What is Right

What is Right

A people that value its privileges above its principles soon loses both

Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

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We can’t take out the epitome of moral conduct and expect to have a sane, moral and safe society.

We focus so much on rights and pay little or no attention to what is right. A society does not flourish because it’s inhabitants know and fight for their rights. It flourishes because it’s inhabitants know what is right and they do it.

When a nation or an establishment constantly meets to devise new laws, it is a sign that something’s not quite right.

Morality has probably left the building!

 

Lead right and Live light;​

Belinda O-Ujani

The Logical Way to Plan for a Better Year

The Logical Way to Plan for a Better Year

Happy festivities to you all!

It’s that time of year again. A time of celebration, good cheer, relaxation (as much as you can manage) and indulgence. It is also a time for reflection, review, restructuring and planning; both in your personal and professional life.

As we countdown in days to the end of the year, I urge you to do two things for yourself. These two things are: sift and shift.

When I say sift and shift, this is what I mean: sort, separate, remove and discard. In other words, look back at how your year has been. What has worked? What hasn’t? What would you do again? What would you improve upon? What would you remove? What would you discard completely? It’s time to take stock and choose what to reproduce and what to get rid of.

Every action you have ever taken is a result of the information you received and used. Whether directly, through experience or by observation. Your ability to get results is based on the fact that you received certain information and either used it ‘as is’ or adjusted it to some extent. It would therefore be reasonable to say that the logical way to plan for a better year is to be mindful of the kind of information you receive and use. One way I strongly suggest you do this, is to weigh all information that comes to you, against Sound values and your Purpose.

Sound values and purpose act in a sift and shift manner. Sound values sifts the information you receive; causing you to only retain useful and beneficial ones (just in case you are wondering why I call it sound values rather than just values. It’s because sound values are values that preserve resources without jeopardising your well being or the well being of others). While purpose shifts irrelevant or unsuitable information.

Information will always play a huge role in forming who you are and who you become. You are ultimately a result of the information you have taken in over the years and you’ll keep: evolving, stagnating, improving or declining as a result of the information you receive and use.

As you begin to make plans for the coming year, decide within yourself that you will only receive and use information that is in-line with sound values and your purpose. Below are some other practices that will be beneficial to you–and ultimately the people around you–in the coming year.

  1. Be a Planner.
  2. Maintain good character.
  3. Do not spread yourself too thin.
  4. ‘Travel’ light; for the one who travels light travels well (i.e. No baggage).
Lastly, remember that your leadership role is a privilege not a right.

 

Have a very merry Christmas and a blessed new year!!!

 

Keep Leading right and Living light;

Belinda

 

 

 

How to Take Advantage of Opportunities

How to Take Advantage of Opportunities

I was driving to my children’s school to pick them up one afternoon. I had left the house a few minutes later than usual so I was kind of in a hurry to make up for lost time. I then made a quick decision to take a route with no traffic lights. It wasn’t a very long road so I still had to come out of it to join the main road at some point. As I got to the end of my no-traffic-light road, I had to wait behind the double white line until a kind-hearted driver allowed me to join the slowly growing queue of cars. I had my attention so focused on ‘catching’ the eye of the next driver to see if he/she would allow me enter the road (I wear glasses, so I had to focus more), so much so that I forgot to move my gear stick from 3 to 1. Suddenly someone stopped and boy was I glad. I looked on to ‘catch’ his eye, just to be sure he’d really let me go. As soon as I ‘caught’ his eye, he gave me a nod and a wave of hand to let me know that I could go in front of him.

The moment I stepped on the gas to go, the car jerked. I quickly looked down the gear and realised I was still on gear 3 instead of 1. Almost immediately, the car stopped and I felt a bit silly. Here was the kind hearted driver I had been hoping would turn up and allow me cut in front of him and here I was not able to move because I had broken the first basic rule of moving: preparation.

So there I was a bit flushed and embarrassed that my car had stopped. I could imagine him thinking: “move it woman! I haven’t got all day”. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he had moved and blocked me from entering to be honest. He did the decent thing by waiting and it was me who didn’t take advantage of that window of opportunity.

