The Anatomy of Leadership

Anatomy1Leadership is a big word; it feels strangely weighty – probably why it’s easily misunderstood. However, it’s essential to life. The leadership guru, John C. Maxwell, said that, “everything rises and falls on leadership” – and in this case, everything means everything.

After years of studying leaders, I’ve demystified and articulated the anatomy of leadership and this is it: every leader is made up of three major parts – The Good, The Bad, The Crazy. I’ll breakdown each part in this series.

The Good is the leader’s strengths. This aspect of the leader’s essence adds value to others – folks enjoy this part. Here delivery is effortless because the leader is gifted or has developed in an area. Leaders display their strengths with pride. Also, it’s a tool for integrity.

For instance: Sir Richard Branson is great at entrepreneurship or the U.S. President, Barack Obama, is an amazing orator. These are areas of strength.

Many leadership books encourage people to focus only on their strengths. Sounds like good advice, but I don’t agree. That’s just one part. How about the bad and the crazy?

Advertisements

What the Global Entrepreneurship Summit Means for Africa

Creative-Growth-800x542The financial analyst, Aly Khan Satchu, said that, “Kenya, and Nairobi in particular, is globally fluent, has 21st century connectivity and an impressive pool of human capital.” He’s right.

Previously, those words would describe a western city – but not anymore. He’s talking about Nairobi – a vibrant city in Africa – and that’s the new Africa. Nations like Kenya are a sample of the emerging trend on the continent.

Johnnie Carson and Mark Bellany, both former United States ambassadors to Kenya confirm that, “Kenya’s fast growing economy is based on a dynamic private sector, a diversified services sector and high education levels.”

What does this mean?

It means that after years of poverty, corruption, trial-and-error, African nations are finally finding blueprints that actually work and the results are evident.

Furthermore, just like the wild-fire of independence in the 1960s, this fire is going to spread. Nation after nation will eventually find what works despite their peculiar challenges.

The Global Entrepreneurial Summit is simply an official announcement to the world that Africa is ready to trade in ideas. The 21st century will experience an Africa that’s poised to do global business at any level.

Why African Entrepreneurs Must Get It Right

WhyAfricaEntrepreneurship is a hot topic globally – and Africa is part of the action. That’s why the 6th Global Economic Summit (GES) in Kenya has the U.S. President, Barack Obama, involved. That said. What’s the role of the average African entrepreneur in all these?

One role is to: do good business that builds the community.

On the policy level, we expect key positive changes in the business environment due to the GES. But ultimately, the entrepreneur has to have the skill, scope and attitude required to maximize the benefits of policy.

In Africa, entrepreneurship has to go beyond money making because for Africans, the stakes are high. Now, doing business is about development, building prosperous communities and actually moving the continent forward!

The entrepreneur must realize that Africa’s socio-political and economic advancement depends on her business activities.

For too long, poverty, disease and wars have defined the African landscape – but that is changing. Young entrepreneurs in Africa must recognize this rare opportunity to rewrite the continent’s history and take full advantage of it.

In Africa, business is a development tool – and considering our history, we have to do it differently.

GES: Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya

GESNairobi is my city – and this week, the feverish excitement is palpable. Walking through the city center, you would see the distinct change in the atmosphere, unlike other days. Traffic is insane, even the media is going wild. It’s crazy!

Why? Two things!

First, the U.S. President, Barack Obama, is coming home. Here, it’s a big deal. So yes, the U.S. Security Services are taking no chances. They are everywhere. This week, I suspect that Nairobi will be the most secure spot on the planet.

Second, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) is taking place in the East African hub. From the 24th-26th, innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders will be playing in my city. The excitement is fun. I’m enjoying it.

However, when the dust settles and the hype ends and President Obama goes home with his crew – what does it all mean?

I’ll enjoy the party, by all means. But after the party, I’ll roll up my sleeves and get to work because history has proven that hype alone is unsustainable. When the rubber meets the road, only those who are truly prepared enjoy the goods. For now, let’s have fun!

Don’t be fooled, Entrepreneurship isn’t Personality

abex_img1The prevailing notion of the entrepreneur is the go-getter, fast-talking, outgoing, people-person who shrewdly cuts deals. This person is usually an extrovert, hardly an introvert. For many, they’re unable to describe the art of entrepreneurship beyond this personality trait.

This is a costly misconception.

At the core of entrepreneurship are principles and policies that will help anyone build business systems. I repeat: anyone – quiet, loud, calm, or in-between personality – anyone.

Fortunately, we have enough proof in the corporate world to confirm that successful entrepreneurs come in every personality trait imaginable. They all thrive because each one, personality irrespective, found the principles that make business work.

Every pilot knows that they have to comply with the laws of aerodynamics to enable them fly. Likewise, entrepreneurs have to adhere to the principles of entrepreneurship and the laws of money in order to succeed.

The principles make the professional. That’s the real deal, not personality. No doubt, it helps to have certain personal qualities to help you; however, professional endeavors are built on laws and principles.

As you refine your personality, find the laws that govern entrepreneurship, apply them and success won’t discriminate.

How to Reinvent Yourself

hambourg-1948Uniqueness means that there are new aspects of you waiting to be explored. It is the possibility of getting better, being more and becoming someone new. That’s our design. We have that gift.

Some of us explore further than others. But we all have the same chance – we’ve all been given the ability to evolve.

That said. How do you reinvent yourself? Here are a few tips:

  • Acknowledge Changes

As humans, we change in order to survive, stay relevant and thrive. This starts with recognizing the changes in your environment and being willing to adjust accordingly. Those who fail to adjust become irrelevant.

  • Unlearn: Give it Up

The root of reinvention lies in the adjusting or replacement of habits and thought-patterns. This is the tough part. It starts by consciously engaging the process of discarding thoughts and behavior that work against your goals.

  • Relearn: Acquire New Habits

In this process, old thought-patterns and behavior have to be replaced by new ones. For instance, if you decide to reinvent your body, you may have to give up junk food and replace the habit with healthy eating – and an exercise routine.

Good luck!

The Power of NO

ftch_newmuseum2808In my teens, my mum would tell me that: “too much of anything is bad – even the good stuff.” Then, I didn’t believe her; I wanted everything and didn’t care about measure.

Now, her advice comes to mind when I think about the flow of information in the 21st century. These days, we have so much information coming at us daily – so that what’s actually a good thing sometimes feels like a siege. Every day, we grapple on various devices and media, trying to keep up. It’s tough!

Suddenly, we barely have much time because each message or piece of information demands our response. Consequently, our attention is constantly pulled in many different directions.

In order to be an effective human being (not entrepreneur, leader, etc – just a sane person), you’ve got to engage the amazing time management tool of: NO. Every successful person that I know uses this tool masterfully – and joyfully.

It’s an old trick, but it works. I can’t be at every meeting, party, conference or social event; I’m not cut out for every opportunity. Hence, NO is my favorite work tool; I love it!