded my mission to Africa.  Another father passed on this year. Dodman did not do anything special. But always did what needed to be done when it needed to be done. He was reliable. I want to be that when I am done. Be a father to someone.

Allan Bukusi

Thursday, October 5, 2017


Spare a moment to consider the plight of luckless slaves pursued by their benefactors for taxes and treats across the continent. But just who are these slaves? They are ostensibly called the middle-class; the 5% of the population that carries the economic burden of state. While government targets employees in formal employment to pay for legislation that maintains the state; the rest of the population prey on wage earners for the essentials of food, shelter and school fees.

This privileged 5% of the population has an enviable profile. Each will have an education far above the rest of the population. Most live in urban areas where access to the pleasures of life are easiest. Nonetheless in this position they are subject to multiple legislative burdens unheard of in the village. They will be punished for enjoying the privileges of urban existence by paying for everything they consume, use or make an attempt to own. 98% (of the 5%) live in houses they do not own and work on jobs that belong to the upper class, the government and foreign investors. They may drive a car on loan but owning a house is well beyond their reach. The broad majority of the lower middle-class, will be scaling public transport before 8am and after 5pm. While they appear fashionably dressed, a cost they must pay for whatever economic empowerment they earn, their income is frequently raided by inflation and vandalized by any number of pretentious rent seekers.

Nonetheless, while employees have a source of regular income they do not have access to capital! Bank interest rates are so high they do not support individual enterprise. It is better to remain employed than try to break into the murky waters of entrepreneurship. Incidentally the same two benefactors are ready and waiting to punish anyone who thinks of abandoning the employment lines. A host of legal agencies are instructed to punish any initiative to depart from the workforce with licenses, levies and all manner of innovative tolls and tariffs.

Because employees have a number, their records are sped post haste to government advisers who ensure that employment income is directly taxed to the tune of 35% or more of gross earnings to pay for the privilege of being employed and the support of those who escape formal jobs. While employees fund 60-80% of national coffers, their vote (less than 5%) does not influence the economic destiny of the nation. The ballot box remains a balkanized conspiracy of the wealthy, ethnicity and religious bias. No one really cares where the money comes from so long as it is a democracy. Yet the middle class in wealthy nations directly influence the vote.

“The creative class, which comprises a third to more than forty percent of the workforce in the advanced nations, includes scientists and technologists; artists, cultural creatives, and media workers, as well knowledge-based professionals in business, education, and health-care. While the varied members of the working class had physical skills as a shared trait, the diverse groups of workers that make up the creative class all draw on their underlying human creativity. The even larger service class is made up of lower-skill, lower-wage, routine service occupations in fields like health care support, food preparation and service, low-end retail, and office and administrative positions.” GLOBAL CREATIVTY INDEX 2015.

The global creativity index lists talent, technology and tolerance as the keys to economic advancement  and credits the creative class as the drivers. Luxemburg has a creative class of 54%, Singapore 47%, United Kingdom 44% and USA 33%. Ghana stands at 8.61%, Rwanda 3.76 % but the majority of countries in Africa are unlisted. It is not hard to see that while the working class in the west creates wealth, the working class in Africa is drained of the wealth it creates. Around the world the middle class is known for its professionalism, creativity, productivity and enterprise. Unfortunately the percentage of the middle class in Africa is shrinking. Economic slaves are dying younger by the generation. They hardly remain employed more than a few years. They are coming under such pressure as to abandon the state and migrate to other nations where they can enjoy a measure of the wealth they earn and send a little back home by western union, Mpesa and a number of other transfer vehicles.

The reason I plead for employees is that there can be no meaningful development and national growth without the empowerment of the people of a land. While skewed per capita incomes and GDPs can be manufactured by inviting a few foreign investors to put up factories, real empowerment only comes from the creativity of the people. Unless this 5% is nurtured, encouraged expanded and empowered countries will continue to fleece the life out of its wealth creating citizenry. But to whom do I plead? My plea is to policy makers at all levels and every sphere of society to ensure that policy is not punitive to wealth creators and discouraging to innovators to the extent that it kills the will to take initiative to produce value.

