17 – 25 year olds have a chance to recommend the principles, indicators and success stories they want to see from the Government of Botswana’s participation at the United Nations. There is more to young people that risky behaviours, unemployment or skills shortage. Stand up and show that you can be a part of policy making, that the future is in your hands – this is proof that tomorrow’s leaders are present here and now.
For for more: http://www.prosuccessbw.org/#!post-2015-agenda/c1ysb
The essentials of Strategy in Business, Employees and the Workplace.
Business is not easy. There are many quotes I have read and the most resonant stated that you leave a 40 hour job for an 80 hour one. Having embarked on this journey in the beginning of 2014, I learned that whatever is planned can go out the window within a week. I would have never thought an emerging nation like Botswana would have similar circumstances to the likes of Malaysia or even the United States of America. Also, one would assume a start-up in the services sector would not have similar performance metrics as that of the Tech field. I would have thought with many initiatives such as the KickStart Programme, the Youth Development Fund and other state initiatives, this experience would make it easy for one to start a business. Unfortunately no one tells you about the rejection you face on a daily basis, never mind your own deliberations or the dismissals of older generations on your unconventional path of leaving formal employment. When the only response you get is Tirelo Sechaba, you realise that at times, the state does not have the capacity or that you might be too literate/employment material for a candidate to qualify for certain incubator programmes. For instance, a piggery requires a lot of investment, lengthy turnaround time and actual expertise, but it has been a main strategic point for multiple SME initiatives. This is questionable as even other regional states put more emphasis on food security (crop farming) because of the simplicity and often common knowledge surrounding maize/sorghum farming as a result of the nation having that culture. Now when in the context of a small population, undesirable geographic landscape for most kinds of farming – why is piggery seen as a viable economic driving business? How would it contribute significantly to the GDP without the adequate infrastructure? Is it a growth point that is emergent in the market or that is ideal for policy makers as it looks good on paper? This is the importance of understanding Business as a fundamental principle and not a replacement to formal employment. It as investment for future generations, a field of opportunities that have been tried and tested, as is the case with ICT products, Research think tanks, Creative hubs… Innovation is driven by previous successes (or even failures) to address the need of the customer – to to make money.
What would bring most to thinking about starting a business? Other business ventures of course. The likes of Percy Raditladi (Botswana), Mark Shuttleworth (South Africa) and Ashish Thakkar (Uganda) are a few who have embarked on the journey of entrepreneurship and become successes in their home countries. I purposely chose these as they model those in industrialised nations, minimal political involvement and sheer boldness to conquer their dreams. The ability to take note of opportunity and be bold enough to tackle it is rare in the context of Africa, or rather not well documented. Even with established businesses, you find the innovation that started the company is swapped with caution and controls. This result of this swap is noted with Nokia’s decline from market domination with the rise of the smartphone, or Kodak’s fall with the rise of the digital age. I am glad to learn that entrepreneurship is to be included in primary school curriculum, maybe this could also signal that the nation is no longer seen as just potential workforce (as noted in Vision 2016), but also as a brewing ground for future global leaders.
I have observed that innovation is driven by belief, that even when you are not certain of where the market is heading or the direction in which your business is going, belief is the one element that keeps you going. Thomas Edison would have not gone beyond the 10000th failure before discovering one of the greatest inventions, the light bulb. Whichever way you look at it, in the context of starting a business or being an employee, belief in yourself as a future leader can guarantee sustainability through your actions, a better offer for employment, actual career planning with your leader and actual support for that plan.
The essentials of Strategy in Business, Employees and the Workplace.
I used to day dream whilst in boarding school. Seeing myself as a young varsity lad enjoying the kind of life only varsity kids enjoy. Not that I knew the demands, pressures or challenges a university student goes through. I still tried having some picture of circumstances better than where I was. This was the reality of adolescence, being a foreign national and surrounded by a mix of liberation struggle offspring and post-apartheid ‘born-frees’. This often led to my declining of certain peer pressures, as you see the result of nouveau riche spending on young children that don’t wonder what efforts it took for their parents to enable their purchasing power. This abstinence from the wrong kinds of high school fun was a direct result of seeing the hands of my father fight to ensure my provisions.
In my university years, I still yearned for something better. Looking for a purpose to define my life, there are many choices I made that any normal person would regret, but I learned that it is that introspection that would later define my character. The mistakes, friendships and life-changing encounters I went through truly encouraged my ability to look at the difference in my character over the years. Moving from a dumb boy to top ten in high school, then eventually having that pride knocked off with the dynamics of university – brought me to understand how life can change without realising it.
Little did I know that day dreaming would result in abstract thinking. That this quality is yearned for in today’s workplace; a skill that is only honed overtime and sparked by the naivety of youth. Little did I know that my MSc class would define this quality as Strategic Thinking.
Little did I know that Abstaining from certain teenage activities as a virtue of being different and limited, that this would instill a certain discipline in my work ethic. That I would understand what it means to prioritise even if I was not as skilled in doing so at university.
Little did I know that reflecting on my life and introspecting on the changes I underwent would result in understanding what it means to appraise a system, appraise myself or even a subordinate. These are the basic skills one would never learn in class. This is why I admire all great leaders who ask “What is your story? Who are you?”, because this is what truly determines the quality of personnel you retain.
You can have the most qualified of individuals under you – if they’re not driven, or have purpose for the work they do and kind of life they lead, what value can be derived from them? Great work is executed by great people and from what I have learned through observing some of the best entrepreneurial success stories; you can always hire skill, but never train character.
I have come to learn of how powerful an environment that is constantly challenging is. To learn of what is possible when you’re uncomfortable and against the odds. That is where real learning lies, where one can truly explore their talents and the gifts they don’t normally use when they’re comfortable.
I have seen the price of mistakes, the cost of failures and even that of disappointment. This does not mean I am not able to pick myself up from the pity/pain/misery and start the learning process again. We have had many examples in history teach us the art of leadership, perseverance and wisdom – but through all inspirational lives, there is a common aspect of kindness.
The kindness afforded by the opportunity to shine. The opportunity to truly explore and think out of the context you’re in. Not only does this benefit your development, but it brings value to any team dynamic. Where a different perspective lends challenge to the status quo, or redefines the way work has been executed. I have learned that being young and different, is the best asset one can have in this challenging world. Be it in the work place, in human rights issues, health factors and even at home. You live through the challenges of circumstance, grow through the strengths of opportunity and manage to change your surroundings because of who you are.
Take initiative, be bold and learn consistently. This is how I remind myself to be a success in all aspects of my life. It might not show or be any other individual’s measure – but the few who God puts in my path, certainly know the power of investing in “young & different”.