I had a “thinking session” arranged with a friend and fellow business owner this afternoon. However an emergency arose in her life so she had to pull out. On checking my inbox I found two emails requiring my “soon as possible” signature on some documents. So I was able to attend to that. I then realised my newsletter was late so I am using the unexpected opening in my calendar to write it.
How often do you notice that when things seemingly “go wrong” they actually help something else to fall into place? I just love it.
Who’s being strangled?
A few years ago a friend recommended her hairdresser in Illovo. So the next time I needed a haircut off I went. Grant did a great job and I’ve continued to see him regularly since. I love how my hair just feels different after a good cut and how it comes alive. However after the last two visits I didn’t really get that feeling.
I was wondering if I needed to change hairdressers but I thought let’s just see how it goes this time. Off I went feeling very bored with my hair. I sat down and Grant asked me what I wanted done this time. I replied “I don’t know. What would you like to do?” He straight away picked up that I was ready for a change and asked a couple of questions to ascertain the parameters of that change! And off he went.
The result was great. Both of us were happy.
The next day as I was brushing my hair I was musing over what had made the difference. Even though on previous visits I hadn’t been too directive as to what he should do, I think Grant had been feeling restricted, or he’d got into a rut. My open invitation to him to do what he pleased (within reason) released his creativity and his talent all over again.
It was a reminder to me of how easy it is to stifle a person. And how wonderful when the person is free to show how good they are.
One of the recruitment companies has been running a radio advert that says something like “you don’t want slackers, recruit the right people”. When I hear it I want to add on “and then give them the freedom to show you how good they are.”
What aspects of your work environment – structures, systems, processes, people (managers) – maybe stifling instead of enabling? How much more ability do people have that isn’t being revealed at work? Just think what releasing it could mean to the growth of the company. It could be like having a 50% greater workforce with no increase in cost.
Alison Gitelson, Management Growth Enabler, enabling you to do business better.
© copyright 2015 – All Rights Reserved
Quote of the Day
“Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.” – John Kenneth Galbraith
My Little Black Book
A past client of mine has started a business which I think is an excellent idea.
She is a very experienced financial/commercial officer, and a really smart, dynamic young woman. Through her business an SME can have access to all the knowledge and benefits of a corporate CFO for a few days per month. Which is all most SME’s require.
Enid says “we offer a solution that helps you balance the cost of quality. High level financial executives can bring meaningful and reliable business insight in a fraction of the time of a mid-level resource. As such an SME may only require a few days per month of an experienced world-class CFO in order for you to access these insights.”
To read more look for Enid Smith, founder YourCFO, on LinkedIn or contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org
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We had a lovely week away returning in time to vote in South Africa’s fifth democratic elections.
It had a special significance for me. In 1994 when I voted I was pregnant with my second child. And yesterday my son voted for the first time.
Our time away was spent exploring Gaberone and enjoying good food, wine and conversation, with old and new friends. On our way back from Botswana we spent two nights in The Marico.
I love experiencing new places and observing people and nature. It energises me and gets me thinking of the lessons to be learnt. I had so many thoughts that I am going to share some of them with you today.
Cooperation, Creativity & Contrasts
On our first day we visited the Three Dikgosi Monument. Our guide gave us a lesson in Botswana’s history. How I interpreted it was:
The path from British Protectorate to independent Republic was a long one. There were a number of attempts by Britain and South Africa to “take over” but the three main chiefs peacefully but determinedly worked to maintain a level of independence for the country.
They had a shared vision and they cooperated with each other. They listened and watched closely so as to pick up and act on each political shift that threatened the area’s status. And when they realised more action was needed they travelled to Britain seeking an audience with the government.
The government tried to fob them off but they had cultivated friendships in England. These friends assisted them to travel around the country drumming up support for their cause until the government was pressured into meeting with them. This began a process that would eventually lead to independence in 1966. That visit was a very well run PR campaign!
It sounds as though these three chiefs demonstrated excellent leadership.
Even the decision as to where the capital should be seems to have been solved in a mature manner. The original main place was Lobatse but being in a small bowl between the hills it was thought to be too small for a capital so Gaberone, 70km to the north, was chosen.
Gaberone is a very dry city, especially at the moment after a couple of years of drought. On the edge of town is a lovely small game reserve without natural water. But someone has come up with a creative solution. The reserve is integrated with the sewerage system. Underground pipes bring the sewer water to open ponds that apart from a slight smell, are just like small dams. We saw some lovely birds there, including an African Purple Swamphen.
A few blocks from where my friend lives we saw a strange sight – on the dusty sidewalk, a beautifully decorated table and chairs, under an awning, set for a celebration. Gwen explained that it belongs to a local lady, an event planner, who changes the colours and themes every week. What a wonderful example of creative advertising.
We also visited the brickfields down by the river where people hand make clay bricks and bake them in a homemade, communal kiln. I am sorry I didn’t take a photo. It was like a scene out of biblical times. And yet a couple of kilometres away was the neat, clean CBD with amazing, modern buildings.
For me these contrasts and the different ways of doing business are part of the “colour of Africa”. Something which is hard to explain. One needs to spend time in Africa to experience it. And then as my husband says, “Africa gets under your skin and it’s very difficult to leave.”
Next month, thoughts from The Marico.
© copyright 2014 – All Rights Reserved
Quote of the Day
“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” ~ Bertrand Russel
My Little Black Book
Our host in Gaberone was Gwen Watkins, owner of a communications consultancy that operates across Southern Africa. Amongst her many PR talents is that of training event planners. Our holiday was like a well run event from the accommodation, to the food and beverages, to the guided tours. Gwen certainly walks the talk.
Apart from writing and editing she also offers practical, short courses that cover such fields as ‘Creating and implementing PR strategy for SMEs’, ‘Creating and managing practical & profitable events’, ‘Writing for internal & external stakeholders’, ‘Perfect PA events’ and others. www.freelancers.co.za
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