Our Thoughts in 2012

Success at work: What did participants think of it?

Posted by David Manyanza on Dec 13 2012

Recently we advertised and held a two-day training on Enhancing Personal Success Through Employment in Arusha from 29-30 November 2012. The training was aimed at enabling each participant to:

  • Perform more effectively by focusing on results;
  • Pro-actively manage oneself to achieve results;
  • Utilize employment for personal growth and success.

So, what did participants think of it?

  • 100% rated the training as very useful;
  • 100% said they would recommend the training to other staff members in their organizations;
  • 100% said they would be very interested in another training from Development Solutions Consultancy.
Continue reading...

Do employees understand OPRAS?

Posted by David Manyanza on Dec 12 2012

Despite its introduction in Tanzanian public organizations about two decades ago, the Open Performance Review and Appraisal System (OPRAS) has not fully taken off the ground. In an earlier post, "Is performance appraisal working in Tanzanian public organizations?", I mentioned the systemic pre-requisites for the effective implementation of OPRAS. There are non-systemic issues that are also proving important. It is becoming increasingly clear that Management and employee training is an important component of effective OPRAS implementation.

Based on information we collected from a wide range of public organizations, in the course of working with them, it has emerged that both Management and employees have inadequate understanding of and how to implement open and objective employee performance appraisal systems (see my earlier post). To enhance implementation, DSC has embarked on OPRAS training.

So far, training feedback from two parastatal organizations involving a total of 101 participants indicates that training can enhance implementation of OPRAS in Tanzanian public organizations. Continue reading...

A few lessons from Good to Great Companies part 1

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Nov 8 2012

Jim Collins wrote a phenomenal book titled "Good to Great". He and his team did a very extensive research to find out what made companies move from just being good to becoming leading world class authorities in their respective fields. I think we can learn a great deal from his findings and add more value in both personal and professional lives. Below are the lessons and insights we can all utilize and benefit from:

  • Good to Great leaders focused on acquiring people who had more attitudinal qualities than specialized knowledge. Their initial focus was creating a culture of discipline. They believed that by having the right disciplined people, you then don't need hierarchy, bureaucracy or mechanisms for excessive controlling. This makes a lot of sense since a lot of research on success, points out that your attitude determines how high you make your mark in life. You can explore more on this amazing topic of attitude by taking a look at an older post titled Importance of Attitude.
  • The research points out that the leaders here had unwavering resolve; they had such a strong determination to do whatever it took to make the company great. Continue reading...

Join our latest training session: Success at work

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Nov 2 2012
  • What is it? Enhancing Personal Success through Employment
  • Where? Equator Hotel, Arusha, Tanzania
  • When? 29th & 30th November 2012
  • Daily start and end times? 9:00AM to 4:30PM (with breaks in-between)

Would you like to achieve great results in your organization?

It is obvious that improving organizational performance depends upon improving the performance of employees. However, improving employee performance continues to elude the employee and the employer alike.

Breaking the vicious circle requires not only the possession of technical skills but also the ability of employees to navigate to performance excellence regardless of any hurdles. Understanding how to apply the principles of intrinsic motivation and how to work smartly and strategically can ensure employees focus on achieving results and personal success. Continue reading...

What are employee views about performance appraisal?

Posted by David Manyanza on Oct 26 2012

Ever since the Government of Tanzania introduced the open performance review and appraisal system (OPRAS) nearly two decades ago, implementation has fallen short of expectations.

Rate of implementation by public organizations has been extremely slow, and where there have been attempts to implement the system, implementation has been poor. There is no single government institution that can stand out as having implemented OPRAS successfully. Why is this? What are employees themselves saying about OPRAS implementation?

In the course of working with various public organizations, we have interviewed a large number of employees and Management in an attempt to find out what they perceive as constraints of implementing OPRAS. They pointed out the following issues constraining OPRAS implementation:

  • OPRAS is based on ability to measure outputs yet it is not easy to measure outputs. Some work cannot be measured.
  • OPRAS is too time consuming to implement.
  • Government did not stress its implementation.
  • Management not supportive.
  • There is pervasive culture of working by tradition.
  • OPRAS is not well understood.
  • Management lack expertise on OPRAS. Continue reading...

