Our Thoughts in 2013

2 tips to propel yourself higher in employment

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Dec 11 2013

Whatever career path you embark on whether it be entrepreneurship, being a doctor, being a teacher or what have you; most people will engage in employment for a period of time in their lives. Although time spent in employment varies, most people spend the greatest part of their life in employment as they work to retirement. In this sense employment is one's business in which it is imperative to work strategically to ensure a rewarding work life. The fact, as I have mentioned in a previous post , is that employment is not just a place for one to get a paycheck but rather a platform that can and should be used to propel one to greater career advances and personal success.

Below are 2 tips to propel you higher in employment:

Tip #1: Keep improving your abilities.

In employment you are required to deliver certain results and you currently have a certain level of ability in delivering those results. When you improve your abilities by strategically gaining more key skills and working with the right attitude, the quality of your results will automatically improve. Continue reading...

Living a driven life

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Oct 22 2013

The concept behind living a driven life simply refers to living life more fully. Often people live lives of quiet desperation but living a driven life means living a life filled with enthusiasm, excitement and meaning. One of the risks of not living a driven life is that it drives people to live in state of weltschmerz whereby they dwell on what could be without implementing any of the necessary action steps.

Now assuming that you have both a clear purpose and goals that you are working towards, here are 3 ideas to jumpstart your life put it on the driven course:

  1. Focus on controlling you: The fact is you cannot control everything in life, but you can control yourself. Controlling yourself sets you up to living proactively rather than reactively and this enables you to live a much more meaningful life which ultimately makes you feel good about yourself. Now to succeed with self-control, you must do the one thing that has ever helped anyone design a different destiny: "consciously choose a new self-image and fight to bring it into existence by consistently aligning your thoughts and behaviors to it."
  2. Avoid the negatives: Your self-image plays a huge part when it comes to self-control. To therefore develop a strong self-image, it's important to better guard the information you consume. Continue reading...

Building an intentional organizational culture

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Sep 26 2013

Intentionally or not organizations develop their own culture. Every organization has a culture, the question is, “Was the culture intentional or unintentional?” Sadly and all too often the culture that emerges in many organizations is unintentional. The problem is that most unintentional cultures do not drive the organization forward towards better productivity and greater achievements.

Great organizational cultures are built on the premise of "creating experiences that make employees and customers feel valued and appreciated." Now let's take a look at three guidelines towards building a great culture.

  1. Vision - A clear vision of what you are doing is the starting point of a great culture. This is really the blueprint of what your organization intends to do. However, too many organizational visions remain mere statements on walls with hardly any meaning to the organization. True visions must be alive and evident within employees. It's important for a vision to be effectively communicated all throughout the organization because it acts as a guide for people's decisions and actions within the organization. A vision drives strategic management.
  2. Purpose - Purpose is the reason why you are doing what you are doing. It's imperative to let your people know why the vision matters. When people understand and embrace purpose, Continue reading...

3 Tips to achieving success in employment

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Aug 8 2013

For the most part, a lot of people often spend quite a huge percentage of their lives in employment. As you know, time is the most valuable commodity that, ironically, is available to every one. To the extent employment results into personal success depends on the way we look at employment and what we put into employment time both in terms of quality and quantity. We have the ability to control much of the success from employment. Here are a couple of tips that could help you change the way you look at employment and open the door to personal success through employment.

Tip # 1: Take personal responsibility

See your job as an important business that you own. In other words instead of simply coming to work every day, see yourself coming to your personal business that is focused on providing the highest value to its intended customers. This will drive you to think of better and more efficient ways to do your job. Taking personal responsibility therefore makes you realize what you have to do to improve your "personal business" in terms of investment, growth and customer satisfaction. Continue reading...

Personal mastery for success

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Jul 15 2013

Success is something we all would like to have and experience. Success is also different to many people but to sum it up in a definition, I like the way Earl Nightingale put it when he said, "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal." Now, in order to move in the direction of your worthy ideal, it's imperative for you to become the person that takes the necessary actions on a consistent basis. In other words, in order to have and experience the success you want, you have to first master yourself inside.

Personal Mastery is really the idea of becoming the person you need to become in order to have the success you so desire. To succeed in life you have to be growth conscious and not just simply goal conscious. If you focus on reaching your goals, you may hit them but that does not guarantee growth. On the other hand if you focus on the activities that stretch you and grow you to become a better you, you will then always hit your goals. Continue reading...

Are incorrect Strategic Objectives a waste of resources?