While I have a great concern for the plight of employees across Africa, I am desperately worried about the majority of employees who do not comprehend that they create wealth and consign themselves to be slaves! After producing wealth for their employers, economic slaves retire distraught, disillusioned and penniless. Distraught; when they look back at how much they have earned and yet do not own. Disillusioned; because they were promised that education and employment would elevate them from poverty. And penniless; because they have no clue as to the purpose or principles of money!

Allan Bukusi is the author of

Friday, September 1, 2017

Why I want you to be creative!

Why do I want you to be creative? Because creative people rule the world! Creative people are rich – in many ways. They solve problems we could not be bothered to imagine. Creative people think and do. Most of us do because we are told to; creative people think and make and do for us what we could not be bothered to do it for ourselves. Creative people explore the life the rest of us find a chore. While creative people achieve, the rest merely receive. Creative people make the future the rest of us live it.  We pay creative people to entertain us, to serve us and to show us the way. Most of us aspire for no more than a challenge creative people make the challenge, recreate the challenge and live beyond it. Creatives set goals when most of us are satisfied with roles. Creatives see things, sense things and question things. They ponder and mull things and do things differently. Creative people never lack things to do, they do what is available, what they need to do and then do some more. The rest of us make do with what comes our way and if it does not come, we do not go out of our way to look for it. While most of us are prepared to go the extra mile, creative people go all the way! To be creative is the reason you were created. To create is to find meaning in life, create value for the world and leave a legacy. Creativity will lead you to a career and if there is none your creativity will make a career for you. Find what you were made to create and get to it. Nothing more can be more fulfilling. Nothing more can be more of a calling. Nothing more can be so gripping. Nothing more can be more of a reason to be. Get to it and get to be.

Allan Bukusi


Sunday, August 27, 2017

In the face of the setting sun.

The assignment; life! The method; character, competence and confidence. Courage is the capacity to do life, yet failure comes early to the brave. Nonetheless, the lesson of failure is only a step, alongside the way of knowledge, wisdom, understanding and diligence.

Courage; the ability to do, to go and to be. It is the energy and mastery to become. To face your fears and work through your tears may take you many years. But there is no shame in effort and sacrifice that moves you closer to a noble goal. Every step, though others may not see, is victory. Victory, you see, is not born at the end of a thing nor is it in its convincing. Victory is in the conviction of the beginning to stay the course.

There is no shame in struggle, for the outcome may not be yours to handle. But in determination, perseverance and striving for, is the celebration of the human spirit to dominate the earth. Come my son, go my daughter - take hold of life with Spirit. Take it for none can withhold it from you.

Be mindful of the heart, but let it not trick you to take a trail to no avail. For vanity hides easily among lies and deceit. Courage is the high road, all else is hollow. It matters not how long you live nor how far you travel, but how well you live and the legacy you leave, creates a path that others will follow. And when all is said and you stand alone in the face of the setting sun, by the grace of God His will be done.

Allan Bukusi

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Significance of Life

You did not have a say over your date of birth or day of eventual demise. Nonetheless, your achievement in life will be determined by three important choices; your choice of god, your choice of spouse and the use of money. Your choice of god will determine what you define as success, how you live and what you want out of life. This choice will prioritize your work, engagement and worthwhile pursuits in life. Your choice of spouse, your life’s prime companion, will affect your state of joy, peace, contentment and happiness in life. However much or little resources come into your possession in this life – none will be transferred to the next. The way you choose to use the resources available to you is more important than the amount of money you accumulate and will determine the quality of your life on earth. When all is said and done it is not the independence of these three that makes a life, but the alignment of the three that decides your life’s significance. 

