Ndzi Khense Ngopfu

thank-you-so-much-hd-image-photo-downloadNdzi khense ngopfu is Xitsonga [one of our 11 official South African language] meaning: Thank you so much.There is Thank You and then there is Thank You So Much.

Thank you is okay, it’s alright, everybody says Thank You once in a while, well maybe not everybody-everybody, but on average they do…… but Thank You So Much on the other hand, few people say Thank You So Much….. that “So Much” carries that thing, that X-factor thing.

That extra “So much”, says what you did really meant a lot to me, it got to me.

There is a lot written about gratitude and understandably so.

The saying: “It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy,” definitely rings true.

Thank you so much for reading/following/commenting/giving a reaction to the graffiti I put on this blog wall every day.

Thank you so much to friends, family, entrepreneurs, my mentors, colleagues who inspire me every day.

Stay inspired, happy and let’s keep caring, mattering, learning and growing every day.

Quoting from a birthday message I received a few years ago:

‘We’re never older, Only better’

I am very grateful.

Wishing you a fascinating 2020 filled with new and fresh challenges, love, caring, mattering, learning and laughter.

Sawubona, we see you, we acknowledge you, we hear you, you matter, you matter more than you think.
Ndzi Khense Ngopfu 🙂

First impressions vs. Lasting impact

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Have you ever been disappointed by mismatched brand.

The impression it creates is not the same as what it really is.

When the brand looks prim and proper but the experience of it is far from prim and proper.

Often we invest time and resources creating first impressions.

Creating first impressions is not necessarily the same as creating lasting impact.

We can invest time and energy and money into the things we believe will create the right first impression, professional logo design, the designer outfit, the perfect decor or quality packaging.

And yet it is possible for one bad customer experience to taint everything for a very long time to come.

The flip side of course is that when you organise your business for lasting impact people will cross town and queue from 3am for one of your croissants because they know you will sell out in two hours.

First impressions get people through the door, what happens next is what keeps them coming back.

By all means let your first impression be beautiful, but most importantly let beauty full you. Be full of beauty inside.

First impressions are only as valuable as the lasting impact they create.

PS: Malcolm Gladwell in his new book Talking to Strangers, builds a case on why humans are terrible at correctly reading first impressions of strangers.

In praise of the smiley

 

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The obvious benefit of written professional communication is the efficiency.

Often I prefer in person conversations because they are both powerful and un-scalable.

You are not going to misunderstand me when talk face to face or over a call.

The back and forth of email or sms communication can easily lead to messages being lost in translation.

The downside of written communication is that it strips away tone and, thus, makes it really easy to misunderstand intent.

Given that, I have found myself increasingly appreciative of the smiley at the end of sentence.

It is amazing how a colon and a closing bracket can combine to bring warmth and humor into an otherwise serious/dry written exchange.

In the process I believe smilies may also prevent misunderstandings in the process.

The small things are the big things. 🙂

What consumers want

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Perhaps it is:

Perfect
Now
Cheap

That is what they say, anyway.

I don’t think that is what it is. I think we want:

Interaction
Expectations exceeded
Respect

What will your verse be?

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“I believe in music, the way some people believe in fairy tales…” – August Rush

August Rush, one of my favourite movies.

I watched it recently, again. I have lost count of how many times I watched it.

This time, what stood out as I watched it….. again, is Robin Williams.

One of my favourite actors, maybe he was one of yours too, Robin Williams passed on in 2014.

Robin Williams was not the kind of hero you are reminded of every day. He was certainly not that action-figure hero that kids toys are made out of his character.

He was one of those actors who quietly, silently built themselves on you.

He grows on you.

You might remember him when you hear a piece of music from a movie soundtrack on the radio.

Or when the TV channels inevitably play Mrs Doubtfire trailers at Christmas.

Journalist Ty Burr tells the story about the time he met Williams one morning on a New York street, as they were both setting out for a jog.

For a split second Ty saw the man before his brain processed who he was.

The man [not the actor] smiled back until he saw the flicker of recognition cross Ty’s face, then he put on his celebrity armour.

The irony of the human condition is that we fear being invisible and yet we fear being seen.

We want to feel like what we do matters, that our time here stood for something. And yet we know that when we stick our necks out we are opening ourselves up to criticism and failure.

Despite his genius Robin Williams was no exception, he experienced the fear of not being good enough as we all do.

He once acknowledged: “this idea that you would better keep working otherwise people will forget.”

It was that need to keep raising the bar that made him one of those rare actors who could make us laugh and cry in equal measure.

He cared about doing that. He knew it mattered.

He understood that he was here to contribute a verse and that doing it meant facing his fear of failure.

I am glad he did.

What will your verse be?

My Documentaries List for 2019

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Learning never ends, and I take that idea very seriously.

I’m always searching for new articles, books, videos, and lectures, documentaries on the internet to expand my understanding of the world and how it works.

Documentaries are informative, due the investigative nature of producing them, doccies have depth in certain topics.

