What does this remind you of?

opening-ceremony-1

Every time you visit a new website, enter a new airport, visit a new store, examine a new book… the question you ask first off is, what does this remind me off or rather “what’s this like?”

At a strange airport, if it’s ‘like’ your airport, you know just what to do. It’s easy. If it’s totally different, you have to stop, regroup, and start to understand what’s involved.

If a book has cheap color separations, the wrong sort of gloss on the cover and the wrong feel to the paper, it just feels cheap and self-published and unlikely to be the real deal. It doesn’t matter a bit what’s inside, who wrote it, anything like that. You’ve already decided because this book reminds you of untrustworthy books you’ve encountered before.

Visit a website with a brown on brown color scheme, some flashing graphics, a bunch of widgets and a typeface that’s not quite right, and you’ve already decided how you feel. Entirely based on the fact that this site is like those sites, and you didn’t like those sites.

Meet someone at a conference who is dressed perfectly, with shined shoes and a great suit (but not trying too hard) and you’re inclined to trust and respect him… because he reminds you of someone in a similar situation who was trustworthy.

Obvious, right?

So why do entrepreneurs so often miss this shortcut?

Before you make what you’re going to make, find something you want people to be reminded of.

Feel free to discard this model if you want to make a point (the ipod did not remind you of a Sony CD player walkman), but discard it on purpose. If you’re writing a book, for example, your goal (probably) isn’t to reinvent what it means to be a book. You’re merely trying to reinvent the words and ideas.

When in doubt, ask your colleagues or better still ask your potential customers, “what does this remind them of?”

Ten ways to mess up projects:

Project
1. Avoid putting things in writing.

2. Never tell the client “no”

3. Always manage client expectations upward. Might as well make it a challenge for the team

4. Avoid all client contact. No good can come from it…right?

5. Change team members frequently;encourage your client to do the same.This way nobody gets bored + nobody gets blamed

6. Clients love surprises! They’re just like children. Especially right before go live

7. Blame is a powerful management tool! Point fingers first. Ask questions second. Then shoot the messenger.

8. Let the client have unlimited rounds of Creative. Or don’t do any Creative at all

9. Once the project moves into production, allow the client to keep making changes. Think of it as job security.

10. Don’t waste time tracking analytics. No one reads those reports anyway.

Business Development Specialist – Corporate

Boardroom (1)
Vuka Advisory Board of Directors for Small Medium Enterprise (SME)

Business Development Specialist – Corporate position

Vuka Advisory Board for Small Medium Enterprise is a section 21 entity founded on the King III Report of Codes of Good Practice. Vuka is an independent and non-executive body that provides advisory services to small medium enterprises with the primary objective of providing strategic direction, instil good corporate governance and is ultimately responsible and accountable for the performance, development and sustainability of the enterprises by monitoring management and implementation of strategic plans bi-monthly.

Job Specification
Name of Position: Business Development Specialist – Corporate
Reference: VAB01/04/2014
Location: Gauteng
Reporting to: Vuka Advisory Board of Directors
Job level: General Staff
Employment: Renewable every three (3) months
Reward Level: Commission Based

Job Purpose
The purpose of the job is to establish and secure relationships between the corporate sponsors, partners and thereafter maintain good stakeholder relations. Activities associated with the role entail, but not restricted to, securing meeting with potential partners; sell the board concept to potential partners with the objective of sourcing sponsorship and/or partnership; monitor all activities related to stakeholder relationship management and provide weekly progress report to the Board Members.

Key Responsibilities
– Source and secure corporate sponsorship
– Source and secure strategic partnerships
– Identify opportunities, forums and platforms for exposure and marketing of Vuka Advisory Board
– Present progress update to the Board weekly
– Stakeholder relationship management

Requirements
– Relatively entrepreneurial
– Excellent command of English
– Excellent communication skills (written and verbal)
– Highly articulate
– Innovative
– Driven
– Good presentation skills
– Excellent sales skills

Application Process
– Submit a recently updated resume with cover letter to machaka@fahrenheit-capital.com by 17h00 on 30 May 2014.
– Avail yourself for an interview in June 2014 (date to be confirmed).
– Prepare a 5 minute pitch on strategy you will use to source and secure sponsorship for the Vuka Advisory Board

Business Development Specialist – SME

Boardroom (1)
Vuka Advisory Board of Directors for Small Medium Enterprise (SME)

Business Development Speciality Position

Vuka Advisory Board for Small Medium Enterprise is a section 21 entity founded on the King III Report of Codes of Good Practice. Vuka is an independent and non-executive body that provides advisory services to small medium enterprises with the primary objective of providing strategic direction, instil good corporate governance and is ultimately responsible and accountable for the performance, development and sustainability of the enterprises by monitoring management and implementation of strategic plans bi-monthly.