Allan Bukusi

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Strong White

There was once a farmer who needed to plough his farm and get rid of pests on his land. The farmer worked hard, but was not able to till all the land and the insects ate much of his crop while it was still in the field. One morning he told his wife he was going to the market.

When the farmer arrived at the market he found a horse trader. He bought a strong white horse and then went over to the fly catchers den and bought a chameleon called Color. In those days chameleons used to help people get rid of insects. The interesting trio of a strong white horse, a chameleon called color and a tired farmers arrived home late at night to eat, rest and prepare for work the next day. At night the horse turned to the chameleon and said, “My name is Strong White what is yours”. The Chameleon said, “well I don’t have to be strong I just change color, play dead and get to eat the insects”.

The next morning the farmer took his new team to the field and White pulled the plough through the mud and got himself all dirty. Color, the Chameleon, put on his dead color and ate all the insects that passed by. The farmer was very happy with their work. In the evening White had to take a bath and thought that color should too. But Color was too lazy to clean himself up and went to work the next day without taking a bath. This went on for many days until Color began to emit an awful smell. White pleaded with Color to clean himself as he was beginning to raise quite a stink! White told Color, “You only have to look dead, not smell dead to do your job”. But Color just laughed and would not listen to White and said, “I told you I don’t have to be strong like you all I need to do is play dead”.

One day a vulture appeared in the sky above. Vultures do not have very good eyesight, but they can smell a dead frog from a mile away. That night White mentioned the vulture, but color said, “No one can see me when I change color”. The following day the vulture appeared again slowly circling the farm. When Color had eaten enough for the day he settled down to sleep. That was when it happened. In one sweep of its wings the vulture swooped down and gulped up Color in less than a second. Strong White never saw Color ever again.  

Allan Bukusi

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Wedding Dress & The Dish Cloth

A long time ago when men used to leave their wives in the Homelands and go to work in the South African Gold mines, there was a man whose dear wife passed away and left him with twin girls aged ten years old. The conditions in the Gold mines were very dangerous and it was not uncommon for men to die in the mines from exhaustion and accidents. The men who survived the grueling experience often came home sick and unable to work on the farms. However, the money was good and was enough to cater for the needs of a poor family.

The man took his daughters to his widowed mother’s house and asked her to take care of them. He turned to the girls and said to them, "Now my dear ones you are young and beautiful I am going to work, but you must prepare for your wedding day". Your grandmother is wise and will guide you. You must listen to her carefully because she will give you what you want. The young girls were excited and said goodbye to their father as he took a train to Gauteng Province.

After many months a letter arrived for grandma. Inside were two envelopes – One for each of the girls. Each had the same amount for money inside and clearly labeled. The man had become sick, but sent the money home and wrote – "This is my present for each of my girls. Guide them, but give them what they want". As the girls grew they began to notice that other girls in their class had many things they wanted, but did not have.

One of the girls began to get impatient and asked grandma for rings, cream and new dresses. Grandma reminded them of what their daddy had told them - they must prepare for their wedding day. But this was too much for Joyce who wanted everything today! Grandma did not have the strength to refuse and let her have what she wanted. Unfortunately, Daddy never came back.

On the night before the twins wedding day, for they were to be married on the same day, Grandma gave each girl her envelope from their father and told them. “He wanted each of you to have a beautiful dress”. Jane took her envelope and went and bought a beautiful white dress, but all that was left in Joyce envelope was only enough to buy a dish cloth.

Allan Bukusi


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Employment or Enterprise

When you complete your basic education (formal schooling) you have two options; One, to become an employee or two, to be an entrepreneur. At some stage in life you will experience both of these conditions. It does matter which path you determine to take. Because you must excel in order to succeed.

Allan Bukusi


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

“How to turn entrepreneurship into enterprise: The case of an African entrepreneur”.

