Language in Marketing

Wellworth: The Language of Marketing

“Marketing is about communicating in the language of the buyer, establishing a mutual understanding and converting this to a sale.”

Effective and differentiated use of language results in effective persuasion or at least the effective transmission of feelings and ideas a marketer intends to communicate to the target customer. I’ve been a proponent of the power of business to deliver value in the communities in which they operate. On this note, I have written in the past about marketing as a key business function from Staying Visible where I reflected on Safaricom PLC position in the telecommunication industry, Storytelling where I focused on the power of the stories we tell to either make or break, Matching Product Promise to Product Value with a focus on branding and Good Service as Good Business where I reflected on my personal experiences among others. In all these stories, there’s a common thread, communicating your value proposition whether in words, actions or conduct of business and realizing the benefits in returns and conversions. Armed with this then you need to ask yourself whether you are leveraging on this power. Probably you’ll be so eager to excuse yourself for not being a marketer but that’s not true. You know it and I know it so let us take a deep dive together.

I recently transitioned to a new role in my career and with the transition I get to interact with new people performing different roles within the same organization. As a business entity, we focus on reimagining medicines with an aim to extend and improve peoples’ lives. This is only possible when these products get to the hands of these patients who then use them to manage their medical conditions. For this matter we have a diverse team from regulatory affairs professionals where I’m part of the team, medical affairs specialists, marketing teams, patient safety experts, communications, IT experts among others. In this whole spectrum I had a brief chat with our of manager with a focus on the commercial operations and specifically marketing. In this chat I wanted to understand how marketing works and the basic principle of marketing based on his experience. From his account, the key driver and specific determinant is language. Language in this context is not about being able to speak a common language but the ability to speak in terms that make sense to the recipient. We can both and all speak in English but in the entire conversation there’s room for understanding that a deaf person expressing himself/herself in sign language to an audience that doesn’t understand sign language but makes sense of the demonstrations. That’s the power of language in marketing i.e. being relatable, having a common understanding and using the same to communicate the value to the prospective customer in a way they understand with clear action items i.e. expected call to action. Closing the sale in other terms.

We all are selling and as we all sell, we have to be able to speak in a language our counterparts understand. In the space where I operate as a regulatory affairs professional, I’m meant to interface with regulators who are keen on safeguarding public health by ascertaining quality, safety and efficacy of medicines we bring into the market. On this account then, my responsibility is to demonstrate and provide scientific evidence that validate all the claims behind the safety, efficacy and quality of our medicines. Once convinced, we are able to get the medicines into the countries upon registration and patients will then use them. If I am unsuccessful on this account, a patient misses out on their essential medication and may suffer complications as a result. It’s then my role to speak the language of the regulator both in words, scientific demonstration and proactive engagement in satisfying all the expectations.

My challenge for you this weekend is to reflect on the language of your work as a technical matter expert and consider whether you have been using technical jargons with people who don’t understand these (in which case you may be interfacing with the wrong audience or not socially intelligent to tailor your communication appropriately) or whether you’ve been effective at this. In the latter, you still have room to improve because for career growth you are bound to interface with different target clients/markets for which then you’ll have to understand their language. Get learning and growing with a focus on where you are headed. After all is said and done, we are all marketing and have to work on our language to win our customers over.

M-PESA FRAUDSTERS

DO NOT disclose your M-PESA details to anyone posing as Safaricom staff

“Innovation creates value but as it drives progress, the scammers & fraudsters are always keen on taking lead. We need to do better.”

As a believer in disruptive innovations and the power of business to drive development, I’ve over the time talked highly of Safaricom. As an organization, Safaricom has played a critical role in transforming the financial sector in Kenya with the advent of MPESA. This have helped in easing movement of money, promoting businesses and beyond that they’ve made it easier even to receive business payments. This has been through the novel solutions i.e. Business Pay Bill & Lipa Na MPESA Till Number options. On this account I’m certain every Kenyan to an extent have had a feel of the impact of MPESA on their lives which is commendable.