Posted by David Manyanza on Jun 18 2013

I wrote in my previous blog post that based on, though limited, data collected from strategic plans of public organizations, many strategic objectives are incorrectly formulated. If objectives do not properly focus organizational efforts on meeting customer needs or delivering the required service, then such strategic plans are less helpful in making organizations perform effectively and efficiently. But what does having incorrect objectives actually mean? Does it, for example, mean that organizations implementing such strategic plans are simply wasting resources?

Unfortunately, the answer is not as clear-cut as that. While incorrectly stated strategic objectives are a problem because they blur the focus of organizational efforts, the correct answer is that it may not be a total waste of resources. It does, nevertheless, constitute inefficient resources use resulting into considerable wastage. We have come across organizational objectives such as, "Staff capacity improved" or "Management systems improved." These are not objectives at organizational level; Continue reading...

Failing forward to success

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on May 30 2013

The concept of failing forward is based on the fact that, we all have to go through a learning curve where things don't really work out at first to get towards the success we want. Thomas Watson the founder of the IBM Corporation summed it up best when he said, "The key to success is massive failure." This may sound strange when you first hear it but the point is that, great lessons for advancement and meaningful accomplishments are hidden behind the failures we experience.

While some people may succeed with little failure, the majority accumulate success wisdom by learning from their failures, which propels them to success. With everything coming to our lives for a reason, there is an opportunity for learning every time we fail. Our perception of failure as defeat needs to change and become replaced with an understanding that, we cannot fail in life, we can only learn from our failure and grow. Understand that failure is a necessary process that we have to go through that opens up the opportunity for learning provided your vision is clear.

"The only way you can get ahead is to fail early, fail often, and fail forward."
John Maxwell, Leadership Expert & Author

Every dream that anyone has ever achieved, came as a result of dedication to a process. Continue reading...

How good are the Strategic Plans of public organizations?

Posted by David Manyanza on May 15 2013

As a result of public service reforms, strategic planning has become an essential feature of performance management in public organizations, in Tanzania, in the last couple of decades. Many organizations are now in their fourth and fifth generation of medium term strategic plans ranging in duration from three to five years with this duration having been recently standardised to five years. Since a strategic plan represents the sole organizational strategy on the basis of which an organization is not only funded but also its performance is measured, the importance of strategic plans cannot be overstated.

What makes strategic plans particularly important is not so much the strategy to be employed but rather the results to be achieved. Results form the focus of the entire organization as they represent the goals to be achieved in a medium term. Results drive and help to prioritize activities to be implemented thus optimizing resource use. A critical feature of results is that they are not found within the organization; they are found outside it where customers or service beneficiaries are. Although this is somewhat obvious, when it is considered that organizations are formed to address existing needs in society, this notion tends to elude many organizations when formulating strategic objectives.

A strategic plan is as good as its objectives, Continue reading...

Our mind & our results

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Apr 29 2013

For many of us, we have heard it said that our mind is very powerful. We have heard that we can accomplish a lot more if we can change our mindset. Often times when we hear these statements, they seem to make sense but we don’t think much about them. The fact is, these are not empty words, our mind really is very powerful and it always sets the direction of our lives.

There are two parts of the mind, the Conscious Mind and the Subconscious Mind. The conscious mind is known as our thinking mind. It gets information from our five physical senses which are seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling. The subconscious mind is also known as the emotional mind, our beliefs and expectations are stored in here. Wrong beliefs can be dangerous because they signify the truth to the person who holds them. Consequently, they shape up our actions and since our actions determine our results, wrong beliefs hence shape the results that we produce in our lives.

Our subconscious mind is 1000 times more powerful than our conscious mind but it is also influenced by the conscious mind. Continue reading...

How should we learn?

Posted by David Manyanza on Apr 15 2013

Image source in2eastafrica.net

With so much discussion currently on the Tanzanian education system and its subsequent impact on employees, organizational learning and the society at large, I found it pertinent to present here two important citations. The first is from Albert Einstein as quoted by Carl Rogers and Jerome Freiberg in the third edition of the book, Freedom to Learn published in 1994; first published by Carl Rogers in 1969. The second is an extract of the Table from Shana Ratner's 1997 publication on Emerging Issues in Learning Communities in which Shana provided the old and new answers to how we learn. Hopefully the powerful message in these citations stimulates you to follow and more importantly to contribute to the on-going debate on educational reforms.

"It is in fact short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in the need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail." - Albert Einstein (from Freedom to Learn by Carl Rogers and H. Jerome Freiberg) Continue reading...