This report, presented by the NGCL Leadership Class of June 2017, outlines and analyses the challenges founding entrepreneurs face in turning their enterprises into corporations and how handing over power to management teams. Turning a business into a corporate enterprise requires the entrepreneur to take his hands off operations and create an environment where the organization can grow beyond him. The transition requires emotional intelligence on the part of the entrepreneur and empowerment of employees. This case-study proposes how this can be done.

The organization is a sole proprietorship in his late fifties and has been in operation for the last 20 years. He has won favour with many County Governments and won contracts running to billions of shillings over the last 3 years. He is fairly successful and because of leadership challenge, over the last 2 years, he has contracted 4 consultants to drawn up a strategy for the organisation but he has been very reluctant to implement. He has infused good management practice by bringing on board management team (Head of Finance, Technical, Sales) who have not lasted 6 months and end up resigning. He is not receptive to change and feel threated by professional manages. He operates a highly closed enterprise which relies entire on his decisions and feels out of control when new effective measures are executive without him sanctioning the strategy. 

The leadership challenge faced by the proprietor is the fact that he has acknowledged the business has grown and requires to be management professionally for the next phase of growth. However, he finds it absolutely difficult to relinquish control of the enterprise to third parties since he will not be in-charge. He feels he still need to make decisions even as he hands over the organisation to professionals. The dilemma is the realisation that he needs management that can grow the organisation into a market leader without him ceding control in decision making.

Leadership Competencies and Traits
Leadership is commonly seen as an important variable affecting organizational performance. Leadership is a process by which an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve common goals. Yukl (2006) found several traits that were related to leadership effectiveness which include a high energy level and tolerance for stress, self-confidence, including self-esteem and self-efficacy, an internal locus of control orientation, emotional stability and maturity, and personal integrity. The skills approach suggests that while leadership abilities can be developed, whereas traits are more inherent in an individual.

Leadership competencies have been defined as “the combination of knowledge, skills, traits, and attributes that collectively enable someone to perform a given job”.  Yuki (2006) offered some general suggestions for applications on leadership styles. These styles include maintaining self-awareness, developing relevant skills through continuous learning and leadership development, noting that strength can become a weakness in a different situation, and compensating for weaknesses by using delegation or staff with complementary skills.

Attitudes are a complex combination of things we tend to call personality, beliefs, values, behaviors, and motivations.  An attitude includes three components: an affection (a feeling), cognition (a thought or belief), and behavior (an action). Attitudes help us define how we see situations, as well as define how we behave toward the situation or object.

According to Yuki (2006), leaders who want to be great must think about the future most of the time by thinking about where they are going rather than where they have been, maintain a positive attitude and think about the opportunities which tomorrow may avail rather than focusing on the problems of the past and finally maintain a positive attitude in addition to being long-term thinkers. At all things and in any situation, one of the most important leadership qualities is the acceptance of personal responsibility. Leaders never complain, never explain and instead of making excuses, they make progress and accept responsibility for either success or failure of any action taken.

Leadership Succession Planning
Winn (2005) noted that a business owes its success to the drive, vision and creative energy of its owner and identified four main components to leadership succession planning.  These are: identifying the potential successor; changing management style; successor training and development and selecting the successor. The sole- proprietor must be able to identify what the firm need from the future leader, what the future leader needs from sole - proprietor owner, the extent of would - be leader strategic thinking and consistent drive for results, ability to lead and build talent, entrepreneurial edge and commitment to the firm’s mission and values. In the same vein, the future leader needs the support of the owner to ensure consistent drive for results, commitment to the firm’s mission and values, identify opportunities for firm growth, and ensure competitive compensation and give rewards and recognition by acknowledging value of contribution of the future leader.