However, as much as we can see the good that this creative disruption brought to the financial sector, I’m also cognizant of the challenges that have come with it. In 2016, I made my maiden trip to Uganda by road for a ROTARY Summit. On this occasion I was to witness the corruption in our police system both Kenyan & Ugandan. A fellow passenger had forgotten his Yellow Fever card at home and knowing that this is a requirement, he was to either go back home or bribe the border officials. I’m sure you’ve guessed the choice he made. Bribing the police officers he did but on this account through MPESA having known that he could reverse the amount once we were past the border post. He recovered the money within 20 minutes past the border post but unfortunately this didn’t last longer for the border officers made it their business to follow through and so he had to make peace with paying the bribe. I’m not going to make judgement on this case for either way both parties weren’t doing the right thing. Receiving and taking of bribes followed with stealing the bribe. Why do I bring this story up? You may ask.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, public health measures that were instituted to control the spread of infection included use of mobile/digital payment solutions to reduce contact through use of hard cash. With MPESA having been at the core of our business operations, this was adopted with ease. Unfortunately, the witty side of humanity didn’t take long to manifest. Relying on public means to travel around the city, I’ve become accustomed to using MPESA for payments and considering not all the vehicles have the MPESA business payment options, it’s about sending money to individual numbers. I’ve done this with ease until recently when the recent containment measures were put in place that I started witnessing conductors explicitly indicating their unwillingness to use the MPESA option. It was a concern for me until today that I had a conversation with an old mama, a typical brick and mortar trader who counts on her daily operations to sustain her livelihood. In her account, she used to accept MPESA payment options but currently she stopped because in some instances she had to deal with reversal of payments by clients who had already taken her products. This broke my heart. How does one take fruits worth Kshs. 100 from an old mama who depends on that for a living to reverse the whole amount?

It’s been a painful ordeal knowing that we are a mess as a people stealing from everyone and anyone when and where we can. As this happens, how do we feel when we look at ourselves in the mirror when we steal from those in our midst? How do we expect the system to be fair when we aren’t fair by ourselves? We need to do better as a people.

To Safaricom, I think there’s need for extra measures to help individuals curb such i.e. approval measures from recipient to help with such reversals from unscrupulous persons. It’s high time we work beyond the basic business models and think for those who entrust us to look out for them.

Power of Self Awareness: The McKinsey 7’S Framework Way

“A solitary fantasy can transform a million realities. Understanding oneself and envisioning that future is a way to it.”

Debbie Ford defined self awareness as the ability to take an honest look at your life without attachment to it being right or wrong. It’s the ability to be honest, vulnerable and authentic in your desire to understand yourself & what makes you tick with a goal in mind. The goal often times is to be a better version of yourself either in your personal life, professional life or business world. It all depends with what your priorities and focus is at that particular time. Key is to acknowledge that you may go through transformational phases with your identity, priorities and desires changing. What matters is being able to align with the essential values at the core of it as I earlier wrote about here.

This evening I’ve been honored to host #LadiesTalk session with my team at Ryculture Health & Social Innovation on Self Awareness where we hosted Eng. Faridah Odhiambo. Through her presentation which you can watch here, she was deliberate on sharing the basic tenets that contribute to and define who we are i.e. personality, values, habits, emotions and needs. In line with the presentation, I have come to realize that often times there is a tendency to focus on business management principles and tools for use in exclusively in that domain. While this is the norm, I believe there’s no limitation on the use of business management principles & models in running personal lives and that’s why drawing on McKinsey 7’s Framework in the business world, I’m keen on challenging each of us to consider applying the same in our personal lives especially with regard to self awareness which was the topic of discussion. For start, the McKinsey 7’s Framework focuses on how we can perform internal assessment with a focus on improving to achieve our goals and aspirations in the future. This aligns with the focus of self awareness and the framework builds a case around 7 factors as discussed below in the context of self awareness:

