Category Archives: Positive Psychology

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7 Things Mandela Taught Me About Leadership

Nelson Mandela

I never met him in person, nor did I need to, you don’t need to be personally in touch with someone to learn from them. So here goes:

  1. Humility and courage is the stuff of great leadership

Although often considered a weakness, humility is what makes great leaders able to influence people’s hearts rather than their minds, earning respect rather than fear and being able to cultivate great loyalty from followers. At the same time you must be courageous, able to run towards a fearful situation rather than away from it. You won’t have much influence if you are a humble coward. Mandela showed this many times in his dealings with the Apartheid government

  1. Embody Loyalty and Integrity

A few times while in prison, Mandela was offered a chance to leave jail with certain conditions. He refused simply because this would have been disloyal to his party, his cause and it would have been a compromise of his principles.

  1. Lead from behind

Nelson always consulted, I actually felt, while reading his biography ‘The Long Walk to Freedom’ that he consulted a little too much. Even when a decision seemed obvious, he preferred to consult. This behavior makes a team more united, the team members feel more valued and therefore they become far more loyal to their leader.

  1. A great mentor goes a long way

Albertina Sisulu. More than one road is named after her in South Africa. Walter Sisulu, her husband was Nelson Mandela’s mentor. The joke often went ‘Without Walter, I would have never gone to prison.’ Nelson Mandela rarely made any big decision without consulting Walter. Although like I wrote last time, you may not get a perfect mentor, in leadership, it’s good to have someone older and wiser to go to for advice. It can be an older friend, your grandmother, family friend, uncle, aunt or parent. They don’t need to be educated or even know business. They already have high qualification and experience in human relations. And what is leadership but human relations?

  1. You don’t need to be 100% ready to start

After realizing that armed conflict was inevitable (no I don’t support armed conflict because, among other reasons, innocent women and children suffer a lot), Mandela went straight into training for guerrilla welfare outside South Afria. He was not even half way through this program when he was called back and had to start executing the little he learned, learning more along the way.

  1. Forgive, Forgive and forgive some more

For close to three decades, I belonged to the Watch Tower society. For 9years, I was a baptized Jehovah’s Witness. After an experience that lead me to believe this is not what I thought it was, I quit. As per Watch Tower policy, any person who leaves must be shunned, avoided, treated like a plague, a wicked person and labeled an apostate. Let me be quick to say I sincerely believe these are nice, well meaning people subjected to lots of dogma. Let me be also quick to say not everyone of them follows this rule, which is such a breath of fresh air. Regardless, this particular rule really does stink of cold heartedness, highly contrary to Christina love. Sadly, it has tone families and life-long friendships, causing a lot of unnecessary emotional turmoil. I have suffered a share of this. It’s a story for another day. Suffice to say it is by far my biggest challenge to forgive. The situation easily renders itself to bitterness and resentment. But Nelson Mandela said ‘resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it kills your enemy.’ So yes, I do learn a lot about forgiveness from a man who had 27years of his life taken away, unable to bury his dead son, unable to bury his dead mother due to man-made rules.

  1. Sometimes you must show that you are the leader, the boss

Although Mandela almost never made any decision without consulting his team or adviser, he did make one notable exception. This was after he was transferred from Robben Island. He started secret negotiations with the government contrary to his team’s recommendations including that of his best friend Oliver Tambo. So as a leader, sometimes you must act fast, alone, without getting permission or advice, hope it goes well and hope your team will understand, respect and if necessary forgive you later.

I could list the top 5 or the top 3 leaders I learn from, this name would still make it on my list.

Thank you for reading. I like to write about leadership, ICT, business and business development. I do write about parenting too, the articles appear in the post newspaper every Sunday. For suggestions, recommendations or advice, feel free to get in touch:

Email susanlumba@gmail.com or whatsapp: 0975022655

 


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The One Piece of Business Advice I Hate

business advice

OK, maybe not hate but really dislike.

So here is the thing; I like to read. A lot. I especially read ‘business advise’ type of articles. I like most of what I read but one exception is becoming clear.

“Find yourself a good mentor/coach.”

I don’t know how may articles give this as start-up business advise but I will give just two reasons why I dislike it:

Firstly, its not always practical.I live in Zambia, beautiful country, lots of natural resources, booming entrepreneurship. Business coaching services, business mentorship availability? Not so much. So what is a new entrepreneur to do when he/she cannot find this illusive business mentor? I don’t know the local SCORE.

