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Archive for the ‘Organization’ Category

PLAN AHEAD: The Key to Organization

Posted by Herman Najoli on March 16, 2011

Being organized is essential for an epic life. One of my favorite acrostics for this is PLAN AHEAD. Here we go:

Pre-determine a course of action

This essentially means having a vision for your life. Visualizing that which you intend to attain is the first step towards being successful in pursuing it. You need to have a concise end for which you can measure your progress against. Develop a vision which will be your pre-determined course of action.

Layout your goals

Once you have pre-determined a course of action, the next step is to break it down into specific goals that can be realized. To empower your vision you need to write it down and define it clearly. Laying out your goals enables you to harness the power of visualization.

Adjust your priorities

You will need to make some changes in the new year if you hope to make it a different year from the past. This will mean being open to adjusting your priorities. Priorities are the pathway to success. Making adjustments is the key to reaching your goals.

Notify key people

We all have circles of support around us. In order to accomplish your goals you need to find those people who affirm your positive goals and share your goals with them. These people will encourage you, motivate you and keep you on the path towards an epic life.

Allow time for your plans

Many times when we set goals we expect them to be realized within a certain time frame. While it is essential to set deadlines, we should never get married to the deadlines. Timelines should motivate us to work smartly towards our goals. If your goals are not attained within the timelines you set, don’t quit. Set new timelines and stay motivated.  

Head into action

Action is the first step towards achievement. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Head into action. Inch by inch it’s a cinch. Action must start now! The greatest enemy of success is procrastination. In order to achieve your dreams you must be action-oriented.

Expect problems

Every endeavor that has ever been worth pursuing has always had it’s problems and challenges. Problems are a sign that you are on the right track. The absence of problems is very likely a sign that something is wrong. Problems should never cause you to lose sight of your ultimate goals. They should be a call towards being more creative.

Always point to your successes

It is easy to lose motivation when failure sets in. The key to staying focused is in pointing to your already realized successes. Your track record of past successes is the springboard for your future achievements. When failure threatens your progress, embrace the confidence that comes from your record of past achievements.

Daily review your planning

Planning is a dynamic process. Plans should be reviewed on a daily basis to ensure that you are on the right track. Change happens (please see my earlier post below, shift happens) and you must be open to changing your plans daily. Flexibility is the key to success. You must be able to revisit your plans every day. Nothing ever dominates life unless it happens daily. It is the daily habit of reviewing your plans that will determine whether you realize them or not.

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Purpose, Vision and Persistence: How your passion can enable you to smash through barriers

Posted by Herman Najoli on October 4, 2010

We all experience moments in life when obstacles seem to crowd our goals and aspirations. Whether you are a leader of an organization, an employee in a department, a small-business owner, a student, the President or even just a regular guy, we have all experienced many barriers to our goals. I’ve seen so many people with great dreams that would add tremendous value to society but every time they try to plug into their dreams, they get knocked down by societal barriers.

Regardless of your situation or status in life, you to know that you can smash any barriers that hinder your life goals and your organization’s direction. I know this full well because my life has been about smashing barriers. I come from a community that is not well regarded in terms of access to higher positions in my country – Kenya. I was denied the opportunity to come to the United States four times before I finally got the Visa. I came to this country with a big dream and only $140 in my pocket. Imagine all the barriers I have had to surmount in order to get to where I am now. When I told people that I wanted to speak for a living, a lot of them said, “You are barking up the wrong tree, son. You’ve got a heavy African accent, no money, no contacts, ….how do you ever expect to do this?” Well, I didn’t have to know the “how” since I had a solid “why”. My passion has been one – to help people – and that is why barriers are getting smashed as I begin to slice the frontiers of developing people and empowering them to live a better life. Here are some ideas:

Three Core Hammers for Smashing Through Barriers

1. Generate a Solid Idea of Your Life Purpose

Purpose is the key to understanding the “why” of life. When you know what your purpose is, you will not lose heart in the face of obstacles and barriers. Understanding purpose enables you to stay committed and motivated towards pursuing your goals. Purpose produces passion and that is essential in overcoming challenges. Leaders in organizations need to have a clear picture of what the organization’s purpose is.

2. Develop an Enduring Vision

Lots of people have vision but very few stick to it when barriers come their way. If you will smash through barriers, you need to have an enduring vision. The United States as a country has come through many generations of challenges because of an enduring vision that was cast by the founding fathers. I succeeded in finally being able to come to the United States because I had an enduring vision.