  1. Strategy – plan to win. In self awareness, we all aspire to be better versions of ourselves or rather more successful in one way or the other. In order to achieve this, the strategy is how we intend to achieve this in a structured manner with a plan on how to realize that goal. The building blocks, timelines and required resources are outlined in this section. It’s the high level overview of what you intend to do, what’s needed to accomplish it and how it’ll be implemented.
  2. Structure – structure of resources. This outlines the overall scope of what resources are available in your environment that can be put to use in helping you realize your strategic goal. In this case, we can consider the relationships you have, work environment or sector within which you operate and the trends in these spaces. Considering these, you can assess the current status in line with what will be needed to realize your goal and optimize accordingly by either transitioning, forming new alliances or making the best use of what’s available.
  3. Systems – processes and activities. In life there are the specific actions we take to achieve our goals. These include work we do, extra learning that exposes us to the market dynamics & sectoral concerns among others. The focus around the systems bit is ensuring you assess the activities you are doing in the current moment in line with your goal and determine whether these are aligned. If your focus & current activities are out of tune, it’s better to refocus and realign for the better. Otherwise you’ll be putting in the work which doesn’t align with your goal thus inefficient use & deployment of resources.
  4. Style – the way things are done. This looks at your way of doing things. If you need to acquire skills and based on your predisposition, reading books isn’t the best way it’s better to consider others styles e.g. attending webinars, watching tutorials, reading articles & blogs like this one among others. The focus is on ensuring you adopt a style that works for you considering what you’ve been doing and whether it has been giving the intended results or not.
  5. Staff – employees. In your life it’s given that you don’t have employees helping you become self aware but in this case it’s the way you’ll be able to achieve the goals as the key employee. You have to look at you as the centerpiece who will drive this meaningful work to achieve the goal without which it’ll not happen. Once you envision this then you determine how you’ll do the work.
  6. Skills – skills of employees and organization. For every activity or task we perform, there’s need for skills. In our lives there are skills we’ll need to be able to perform better in line with realization of our goal. Assuming you wanted to be an influential blogger, the key would be to learn & acquire writing skills, learn extensively on the areas in which you want to blog about to be an authority in that space among others. There are skills needed and your part is to assess the skills you have, those you need and determine how to fill the skills gap. Skills development is better & easier when you are self aware.
  7. Shared Values – core values. These are the non-negotiables and the core drivers behind why you do what you do, how you do what you do and what you are known for in that space. It’s the ultimate identity & brand you aspire for. You need to determine your current values (what you know yourself for & what you are known for), establish what you’d want to be know for and find a way to align and manifest the ideals from the get-go.

I believe that by applying the McKinsey 7’s Framework in our self awareness and personal development journey, we are suited to make pragmatic improvements helping us realize our potential. It’s time to think of our lives as corporate entities, organizations and transcend segregation of principles & partial adoption of principles to 360 degrees application of these principles.

Resounding Calls of Our Heritage

“We all have a heritage and as far as it goes there’s a common heritage & value compass. Heed the call.”

Having a heritage is one thing I do hold dear. I am not as versed with my ancestral lineage except for the chants we used to make as children in the fields looking after animals. “Dave K’Odhiambo, Odhiambo Ka’Aduol, Aduol Ka’Koko, Koko K’Opondo, Opondo K’Owang’, Owang Ka’Sewe, Sewe Ka’Magonglo” and that’s as far as I can go. In all that streak there’s one thing that I’ve always tried to pick up and knit a fabric that holds the positives & values that have transcended this lineage. I’m certain I’ll not be the last in this lineage but what beckons in my mind is what I’ll pass on to the next generation. I’d want to tell stories of greatness, hard work, resilience, dedication & hope. These are some attributes I’ve been able to witness in the last two generations that I had a chance to interact with but this isn’t what I’m about today. There’s more to what I heard and saw in them. Of specific interest to me is the fact that however much circumstances changed from one phase to the other, there was always a common commitment to never forget where we come from. In a fleeting memory I remember my Dad talking of his admission to college and the most critical piece of advise he got from my grandfather was to never forget where he came from. I never got to comprehend the basis of it but as I went through life, I’ve come to acknowledge that life plays out in ways we didn’t know or expect and in that journey we carry on the legacy, hopes and aspirations of a generation. Question is whether we’ll let them down or stand up for what they believed in.