Secondly, like dating, compatibility is important. Although I did not and still do not have a particular business mentor, I now know enough business people I can consult in business. What I have seen is that like dating, there may be many potential candidates and finding a good fit might require time and patience. Isn’t this time better spent building the business rather than chasing after a prospective mentor?And when you do find someone likely to fit this role, you have to ask;

How well will your temperaments match?

Your business vision?

Will the mentor actually believe in your idea and sincerely want you to success?

How much effort is it really worth?

Here is one piece of advice someone gave me that I find more practical: the perfect mentor is a nice dream to have but you don’t have to have one perfect mentor. You don’t even need to know or meet someone in person to be mentored by them. You can be mentored by someone through their life story, their works and their books. In light of this, I am here sharing some of my mentors and what I learn from each:

1. Robin Sharma and Tony Robins

I learn maximizing the performance of my most important asset-ME. Its all about business growth through personal growth.

2.Nelson Mandela

Leadership, humility, forgiveness. Need I say more?

3. Jason Fried and Eric Ries

Get things done, start early, don’t wait till you have a perfect product.

4. Timm Ferris , Sam Carpenter and Gerber

Systematizing your business such that its capable of running itself, giving you more time and freedom.

The above are extreme summaries of how each of these authors and influencers have mentored me. So if you are starting a business and manage to find your perfect mentor, good for you. If you don’t, there are plenty of authors to learn from.

I still think a personal mentor is important. However, instead of spending particular effort searching for one, I would say network with entrepreneurs when you can, every business person can teach you something. Like dating, through this socialisation, you may be able to find the one. If not, you will still have plenty of good friends to keep you company business wise.

 

Thank you for reading my article. I am passionate about entrepreneurship. But I am particularly interested in ICT and trading. I would love to learn from you and your experience because every person has a story to tell. Email: susanlumba@gmail.com | whatsapp: 0975022655

 


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8 Dos and Don’ts by Deepak Chopra

dos and don'tsDO

  • Make your surroundings orderly and uncluttered.
  • Take a close look at stresses that need to be addressed.
  • Keep away from negative influences.
  • Find a friend or confidante who shares you vision of clarity and fulfillment.
  • Center yourself several times a day whenever you feel distracted or unsettled.
  • Go outside to experience the calm and inspiration of Nature.
  • Follow a regular daily routine.
  • Get eight hours of good sleep every night.

 

Don’t

  • Remain in situations that turn disordered and stressful.
  • Push your work time to the limit of exhaustion, mental or physical.
  • Be tied down by other people’s opinions and attitudes.
  • Let stress go unaddressed.
  • Let a good night’s sleep slip by more than once or twice a week.
  • Immerse yourself in bad news and the world’s chaotic unrest.
  • Ignore your body’s signals–be aware of when it wants rest, nourishment, down time, and a chance to reset itself through meditation and quiet time alone.
  • Forget to provide yourself with pure food, water, and air

 


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A Free Marketing Tool You Are Not Using Effectively

email signature

I don’t know how many emails I receive pay day but I know they are a lot.

Email is the single most used online communication tool in Zambia. Even people who don’t use social media do use email. This means you have an opportunity to market yourself every time you send an email.

So how do you end your emails? I get really frustrated when I receive an email which ends like the one on the left, just best regards with a name. I have no idea who this person is, which department they are from etc… A good email signature like on the right should answer some of my questions immediately:

1. Who is Mwila?

2. What is his/her position in the organisation?

3. If I need an immediate answer, what phone number do I dial?

4. Mwila is a unisex name, is this a male or female person? Please add an image.

5. Does this company have a website I can immediately check out?

6. Do they have social media presence?

Well hopefully, next time you send an email, you will see it as an opportunity to say more about yourself and your organisation through this simple tool of an email signature.

Thanks for reading. I help local small and medium sized businesses market themselves online through various means. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions and look out for my upcoming free ebook entitled “A complete guide to online marketing for Zambian businesses”.  Although we are a global village, there are certain specific factors that make online marketing different in Zambia/Africa than it is in the Western World.


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3 types of websites, which one is right for your organisation?

website types

A website is one of the key online assets a company can have, failing to properly define its purpose could mean you are under-utilizing its potential and possibly wasting money on it. Here are 3 main broad purposes a website can serve:

1. Showcase your business
This is the simplest and cheapest type of website. Generally it will have basic information about who you are, what you do and how people can contact you. Perhaps they have heard of you and they just want more information. The key here is having a simple but highly professional looking design that will leave an excellent impression of your company to the website visitors.

2. Generate leads
In this case, you want to be able to follow up on website visitors. Therefore, it will be more advanced then option 1. Many businesses have a showcase website when what they actually want is a lead-generating website. You need to be clear about what you want as you discuss with your website designer.