Job Specification

Name of Position: Business Development Specialist – SME
Reference: VAB02/04/2014
Location: Gauteng
Reporting to: Vuka Advisory Board of Directors
Job level: General Staff
Employment: Renewable every three (3) months
Reward Level: Commission Based

Job Purpose
The purpose of the job is to source and recruit entrepreneurs for the Board. Entrepreneurs are to be recruited based on a criteria set by the Board. Activities associated with the role entail, but not restricted to, sourcing entrepreneurs based on the approved criteria; recruiting entrepreneurs; inducting entrepreneurs in preparation for the first Board meeting; maintain good stakeholder relations; provide monthly report to the Board; monitor all activities related to stakeholder relationship management.

Key Responsibilities
– Recruit entrepreneurs for the Board
– Induct newly recruited entrepreneurs
– Identify programmes that will benefit entrepreneurs
– Identify opportunities, forums and platforms for exposure and marketing of Vuka Advisory Board
– Present progress update to the Board weekly
– Stakeholder relationship management

Requirements
– Have good understanding of SME environment
– Have strong networks with SME and FDI’s in the market
– Excellent command of English
– Excellent communication skills (written and verbal)
– Highly articulate, driven and innovative
– Good networking and interpersonal skills

Application Process
– Submit a recently updated resume with cover letter to machaka@fahrenheit-capital.com by 17h00 on 30 May 2014.
– Avail yourself for an interview in June 2014 (date to be confirmed).
– Prepare a 5 minute pitch on strategies you will use to source and recruit SMEs for the Vuka Advisory Board

Unbetterable

better
The two best ways to break through a dull and unproductive habit and make an impact:

1. Find things that others have accepted as the status quo and make them significantly, noticably and remarkably better.

2. Find things that you’re attached to that are slowing you down, realise that they are broken beyond repair and eliminate them. Toss them away and refuse to use them any longer.

When a not-so-good software tool or a habit or an agency or a policy has too much resistance to change to be fixed, when it’s unbetterable, you’re better off without it.

Eliminating it will create a void, fertile territory for something much better to arrive.

What We Teach

father_daughter
When we teach a child to make good decisions, we benefit from a lifetime of good decisions.

When we teach a child to love to learn, the amount of learning will become limitless.

When we teach a child to deal with a changing world, she will never become obsolete.

When we are brave enough to teach a child to question authority, even ours, we insulate ourselves from those who would use their authority to work against each of us.

And when we give students the desire to make things, even choices, we create a world filled with makers.

The best way to complain is to make things. – James Murphy

Who Said You are Not Creative? (Guest Post)

creativity

“Think of a time you thought creatively. Tell me about one creative idea that you harbour in your mind. It can be about anything”.

I have asked this question to learners in nine provinces over six years, sadly about 5% could respond with a compelling idea, the rest just stared blankly at me. Thinking that perhaps the question might have been misunderstood, I would rephrase it differently, but the blank stares persisted. That was a concern to me, and it made me question how children were taught at schools.

Are our children taught to THINK? Or are they merely absorbing what they are taught like sponges? Is our education preparing our children for the new world of work?

The new world of work demands novel ways of thinking and doing things, therefore innovation is a critical success factor. The looming unemployment rate compels us to think differently and embrace entrepreneurial thinking. If schools are not encouraging creative thinking, will their products be able to adapt to the ever changing business world when they have graduated? Is it a wonder that South Africa’s entrepreneurial activity is scored consistently below average on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor?

If we can’t trust our education to inspire learners to think creatively, then we should explore other ways. How about including a game that will inspire creativity when we buy games for our children? And even reward them when they come up with creative ideas.

According to research, children are born creative and then lose it at an early age because of the external pressures forcing them to conform.

Therefore, who said you are not creative?

Guest post by: Anna Kens Nkoma
anna
Kena has worked in diverse business environments as an HR Business Partner. She is passionate about youth development and for six years she worked as a Selection Specialist for an organisation whose mission was to instil an entrepreneurial mindset in youth. She worked with schools in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland. She now does consulting work and facilitates youth development programmes. Kena is a Trustee of the Arup Education Trust. She holds a BSc degree (Wits) and BComHonours (Industrial Psychology) degree.

Kena is an intercessor and a poet.

email address : annankoma@gmail.com

Amplify Little Thoughts

pen-and-paper
Do you remember what you had for lunch yesterday? If you take a second, you probably do.