3. When Knocked Down, Get Back Up – Be Persistent!

I like reading biographies. One of the stories I have enjoyed so much was that of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln had a steady stream of barriers throughout his life and he smashed through all of them. Look at this:

In 1816 his family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them. In 1818 his mother died. In 1831 he failed in business. In 1832 he ran for state legislature and lost. In 1832 he lost his job and wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.In 1833 he borrowed money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the next year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt. In 1834 he ran for state legislature again and won. In 1835 he was engaged to be married. His sweetheart died and his heart was broken. In 1836 he had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months. In 1838 he sought to become speaker of the state legislature but was defeated. In 1840 he sought to become elector but was defeated. In 1843 he ran for congress and lost. In 1846 he ran for congress again. This time he won, went to Washington and did a good job.In 1848 he ran for reelection to congress and lost. In 1849 he sought the job of land officer in his home state and was rejected. In 1854 he ran for Senate of the United States but lost. In 1856 he sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s convention and got less that 100 votes. In 1858 he ran for US Senate again – again, he lost. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States!

My! That’s a long list of barriers for just one single guy! But you know what? He had purpose, vision and persistence. You can do it too! Let’s smash through barriers!

Posted in Creating, Engaging, Fulfillment, Interacting, Leadership, Organization, Participating, Wisdom | 1 Comment »

Firing Missiles from Canoes

Posted by Herman Najoli on September 11, 2010

Robert Schuller once said that “You can’t fire a missile from a canoe”. A leader’s vision for his organization may sometimes be limited by current structures in the organization. There are also times when vision may be limited by structures that are not present within the organization. The organization’s objectives too play a great role in determining the results that will be yielded. There must be a solid foundation that ensures that any goals pursued will be achieved satisfactorily.

How then do we ensure that our output will be measurable to our input without having to demolishing our present structures? How do we develop a system that allows us to fire missiles from canoes without toppling over into the water? Every vision needs to be strengthened by the underlying philosophies and values that guide the organization. You can’t expect to achieve a big vision when the guiding philosophies do not match up to the vision. You cannot expect to accomplish great things when your strategy is flawed. Here are some ideas that can enable you to secure an output that is worthy of your input:

1. Have a Mission that matches your Vision

A company’s daily undertakings need to fit into the bigger picture of it’s ultimate objectives. Many organizations have dropped the ball by engaging in activities that are outside the range of the company vision. Vision is guarded by staying on the critical path with the company mission. Do this and you will be able to fire missiles from your canoe. I guarantee it!

2. Develop Goals that align with your Philosophy

Company philosophy is crucial to the outcomes and output of an organization. Your goals should align with the values that the company holds dearest. Every organization needs to clarify what it is that it holds as fundamental to it’s existence. Enron failed because the leaders’ activities veered off the course of the company’s core values. Your have to hold onto your core values.

3. Create a Strategy that builds on your Accomplishments

Strategy is the key to building value in an organization. Value is measured by an organization’s accomplishments. The more a company accomplishes, the more it acquires a competitive advantage over other companies within that industry. Strategy therefore is key to the long-term existence of a company.

These three keys, applied in an orderly manner, will not only ensure that you fire missiles from your canoe but also build an organization that lasts.

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Enthusiasm: The Bedrock of Passion; The Key to Potential

Posted by Herman Najoli on March 5, 2010

Ralph Waldo Emerson, that great essayist and poet whose been quoted so many times, once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”. Enthusiasm is the bedrock of passion and the key to maximizing one’s personal potential. Henry David Thoreau said that the mass of men live lives of quiet desperation. In other words, they do not have a passion for anything. They have nothing to stand for, so they fall for anything that comes their way. How then, can we break through and find something worth standing for?

The key is in having a desire to make a difference. Making a difference could mean changing the way things are or simply contributing to a social condition or situation. Desire is the ignition key, so to speak, of passion. You cannot pursue something unless you really have a desire for it. We generate enthusiasm by having positive desires that will contribute towards a better life and society. Let’s work on generating greater enthusiasm.

Posted in Creating, Engaging, Fulfillment, Interacting, Leadership, Organization, Participating, Wisdom | 2 Comments »

On Eagles, Geese, Turkeys, Crows, Vultures, and Hawks

Posted by Herman Najoli on September 8, 2009

Eagles have always been representative of high calibre leaders. They don’t flock like geese but rather fly solo. While this may rob them of the ability to draft from each other, it provides them with some crucial advantages that are essential for vision development, maintenance, and casting. Here are two: 

One, an eagle and a turkey react very differently to the threat of a storm. A turkey runs under the barn, hoping the storm won’t come near. The eagle, on the other hand, leaves the security of its nest and spreads its wings to ride the air currents of the approaching storm, knowing they will carry it higher than it could soar on its own.

Two, when an eagle is attacked by a pack of crows it doesn’t fight back. All it does is simply fly higher and higher, knowing that pretty soon the crows won’t be able to fly any higher. The eagle plays smart rather than lose its sensibility in the mindless games of small-thinking crows.