The role of leaders, according to George (2003), in today’s turbulent environment is crucial. Leaders can be identified and chosen through their skills and talents. According to Mumford et al., (2007) there are cognitive, interpersonal, business and strategic skills. A future leader must be able to communicate clearly in writing or by discussion, be an active listener and be able to weather turbulent periods with less stress. It must be borne in mind that leaders, depending on their intentions, Visions, experience, strategies, objectives, hidden drives and motives, education and expertise have the power to cause either significant improvement or degradation of the world around them. In the words of Hollenbeck et al., (2008), a high potential leader must always seek opportunities to learn, act with integrity, adapt to cultural differences, be committed to make a difference, seek broader business knowledge, bring out the best in people, sees things from a new angle, has the courage to take risks, seek and use feedback, learn from mistakes and be open to criticism. It is through all these that a potential leader can be identified and chosen

Leadership and Change Management
Intensifying competition for resources and demand for profit maximization is pressing firms to become more flexible, more results-focused, and more fast-acting. Organizations are finding that such competition requires competent leadership and the challenge for organizations and business schools alike is to help build effective leadership both in the next generation of managers and throughout organizations. Change management involves a sense of critical reflection.
According to Brookfield (1995), there are three major cultural barriers to critical reflection that inhibits change management: the culture of secrecy, the culture of individualism, and the culture of silence. The culture of secrecy is one born of insecurity, fear, and unawareness (Brookfield, 1995). The leadership of organizations tends to encourage a certain level of secrecy; for example, managers may fail to take their employees into certain areas of change because of feelings of fear and insecurity that they may not be able to expertly describe what is happening in that particular arena (Dimmock, 1995). Brookfield (1995) believes the second cultural barrier is “individualism.” Although individualism may have its place in the corporate world where it fits, but it can sometimes lead to personality clashes, undeserved promotions, and inefficiency. Moreover, the “transformational leadership” style places a premium on teamwork (Bass, 1997). The third barrier is silence. Brookfield believes individuals are reluctant to voice their opinion, and as a result, they remain silent (Brookfield, 1995). Individuals may see inequity and instability within the organization and feel the necessary response should be silence. Employees have sometimes noticed, for example, that they have erred in what he or she said, but fail to say anything because they fear the manager may respond negatively. Sometimes employees have alternative explanations for events. Employees may fail to acknowledge them for fear they may clash with the manager, and the manager will hold it against him or her during evaluations (Leithwood, Begley, & Cousins, 1994).

When viewed in terms of leadership styles, the flexible leader adapts to new situations, whereas the rigid leader maintains consistent patterns of behavior in almost all situations. A flexible style does not mean changing personality. It does, however, involve the use of different tactics, depending on the situation. Flexibility is one of the core tenets of the “transformational leadership” style (Cohen, 1998).

For leaders to gain acceptance of organizational change, there are a series of factors that need to be understood. The first and foremost is to understand the “human side” of transformational change. Inevitably issues are destined to arise. There will be new leaders, new jobs, and new skills that will be needed. This creates uncertainty and resistance follows. The method that the organization deals with this may determine morale and acceptance. This method demands data collection, analytic planning, and implementation processes as possible. This method should be based on a timely assessment of the readiness for change.

Another consideration is to start with strategic management. Everyone is the organization will look to the top for leadership during the process of change. The leaders must articulate the vision and the challenge faced to motivate others. The vision must be consistent and speak with one voice as to the changes and they must model the desired behavior necessary for change. They are aligned and committed to the direction of change, understand the culture and behaviors the changes intend to introduce, and can model those changes themselves.

A further consideration is for the leadership to insure there is a sense of ownership and communicating the message. This ownership requires more than mere buy-in or passive agreement that the direction of change is acceptable. Ownership is often best created by involving people in identifying problems and crafting solutions. It is reinforced by incentives and rewards such as financial compensation or psychological. Too often, change leaders make the mistake of believing that others understand the issues, feel the need to change, and see the new direction as clearly as they do. The best change programs reinforce core messages through regular, timely advice that is both inspirational and practicable.

