Our Thoughts on Leadership

Why is crafting a good Mission Statement so important?

Posted by David Manyanza on Jan 30 2017

Management textbooks mention that a mission statement should be inspiring and motivating from the ordinary employee through Management to the Board. Although there are good mission statements out there, there is an awful lot of poor ones. Inspiring is not exactly the impression one gets when reading many mission statements from strategic plans. One usually sees a rephrasing of what organizations do and how they do it. They tend to reflect functions organizations carry out summarized in some way. Such mission statements are not exactly inspiring. So what is wrong?

To inspire, a mission statement must convey a sense of purpose, which gives a sense of why an organization exists. It is this sense of purpose that gives meaning to what organizations do and what they stand for. Without discovering the purpose an organization is without life; it is empty. Continue reading...

How to select a management consultant

Posted by David Manyanza, Patrick Manyanza on Apr 15 2016

Welcome to the second episode of the DSC podcast. In this episode David and Patrick talk about how to select a management consultant.

Making it better in organizations

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Nov 16 2015

Truett Cathy, the founder of the Chick-Fil-A restaurant chain in the United States, during a time when the company was facing a lot of competition and uncertainty said, "If we get better, our customers will demand that we get bigger". This simple but profound statement centers on the mindset of many great leaders. Great leaders focus their thinking on how to make it better because they have the foresight to know that if they make it better, then their customers will demand that they grow bigger as a company.

To make anything better, one must first engage in clarification and evaluation. In an organizational setting, clarification and evaluation is all about identifying and defining the win or the intended customer experience that an organization desires to bring forth. If the win is not clearly defined, it becomes very difficult to practice "making it better", because there is no clarity on what "it" is. In fact this win is what Peter Drucker describes as the value the customer places on a product or service. The customer does not simply buy a product or service; they buy value. Continue reading...

Creating a culture of trust in an organization

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Oct 15 2015

Trust is an intangible value that may or may not exist in an organization. It is really hard to measure it on a chart but when an organization has it, things are great and when it doesn't exist things often seem difficult to move. When trust is lost in an organization, it is almost impossible to get it back. Essentially trust is important because in any organization there will always be a gap between what's expected of a person and what actually gets done, or a gap between what's promised and what gets fulfilled. The key thing is that, what leaders put in that gap sets the premise for the kind of culture their organizations exhibit. There really isn't any way to avoid the gaps but leaders have to know that a great deal of the organizational culture, hinges on what they place in that gap. Therefore, if they are willing to be proactive and intentional about placing trust in that gap, then over time an organizational culture of trust will emerge.

An example of a gap is when for instance a person promises that he will show up at a scheduled meeting at 9am but then he shows up 15 minutes late. The leader can place trust by believing that the person had a legitimate reason for being late or he can place suspicion that the person isn't as attentive or doesn't value the leader. What the leader places in the gap will affect how the leader interacts and relates to that individual. Continue reading...

Leading in uncertain times

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Mar 18 2015

The one thing certain about times ahead is uncertainty. Uncertainty in business is always inevitable and it is in uncertain times that leadership is required the most. In other words, uncertainty really surfaces the need for Leadership. Generally, when things are predictable, all you need for an organization is good management but you don't really need people who look beyond what is in order to think about what could or even should be. In a sense uncertainty is really what gives leaders their job security as they make organizations continue to perform amidst strenuous rigors of uncertainty. The fact is that, when troubles loom, leaders who have the capability to make organizations withstand sudden blows, avail themselves to steer the organization in a new direction. Problems are really the result of uncertainty within the organization and more so within the circumstances that impact the organization. This means that the fundamentals must be carefully and well managed.

In particular, leaders in uncertain times must be able to exalt:

What kind of education does Tanzania really need?

Posted by David Manyanza on Jan 28 2015

Image source in2eastafrica.net

In recent years we have seen numerous commentaries in newspapers and on television about the declining quality of education in Tanzania. We have heard or read about concerns, particularly from foreign investors and various other private sector players with regards to some graduates of tertiary and higher institutions of learning not being adequately equipped with skills required by industry. Universities have argued that the said decline in the standard of university education is due, in part, to deterioration in the educational system starting with basic education at primary and secondary school levels. Consequently, universities have had to lower their entry requirements but at the risk of sabotaging their own integrity as prestigious academic institutions. While this discussion and contemplation is going on, the problem is having telling impact on people and the economy. Sadly, there is considerable time lag before the impact of a poor education system becomes evident while reversing the trend also requires a number of years before positive changes can be seen.

When people complain about poor education quality, it means that they feel and see that education or training they get does not meet their expectations. Like beauty, quality is in the eyes of the beholder. These complaints are inextricably linked to the core basis of education itself. Education is never provided in a vacuum. Continue reading...

Listening in leadership

Posted by Patrick Manyanza, David Manyanza on Jan 14 2015

To lead organizations effectively, leaders need to develop a number of skills. Among them, listening is a skill that every leader needs to pay attention to so as to avoid falling in the trap of always telling their followers. This know-it-all attitude is not only repugnant but also repels good ideas at the peril of organizational success. Although listening is a skill that is important for everybody it is particularly crucial for leaders. It is vital for influencing people, learning and making decisions. Leaders are responsible for making all sorts of decisions related to organizational success and this requires good understanding of the situation at hand.

As much as every employee is executing their roles, they are simultaneously learning and continuously amassing a wealth of knowledge that is undoubtedly vital for organizational success. Much of this vital knowledge often remains undocumented as such it is held in people's memories as their experience. Although this wealth of knowledge occurs at all levels of the organization, its complexity and importance tends to increase upwards in the organizational ladder. Accessing it is critical but the most important pathway is the often-elusive listening skill. Continue reading...

The importance of selling

Posted by Patrick Manyanza on Jan 30 2014

Often when people hear the word "sales", they immediately think of the pushy sales person who is trying to pressure and convince them into buying a product or a service. Many people have certainly bought things unintentionally from such pressures only to regret on the expense later. However, the fact of the matter is that, people like to be sold but they don't like to be pressured. People enjoy getting value for their time and money and therefore, having the right sales people is quite important. From this premise, I would like to argue that we are all in sales. Whether we know it or not we are always selling something; a product, a service, a story, an idea, a principle or even ourselves just to name a few things.

Do you know that in any conversation one is selling and another is buying something? This makes the ability to sell a very important skill because without it, virtually nothing will get done. Continue reading...

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...