Sleeves or no sleeves: Wear it right!

I have spotted several Kenyans around in these suits. They have short sleeves you see and I have gotten taken a back by the them quite a number of times! I wondered why at first given that I am quite the dedicated advocate for unique style. Then I saw this mannequin and realized it!

  1. Toned arms: Do wear this suit if you have toned arms that can be shown off!
  2. Shoulder fit: Do insist on one that has perfect shoulder and chest fit for a polished look
  3. Colour: I love dark shades but do wear colors that compliment your skin tone and agree with your shoe and belt color. Read my brief thoughts on this here
  4. The tie: I would insist that a tie be worn with this look as the image suggests but should you choose to dress it down, remove the tie completely! Do not leave it on loosely!

I salute all those gentlemen who pull off this suit! Clap! Clap!

Got time? No? Then say so!

I have friends and acquaintance approaching me everyday asking for input on various projects and advice on various dilemmas and my biggest challenge is turning them down. So I rarely do and I end up with a lot on my fragile plate and with just a tiny spoon (a metaphor for time) to scoop the tasty tasks with.

As a solution, I have developed a simple and honest way to take a pass at some of the requests. Below is a typical scenario.

I have just met my friend Taylor  for coffee and he/she has just told me about this brilliant business idea he/she has. Then he/she drops the dreaded request!

Taylor: Please  help me draft the business plan! You are so good at these things!

Me: Your idea is brilliant Taylor. Thank you for the compliment. All I do is my best. I would love to get involved as you would wish but unfortunately, I have committed myself to a host of other projects and I cannot apply myself as effectively as I would at this time. I am confident that you will maneuver without me and create an outstanding business plan for this one-of-a-kind venture!

Taylor: Ok. I wish you could write it up for me but since you are committed elsewhere, I understand. Can I then send the finished draft and get your feedback?

Me: Of course you can.

Note that I have not not cut off my dear fictitious friend completely. I have just excused myself from the heavier task using honesty, respect and grace.

What do you think of my technique? Do you have one to that works? Do share them with me.

Teleportation At Equity Center!

“What are the ingredients of expertise? Intelligent commitment over time.” – Wale Akinyemi. Chief Executive Officer of Powertalks Corporate and personal development consultants.

I discovered these ingredients in a group of individuals who are the contributors and editors of the Equity African Leadership Program (EALP) Journals. This website and soon to be published hardcover journal, is the station for all things spectacular. You only need to visit the site and  sample the articles to get blown away by the literary prowess of these young and creative minds.

As I sat through the inaugural public reading session of the journals at Equity Center (the Equity Bank head office), Nairobi on Friday 22nd June, 2012, I was taken on a magical journey filled with intrigue, sadness, excitement and whole other jumble of emotions that were more than clearly colored by the words that were used by the writers. Getting to hear the writers’ own voices bring alive the assortment of sensations left me feeling a little light headed actually. It was like I had been teleported into another realm that only I and the narrator could see and feel. So deep and vivid was the teleportation that by the time the story ended and I was forced to raise my bowed head and open my lazily shut eyes, an automatic raising of my hands in applause was the only thing left to do!

Kenya is gifted. Expert writers are in our midst. The EALP Journals have proven that. All that is left is to continue stirring the pot that contains this delicious simmering broth of African literature; stirring it in the gentle and deliberate motion of intelligent commitment whilst carefully adding healthy and well measured portions of time.

Mentor Much?

Regardless of how old you are, you need a mentor. Mentors are not godfathers or people you use to get favors. They are people to simply look up to and who are meant to add perspective in your life and work. They should best double up as friends for full value. But just how do you get one? Here is how I have been able to get myself valuable mentors who have continued to play vital roles in my life:

  • Seek family: I believe no one knows you better or loves you more than your family. So make the most of their experiences and engage them as you try to make your own way in life.
  • Use social media groups: Get mentors through Linkedin by simply starting genuine and relevant conversations in groups. Be sure to flaunt your strengths in a subtle way for full effect.
  • Ask friends: Fear not of asking your friends whom they can directly connect you to for guidance and networking.
  • Offer to mentor: Reach out to someone you feel may be in need of your time and advice. As you remain present in this person’s life, you will discover a lot about yourself and learn from them as well.

What else can be a way to get a mentor in your life? Do share them here with us.

The Future- Changers Movement

“Progress must be planned for, and excellent progress must be meticulously planned” – Prof. Munkumba; trainer, consultant and lecturer in Management and Finance with Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI).

Prof Munkumba narrowed in on the purpose of planning as one based on progress. It is all in the conviction of that which you stand for. A purposeful life is one which is lead not only with passion but with poverty of all things tangible. Once you put vanity aside, that haze that bars you from seeing beyond your temporary needs gets lifted and a whole new perspective of your life is developed.