You could argue that it was no big deal for him to wait but it wasn’t just himself and myself that were involved in this situation, there were other cars behind him. These other cars could have noisily honked their horn for him in frustration. Plus, who knows what emergencies one or more of those cars might need to get to.

Anyway, I started my car quickly and thankfully; he waited. I moved noisily as I pressed hard on my accelerator because I didn’t want any excuse for the car to go off. Once I took my place on the line with other drivers, I signalled to express my gratitude to the driver who let me in.

This kind of scenario is not uncommon in our everyday life. At home, business, school and really…life in general; there are windows of opportunities that present themselves to us at different times. These windows of opportunities sadly only stay open for a short time, long enough for us to take advantage of it before it passes. Some of these windows require you to get in and move along with the flow. While others require you to get in and get out as quickly as possible. Whatever form the opportunity might take, one thing is paramount: be prepared.

In this traffic case, I was lucky to have someone patiently wait for me to get my act together. In life issues however, one might not get that chance. Once you figure out what it is you want to do or achieve, don’t wait until the opportunity presents itself before you get prepared because you most likely will get passed. Make sure that you get your act together by preparing yourself before hand for when that opportunity presents itself.

If you’ve ever wondered why some people just sometimes seem to get all the good openings, preparation is probably why. These seemingly ‘fairy-dust-covered’ people have prepared ahead of time and all they are waiting for, is for that window of opportunity to open so that they can readily leap in.

As you begin to tidy up all loose ends and review this passing year, spare some thoughts for the coming year. Start thinking about what you’d want to accomplish in the coming year and start making plans for yourself and for your environment.

I strongly advice that you do this one thing towards your growth and success for the coming year: make preparation a key thing.

“Opportunities will come, they always do but you can only recognise it and take advantage of it if you have prepared yourself for its arrival”.

 

Stay Blessed and Prepared.

 

Belinda

Time for Change

Time for Change

Good morning to you all. I believe you had a good weekend, well I did (in case you wanted to know) really busy but good.

I’d like to share something with you today that I’ve noticed for some time now.  There seems to be a shift happening in different organisations. I don’t know if it has to do with the year coming to an end or not but whatever the case is, I can sense a shift and a need for change happening in various organisations. I perceive a yearning for something more (from the leaders and team members) and a readiness and willingness from the leaders to take their teams to the next level.

With this yearning comes a need for change.

Some leaders might be experiencing some challenging times like: a decline in commitment, enthusiasm, growth, development, etc., of team members/employees. Or maybe a decrease in the number of team members/employees as a result of relocation, retirement, new births, losses, incompetence or plain old “I’ve had enough of this job”. Other leaders might just be ‘sailing’ smoothly at this time with no challenge whatsoever. Whatever the case may be, realize that change will always happen. Challenges will always come and so will good times. Team members  will always come and they will also leave; some with valid reasons and others with not so valid reasons.

As a leader who is currently facing challenges and understands the need for change; this is the time for restructuring. A time to implement new things, a time for reinvention. It is not a time to sit, wallow and yank out your hair unproductively but a time to take stock of the journey so far and do something to make the journey ahead productive.

The simple solution is a change: a change in the way things are currently done, a change in expectations and above all, a change in  attitudes and perceptions (both team members/employees and leaders). Change is one thing that is bound to happen whether we want it to or not, we may not like it or even respond well to it but that will not stop it from occurring.

If you need to hire professional help for this (which I strongly advice) then do so because an outside perspective might be all you need, more so if its from a professional.

Below are some steps to follow, to turn your challenging times to times of productivity:

1. Revisit the vision of your establishment.

2. Review the mission of your establishment.

3. Identify where your team/organisation is at the moment.

4. Identify what the next level is and what needs to be done to get to the next level.

5. Review the policies, procedures, rules, regulations and adjust them accordingly to fit with the updated mission and vision.

6. Make provision for continuous development for yourself and your team.

7. Have a structure in place for how your organisation/team should function.

8. Communicate all changes to your team effectively and start implementing them.

9. Seek ongoing support and help from a mentor, coach, consultant, etc.

These are the foundational steps you should follow to turn your current unproductive situation around; and please, remember to ask for help and support as you go on (you’ll need it).