The organization is a sole proprietorship in his late fifties and has been in operation for the last 20 years. He has won favour with many County Governments and won contracts running to billions of shillings over the last 3 years. He is fairly successful and because of leadership challenge, over the last 2 years, he has contracted 4 consultants to drawn up a strategy for the organisation but he has been very reluctant to implement. He has infused good management practice by bringing on board management team (Head of Finance, Technical, Sales) who have not lasted 6 months and end up resigning. He is not receptive to change and feel threated by professional manages. He operates a highly closed enterprise which relies entire on his decisions and feels out of control when new effective measures are executive without him sanctioning the strategy. 

The above shows that the sole proprietor is not able to let go of his own organization, though it has outgrown him. He is unable to retain professional staff as there is high staff turnover. He threatened by staff who are qualified and know their jobs. In fact he thrives when everyone depends on his input so as to execute their work. He has 4 very good strategies for the business developed by consultants but he is very poor at execution. This can be attributed to:
  • a)     Poor leadership
  • b)     Lack of vision and mission of the organization
  • c)      Lack of Emotional intelligence
  • d)     Inward flaw
  • e)     Failure on strategy implementation
  • f)       Competing priorities- Business Development & organisational Development
  • g)     Dysfunctional structure
  • h)     Lack  of prioritization of resources


“Leadership is the energetic process of getting other people fully and willingly committed to a new and sustainable course of action, to meet commonly agreed objectives whilst having commonly held values” Mick Yates

Leadership is about understanding people, and about getting people pointing and acting in the same direction. The unique role of a leader is then to provide the energy and commitment to see this job through, and ensuring execution is perfect. Leadership is about listening, and making a real "connect" with others. It is a process.
Without a need for change, the concept of Leadership is meaningless. Leadership is not an abstract, Platonic concept - it is a practical activity, with a specific goal in mind. We believe everyone can train, develop and enhance their Leadership skills. This is true regardless of the size or complexity of the Enterprise. And, because everyone can train, the results can be measured. You cannot have Leader’s without followers, and you cannot have followers without Leaders. Paradoxically, therefore, the Leader is also a follower, in the sense of reflecting the wishes of others. Leaders and followers are thus fully interdependent.


Adopting the 4E’s Leadership Framework is critical in running a sole proprietorship. It is built around four sequential activities – Envision, Enable, Empower and Energize. It integrates strategic planning with Leadership development, and is both a personal improvement process and a tool to use to build high performing organizations.

A robust view of the external world, contextual and competitive possibilities drive the formation of the enterprise mission. Increasingly, focus on the customer and creating innovation networks are key. On the “Organizational” axis, Leader and Follower must share coherent values to provide a solid foundation for all activities. Strategic choices must be defined, as must clear goals and a practical time sequence (for “Operational’ clarity).

The best enabling mechanisms are built on innovation. The first type (on the “Operational” axis) includes the right information, tools, technologies, and business methodologies. The second set of enablers (on the “Organizational” axis) includes processes and structure. It requires ensuring that the right people and the right skill sets are in place to get the job done, building towards interdependence across the functions and geographies of the enterprise.
A useful deployment tool is the OGSM, which connects Envision with Enable. We distinguish between verbal objectives (O – the mission), and numerical objectives (G – the goals) and between strategies (S – choices of what to do and what not to do) and measurement (M).

The Leader has a contract with his or her Followers, for mutual success and failure, reward and sanction – so the two are interdependent. Both sides are given freedom, yet held jointly accountable. On the “Organizational” axis, the team needs the training to get the job done.  Empowerment must bring rewards, and also sanctions or challenges for improvement. On the “Operational” axis, Leaders and Followers must both measure progress, which encourages dialog and continuous improvement.

On the “Organizational” axis, maximum energy will result from the combination of winning (in the marketplace) and achieving a sense of personal success and satisfaction. The more energy the team generates, the more energy the Leader has – in a virtuous circle of reinforcement. On the “Operational” axis, continuous communication and course corrections are key. This includes “walking the talk” and having a clear, truthful and persuasive “Leadership story”.  The Leader (and the Leadership team) is the motor for change, providing energy to the entire organization.

