The leader’s strength lies in how he or she thinks. You cannot navigate your business in this environment with conventional thinking.
The Covid-19 pandemic has stretched many businesses, but most importantly has pushed leaders to think on how they can survive in this environment.
It is times like this that distinguish between strong and weak leadership. Leaders are not meant for easy times, they are meant for such a time as this.
Strong fish go against the current, they do not just flow with the current. Even dead fish can flow with the current. Leaders during this time need to understand that they have to think or swim.
Master, ways of adjusting, and aligning business models in light of the new reality. The brain is not for decoration, it must be used. When we retreat to do our strategy sessions are we seriously putting thought into this or we do it to tick the box as having completed a strategy for the year.
“The Vaccinated Church of Christ”! Have you ever heard of a church like this? There is no church like that, I got this name from social media as people were responding to cabinet announcements.
Cabinet resolved that churches could open with only those people who have received double doses being permitted in the church.
The offending members will invite sanction on the presiding pastors who would be liable for criminal prosecution.
For a long time, some churches had been advancing conspiracy theories to the effect that the vaccine was “the mark of the beast”, and consequently quite a number of people were sceptical and many abstained from taking the vaccine.
Zimbabwe, according to some estimates has 80 percent Christian population, what better way to have the same people who were attacking the vaccines to be ambassadors of the vaccine.
This is the function of serious unconventional thinking. The result of this move is to see more and more individuals taking vaccines. Imagine if the same is extended to night clubs or these other forms of nightlife that most people are yelling for their opening.
You cannot think conventionally in unconventional times. It is not enough to describe the problem or what your competition is doing, you need to answer the question: what are you going to do about it. Do it! Take action.
Eat or be eaten
This is the world of business. It’s either you eat or you will be eaten. In this same environment some businesses were swallowed. We are in the jungle of business.
The pharmaceutical companies worked around the clock at the inception of Covid-19 to arrive at a vaccine to help boost the immune system in the fight against the virus.
They knew very well, that they cannot just wait for one company to have the vaccine. There are several vaccines right now being administered globally. The pharmaceuticals are aware of the fact that they can easily be swallowed.
Correct your belief systems
The business leader needs to correct how (s)he thinks. Your life is a result of how you think. No wonder, King Solomon advised in Proverbs 4:23 that, “Be careful how you think, your life is shaped by your thoughts.” He doesn’t say your life is shaped by Covid-19, he says its shaped by “your thoughts”.
The good thing is that these are “your thoughts”. Your focus should be on developing correct thoughts and establishing the right belief systems.
Think big, and think fast
What vision do you have for your business? Whatever it is, think big. Condition your mind to think big. Yes, you may start small, but do it with a mindset that is big. In this age, it is not enough just to think Aldrin Antivola, business efficiency advisor and organisational therapist aptly observes, “The name of the game now is: It is the fast that eats the big.” It’s even better if you are both big and fast. Constantly review, your business model for adaptability. Your seeming strength in the long run may actually turn out to be your weakness.
Do you know that you do not need capital to think? The world recognises innovators. I often hear people say I can’t start a business because I do not have capital. You do not need capital to start a business; you need an idea to start a business. Facebook was started by someone who did not have capital.
WhatsApp was started by someone who did not have capital. In fact, WhatsApp was started by a person who had been declined by Facebook and Twitter. The people who have made it in business simply had innovative ideas they pursued confidently.
Thomas Bata set out to put a shoe on every person on planet earth, and his idea gave birth to the family business, The Bata Shoe Company in Czechoslovakia.
Boyd Dunlop, irritated by the noise from the steel wheels, set out to come up with a solution that would change the world even today, pneumatic tyres. This became the birth of Dunlop Tyre Company which lived beyond him.
- Buckminster Fuller makes a profound observation, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
This is so true, do not fight anyone! I have seen businesses fight other businesses; I have seen people fight other people! What a waste! True, it’s a waste of time, and a waste of life. Do not invest your energy in fighting competition.
In fact, competition is not actually your problem. The solution has been prescribed above; “To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” This is the truth that business needs to run with, and also as individuals, need to embrace.
It’s very possible to be rendered obsolete. If you are not developing yourself you will be made obsolete. If I may rub it in, you can be absolutely obsolete if you do not develop yourself. I want to illustrate this point using the R. Buckminster Fuller quote, and a few examples.
You cannot think like everyone else and expect to be different. Do not be bound by the common way of thinking. Step out of the common and do the uncommon. If you think in a common way you will reap a common harvest, if you think in an uncommon way you will reap an uncommon harvest. Great people look at the same situation like everyone else and see opportunities.