When it seems like the challenges just seem to be mounting, it’s time to create (or recreate as the case may be); it’s time for change. When people walk away, don’t sink into despair. Pull yourself together and focus on those you have left; those who have remained with you. They are probably still there because they have some passion and loyalty left; work with that. Make use of those resources you currently have, it might seem like it’s not enough but trust me; its just enough to get you to the next level.

 

To your higher level of success;

Belinda

Productivity Decline? Try this…

Productivity Decline? Try this…

Have you been experiencing dry spells recently? Does it seem like your creativity is slowly deteriorating? Is it becoming increasingly difficult to reproduce previous successes? Are the results you’re producing desired results or more of a hit and miss? Do you feel tired all the time? frustrated? stuck? ineffective or even empty? If you find yourself in one or more of these situations–or any other closely related situation–then you my friend, are in a period of drought.
What exactly do I mean by a drought?
I’m talking about a period of dryness. A time when nothing substantial is happening. An interval devoid of excitement. Tiny moments that slowly add up to a rather large space in time when nothing tangible or profitable has been achieved. I’m referring to nothingness. I’m talking about a period of No-Flow; a period where nothing seems to flow through you. A time characterised by little, insignificant movements. Times of not good, not bad, just…nothing.
For those of you leaders who cultivate your creativity for different productive purposes, you most certainly understand what I’m talking about. My guess is that you’ve had periods when your creative juices just didn’t seem to flow as they normally would. Or maybe you’ve had periods characterised by disengagement or disconnection from the things you’d normally be happy doing.

When these situations arise, what do you do?
How do you get your drive back?
How do you carry on being productive?
My answer? Here it is:
1. Time-out
2. Time-out
3. Time-out

Time-out is my answer to getting your energy/mojo/drive–or whatever else you choose to call it–back and I’ve written it 3 times to make sure you don’t miss it.
You need some time away, end of. Whether it be from the desk, the laptop, the tablet, the meeting room, the writing table, the brain storming sessions, the classroom, the baby cot, the kitchen, the pulpit, the lecture room, the laboratory, the theatre, etc., you need to take T-I-M-E – O-U-T! There is no getting round this one if you want to function well, retain your sanity and stay productive.
Your time-out should be a period to rest, refuel or reconnect; or maybe all three.
No one ever remains productive without taking out time to rest and be refreshed. The reason you’re irate, frustrated, experiencing a mental block or being a right ol’ pain in the back side is probably because you’ve not had any time-out recently.
When you notice that the things which used to give you joy and cause you to experience fulfillment now make you angry or frustrate you; it’s probably time for a time-out. Your creative mind will only function well when the principle of time-out and common sense is applied.

As the year draws to a close, evaluate yourself and figure out if you’re due a time-out. Maybe you need a rest; then schedule some time to do so and arrange for someone to cover your duties.
Maybe you need to refuel; then find people who are achieving the kind of things you want to achieve and receive valuable knowledge from them.
Maybe you need to reconnect; then dig deep and stir up that passion that motivated you to land a role as CEO, manager, team leader, mother, father, teacher, entrepreneur, doctor, author, accountant, minister, coach, mentor, consultant, artist, chef, etc.
If you need to join a network, association or support group to help you refuel and reconnect; then do so. If you need to take a course, be mentored or coached; then please do so.
Don’t let your self go to waste by becoming unproductive. Don’t buy your own narrow narrative of being stale.
The problem is not with your passion, your purpose or even you per se; the problem is that you’re drained.
And here’s the solution: take T-I-M-E O-U-T.

 

Lead right and Live light;

 

Belinda

3 Characteristics of a Highly Productive Team

3 Characteristics of a Highly Productive Team

How many times have you looked at another team in another establishment or even within the same environment and wondered why your own team could not just be as productive as them? Maybe you’ve even gone and sought counsel from a flourishing colleague to find out what he/she is doing to achieve such great results but you’ve come back feeling that your colleague is holding back on some valuable information.