How can you capture these leads so that you make follow-ups?
– provide great articles with useful information and require people to sign up to keep reading. For example, do you sale spare parts? Write some short articles about how to service a car and ask them to sign up in order to keep reading. Leave a ‘no thanks’ option in case they are not interested.
-have a newsletter signup option especially if you regularly produce great articles so that customers never miss new articles, this way you capture their emails
-provide optional membership registration; make sure you indicate the benefit of them registering on your website, it could be some exclusive content, a discount or some other free offer.
-have an online chat option, some visitors hate filing in a contact form because people take long to respond to those. A live chatting option assures them they will get answers right away
-have your phone numbers clearly displayed preferably at the top of your website on every page which they can easily use to contact you. This way you can record their details after the call.

3. Sell products and services
This is the most expensive type of website to develop as you will need to include secure payment gateway, manage orders and customer inquiries. You will also want a database to manage the inventory and keep track of your customers.
Examples are online shops or even a lodge. You want customers to reserve rooms and possibly make a down payment? Or if you just want them to reserve without paying then option 2 is ok.

If you already have a website, which of the above purposes does it serve? If you are yet to have one, which one will you go for?


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Supporting Youth Innovations, Communication Is Key

In 2013, I was awarded Youth Innovator’s Grant by National Science and Technology Council.

The project is still ongoing sadly. Sadly because I hate delays but such is the nature of things.

I don’t believe I was awarded because am the best of the best or there is no better idea out there. I really do think its a privilege. The difference between me and others who may have innovative ideas is the level of exposure both to people who have information about how to write project proposals and where to get funding for R&D projects.

When I was in high school, I was active in JETS (Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientists). There were many good projects there but I find that now that am out here in the ‘industry’, I don’t even know the JETS fare timetable. Is enough being done to communicate and publicise such events opportunities?

Innovation is key to development and we will have a challenge getting the best of the best out there if its difficult for youths to have access to this information. This is my brief thought on the matter. I hope to hear from like-minded people as I think we are generally poor at communicating such things in Zambia.

 


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I want charcoal, not emeralds

So my husband and I were having one of those restaurant lunches. Apparently we were both famished and there was more of chewing than talking(lol).

Anyway, our neighbours were very loud and you couldn’t help hearing what they were saying. It was a debate I have heard a couple of times before. Why is Zambia poor even when we have so many natural resources? He went like ‘This is the problem with Lambas(a local tribe part of which lives in an emerald-rich part of Zambia) God will whip them, he has given them emeralds but they choose to burn charcoal instead. Their Chief, Chief Nkana lives in a a grass-thatched house when his chiefdom is so rich with emeralds. The people in that area prefer to burn trees and make charcoal instead of mining emeralds’.

I don’t know which part of this conversation you agree with but it really did get me thinking.As a person who has visited the area in question, I know what he is talking about. It should be a well developed city considering the millions of dollars it produces. But you go there and all you see is a remote, very rural and very undeveloped area. Actually its not that remote in terms of distance from cities. The people there are known for charcoal not the emeralds the land is so rich in.

‘What is so wrong with us Zambians that such scenarios keep happening?’

People like to blame the government but doesn’t the government have enough on its plate? To what extent can you really blame the government for such a situation? I really don’t know the answers but I would love someone to shade some light if they can.

Maybe there is no money? Its a common but lame excuse as far as I see it. Suppose a group of say 8 locals, with support from their local leaders formed a company for this very purpose, why wouldn’t they be supported?

I do know for sure that as a people we must have such an attitude towards wealth that such keep happening in our land. But how do we change this mindset? Foreigners are getting rich on your land but you choose only to make and sell charcoal, destroying the environment and making only enough to keep from starvation. What is the solution?

 


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Attitude vs Skill in job candidates

As the saying goes, ‘you can teach skill but you cannot teach attitude‘. I have not been in business long enough to site 100 examples on the subject but I have worked with enough people to know that for the rest of my business career, attitude will be one of the number one considerations in hiring.

Here is what I have learned:

1. Educational qualifications say little about performance capabilities

Of course technical knowledge counts but being able to apply it is a different matter. One of my lecturers at UNZA once told us: ‘I don’t know which of you to pick for my company anymore. I have employed distinction students and C-students. Both have disappointed me’

2. Sleek talking in an interview doesn’t count

This one I can talk from experience. This guy we hired for a field sales job seemed good on paper and even more perfect in the interview. But after starting work he would always give all sorts of excuses for not delivering, he fails to update you the whole day and only brings two customer names that he managed to see? Seriously? You spent 8 hours just meeting two companies? Unluckily for him, we had done this job before and knew he was a joker.