I’m writing this piece from a point of concern having noted a growing trend for individuals especially the elite in one way or the other to detach from their heritage. I’m not asking you to nurture your tribal biases or such but rather to look back on their hopes and do better. As a healthcare practitioner, I acknowledge the hope & trust that’s bestowed upon me to stand for and represent those most in need of my intervention. These include the patients who need care whether in my close vicinity or in the most marginalized of places, those who can afford and those who can’t afford. Those who have are at the margins of giving up any hope. It’s within my purview to act right and stand up for them. This I’ve noticed has been sent aback as individuals focus on their immediate interests with little regard for the ramifications of such acts of omission or commission when they happen. We’ve got to do better and I urge all of us in our circles of influence to not only think of ourselves and what we stand to get out of our actions. We need to see beyond the immediate but the basis for which we are in the spaces we are in, the bigger picture of what we aspire for entirely and ultimately the contribution we can make in these spaces.

I recently transitioned to a new role and during the interview process, there’s something that stood out for me. Considering the role is on facilitating the registration of and access to life saving medicines to patients who need them where they need them, my interviewer had a resounding proposition that on taking the job it’ll be on me to see the contribution of my work to patients who depend on me for their care. This is not often the standard but the exception. When I work on ensuring patients have their medicines, I consider myself a patient, I remember my grandma who couldn’t access care when she needed it and succumbed, my parents on lifelong medication among others. It’s not about me but about all those who may not be at a vantage position as I am and it is my responsibility to do what’s right for them.

Why am I bringing this up at this moment? As a country, Kenya, we are witnessing a looming shortage of antiretroviral therapy (ARVs) for HIV/AIDS patients who have been dependent on USAID funded programs to stay alive and meet their daily obligations. When we don’t act right, hold the government accountable for streamlining operations with development partners, improving efficiencies on their systems for this population, the cost will be high. I may be in a position to afford medication if it ultimately comes to be but what happens to those who can’t afford or even access the supplies to buy when they need them? Let’s do better.

Gratitude has no Buts

“Gratitude is a rock upon which we set our anchor for stability and hope for a better future.”

It’s commonplace that we need to maintain a positive outlook on life and stay grateful. For everything that we are or have been able to accomplish in our lives, there’s a hand that’s been dealt to us often remembered is the positive alignment. This span parents who begot us, parents or guardians who provided for us in our childhood, teachers who taught us in varied schools if we were lucky enough to attend school. Beyond these, there are those with whom our paths have crossed through life and whether knowingly or unknowingly, have been able to guide our paths to the people we are. This is a gift that we need not take for granted. It’s not by our might that we’ve been able to accomplish what we’ve done but through the cosmic alignment of stars (people) in our lives who’ve contributed positively in our journeys. I remember writing about this earlier on “Self Made” when I came to the realization that as humans we are so inclined to taking credit with little regard for those who’ve helped us in our journeys. I’ll do better.

Additionally, I’ve written about my dislike for “buts” in an article about being sorry where the context was with my niece who lightens my days. I remember during my schooling days where our principal Mr. Omondi Wanga used to urge us to be of good behavior on which account his advise was always that however well you’d perform if you weren’t of good morals you’d be on a lost course. His analogy was on picking your results slips from the school and a final letter from the school where he’d always play the part on reading a slip: ” X X is a very brilliant young man with great promise “but”…” for which you’d know the conjunction but negates all the positives that precede it. That’s the connotation I have of but so when I hear or pick a “but” from a statement however positive it was I’m lost.

Drawing on these, I believe that gratitude is a virtue of rejoicing in what is thus should come with genuine heartfelt joy. When followed with a but it negates the joy and there’s nothing more to celebrate and this is the hurdle we face in our day to day interactions. I recently had a chat with a friend who landed a job from another company and following the transition, he was gracious enough to acknowledge that it was a great opportunity with a chance for growth while at the same time denigrating the new employer for not offering extra benefits he had wished for. This is where I felt lost considering the fact that this was a better opportunity compared to what he had before, it also offers extra room for professional growth which as a junior professional he needs. I acknowledge that not all our desires & wishes can be met but while this is the case we need to be grateful for what we have when we have it and rejoice in that. Negating our joy and the opportunity at hand not only manifests our sense of entitlement but also takes away the power from us to settle in, make the best of the opportunity and work towards our aspirations for they keep coming. Stay grateful not because you’ve achieved all that you wish for in life but because you’ve made progress and someone played a part in making that happen. Never forget that and your journey will be less stressful, more fulfilling & you’ll have control over your life.