Nothing can be so frustrating for a leader than having a team that is unproductive. An unproductive team can have a ripple effect on an establishment as a whole never mind the affected department. It’s effects are huge and can lead to financial and intellectual decline within an establishment.

What we ‘see’ as productivity when it comes to teams can be broken down to mean: when team members give you their best and the outcome is of greater or equal value to their input. On the other hand, when a team is unproductive it can be broken down to mean: when team members give you their ‘left over crumbs’ and the outcome is much less or of equal value to their input. Now when I say ‘left over crumbs’ I don’t just mean what is remaining from a certain amount of whatever resources they have. What I mean is the broken fragments of whatever they have left, after they have used up their resources somewhere else or for something else. Notice that an unproductive team does have resources (contrary to what you might think), the only problem why those resources are not being invested in your establishment is because they are giving you the broken pieces of what they have left after they’ve exhausted it elsewhere.

What every leader should be concerned about is not to find more team members externally who have more skills and abilities. Leaders should focus more on getting their existing team members to give their best to the establishment. Doing this will save establishments a lot of time and money.

I have put together 3 main characteristics of a highly productive team. I’ll also give you some brief insights on steering your team towards high productivity further down this post.

The 3 main characteristics of a highly productive team.

  1. Passion: team members who give their best have a genuine passion for what they do and this is why their approach to their job is very different. They are willing to sacrifice–within reason–in order to achieve team and organisational growth. They are also focused on achieving good results and remaining productive.
  2. Investment: team members who give their best are known for their investment qualities. Their investment of time, skills, ideas, effort, support and sometimes money. They give because they understand the importance of the outcome and they know what role their input plays in the scheme of things.
  3. Motivation: a lack of motivation is like ‘spanner in the works’ for any establishment. Teams who give their best are usually known for their level of motivation which keeps them active, innovative and productive.
Insights to help you steer your team members towards high productivity.
People usually take on job roles for three main reasons: if they are passionate about your cause, if they are passionate about what they do, or if they are happy with what they’ll get in return for their input. Shockingly, a lot of team members these days have no passion for their jobs. Hence, the decline in team members who give their best. If a team member has no passion in the cause of their establishment or for what he/she does, it’s only a matter of time before such a team member starts giving ‘leftover crumbs’ rather than his/her best. If you are in the process of recruiting, look for passionate individuals. If your team members seem to have lost their passion for your cause or for what they do, take necessary measures to help them back up. If you’ve genuinely done all you can to encourage a team member to stir up his/her passion and it’s still not working then remember that it’s better to release people rather than keep them trapped.
Team members stay committed and engaged when they feel like they are regarded and treated as partners of the establishment where they work. Partnership could be in terms of building good relationships, making shares available for them to purchase, involving them in certain strategic planning, creating opportunities for them to contribute ideas towards the advancement of the establishment, etc.; it doesn’t have to be overly dramatic, keep it simple but inclusive.
In as much as passion gets the productivity ball rolling, motivation is what will keep the ball rolling. It is a common truth that nobody works for free (this has nothing to do with being selfish). The return on one’s input does not have to be in monetary value in order for one to feel rewarded. The return could be in terms of: recognition, exposure, experience, fulfillment, referrals, development, etc.; the undeniable truth is that we all feel motivated to give our best when we know that we’ll get a satisfactory return on whatever input we have made, monetary or not. Highly productive teams are known to be motivated individuals who are catered for in terms of rewards and/or incentives.

Until next time, continue to
Lead right and Live light
Belinda
The Leader’s Code of Conduct

The Leader’s Code of Conduct

Conduct!

A very important word in both life and leadership that is sadly under-emphasised, yet undoubtedly significant in achieving sound results and becoming a better leader.

Leadership like I always say is basically about 2 things: situations and people. Everything a leader does revolves around his/her ability to effectively manage these two elements.