What additional insights can high calibre leaders gain from eagle-like thinking? Here are six marks:

1. Eagles are catalysts of experiences – Eagles make things happen based on their skills and abilities. They walk the road less traveled, defying models in order to blaze new trails. They make epic experiences happen.

2. Eagles possess great vision and execution – Eagles don’t perch on a tree and wait for the cows to come home. They go out and look for opportunities. They are not risk averse. They know when to unleash their cards.

3. Eagles are change agents – Eagles influences others in positive ways. They are 360° influencers. Their influence is not restricted by any categories or attributes. They confound the simple while dazzling the enlightened.

4. Eagles are multipliers of value – Eagles multiply the value of what they touch. Geese add value, turkeys subtract value, while crows divide value. Some groups are infested with vultures who prey on value!

5. Eagles empower eagles – Eagles don’t hang out with hawks. Hawks are pretenders. They are self-conceited, wait for the vultures to leave the carcass before they swarm in to make an even greater mess.

6. Eagles are sources of creativity – Eagles hunt for ideas that result in quantum transformation. They bring about the revolutionary advances that cement their status as high calibre leaders. Let the eagles fly!

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Dance: The Rhythm of an Epic Life

Posted by Herman Najoli on August 11, 2009

There is a Kenyan saying that “He who spends time adorning himself knows he is going to a dance”. This saying came to mind a few weeks ago as I watched my wife spend almost thirty minutes in front of the mirror. When I jokingly told her that she was spending too much time using cosmetics on an already stunning and gorgeous face, she responded, “Stop it charming … I’m not spending time here, I’m investing time”. Immediately when she said that I thought about the Kenyan saying above. Through this simple interaction, the stunner had just contributed towards refreshing my mind with brilliant insight.

Let’s explore the saying. For the purpose of clarifying the idea of what I’m sharing here (and staying on the same track with my wife’s thinking), let me say it this way, “She who invests time in preparing herself knows that there is something special in her future”. The stunner invested a significant amount of time in preparing herself that morning because she was expectating to meet a client later in the day.

Preparation is the key to securing your future. Are you adorning yourself? You should be, because there’s a dance awaiting you. The dance is the future that you were destined to live. One of the most beautiful things in life is a man or woman who is ready when his or her time comes. You may not be in the ‘dance’ of your life right now, but you can prepare because the truth is that every human being gets the opportunity to experience their dance. The problem is that very few are ever ready when the moment comes.

Start adorning yourself. Invest in personal growth. Read books that will prepare you for the future. Develop yourself into the kind of person who will shine on the dance floor when destiny finally says, “Here’s your chance”. Get ready! The quality of dance you expect in your future determines the amount of adorning you will do today. Raise your expectations. You shouldn’t be expecting to go to some mediocre dance. Your goal should be to dance in the most sophisticated dances reserved for the ones who have invested heavily in themselves.

One very important closing thought: Life was never meant to be a battle. Life is supposed to be a dance. Larry D’Anges said, “If you don’t learn to dance with life, life will pass you by and get another partner“. And I say this: “If you don’t learn how to dance today, you won’t shine on the dance floor tomorrow“.

Posted in Creating, Fulfillment, Organization, Wisdom | 2 Comments »

Transitioning from Next Level Thinking to a Living a Life of Legacy

Posted by Herman Najoli on March 1, 2009

People today are consumed with the idea of going to the next level in their lives, be it in their relationships, careers, finances or other area of life. While this is great because it motivates them, I find it to be an idea that can limit our true potential. My paradigm is that we need to be consumed with the idea of the kind of legacy we will leave behind at the end of the seasons of our lives.

Thinking about your legacy every day, rather than thinking about the next level only, makes you a better leader. I also believe that thinking about a legacy makes you other-people centered while thinking about going to the next level tends to make one self-centered.

How do you transition from thinking about the next level to thinking about developing a legacy?

1. Be more focused on other people rather yourself

The idea of being a ‘people person’ has been around for a long time. Dale Carnegie’s 1936 masterpiece, ‘How to Win Friends and influence People’, has helped so many people over the years to develop a people-centered perspective that has enabled them to leave great legacies. I would highly suggest a reading of the book. 

2. Ask how you can help rather than what others can do for you.

President John F. Kennedy immediately became a world figure with his acceptance speech in which he said, ” And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you -ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” In order to leave a legacy you must ascend in thought to where you are asking what you can do for others rather than what they can do for you. 

3. Be a giver more than a receiver

Nothing shapes a legacy more than the spirit of giving. When you give of yourself to others you become a part of the solution. It’s solution-centered thinking that sets the pace for the kind of legacy a person will leave behind. Again, when one is thinking of going to the next level, the pre-dominant question is “What can I get (or receive) that will take me to the next level?” When one is thinking of leaving a legacy, the pre-dominant question is “What can I give that will help others?” Be more of a giver and your legacy will be unshakable because the truth is that what we give is ours forever!