Simple is Beautiful: 80/20 Principle

Simple is beautiful | Canopy & Stars

“Complexity is the best way to incur & sustain loses.”

Incurring a loss is never anyone’s desire in any venture regardless of the situation. Unfortunately, we all incur a loss in one way or the other in the course of our lives. Some of the instances in which we suffer loses are outright which means we institute risk mitigation plans (RMP) either through a corrective action in the current moment or preventive action looking into the future possibilities of such a loss. These are better loses to deal with for then we move on. On the other hand, there are loses we never know we are incurring. Often times these come in the form of investments in certain attributes we believe are set to reap or earn us the returns we so hope for that we never sit back to assess the level of investments we are making. In my first read for the year, Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari, in his argument around the data religion he presents case of leaders sending military forces to countries where their chances of success are almost non existent but to not accept the fact that their previous decision was wrong, they keep on funning the fire. It doesn’t stop with politicians though, parents enlist their children fight wars they know nothing about. If asked why they are supporting the war they have no answer but they still believe in it. These are biases as presented by Yuval Noah.

In current times, we are also faced with such biases in every level and how we respond to or deal with them determines the outcome. I’m sure at one point in time you’ve made a terrible decision at a later time just because you had promised but then you couldn’t rescind that decision. If you are the one who drinks and after committing to stop repeatedly you happen to be out with your friends who drink, then you have the temptation to drink just one time and promise yourself that it’s not that big a deal. You enrolled to a course you don’t like and are struggling through but because everyone around you feels you are doing a great course and is set for success you keep on. It’s unfulfilling but you keep on because then, what will others think of you? A failure. Nobody wants to be one but then deep within you know it’s not working for you. These are some contributors to our loses especially in circumstances where we become taken in so deep we don’t know why we do what we do but being it’s part of how things have been and need to be sustained or rather we’ve been there and it’s working just fine. If it’s not broken don’t fix it or so we are told.

I’ve been reading “The 80/20 Principle” by Richard Koch where he argues for the Pareto Principle that states that 80% of the output, profits, revenues, outcomes, impact is contributed by 20% of the input or investment. It then correlates to the fact that if we can optimize the 20% we are more likely to succeed that putting in the extra 80% of investment that doesn’t translate to value. It’s obvious we would all want to achieve this but then how do we get to know that there’s wasteful investment of our times, energy and resources? By doing an audit and assessing what we do. I believe it is even more challenging in the current world where we thrive on being busy instead of being productive. With the biases I alluded to earlier, letting go of a part of who we are, what we’ve always done or the norm would be like betraying ourselves whether at corporate level or individual level. However, it’s what’s needed. We’ve got to come down to the core of our operations to ask ourselves what value we derive from all that we do or rather what contribution that work makes in the grander agenda. If that doesn’t come around, it’s better to let go of the pieces and stay lean.

In the business world, I’ve been a believer in lean design principles where the focus is on simplifying the offering as much as possible to ensure ambiguities are eliminated and optimal value can be realized with efficiency. In my work then it means I should focus on finding the simplest & most efficient way to get the results in time other than get lost in the complexity of it.

As we settle into the second quarter of 2021, I believe it’s a great time to reflect on what we’ve been doing to simplify our processes, offerings and improve on efficiencies. There’s no value add from leakages & inefficiencies.

Work Ethic: You are Employed because there’s Work to be Done

“With every ounce of opportunity there’s an expectation on you to be responsible. Getting a job means there’s work to be done and if there wasn’t then you’d better be fired.”

With COVID-19 and accompanying containment measures employers have been forced to let go of their employees in order to stay afloat. While this is the case, some have still gone to the point of having to close shop. That’s how unfortunate a turn of events it has been over the last one year for individuals. While this have made worse the situation on unemployment, all we can wish for is to ensure we get out of this better and for those with jobs to give it their all. That’s the much you can do hoping it works out for the better.

