Njuki Moments

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

fall seven times,get up eight

My friend,who we shall call Geraldine, lost her job two weeks ago.She has been working in a fairly specialized industry and she had to train all of seven years before she could get her first qualification. Now that she has been laid off,not many other employers will be very eager to pick her up,since her experience and training are not relevant at all to their industries. I could appreciate her feelings,but what is done is done and a new life awaits.

When we had this talk,she was inconsolable(still ,I understand),but my intention was not to pass on consolation. I told her that all we could do is acknowledge the situation as it and start planning for the future.

The truth is,not many of us are where we would have wanted to be...and a lot of us blame this on something,or someone,that boss who fired you,your parents who forced you to study a particular course that you did not like.There is a lot to blame. You want to go on? Be my guest: The economy,the dollar rate or even the fact that you were born Ugandan and not Russian,for example. Every motivational speaker will tell you that you are what you think you are...and that you cannot go where your mind has not been. Very true. It is during moments like these that we need our positive attitude the most.Give your mind free will to take you places.You will be surprised what you come up with.

But not many of us will make sense of these facts.We will be inspired for a while,go home with a happy face,but reality sets in by morning and we are back to where we were,jobless and sometimes hungry. I suspect the reason I was told this is so I can get my friend a job,isn't that what friends are for.But she didn't say.But even if she had,I doubt I would have been useful in that aspect. You see,a positive attitude and no money or skills will always beat a poor attitude and skills;throw is some experience too,if you like.

Ask how many entrepreneurs shave had to start all over again when their lifetime empires come crashing.They lose much more than just money.Its a lifelong dream. But the only way is to cry a little,pick your self up and start building again. That is what termites do too every time someone crushes the anthill.(But to be honest I don't know if they cry).But they build,sometimes from scratch yet again. Sometimes they change location,and start again. Having lost a business once,my biggest lesson then was to perhaps start all over from a totally new environment.

I know people who have re-invented themselves several times and tried out something new every time what they were doing failed. A lawyer turned dee jay, dentist turned comedian and they have succeeded at their new vocations.They did not whine about their many years of training and preparation for the legal and medical fields respectively.

So,I say here,what I said to Geraldine then.Take time off for the shock and anger to wear off and resume living.It is going to be a little hard,but it doable.Since you received specialized training,do you think you could even star ton your own.Serve the under-served clients in that field! You could even forget education for a while.Imagine if you had not gone to school,how would you have done in such a situation! Start there.So,whether your set back is a job you have lost(and there a few given these tough economic times) or a business that has failed,your best life is ahead of you,go a head and claim it. That is why the Japanese say,fall seven times,get up eight.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Baby,do I look fat in this?

..and with that inquisition,the sanity of full nations is put at stake. You see,intelligent people tell us that a family is the core unit of every nation.Destroy it and an entire nation is going down.The assumption of course is,that by the time such a question is posed,you are in a family setting,even if it's just the two of you,or maybe just one of you has intentions, however far fetched.That is why this is an important question,and its answer must be offered with the weight it deserves.

If you are wise,and I assume you are,other wise you would not be reading this,don't answer.Exercise your constitutional right to remain silent.This serves you in two ways;one you avoid the avalanche that comes your way if you answer correctly and two,you keep in her good books when you don't have an answer.That prevents you from giving the right answer and hence being swept away by aforesaid avalanche..in today's speak;tsunami.

But let us assume you waive your right,and answer,metaphorically speaking,what are your options?
1. You could say 'Yes dear.You look fat.'
2.'Oh my Gawd.Is that you! You look amazing!'
2(a) i. 'No way.How could you even consider that.Of course you are (not fat).'

But like I said,answering in itself is foolhardy.You see,my friend,ladies who ask such questions are hard to understand. They may require different answers for the same questions from different people. If you are her bosom buddy and you are used to being honest to each other,give it to her the way it is. "Yes,dear,you look fat"...or "No my dear,what got into you,you are thinn"(with double n).Then she will smile and thank you for your friendship.
But if you are either man,husband,boyfriend,or even a one-night -stand your chances lie in psychology.Find out whether lady-in -question,,is really fat but is in denial.You answer is No.2 above.
If she is really fat ind she wants to lose weight or even seriously is looking for a fashion opinion,you must have guessed that your answer is no.1.Say it with a sweet smile and a caress to her(likely to be )fat arm. No guarantees though.

Or perhaps she is really thin,or to be politically correct,'not fat',but wants to know whether bananas recently eaten have been transformed into ass,I trust you are wise enough to choose your response wisely. Even I have no answer.Go with your gut.

Or,make up something.Force your phone to ring at that time. Pray a bee stings you that particular moment. Anything.
Because if you ever answer not rightly.... That will be the last answer yo are ever allowed to give in a long time,and I hope ou don't frget you would have put an entire nation's behind on a sigiri.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

hell on heels

The next time you feel a particular employee is not giving their best, invite them to the board room, draw the blinds, set up a big projector and slot in the movie The Devil Wears Prada.

You see, in the employment world, we don't always go where we love, sometimes we take jobs ranked Z on our list(A-Z in line of most and least desirable)but as long as it pays the rent, why not! We even fantasize we may grow to like the job. That is how life is. And since most employers have been employees before (entrepreneurs inclusive) it should not be hard for you to realize someone is just growing older on your premises and getting away with doing as little work as they possibly can. Hence the movie.

I only mean to use the movie as a motivational tool, so take it as such. I know there in are some romance scenes; we shall ignore them this time.
Let your choice employee sit close enough in order not to miss the dialogue, especially between Andrea (employee) and Miranda (boss). A lot of employees miss to understand that their employers have needs too, like getting as much work done with as little resources as possible. That they also watch the bottom line, so you can have your rent money at the end of the month. But because it is none of your business, you reason, you may instead put forward the fact that after all you did not want the job that much, you are only here till your favorite job comes along.