The greatest disservice a leader can do to himself/herself is to try to control every situation and every individual within his/her environment. In text-book ‘speak’, situations and people can be controlled to fit your agenda once you know the right things to say and do; and you know the exact order in which to say or do them. In reality however, this is very far from the truth. No doubt you can perform certain actions in order to get certain desired results but for those who have been in leadership for a while, you will agree with me that most of your daily functions involve managing situations–for the best possible outcomes–rather than controlling them. Stuff happens and there’s only so much you can control. Controlling people is an even greater challenge and dare I say impossible (except you are a tyrant or a totalitarian) if you want to have a healthy and productive team and/or establishment. It takes immense effort and a totally distorted perspective to control the lives of other individuals. Your ability to control should be directed towards your own behaviour and mannerism; that is the greatest show of your control power.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s take a look at what the dictionary says about conduct. It describes conduct as the manner in which a person behaves. It also describes it as a way of managing/handling affairs. Your best bet at building a highly productive team and maintaining your sanity is to adjust your behaviour so that you can better manage your people and better handle the situations that arise within your environment.

Listed below are 7 codes of conduct I’ve put together to help you become a better leader. They are:

  1. Be careful how you use your words, words are powerful.
    1. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
    2. Do not use your words in a manipulative way for selfish reasons.
  2. Resist the urge to let anger get the better part of you.
  3. Be ready and willing to make things right with someone who has offended you and vice versa (i.e. Do not allow strife ruin the task at hand or stop the emergence of your desired outcomes).
  4. Let your opposition bring out the best in you not the worst (how else will you grow and reach maturity?). When someone gives you a hard time, try not to precipitate an uproar; save your energy instead and stay in charge.
  5. Do not ration your generosity in favour of only those who are nice to you, extend it to all within the same environment (i.e. Don’t engage in tit-for-tat living).
  6. When you do something gob-smacking(ly) good, do not make a show of it; accept any acknowledgements and carry on with your functions without imposing your opinions on everyone.
  7. Do not get carried away and overcome with getting more that you miss out on responding to opportunities or to someone else’s giving.

Until next time, continue to;

Lead right and Live light

Belinda

The Leadership Test: Genuine or Adulterated?

The Leadership Test: Genuine or Adulterated?

Tests are a part of life and are not unique to just leaders.

You go out everyday and other road users just push your buttons: the traffic lights change abruptly, the other driver cuts you off and even has the guts to swear at you, the passenger next to you on the bus/train just wouldn’t stop yapping at the top of his voice, the lady with the double buggy blocks the door way and is just chatting away mindlessly on the phone. You parent your kids and your sanity is sometimes dangling on a thread: there’s water on the floor of the kitchen and no one admits to doing it or attempts to clean it up, there’s wall art on your freshly painted wall and your three-year old happily drags you there to show you her creative design, your house smells really lovely and familiar only for you to get to your room and find your adorable son standing in front of your dressing table with now empty bottles of your perfumes and an apologetic look on his face. You work with colleagues and you wonder why everyone just has to get on your nerves: your team is lagging behind on the project, you’ve just been summoned because of a false allegation, you are constantly being micro managed as a team leader and it’s getting more and more frustrating. You reckon everyone else has got it in for you so you find a way to squeeze in that ‘me time’ for yourself; but even then, you find out that your own thoughts have it in for you too.

Ever so often our patience, character, identity, loyalty, etc., is tested. Because of who we are and the roles we occupy, we are constantly tested–consciously or unconsciously. These tests are real life scenarios that acts as indicators to our growth and development levels. They draw unmistakable lines between who we were, who we are and who we are becoming. They determine how genuine or adulterated we are in terms of our relationship with ourselves and with others.

Every leader’s presence, quality, ability, intelligence, skill, character, capacity and resilience will be tested before and during his/her existence as a leader. You’ll be constantly tested in 3 main areas at almost every point of your leadership journey and these areas are:

  1. Provision. Needs and wants are common features of demand and your position enables you to play a significant role in offering supply to these two features. Your tests in this area tend towards how you use your position to either get what you want or to supply what is needed. You need to realise that it is not just about satisfying your ‘appetite’, it’s mostly about sustaining your existence. Don’t be too hasty to get what you want at all cost, only for you to end up begging for what you need.
  2. Protection. The importance of your reputation as a leader cannot be over-emphasised. You do need to protect yourself but at what cost? and what exactly are you protecting and from what? Are you willing to bring someone else down in order to protect yourself? Do you constantly control everything just to drive home the point that you are in charge?
  3. Power. You’ve probably heard of such a term as : ‘power drunk’. Leaders are at risk especially of using their position to cripple others. With leadership comes authority and power no doubt; but not in the way it is sometimes used ( I explained power and authority in my book: Leadership Maxims…sound principles for leadership excellence). Your role is not a tool for tyranny or assault, neither is it a vehicle for the deception of others into blind and selfish submission.