Over the past I’ve been advocating for hard work, diligence and responsibility among us as individuals. These are attributes I do believe will never get out of season any day and while they may not reap immediate returns they always do in the long term. As I started this blog last year, I promised to share on lessons I pick from my encounters through life and yesterday was one such day where I had a moment to talk with a great friend on her experiences at work. She’s been supporting with the running of an eatery in the city and with the new containment measures, there’s need to ensure efficiencies in operations. Considering the standard client flow is interrupted, it’s upon employees and management to find ways of working together to sustain if not improve their performance. Cognizant of this, you’d expect that all employees would put in their best efforts to ensure operations are sustained, no orders go unfilled and most importantly any new service streams optimized. Unfortunately, this isn’t the norm at the current moment. Instead of adjusting to the current circumstances employees are instead breeding complacency. In one scenario, an employee being asked to refocus into a new service stream to ensure client needs are met had the confidence to complain that it was a lot of work and thus they’d rather go without that new stream. What he didn’t know at this point is the fact that for him to keep drawing his salary at the end of each month, there’s need to ensure the eatery makes money which at the point isn’t happening as much.

Reflecting on this conversation, I was reminded of a statement from my Dad awhile back when one of our helps at home complained that there was too much work at our home. This wasn’t news to us considering it had always been the norm so when he brought it up, we got a little concerned but then my dad had the best comeback to it and I’ll quote:

“You know for me to employ you, I had acknowledged there was more work to be done compared to the available labor. In this case, your employment is a way to ensure we have more people to do the work otherwise I wouldn’t have employed you.”

This sums it up for me. When we feel that there’s too much work, it’s a clear justification for why we are employed in the first place. Nobody would employ you for the sake of it. I doubt there’s anyone with lots of money just to employ people to do nothing. With this in mind, it’s my call to all of us who are in employment or who will land jobs in the near future, you are there because there is more work to be done. Make yourself useful in helping drive the company agenda. That’s your mission and if you can do it well, then you’ll succeed with the company and grow in your career/occupation/profession.

Patience is the Game

“Life is a journey and to make the best of it we have to live through the phases. With aspirations, the sure way to get there is to work diligently, stay focused and be patient. Patience is the game.”

Last week I was taken back to a chat and an article I wrote last year about starting small, thinking big and enjoying the journey. Being young we have the advantage of time and with time comes an opportunity to make mistakes, learn and most importantly the opportunity to tap into the wealth of knowledge from tenured professionals. It’s not everyday that we’ll be privileged to get such insights and so when we do there’s need to take a moment to pause, reflect and let it sink before we can move on.

The world works in mysterious ways. When you need some piece of guidance to be able to make the right decisions, it so happens that from every stream it’ll be the same advise being meted to you. On the same subject of patience, I happened to be in the house last evening when NTV airs the Property Show where one of the guests for the session, a tenured architect and developer was giving insights on his work as a celebrated expert in the field. In his closing remarks and greatest advise to young architects, he couldn’t wish them anything other than to be patient and go through the process. On the same note, as I was closing off on my Easter Holiday babysitting duty today, I had a chat with my sister and the story that came along was of patience. The need to follow the due process and let growth happen sequentially rather than the big leap. It may be good in the moment but catastrophic in future. Alternatively, it may fail to happen and that’ll be the start of your downward spiral. Staying contented with what we have, where we are and aspiring to be better versions of ourselves over a period of time. Putting in the work and being patient enough for the fruits of our labor to mature.

As we come to the end of the Easter Holiday, it’s of importance to reflect on the season i.e. death and resurrection of Christ. Knowing that in Jesus’s coming the ultimate way for him to redeem humanity was by dying for their sins, God didn’t expedite the process by having him killed through the feasible instances he could have been killed starting from King Herod’s decree to kill all the young children during the period of his birth. However, this wasn’t the case. It wasn’t because it couldn’t happen but because there was a process. There were experiences Jesus had to go through, other tasks he had to perform before the ultimate price could be paid. When the time came he was crucified, died was buried and arose on the third day. Everything happens at its right time. Do you best and let time play out.

Staying Positive: Thriving in the not so encouraging spaces

“Global outlook too grim, negativity at peak there’s little chance to at positivity yet that’s all we need.”