It is the responsibly of he entrepreneur/team leader to use whatever resource they have to the maximum, this includes employees however sick- in -attitude they may be or unwilling to be useful. Just like Andrea, they may actually despise your type of work, or the company where they have come. That is not your concern either. Now that they are here, work must go on. If you have tried all types of positive enforcement and you have failed, let them ‘act’ the movie only as a last resort. Role play is good for the memory, ask the army. (Why did you think they were watching it in the first place? For entertainment?)
Pushing an employee too hard with almost impossible assignments gets you to know who to keep and who lose. People react differently under pressure (including work pressure) but they are unlikely to react with afterthought. You get to see who they really are at the core. At this point, you could even role play a little, like getting them to secure you a flight to South Sudan Independence celebrations a few hours before the National anthem. It seems very hard, but it is not impossible. By the end of the assignment you will know who exactly you are dealing with. Just how hard can they go if pushed!

You may also be surprised to know that the reason, said employee is sitting on his laurels is just because there was no reason to do better. They may even do impossibly well to get you off their back. But at least you will have learned two important lessons, how does their attitude pan out and just how hard can you push them to deliver. You may be surprised you have an achiever in your hither to celebrated office slob.

I admit, this is a really cruel way of find talent and un developed potential, but life is lived in raw form and people, like clay, are raw material to achieve better and grander creations.

By the end of the movie, you employee would have realized that there are people out there who perform under pressure, even unwillingly, and they have supporters. But they would also have realized that they have to make a choice, either to adapt or to move out (after a few sessions of crying their lungs out and calling you some un mentionable names of course).

Lesson to them, like Andrea be even more surprising.They can actually do better than they ever thought (like when she gets the unpublished manuscript for Miranda's twins, surprising even the boss herself).More importantly, they will have known that life is full of choices, and every single moment we choose what we want. If they leave, you have one less headache; if they stay, you have just polished up a new diamond formerly in the rough, and they will owe you for along time.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

when it is time to write your business proposal

Forget the time you wrote letters at school (nodding to this may lead to actual revelation of your age, beware), with technological advancement, there are fewer and fewer times when you really must communicate formally, either in writing or in typing (is there is such a thing).

You realize we put our points and opinions across without need for formality both in thought or expression. A status update will suffice, just like a text message could be all the update you need to your banker, employer or employee. Not so with investors. If I have found a crop of old fashioned Club members, everyone investment related seems to belong here. With reason.

On the other hand, people who branch out into entrepreneurship are rarely your average guy or girl on the block. Some of these people border on creepy. A lot of them are talented. They don't just think out of the box, they don't know of any boxes. Ideas flow effortlessly and they seem to have a crazy out-of-this word way of seeing and doing things.

The meeting of Investors and entrepreneurs therefore, is one you want to experience. It is talent meeting money. You, my entrepreneur friend may need to prepare well. The best acceptable presentation of all time is the business proposal. That is why I referred you to your old letter writing ways. It is one thing having a great idea, it is a totally another league presenting that idea for funding. You need to know what you are doing.

You could argue that if the idea is yours and you are running without any outside funding, you have no need to write the business plan after all. Wrong. As you grow, you will attract more people, be they employees or partners. Your head alone will therefore be insufficient as safe custody for company ideas and solutions. You need to put them where they can be seen, read and filed.
Reasons why:
A lot of us will only find reason to write a business plan, at the start of our business and we seem to think we shall never need one again. Wrong, again. A business plan is a working document one that should have life and therefore should grow with your business.
Most of the people associated with business plans or proposals are social entrepreneurs. If you belong here (in the civil society world), read on because most of resources (financial mostly) are outsourced, you need to be able to write a flawless business proposal and since the end of the need to do good is not anywhere in sight, this is a skill that will serve you well in life.

You could also be a business person, working for profit, and for bankers and investor and partners to join you in the venture, they will need a plan or proposal.

Most importantly, it is when you grow bigger that you need this even more, you may want to invest in another country or be accorded investment privileges that come with big investors even in home countries. You will therefore need an Investment license and before that an investment or business plan. Several billions later, when you need to raise more resources or take a company public be sure number one requirement will be our friend the business plan. How else will people invest with you if they don't know how you do what you do!

The format:
I regret, we may not be able to go through everything about writing a business plan here, but I will give you what you need to start with.

Whether research means asking questions or scouring the internet, do it. Get information about your potential partners, what they want and what the don’t. You may also need to learn all about where you do business, like who else is in the game with you and how good or bad they are. You may not have needed to know this before, but someone will definitely ask, so be sure to have an answer.
In line with that, ask you everything there is about your business .
Why, well, exactly why are you doing business and why this next step?
How? Telling how you intend to run business.
When, for timelines.
Who, for everyone on your team, now and in the future, and be sure to answer all these till there are no more questions.
The budget, for materials. People who may need to be paid; time that may cost, say foreign exchange changes and inflation, other material.
In a nutshell the cost implication of each and every activity that will be undertaken in your plan.

Note, at this point, that if you are the kind who had high school letters written for you, then you need to find someone here too. All I am saying is prepare well, even if you need to quire external help

Make the presentation of your life, both in writing an in person if you get the chance.

However, remember that if you are unable to present your case on paper in less than three pages, don’t be tempted to write more. Speaking or writing more does not always mean hitting the point. Sometimes less is more and these are some of those times. If someone is not interested or convinced enough in three pages of great presentation, you won’t do better in forty.