I came up with this phrase ‘Future-Changers’ a while ago as I was sharing the link to one of my blog posts with various University of Nairobi class groups on Facebook. I needed an impactive way to address the young individuals that would get them thinking holistically of who they really are: which is the future of Kenya and the world.

Kenya is in our hands. We are responsible for what will happen tomorrow; good or bad. Our capabilities are the ones that are going to lift our country up and see it supersede the Vision 2030 agenda and all the other goals and targets that we have so set for ourselves. These capabilities should be backed by executable plans that are meant to bring forth lasting solutions.

Take one Samson Aluda. This future changer is a 23 year old university student who runs a secondary school in Kibera and he was recently interviewed by Caroline Mutoko on the Kiss FM morning show. He has very little and relies on the kindness and generosity of people to keep the facility open. With one day at a time, Samson is changing the futures of all the teens in the slum as well as his own. His plan is based on the academic progression of the children in Kibera. Given that the school is open and continues to meet the targets he has set for it, I’d say his progress is excellent, struggles notwithstanding!

It doesn’t matter how old you are or what little you think you have. If you can spare nothing else, you can spare your time and energy. Walk out of that door and change your future, Future-Changer! Meticulous plan in hand!

Should you wish to contact Samson for support or donations to the school, kindly email me at muthonimurithi@hotmail.com

 

The STAR factor!

The Human Resource Management Students Association (HURMSA) did it yet again on Friday 25th May! It brought to the University of Nairobi, School of Business Tom Shivo, Head of HR Relationship Management & Reward, Kenya Airways! If you didn’t get a chance to read about this spectacular association’s previous stellar event, read it here.

In this cold Friday morning, all of us were leaning in to catch every bit of what Mr Shivo was so concisely addressing: Appropriate job application techniques, CV writing and handling of interviews. Right off the bat, his experience, skill and knowledge was apparent. He stressed the importance of self assessment and how it opens the door to one’s full potential. How do you self assess? By simply looking at the things that make up your daily activities. Are you a player of a team sport or individual sport? When in a group, do you speak your mind or would you rather let others go first and then contribute? These factors tell of your introvert or extrovert traits. He mentioned this in the context of CV writing. A balance of the extrovert and the introvert in you is vital. Once you analyze yourself in these and many other scenarios, you will be able to know where you need to improve and how.

This brings me to what I think was the highlight of this tremendous session. Mr Shivo introduced S.T.A.R – Situation, Task, Action and Result. This is the technique that should be used when answering those interview questions that we think are really challenging. He gave an example of  questions asked to two HR candidates in an interview, “Have you encountered a challenge in your work life?” Candidate 1 simply answers, “Yes. I had two differently ranked employees and I found it really difficult to discipline them!” Candidate 2 on the other hand is asked whether he has any weaknesses and keeping in mind that he arrived 30 minutes earlier, is composed and taking steady deep breaths to relax says calmly, “Indeed I have had a weakness of smiling a lot! When it would come to disciplining employees, I would smile and they’d often take offense thinking that I am mocking them! So I decided to approach my mentor for advice and I have since learnt how to keep my facial expressions in check and so far no employee has brought forward a complaint!” In this second answer, you can trace out a situation that occurred in a certain task and for which action was taken and the result was positive! Neat, isn’t it? 🙂 For those who haven’t started doing so, do apply this S.T.A.R factor in your responses!

A warm thank you to Mr Shivo for taking time to visit and share his knowledge with us. Salute to HURMSA for the continued effort in adding value to the lives of students in the University of Nairobi, School of Business! Two thumbs up!

The Dwelling That Was

YAY!

I’m clearing from campus in a matter of weeks and graduating in December! My time at the University of Nairobi, School of  Business has been awesome. I have made friends and even more friends. I have also grown and grown…! I’ve loved it!

This is what has been keeping me going all through:

  1. Prayer: I am those 10 minutes of prayer and reflection in my day.
  2. Family: I am fortunate enough to have a brilliant support system. My confidence comes from them.
  3. Vision: I have something I want and aspire to and that is a having fulfilling career where I can apply myself fully and go home a ‘good kind of happy’!
  4. Business: I will have my very own startup by the end of this year. One based on making the Kenyan citizen (student and businessperson) a global competitor. It’ll be all about value addition! Stay tuned!
  5. Be the one: I have a growing obsession of being 100% value adder wherever I am! I may miss the target on occasion but I believe it’s the effort that counts. Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?

I wonder what keeps you going in life.  Keep at it, won’t you?