Now, do you remember what internal dialogue and little thoughts you had racing through your mind a few minutes before lunch yesterday? Almost certainly not.

Little thoughts last for a very short time. They come, and inevitably, they go. We don’t remember them an hour later, never mind a week or a month later.

A decade ago I came up with the idea of Advisory Board of Directors for Entrepreneurs. In the shower. I still remember the where and the when. It was one of those little ideas, something that could easily disappear.

The challenge is in being alert enough to write them down, to priortise them, to build them, to deliver them out of the door. It’s habit, it’s easy to learn, and it’s frightening.

Carry a small notebook, when the ideas bug strikes, write those ideas down immediately otherwise you will forget them like you did with your little thoughts before lunch yesterday.

Plus when you write things downs, your thoughts becomes clearer.

Art is not only a painting

Art
“Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.

What makes someone an artist? I don’t think is has anything to do with a paintbrush. There are painters who follow the numbers, or paint billboards, or work in a small village in China, painting reproductions. These folks, while swell people, aren’t artists. On the other hand, Charlie Chaplin was an artist, beyond a doubt. So is Jonathan Ive, who designed the iPod. You can be an artists who works with oil paints or marble, sure. But there are artists who work with numbers, business models, and customer conversations. Art is about intent and communication, not substances.

An artists is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artists takes it personally.

That’s why Bob Dylan is an artist, but an anonymous corporate hack who dreams up Pop 40 hits on the other side of the glass is merely a marketer. That’s why Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos, is an artists, while a boiler room of telemarketers is simply a scam.

Tom Peters, corporate gadfly and writer, is an artists, even though his readers are businesspeople. He’s an artists because he takes a stand, he takes the work personally, and he doesn’t care if someone disagrees. His art is part of him, and he feels compelled to share it with you because it’s important, not because he expects you to pay him for it.

Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does.

Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.”

~ Seth Godin, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

The Zulu Showstopper

thezulu1
An hour into *The Zulu, time stops.

Bongeni Ngema walks out in his traditional zulu cultural clothes, shouts out to Nicely Nicely Sipho and then Sipho and the cast start belting: “Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down you’re rocking the boat.”

Adrenaline flows. The crowd goes wild.

In that moment, art triumphs over everything.

The play has been rolling along, and suddenly the songs, the lights, the dancing, they’re all taken up a notch (or ten). The crown wakes up, leans forward, and cheers.

On my way to Kasane in Botswana last year, the pilot walked down aisle to check on his passengers.

Consider the way a doctor taking just an extra minute can change her relationships with a patient by pausing and caring.

Consider the pilot walking down the aisle can change the entire afternoon for a restless kid on a flight.

Consider you taking that extra minutes enquiring about the well-being of your client and her family can establish that connection and bond with your client.

The opposite of being a cog or an average entrepreneur is being able to stop the show in your business, at will, for a minute and show care for your customer like Bongeni did in The Zulu.

What would it take for you to stop the show?

*Zulu is a stage/theatre play in South Africa

How to be interviewed

mics
The explosion of media channels, radio, television and public events means that more people are being interviewed about more topics than ever before. It might even happen to you… and soon. The following are some of my observations and I would recommend the following tips:

1. They call it giving an interview, not taking one, and for good reason. If you’re not eager to share your perspective, don’t bother showing up.

2. Questions shouldn’t be taken literally. The purpose of the question is to give you a chance to talk about something you care about. The audience wants to hear what you have to say, and if the question isn’t right on point, answer a different one instead.

3. In all but the most formal media settings, it’s totally appropriate to talk with the interviewer in advance, to give him some clues about what you’re interested in discussing. It makes you both look good.

4. The interviewer is not your friend, and everything you say is on the record. If you don’t want it to be in print, don’t say it.

5. If you get asked the same question from interview to interview, there’s probably a good reason. Saying, “I get asked that question all the time,” and then force a smile in pain is disrespectful to the interviewer and the audience. See rule 1.

6. If your answers aren’t interesting, exciting or engaging, that’s your fault, not the interviewer’s. See rule 2.

Seven Questions for Leaders

Journalists
Do you let the facts get in the way of a good story?

What do you do with people who disagree with you? Do you call them names in order to silence them?

Are you open to multiple points of view, or do you demand compliance and uniformity? [Are you willing to walk away from a project or customer or employee who has values that don’t match yours?]

Is it okay if someone else gets the credit?

How often are you able to change your position?

Do you have a goal that can be reached in multiple ways?

If someone else can get us there faster, are you willing to let them?

No textbook answers…. It’s easy to get tripped up by these questions. In fact, most leaders I know do.