The importance of setting the right organizational objectives

Posted by David Manyanza on Oct 3 2012

Too often organizational objectives are incorrectly set in too many strategic plans. It is all too common to see organizational objectives set as achievement of processes. It is not unusual to encounter objectives such as a “certain Policy Developed”, “Production Improved”, or “Staff Training Implemented” to the extent that it is pertinent and important to ask the questions: What are organizational objectives? How can they be set?

Obviously, objectives can be set for different purposes but at the level of an organization objectives must be statements of the level or quantity of results that must be achieved by an organization in a particular period and which address the needs of the beneficiaries of the services provided by the organization. Beneficiaries of services are otherwise called customers. Results must, therefore, be a certain level of service to be delivered to customers in a particular period. As such organizational objectives are not only outward looking in nature but are also achievements that benefit people outside the organization. Continue reading...

Living the uncommon life

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Sep 13 2012

It’s quite interesting when you think about it that 97% of the world population controls about 3% of the wealth. It’s sad but most of our university educational systems set us up to compete for 3% of the wealth. The rich 3% live on a philosophy that says, “Observe the masses and do the opposite.” In other words successful people don’t follow the crowd; they tend to question what’s common and mostly do just the opposite. They tend to do what’s uncommon and therefore also live an uncommon life.

Uncommon people understand that trying harder isn’t necessarily a solution to achieving more. It may not offer any real promise for getting what you want out of life. In fact, sometimes, it’s a big part of the problem. They believe it’s more worthwhile spending more time developing your strengths rather than spending more time improving your weaknesses. We all have weaknesses but uncommon people tend to manage their weaknesses, and then continually develop and master what they are good at. They believe that you cannot be anything you want to be, but you can be a lot more of who you already are. Continue reading...

Succession planning in public organizations

Posted by David Manyanza on Aug 13 2012

In the recent years succession planning has become a topical issue in the circles of public organizations in Tanzania. It is a result of unprecedented large numbers of employees retiring at about the same time without proper planning for their replacement. Not only was the need to employ new staff created but also a seniority gap. The gap between the level of existing staff and the seniority of job positions falling vacant was big. This has called for urgent measures to upgrade skills of employees and to ensure public organizations develop succession plans.

As is always the case, for every problem there is an opportunity. The opportunity created by the need for succession planning should be utilized not only to recruit staff but also to improve management and leadership systems. Improved management and leadership systems would ensure maintaining optimal organizational staffing and availability of conducive work environment for employees to give their best performance. Achieving this depends on the extent succession planning is properly conducted because succession planning is not about planning per se. It is about developing effective management and leadership systems. Continue reading...

Focus accelerates results

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Jul 30 2012

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” - Henry David Thoreau

One common trait among many successful people from different walks of life is focus. Focus is when clarity, concentration, and action converge to make a specific result in the present. Our ability to consistently focus on the right targets, keeps us in the direction of our vision. Therefore, whatever you want out of life comes down to your ability to focus. Your ability to focus actually aids you in overcoming challenges faster than you can imagine.

If you want certain results badly enough, you have the power to make them happen, no matter what other people say and no matter how tough the odds appear to be at first. The path towards great accomplishment, demands that you do certain things even if you don’t like them. Successful people maintain their focus and do the things they have to do because they know the end result is worth the price. Continue reading...

Promoted to nothing

Posted by David Manyanza on Jul 18 2012

I have heard it many times during my sessions of working with employees in public organizations. They cynically say that they also want to be promoted so that they can do nothing but earn more money. They contend that their bosses get them to do everything while they sit down and read newspapers. To them, to become a “boss” which means manager or supervisor is to do nothing and get paid more. Such argument sometimes implies that anybody can be a “boss” because a “boss” simply “delegates” everything to their juniors so that they can chat with visitors, friends, make telephone calls and attend meetings. Of course everybody knows that this should not, theoretically, be true but how does this contention come about? Are the junior employees trying to say something but no one is listening? How could such a situation have developed?

On the surface this looks like a ridiculous argument because, after all, every one has a job description. To argue that someone could be doing nothing while everyone has a job description seems to be far fetched. However, a closer examination of the work environment suggests that the statement from junior employees could bear some truth. Experience shows that in many cases job descriptions are so brief and broad that it requires highly experienced people to translate them into actionable duties and tasks. Continue reading...