We are living under challenging times with so much negativity, apprehension, distrust and failing systems. While this is what we’ve been accustomed to from media feeds, small talk and all other indicators in our day to day lives, there’s something more to who we are. I recently had a moment to reflect on a couple of conversations with individuals in my circle and all I could see is hope. Not having a job is terrifying and disheartening but when you talk to someone jobless, they have hope in getting a job. Not knowing where you’ll get your next meal is dehumanizing but while this is the case, when you have a chat with someone who’ve spent hungry you’ll see the hope in their eyes when they step out hoping to get something for the day. When governments fail, citizens are frustrated, angered and betrayed but at the end of it all there’s hope that in the next cycle there will be a better government. That’s the power of hope.

I’m certain you’ve at one point been asked or talked into staying positive in life. It’s a good place to start while at the same time I acknowledge that it can be difficult to stay positive. It’s not easy to stay positive but it’s worthwhile. I a way there’s some positivity in us, the hope that keeps us waking up everyday to face the day and commit to push through. The hope that gets us to send multiple job applications even after successive fails and the hope that gets us working extra hard with the hope of growing in our professions to be able to realize our aspirations. That’s the power of positivity.

I recently had a chat with my mentor consulting with him over a job change I was due to make. At this point I needed to update him on the position as well as to get guidance from him on how to make the best of this opportunity. Staying positive is all the key piece of advise he had for me on this occasion. From his perspective, there’s so much negativity that we at times fail to do our best and envision the brighter future we aspire. To be able to make meaningful contribution as well as to excel at what we do, there’s need to be enthusiastic enough, hopeful and eager to meet the next challenge which will definitely come to be through hard work, patience and due diligence. As we get on with our day to day errands, may we stay positive and keep working on what we hope for in the next chapter of our lives. It may take time but when it happens, we’ll for sure be ready to handle the challenges that come with it. Stay positive in a not so positive world even when it’s difficult to do so.

Marshalling Troops

“Challenging troops to engage calls on the leader to show direction and put the pieces together. Failure to align the troops breeds confusion, apathy and team failure/disintegration.”

I’m not a trained soldier or member of any military force but I’m accustomed to the use of analogies from the military in leadership trainings, models and principles on most accounts. Perfectly well, these have been aligned and to an extent they’ve proven to be effective in the different leadership models with magnificent results. It’s more than ten (10) years since I attended my first leadership training session coupled with other sessions where I’ve either trained, facilitated a workshop or been trained as a delegate. Other than generic leadership, I’ve also been a proponent of professional associations anchored on the belief that these associations boast of subject matter experts that when aligned towards the realization of any particular goal, are poised for success. This then is the basis of my accounts in this article which is drawn from my experiences, reflections and hope for what could be in the healthcare/pharmacy space.

Today when I woke up, the first message I read was an account by a fellow pharmacist who was calling on my other colleagues to take their rightful place and create sanity in the healthcare sector by taking up spaces where their technical expertise would deliver value in meeting the market needs. I am totally aligned on this considering pharmacists as professionals have been trained to practice in the healthcare space holistically i.e. from public health, supply chain management, pharmaceutical care, research and leadership among others. Leveraging on this specialized technical background with a common alignment on the value that can be delivered in the overall healthcare space, we are able to achieve our common aspirations towards a healthy populace.

What then does leadership have to do with this? Cognizant of the fact that different individuals regardless of their common training will have different interests with an alignment to delivery of quality healthcare services to the Kenyan populace, then it means that aligning these interests is a way to realize our common aspirations. In all teams there are the visionaries, the implementers, think tanks and influencers. All these individuals need to be aligned towards the ultimate goal and this is what I believe professional associations should offer to their membership. A platform with the right leadership than inspires creativity, curiosity and evokes commitment towards a common goal as envisioned by the leader. Failure to align with such a leadership then means that professional associations will remain as sleeping powerhouses often reactionary to market trends but with little value in themselves. Dependence on externalities to elicit action is the norm yet this should be the exception.

Every professional association needs to have a key mandate that spells out it’s activities towards the realization of that mission such that the leadership is committed to fueling the realization of this goal. Failure to align with such will be the downfall of professional associations.