BOOK REVIEW: HOW TO GET EXTRAORDINARY THINGS DONE IN ORGANIZATIONS

Authored by James. M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner | Reviewed by Rick Okinda

The two finest teachers of business are named trial and error. These are attributes that summarizes the person and attitude of a leader in the workplace. These leaders according to Kouzes and Posner are always out and about to get extraordinary things done. They shake up organizations that they lead periodically to infuse fresh ideas in them.

Kouzes and Posner came up with ten commitments that leaders must live to. First, a leader searches for opportunities, secondly he/she experiments and takes risks. These first two commandment require that a leader must challenge the process. Thirdly, a leader must envision the future and fourth he/she must enlist others. This way, the leader will be inspiring a vision. Leaders also need to enable others to act by fifthly, foster collaboration and sixth, strengthen others. The seventh commandment requires a leader to set the example and eighth, to plan small wins as a strategy of modeling the way. Ninth, leaders need to recognize individual contribution and tenth, to celebrate accomplishments. These last two commandments summarizes a leader as one who encourages the heart.

It takes superior leaders to get extraordinary things done. These leaders according to Kouzes and Posner must possess the following twenty characteristics; honesty, competence, forward looking, inspiring, intelligent, fair-minded, broadminded, straight forward,. Imaginative, dependable, supportive, courageous, caring, cooperative, mature, ambitious, determined, self-controlled, loyal and independent. This book not only helps you learn to be a good leader but also to observe good leadership in others and to enjoy following leaders that get you to do extraordinary things. Kouzes and Posner have used this book to uniquely remind us how much we need leaders with enthusiasm, with a bounce in their step and with a can-do attitude.

Rick Okinda | IGBR Editor

rickokinda@gmail.com

WEBINAR REVIEW: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOR SME’s

Published on YouTube by KCB Bank Group on September 29, 2020. | Reviewed by Rick Okinda

This KCB Bank Group Biashara Club webinar challenges people to apply human emotional intelligence to their business. It summarized business leadership as an ability of one to sacrifice for his business. It looked at business leadership as emanating from knowing your business. To know your business, you need to master four critical clusters of emotional intelligence, that is; self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. These four build up to business development just as they contribute to self-development.

The webinar also posed a challenge to business leaders on controlling oneself. It recommended that entrepreneurs should control themselves just as they control their business. This should be done in all aspects beginning from customers, finances, processes and people. In conclusion, emotional intelligence was identified as a tool that small and medium sized entreprises can use to get more orders from existing customers and new orders form new clients.

Rick Okinda | IGBR Editor

rickokinda@gmail.com

WHY INDUSTRY TYCOONS INFLUENCE POLITICS

Trickle-down economic structure is an old song in the playbook first proposed by Reagan in 1980s.  This is where the government grants tax cuts to the wealthy to stimulate investments which in turn creates employment. In my opinion, this approach is derogative in its form as it allocates wealth to a handful and makes employees dependent on government and a few fortunate corporations to earn and pay their debts. This economic structure thrives where captains of industries influence legislation and governance. It is the perfectly explains why industry tycoons influence politics.

Regimes such as that of former American president Donald Trump created an enabling environment for the rich to participate more in making a nation’s wealth by taxing them a little less. This, which is otherwise referred to as horse and sparrow theory suffocates middle and small players in a country such as Kenya who’s dominant population is the middle class. This middle and majority class drive and sustain the whole economy. When it is left out in a trickle-down economic structure it may result into huge poverty gaps and limit economic democracy.

Attempts to allocate money to the poor may prove futile as we cannot really predict what someone can do with their money. Who thought it was a good idea to give the rich a tax break assuming they will put the money back to their business? The rich may not reinvest the cash back to the business and may opt to hold it in their bank accounts. This will make it easier for banks to offer loans to startup businesses at lower interest rates which in turn indirectly stimulates investments among the middle-class.  The rich consume less and save more as opposed to the middle class. Ultimately money lands in the hands of the rich.