I will share with you some interesting thoughts that were uttered some years ago. I do not know if the authors of these statements were still alive today, whether they would still associate themselves with their utterances;
“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” — Commissioner US Patent Office, 1899.
“The telephone has too many shortcomings to be a means of communication” — Executive from the World’s leading Telegraphic Company 1876
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers” — IBM Chairman 1943
“Guitar Music is on the way out” — Record Executive who rejected the Beatles 1962
The people who uttered these sentiments were thoroughly confident about what they were saying. Little however, did they know that they were thoroughly wrong as well. The world is witness to how guilty their conclusions were. Do not be guided by generational thinking that is not progressive in nature, think outside the norm. Refuse to accept the status quo; challenge your thoughts to provoke solutions to problems.
Remember, the quality of problems you solve determines the quality of reward you receive. We have always been told to think outside of the box, but sometimes what we need to do is to think as if there is no box.
Challenge the tradition
Greatness makes no room for people with respect for tradition. People who have made history are the people who were prepared to face the challenges and the criticism in order to do the unforgettable. There are people who will always hold non-progressive views and will always look for opportunities to crush innovation. People who are accustomed to the normal will never have a date with the abnormal.
At one point in time it was termed abnormal to transmit voices without wires, it was abnormal to fly and soar like eagles. There are people who even invested their resources just to demonstrate that there is nothing that can be invented. There are several things that may have become normal in your business, and you may have embraced it as a reality. What you embrace becomes a part of you. What has been said about you? Do you believe it?
The story of George Dantzig
You may not know of this gentleman, but I will unpack his story for you. George had a well-documented record of late coming for class every day during his college days. Consistent with his behaviour he walked into class and saw some two mathematical problems which were written on the chalkboard.
Without talking to anybody, he simply copied the problems and went back to his room where he started working on them. He finished the first mathematical problem, and moved on to the next one. He discovered that the second problem was not his usual mathematical problem and realised that he just need a bit more time to work on it. Within three days, he managed to finish the second problem, and he submitted his assignment.
To compound the matters, he was also late with his assignment. After submitting his assignment, he got a call from his professor who seemed a bit shaken. George was apprehensive, as he thought he may have performed dismally in the assignments and the professor was calling to caution him. The professor told George, “DO you know what you just did? The second question that you answered was not an assignment. This is an equation which has vexed mathematicians ever since the time of Albert Einstein.” History was made, a problem which had been in existence for years, was solved in three days.
What was the secret behind George Dantzig’s success? Ignorance of the history of the problem was his secret. Everyone who was in class when the professor was delivering the lecture about the famous mathematical problem never attempted to write it. In fact, those who wrote it down simply did so because they wanted to share the story, and not find a solution. George who was not in class was not conditioned on the difficulties of the problem. He was never told about the history of the problem, and when he attempted the problem, he treated it as a normal homework problem and with that mindset, he made history. You too can do so, choose to ignore the stories that are often told about the challenges that face the economy, and choose to focus on solutions.
Who is in your life, and what are they speaking?
I can best guarantee you that if Dantzig was in class that day, he would not have made history. Fear was instilled in all the people who attended the lecture.
Who is speaking in your life right now? What are they speaking into your life. There are people who are really good at inspiring fear in you. They can tell you every reason why you cannot achieve your dreams. Sometimes, you do not need to hear a thousand reasons why you cannot do it; you just need one good reason why you can.
Surround yourself with people who challenge your thinking, and stretch you to greater limits. People who do not stretch you shrink you. I once wrote in my Personal Development book, that, “It is better to have no friends at all than to have a thousand friends who do not add any value to you.”
Start with the right mental attitude
It has often been said that your attitude determines your altitude. What is killing many people and working against our success is our attitude. Many people have registered failure in their system, and everything that they apply their mind to is bound to fail. Everything that they do has to conform to this standard.
We can never grow beyond our level of faith. Those who internalised the theories of the professor may even have compared themselves to Albert Einstein and his achievements, and looked at themselves and they felt hopeless.
One gentleman, who did not read about Einstein and other mathematician’s troubles, approached an age-old problem as a normal problem. He had the right attitude which was devoid of inherited fears. Why don’t you give yourself a chance? Forget the failures of the past, and choose to create breakthroughs of the future.
Choose to make the future generation believe in possibility rather than in limitations.
Arthur Marara is a corporate law attorney, keynote speaker, corporate and personal branding speaker commanding the stage with his delightful humour, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. He is a financial wellness expert and is passionate about addressing the issues of wellness, strategy and personal and professional development. Arthur is the author of “Toys for Adults” a thought provoking book on entrepreneurship, and “No one is Coming” a book that seeks to equip leaders to take charge. Send your feedback to [email protected] or Visit his website www.arthurmarara.com or contact him on +263772467255 for bookings