3. Gossipers and complainers are bad for your business

You know how there is always someone who has something negative to say about their current bosses and previous bosses, workmates, workmates, family etc? If you smell this, don’t hire unless you want a negative work environment in your business. The same attitude will be displayed towards customers. What image of your company will that paint?

So anyway, I was trying to hire an assistant. I deliberately decided to make the job ad very detailed. I asked many questions that need to be answered along with the application. Hopefully through this process, I can weed out negative attitude and laziness.

I already got some negative comments like:

“this job is too hard, the application itself is long” (anyone else smell laziness here?)

“why so many requirements for such a simple job?” (negativity and no future forecasting)

“I can apply if there is a car provided” (looking at immediate and short term benefits, difficult to motivate from the beginning)

“I know such jobs, they give you K500, no transport, no lunch” (more negativity-concluding without even asking for details)

Then the classic: “here is my number please get in touch”(are you kidding me right now?)

So anyway, this ends my brief view on the topic. I hope to hire based on great attitude. Wish me luck!

How do you do it? Comments and suggestions are welcome.

 


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Is Facebook Relevant to Your Zambian Business?

facebook marketingA look at 10 ways in which Zambian companies, organizations and people use facebook apart from communicating with friends.

  1. Mobile service providers

Airtel has 198,000+ fans, MTN 147,000+, Zamtel 59,000+. These use their facebook pages to communicate various things like promotions and events to their customers. They also use it to interact with customers. I personally find that I get better and faster customer care response through their facebook pages than dialing 111 where I have to wait forever.

  1. News providers

Starting from, Mwebantu New Media, Zambia Reports, the Post Newspaper, Muvi tv, ZNBC and the controversial Zambian Watchdog. These have facebook fan bases ranging from 52,000+ for Daily Mail Zambia, right up to 3000,000+ fans for others. You will normally see a news item on one of these almost immediately it happens.

  1. Online shops

There are various businesses that sale through facebook. Among some local examples are Olivia’s mom, it’s based in Lusaka with over 20,000 fans, Mwanawanga based on the Copperbelt with over 29,000 fans.

  1. Online communities.

These are groups were people ask one another questions about a particular topic. I must say these are very helpful. Some of these include ‘Farming as a business’. For farmers in Zambia this is hands down the most useful facebook group. If you are a small scale farmer and you use facebook please find this group. Other groups/pages like Mwanawanga, Yummy mummies talk about parenting. Some talk about sexual relationships and marriage, some talk about having and looking after natural hair and beauty, some are all about cooking. Kupikilila recipe exchange being one of the most popular.

  1. Free advertising groups and pages

There are several groups where one can advertise their products and services or free. Some of these include “Let’s talk ama sampo”. It’s a group with over 63,000 members mostly used to advertise electronic gadgets by individuals and small businesses. It has some subgroups for the copperbelt etc. The owners may or may not be the same. There are groups like Zed car samples where individuals and small business buy and sell cars. Some like UK Zed cars are for importing cars from U.K

  1. Real estate groups

Buying and renting, whether you are offering or looking, one of the biggest facebook places for this is called Zambia Property Network with over 29,000 members and Copperbelt Property Connections with over 4,000 fans.

  1. Jobs and Opportunities

There is a group called Job Market and Opportunities in Zambia with over 39,000 member used by job seekers and employers alike.  There is also my Zambia jobs page.

  1. Political

Political parties, political figures, political interest groups all have some participation on facebook. For example, Edith Nawakwi has 13,000 plus fans. GBM has 53,000+. This list alone can cover half this article, let’s end here.

  1. Organizations and embassies

Local embassies including Swedish embassy and American embassy use facebook.

  1. Banks

The Bank of Zambia, Barclays, FNB to name but a few are on facebook.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. We can cover 10pages just talking about this.

So is facebook relevant to your business? Well you tell me. Are your potential customers interested in the activities discussed above? Thousands of Zambians use it every minute from political figures to young people to businesses of all sorts. Service providers have made it free; mobile phones are now being sold pre-installed with facebook. Oh did I mention the Zambian President was using it? In future articles, I will look at how you can use this tool for your business both using free tools and paid tools. I will also mention types of business that may not find it very useful and what alternatives are available.


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Do It Anyway

Tags :

Category : Positive Psychology

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and some true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight.
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough.
Give the best you’ve got anyway.