4. Be a leader more than a follower

Leaders impact and influence other people greatly. The great thing about being a leader is that you are able to take other people to the next level as you develop a legacy. What a beauty! Leaders pass along the best in themselves to other people. I’m always pleased when I hear from people I led in high school and at the university. They always say things like, “Herman, that idea was awesome. It took our group to a whole new level.” While those short-term moves were great for whichever group I led, the best thing is that a legacy was developed because even today they still talk about what we did.

Are you living for the next level or developing a legacy for and with your people? Start shaping your legacy today. 

Posted in Creating, Engaging, Fulfillment, Interacting, Leadership, Organization, Participating, Wisdom | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Designed and Engineered for Success

Posted by Herman Najoli on January 18, 2009

We all want to achieve success. Human beings are designed and born for success. Success, however, is not automatic. There are certain key things that we have to do consistently in order to really attain that which brings significance to our lives. Here are six key things that I believe will usher in success to anyone who applies them.

1. Set big goals and dreams and go after them – Every worthwhile pursuit in life begins with a dream. Dreams are the substance of life. Once you have a dream, you need to create step by step goals that will allow you to get that which you desire. Goals must be pursued diligently. Diligence is the guidepost to fulfillment in life.

2. Learn from every problem or obstacle you face – Problems, challenges, obstacles and crisis are great teaching schools. When problems arise, take notes and study them. Learn from your mistakes and that will enable you to not repeat them. True success comes through challenges and trials. The road to success is littered with problems and obstacles that were conquered by winners.

3. Learn the key skills you require for success – Skills separate the winners from the losers, the successful from the successful. One of the things that has helped me a lot over the years is studying the lives of successful people. They have all been people who amassed great skill at doing what takes them over the top. Learn the necessary skills and you will definitely make it to the top.

4. Get the support and cooperation of others – No man is an island. The day of the lone-ranger is over. Teamwork makes the dream work. If you will truly reach your potential, you must embrace the power of teaming up with others. The support of people around you is crucial. Develop an inner circle of people who will support you. Find mentors and learn from them. Create networks with successful people and add value to them.

5. Focus on priorities and concentrate on key tasks – Priorities are the pathways to success. Your priorities in life determine the quality of your results. Goals should be prioritized. High impact goals should befirst on your goals list. Clear set-up of priorities enables you to develop a powerful focus that directs your pursuit of your goals. The objectives that bring you the most reward in life should be the center of focus.

6. Develop persistence and unshakable self-confidence – Persistence and self-confidence go hand-in-hand. We all encounter obstacles in life but it is those who persists through the obstacles who will attain their full potential. Self-confidence sets you apart. Most people sabotage themselves by second-guessing their abilities and strengths. Don’t let doubt, uncertainty and societal barriers stop you. Success is yours for the taking.

Go for it!

Posted in Creating, Engaging, Fulfillment, Interacting, Leadership, Organization, Participating, Wisdom | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

How to Get Anything You Want

Posted by Herman Najoli on December 15, 2008

Zig Ziglar famously said, “You can get anything you want in this world if you can just help enough other people get what they want”. The truth is that if you do something nice for someone else, they will feel obligated to do something nice for you. That’s the power of reciprocity. I learnt this with a friend of mine the other day when I invited him and his family for a fully paid tour of an exhibition in our city. He was so delighted that all evening he kept on asking if there was anything he could do to help me.

You should always be looking for opportunities to help other people. Make it your goal that you will go the extra mile in helping people attain what they desire. Make it your personal goal to do more than you are paid for. Be committed to putting in more than you take out. When your input exceeds your output, your upkeep will be secure. By extending yourself, you improve your positioning in the other person’s mind. Few people have a concrete philosophy for helping others. Develop one for yourself and you will stand head and shoulders over many.

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Truly Maximizing Your Life

Posted by Herman Najoli on November 22, 2008

We live in a world in which giving an average performance has become the norm. Most employees work just enough to keep from being fired and they are paid just enough to keep from quitting. Service in many industries is at best average. Very few companies and organizations stand out as excellent service providers. If we are going to attain our full potential, we must commit to being excellent at everything we do. Many times we talk a better game than we can play. We make big commitments to give our best but when the rubber meets the road, we come short and fail to provide what we had said we would.

Col. Harland Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken said, ”I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours nor amount of labor nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me”. A good study of his life will show us that the road to success is paved with a commitment to giving your very best on a daily basis. Now, the road to mediocrity is littered with sub-standard service and average performances. We need to break out of that cycle of average and truly give our best in everything we do. That is the key to truly maximizing our lives.

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