Yukl, G., Leadership In Organizations (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2006

George, B., Authentic leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Mumford, T.V., Campion, M.A. and Morgeson, F.P,The Leadership Skills Strataplex: Leadership Skills Requirements Across Organizational Levels.The Leadership Quarterly, 18(2): 154-166, 2007.

Hollenbeck, J. R., Ilgen, D. R., Sego, D., Hedlund, J.A., Major, D. A., & Phillips, J. (1995). The multi-level theory of team decision-making: Decision performance in teams incorporating distributed expertise. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80,292–316.

  • ü  Paul Ooga
  • ü  Liz Kimwene
  • ü  JeremiahMunji
  • ü  Fridah Ombogah
  • ü  Dr. George Mbugua


Friday, July 14, 2017

There is only one difference between champions and the average...

There is only one difference between champions and the average. It also occurs between the excellent and mediocre and marks the distance between the successful and the “also ran”. Champions love feedback. The average hate it!

Allan Bukusi
Training Leaders.

Responsibility cannot be assumed!

Responsibility cannot be assumed. It must be learned, developed and deliberately cultivated.

Allan Bukusi

Training Leaders

Monday, July 10, 2017

Aligning Staff Behavior

Many people do not like to be corrected while some do not appreciate that value of timely advice and wise counsel. It is not only teenagers who struggle with receiving guidance and constructive feedback. Many senior officials and employees would rather achieve average results without feedback than seek feedback to attain excellent performance. Nonetheless, there is a difference between correcting behavior and aligning behavior. Lack of understanding of these two terms results a great deal of misdirected emotional energy resulting in animosity between colleagues, juniors and supervisors alike.

Correcting behavior implies that the person receiving feedback as regards their behavior knows, understands and willfully digresses from expected behavior to do something “wrong”. The mood in such incidences quickly sours to blame and animosity before “corrective” action is taken. However, it is not uncommon for corrective action to be taken in instances when the person being corrected has no clue of what they have done wrong. This latter incidence leads to bitterness and resentment all round. Is correcting behavior a bad thing? In the first instance, if a person has been trained, informed and warned about avoiding specific behavior and continues to do it, corrective action seeks to eliminate the behavior that may be unwanted and injurious to the individual and others. In such cases, while it may be justified, it needs to be done with tact starting with a discussion of the a) agreed expectations, b) description of the digressions and c) appreciation of the consequence’s and the need for corrective action d) corrective action itself may be accompanied by a punishment, penalty or fine.

Aligning behavior is a developmental approach to facilitate development growth or congruence in behavior in line with proposed ideals, values and principles. The object of feedback in the instance of teamwork is to enable and empower the person to develop shared values. While rules and regulations are rigid, values and norms are adopted principles that ensure organization success. The process of aligning behavior is not punitive and the feedback is intended to facilitate agreement and collaboration within and organization in pursuit of corporate goals. Aligning behavior is a powerful leadership tool and is not punitive, but aimed at working for the super-ordinate common interest of the team. When people understand the principle of aligning behavior they are less threatened, fearful and actually embrace and welcome feedback to improve themselves and their contribution to organization success. The process of alignment is based on a) the understanding or pursuit of a standard b) the evaluation of a persons contribution c) the communication of knowledge skills and attitudes to align behavior with set standards d) opportunity to receive coaching and feedback on individual attainment of (performance) standards. Correcting behavior is a judicial tool. Aligning behavior is a leadership competence; receiving corrective action is seen as punitive. However receiving feedback on alignment is meant to equip and empower the individual for effective organization contribution.
Allan Bukusi
Training Leaders

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Seven Scars of a Wounded Life

There are seven terrors that we carry with us rather casually and even with a mark of pride. Little do we know that these prizes we so deem to be righteous are in fact the scars of a wounded life. They are; cynicism, blame, unbelief, selfishness, entitlement, laziness and a hatred for those who would change our circumstances. This list is not conclusive, but it is clearly indicative of the ugliness of the challenge that an unfulfilled life loads upon us.