No government can control all the variables of a free market. If the government focuses on eliminating corruption among the rich at the top of a trickle-down hierarchy and create an enabling business environment, everyone benefits albeit measure.  If the government tries to control market dynamics all are worse off. Until we accept this, we will be erroneously stuck assuming we can manage an economic outcome that will only lead to failure.

Daisy Tum | Columnist, IGBR

daisytum7991@gmail.com

HABITS THAT MADE A CONSUMATE BUSINESSMAN

The passing of Dr. Christopher Joseph. Kirubi in June, 2021 ceased a moment for all industrialists to reflect on the habits that made a corporate bigwig. I have taken some time to analyze the demeanor and person in the late Chris Kirubi with the particular objective of highlighting what made him different and successful in building a business empire of his size. Through testimonies shared by some of his family members, friends and employees in memory of their time with him, I have learnt that Chris was truly larger than life. He was a man of style, class and influence. Dr. Christopher Kirubi never compromised his standards especially in grooming, driving and dinning. The polo and golf enthusiast also loved to brag about his businesses. He did all these with one single objective, to attract value.

Chris invested in value creation and value attraction. These he did perfectly by risking his money while banking on his reputation. He knew the boardroom language and negotiated skillfully with other multinationals, governments and high-net-worth individuals who possessed the value that he wanted to attract. He also attracted people to work for him, by creating employment opportunities and by leading them appropriately. Dr. Christopher J. Kirubi invested in almost all sectors, travelled to leading cities, associated with men of caliber and pulled his own sit on the national dinner table where power is designed and negotiated. He groomed his two children, Robert and Maryanne, to take after him the control, management and ownership of his businesses, a strategy to make his empire last for more than a lifetime.

He had enough controversies, but from his success we can borrow a thing or two in creating stronger businesses. Foremost is negotiation. In business one must learn to negotiate, this is the power that gives you way to networks and value. Second is the law of attraction which works well when you coordinate your strengths to your favour. Finally, Appreciate. Dr. Kirubi wanted to be appreciated just as he appreciated others. This final law could have made him a contradiction in many ways; a capitalist who truly created jobs, donated generously and paid huge taxes. The legacy of Chris Kirubi shall live on.

Rick Okinda | IGBR Editor

rickokinda@gmail.com

FIGHTING BIG BUSINESS THROUGH POLICY AND TECH

With technological advancements in the 21st century, the market has been described as ‘explosive’ in nature. Small businesses are taking advantage of their ability to cause disruption, have independence of action, and be increasingly diversified to become big corporations, and in some instances, control the market space. These aspects allow them to exercise a given degree of advantage over other market players, which they leverage over time. However, this is not necessarily true. The quest to become more prominent, better, and faster in the field has resulted in occasional economic bubbles that bring about anxiety in any market. This increases the probability that corporations can move from positions of muscle to vulnerability and faintness. The question is, how does this happen?

Concern on market dominance in any sector has grown over the years, with some big corporations termed monopolies.  This situation is due to control over the prices, production, supply, and distribution of more than one-half of the total goods of any description, all to stifle competition. The competition regulator in such markets establishes regulations to limit such power by capping the percentage mark for market share. This move is unpopular since it restricts the ability to innovate for fear of being declared dominant.

Consumers have not been left behind in shying away from markets that are controlled predominantly by big businesses. The general feeling is that their ability to choose is constrained by the market behavior to only favor one business entity on aspects such as quality and quantity of commodities. Consequently, they tend to react against the market leaders by turning away from what they offer, thus creating room for new entries in the market.

The political environment has not been any kinder to big businesses as each election year; they become a punching bag for political outfits who believe that they are ruining the moral fabric of the society. Calls to hold corporate leaders accountable for wrongdoing to concern about the corrosive influence of corporate money in the politics of culture have stained the ability of big businesses to become more prominent, with most legislation targeting their expansion capability.

The quest to become more prominent is no longer feasible. Corporations should angle their strategies towards becoming better in aspects such as serving customers and attracting investments. Focusing more resources on future opportunities rather than preserving past successes creates the cutting edge for small businesses to become big and remain relevant in a world that is hungry for new.

Paul Oreje | Columnist, IGBR. pauloreje@gmail.com