Every now and again you’ll be tested in these 3 areas and what you discover will help you realise who you really are; whether you are an authentic leader or an adulterated leader.

Until next time, continue to;

Lead right and Live light

Belinda

Dealing With Loss (cont’d. )

Dealing With Loss (cont’d. )

…I really couldn’t believe it; I must have really heard wrong. Oh how much I so wanted that to be true.
A couple of heart wrenching days later, the news was still the same; mum was really gone! Never to be seen alive on this side of life ever again!
Then it dawned on me: I’ll never be able to hear her voice again or feel her hug me or hold my hands ever again.
“How could life be this unfair?”
“What happens now?”
“What do I do?”
These thoughts and numerous other thoughts flooded my mind and I had nothing close to an answer for any of those questions.
I’d never been more devastated in my whole life, this has got to be the greatest loss I’ve ever suffered and the most heart broken I’d ever been.
“Life has really dealt me a big blow”, I thought to myself; “how can life be so cruel”?
The very period that should mark a milestone for me and that should be celebrated (i.e. publishing my e-book) has found itself sharing a time slot with a period of great pain and sorrow (the passing away of my mum).
This wasn’t going to be an easy time and it sure didn’t look like it was going to go away because I wanted it to or because it didn’t feel right.
One thing was crystal clear: It was really happening! It wasn’t a bad dream; it happened and in real time too.
This was the moment of truth and I knew I had to accept it and figure out how to live with it.

As individuals, loss has found its way into our lives either spiritually, physically, financially, socially, health wise or the loss of a dear one.
With every loss, you feel like a part of you has been chipped away. The more close to home the loss is, the bigger the chunk it seems to take from you.

I’ll tell you why that happens in my next post.

Meanwhile;
Have you ever found yourself on the cusp of an exciting achievement, only to be ‘hit’ by something completely opposite?
What was it?
What did you do?
Please feel free to share those moments in the comment section below.

Until next time, keep

Leading right and Living light

Belinda

Dealing With Loss

Dealing With Loss

What an eventful summer holiday this has been for me!
I would very much like to go into all the details of what happened but I’d rather not. I will however offer somewhat of a summary of what happened.
In as much as I talk mostly about professional issues, I am very much aware that without the individual you and I; there would be little or no foundation for the professional ‘us’. The events of this summer is proof of this truth.
The summer holiday started on a happy note with the kids breaking off from school and we all planning some rather exciting things to do over the holidays. I was also quite pleased with myself as I was going to be publishing my first ever e-book. As far as I knew, I had a pretty eventful and quite interesting few weeks coming up…or so I hoped.
My e-book was due out a few months before it finally got published and my mum made it her duty to remind me–every chance she got–to get it published. Just to mention, my mum and I were really close and she’s always been very supportive.
I finally published the e-book late in July and called my mum up to let her know once it was available on amazon. As you can imagine, she was delighted for me, we chatted and both hung up. The very next day or so, I got a call from my sister that my mum was taken to the hospital because she felt faint. To cut the long story short, my mum died a week later.
Words could not describe what and how I felt when I got the news.
It was like the world around me stood still yet it spiralled in a very violent motion. I could not believe it, it couldn’t be happening. Just like that?
I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the shock and mixed emotions I felt at that moment. I knew what I heard but I wanted so much to have heard wrong…

I’ll continue from here next week.

Lead right and Live light

Belinda

P.S. Have you ever lost someone so dear to you or something that meant a lot to you?
Please feel free to share your experiences below.