Take cynicism, nothing is more influential on our attitude than adoption of a cynical stance about on anything. Cynicism basically ensures that you will not lift a finger to bring about anything good because you have already decided that it will not work. Such an approach to life robs you of opportunity, health and wealth. Cynicism is a vice that colors your opinion and shades your contribution to team efforts with a veneer of disgust. Cynicism has the power to kill any idea. Cynicism is a jail cell where the jailer and the jailbird are one and the same. Cynicism is a scar, a permanent sneer on the face of its victim.

Blame pours forth furiously from the abscess of the wounded mouth oblivious of the pain it is willing to inflict on others. Blame absolves the blamer of any need or responsibility to act in any measure on anything good or bad. Blame is a vice that makes a viceroy of the angel of darkness. It makes the angel look good and everyone else look really bad. Its cutting edge is that it proclaims salvation without a solution.

Unbelief and cynicism may be considered twins, but while cynicism conducts the requiem mass, unbelief digs the grave. Unbelief does not care what is being buried. It is only concerned that there is something to be put away forever. Unbelief is so insolent it is determined to bury every vestige of hope and scars the carrier with a permanent stoop and a mindless bent.

Selfishness can do nothing for anyone. Indeed it is so selfish it cannot do anything for itself. It needs others to do everything. But the pain of the selfish one is not in the little it has but in the abundance of what it does not have. It is pained by the fact that there are so many things it cannot have because it will not share with any.

Entitlement sits and waits. Sits and waits for those who have to provide for it. Its scar is on its backside. Mainly from sitting too long in the expectation that someone else is supposed to provide all it needs for its existence. The scar of the lazy is obvious; There is nothing to show for its efforts. The lazy has a public scar; the scar they leave on the environment of what they could have done and the scar they leave because they could not be moved. The lazy has no love of life and wonders what there is in life to love.

The scar of hate it is the most compulsive and convoluting of all. Its passion drives the one with the scar tissue to rebel against others. It does not need reason in fact the absence of any reason is perfect reason to hate all the more. Those who carry this scar make it their duty to infect everyone else with the spirit of jealousy, envy and arrogance. However, while the effects of this scar are external it originates from within. The scar is not on the skin, but in the heart. This makes it a deep and difficult scar to heal. Before you determine to carry these seven scars with you for life take time to consider the seven signs of a victorious life; joy, work, courage, sacrifice, giving, and the advancement and welfare of others. The sum of these is love.  

Allan Bukusi
Training Leaders

Sunday, May 7, 2017


It is not often that anyone gets to impact the next generation through the creation of structures that will guide the development of great minds into the future. I am privileged to write about this high point in my career as the Professional Trainers Association of Kenya (PTAK) sign an agreement with the Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM) that will simultaneously raise and regulate the standards of training delivered in workplaces all over Kenya - thus energizing the regional workforce for new and greater levels of productivity and prosperity.

It has been a personal journey since 2007 to have the Association registered (2009). And now, in 2017, I am privileged see the day when we open up the Training Profession, as a career that has served me so well for more than two decades, to thousands of talented young individuals, entrepreneurs, employees and employers across Kenya and the region through the Certified Professional Trainer (CPT) qualification.

I want to personally thank my colleagues at PTAK who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this new future a reality. And, express my deep gratitude to my far sighted professional colleagues at IHRM (Executive Director, Dorcas Wainaina- pictured) who have shown selfless and visionary leadership to ensure that the legacy of an empowered national human resource lives on and grows stronger beyond this generation. This is one of my proudest moments. 

Allan Bukusi
Chairman, Professional Trainers Association of Kenya.
May 2017