Making things happen! Urban tomato farming

African Business School ~ Think! Be the catalyst that makes things happen!

More often than not ideas don’t easily translate into action in any organization. They often grabbed by throat and dragged out kicking and screaming into implementation. The bigger the organization the more complex and difficult it is to get an idea from paper into a product or service.

To have impact in any business big or small you need to be the “Go to Guy” who simply gets things done. The person who thinks on their feet, the “play maker” who reads the game and calls the appropriate play, then executes ruthlessly to get the desired result.

Execution is a habit which you build into your DNA. It is the difference between success and failures in life. Our Elders say “The cemetery is full of ideas and dreams” reiterating the fact that most people die without executing or living to their full potential or seeing their dreams become reality. Such people make terrible ancestors as they leave nothing behind. Here’s 6 pointers to help you become a catalyst, and of course an ancestor whose name will be remembered in song and praise.

1. Be action orientated. It is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission. Don’t over analyze situations, rather size things up quickly and act. Doing so will help you achieve more and develop your skill and judgment for future actions. To wait for management’s attention, or signed approval to execute what is common sense task is to court disaster and risk everything including your job.

Self-preservation in corporate culture is a sickness and more often than not paralyzes the business leading to inertia. Well I’ve got news for you. You all die in the end. Some suddenly, others from long illnesses and much suffering, and of course there are the walking dead. Dead on their feet. Completely incapable of executing the simplest of actions without a written approval. What better way to die, than by your own choosing and actions. Here are some affirmations to help you take responsible action and build the habit;

· I am committed to change within myself, my business and my community.

· I think about the effects of my actions and behavior on others and myself.

· I always lobby for win-win situations.

· I can be counted on to speak up, ask questions, and make suggestions

2. Take the initiative. “What can be done will be done. What can’t be done MUST be done” is a mantra which has served me well. Do not assume that management will know about and are doing something to fix a particular challenge. This is seldom the case and in fact in the volatile, uncertain complex and ambiguous environment in which we operate change continues to escalate in all aspects of business, management will be even less likely to know what is needed. This is where you step in and take control of things. Start with yourself first, then your close team and then all those you interact with to bring about the desired change. Our Elders warn “There are none so blind as those who choose not to see”. So, Look, See and then ACT!

3. Don’t Give Up Easily. “It is the crooked wood that shows the best sculptor” Our Elders often quipped. How you handle challenges and obstacles can in large part determine your ultimate success. The difference between someone who just brings up problems and ideas and someone who is able to make things happen is execution. “It is what the wise man can see while sitting down, that the fool climbs the tree to see” -African Proverb.

Those who take initiative have a belief and passion in their idea that drives them ever forward, regardless of setbacks or obstacles, to make their idea happen. They never, ever give up on something they truly believe in. They display tenacity and will power which in the end is that essential ingredient which carries them over the finish line.

4. Do the same differently. Every new employee of online giant Alibaba must do a hand stand before they join the company. This symbolic gesture is to induct the newbie into seeing things differently. If one approach does not work, try something different, see the same challenge through a different lens. Look around you at other successful initiatives that have occurred in the past and evaluate the process for how they were approved and completed. These can serve as a prototype for success of your idea. Always remember that people are persuaded differently, so your approach to winning them over must also vary. The more approaches you have to execute, the more likely you are succeeding. If, at first, an idea that you feel has merit is not accepted, always wait for a better time and a different set of circumstances to make it happen. Our Elders say “Not all crops grow in the same season. Moreover, be prepared for a more successful time, “as you sow, so shall you reap”.

5. Avoid the blame game. Most employees’ do only what is specifically requested of them. They are quick to defer to their manager or to a policy when a problem arises. If they are ever challenged on an action, they are experts at playing “the blame game,” that is, blaming everybody and everything around them for the problem-sometimes even the customer. Not only does this not help the situation, the negative energy generated makes the situation worse.

Instead, try asking yourself: “What could I have done to prevent this problem?” “What can we learn from this situation?” and “How can we improve things together going forward? Be positive when faced with negative situations and negative people. Be a role model. Look to the future and decide upon the best course of action given the existing circumstances.

6. Excuses are the first defense of the insecure. Blaming circumstances often leads to blaming others. Catch yourself when you find you are making an excuse and stop. Turn your focus instead to what can be done to best rectify the situation as soon as possible. Be positive and forward-looking

Success is a mantra of affirmations. Try these and watch what happens

· I don’t wait for others to tell me what to do

· I do what I say I am going to do.

· I bring solutions to the table not problems

· I work on improving my current job and not my next one.

· I take the lead

· I am the exception NOT the rule

· I take calculated risks

· I constantly think about how things can be done.

You can make things happen that will improve your situation, just think and be the catalyst for action.

Thank you for reading. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @fayaz_king or my webpage

Lamu Island Kenya. Happening Now!