The following is a list of documentaries I watched for 2019:

  1. The Two Popes – This is a Netflix biographical drama film about the behind Vatican walls, the conservative Pope Benedict and the liberal future Pope Francis must find common ground to forge a new path for the Catholic Church.
  2. Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates – Another Nextflix doccie, This three-part docuseries explores the mind and motivations of the celebrated tech visionary, business leader and philanthropist.
  3. Mississippi’s War: Slavery and SecessionState’s Rights vs Slavery?   What was the motivating factor that led to the conflict? Examine the reasons behind Mississippi’s decision to secede from the United States, and the ramifications that action had on its citizens.
  4. What Killed Arafat? – In this major investigation, Al Jazeera reveals new evidence suggesting Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned.
  5. When They See Us – In 1989 a jogger was assaulted and raped in New York’s Central Park, and five young people were subsequently charged with the crime. The quintet, labeled the Central Park Five, maintained its innocence and spent years fighting the convictions, hoping to be exonerated.
  6. Rwanda – 25 years after the genocide – In 1994, Hutu militias slaughtered over 800,000 people, most of them from the Tutsi minority. Alain Gauthier and his wife Dafroza are trying to bring those hiding in Europe to justice.

The Infinite Game

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A sign post stands at the fork in the road,

Pointing in one direction, the sign says victory.

Pointing in the other direction, sign says fulfillment.

We must pick a direction.

Which one will we choose?

If we choose the path to victory, the goal is to win. We will experience the thrill of competition as we rush toward the finish line. Crowds gathered to cheer for us, and then it’s over, and everyone goes home. Hopefully we can do it again.

If we choose the path to fulfillment, the journey will be long. There will be times in which we must watch our step, there will be times we can stop to enjoy the view, we keep going, we keep going, crowds gathered to join us on the journey. And when our lives are over, those who joined us on the path to fulfillment will keep going without us, and inspire others to join them too.

This is the introduction to Simon Sinek’s new book The Infinite Game. I started reading this book recently and this opening page grabbed my attention and I felt I should share it.

Are you playing the finite [victory] or infinite [fulfillment] game?

 

 

 

 

The “How” Matters

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How you design the product changes how it feels to use it.

How we look at people affects how we see them [sawubona].

How you train your staff changes how the customer is treated.

How we greet and welcome customers affects how they feel.

How we talk to people who are deemed less important, tells more about our character.

How you answer an email changes how the recipient responds.

How much of yourself you bring to work changes how you perform.

How you deal with an upset client, sets the tone for a lifetime client or a lost client.

How we do things, often matters more than what we do.

As Simon Sinek would say start with why, but equally important is how you start, how you proceed and how you finish.

Having tact matters. 

In a world where more people understand the impact of how they do things everything changes.

My Podcast List For 2019

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Podcasting is an open mic recorded platform, a chance for people with something to say to find a few people who would like to hear them say it.

I love podcasts because they are inspirational, educational and informative, I often use them as an escapism, and I can listen to them while driving, walking or commuting.

Here are some of my favourite podcast episodes for 2019 in no particular order:

  1. Laduma Ngxokolo – RMB Solutionist Thinking
  2. Patient Capital – Seth Godin [Akimbo]
  3. Malcolm Gladwell on SuperSoul Conversations – Oprah [SuperSoul Conversations]
  4. Katlego Maphai – RMB Solutionist Thinking
  5. Susan Cain takes us into the mind of an introvert – The TED Interview
  6. What’s in the Fridge – Seth Godin [Akimbo]
  7. Systems Thinking – Seth Godin [Akimbo]
  8. Aisha Pandor – RMB Solutionist Thinking
  9. The Wedding Industrial Complex –  Seth Godin [Akimbo]
  10. The Queen of Cuba – Malcolm Gladwell [Revisionist History]
  11. Efosa Ojomo with Lee Kasumba [Africa State of Mind]
  12. Hallelujah – Malcolm Gladwell [Revisionist History]
  13. Dr Judy Dlamini – RMB Solutionist Thinking
  14. The Lady Vanishes – Malcolm Gladwell [Revisionist History]
  15. Yuval Noah Harari reveals the real dangers ahead – The TED Interview
  16. Kai-Fu Lee on the future of AI – The TED Interview
  17. The creative power of misfits – Adam Grant [WorkLife]
  18. Entrepreneurship is a way of life – Inga Gubeka [Mashstartup Podcast]
  19. Building your personal and organisational innovation capacity with Rendani Mamphiswana [SuperLead]
  20. The Prosperity Paradox Efosa Ojomo [Startup Societies Podcast]
  21. You can definitely teach creativity – Rob Stokes, Red and Yellow [ShapeShifter]

When the dust settles

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When things are more calmer and stable, when the consequences of something has become known and manageable, will you find yourself in a position you would be happy to be in.

Or when the dust settles years later, will you ask yourself “What was I thinking?” Often the answer is, you weren’t.

When the dust settles and you look back, will you be okay with what you see?

Sometimes it is better to let the dust settle before you make any big decisions.

When the dust settles, the road becomes clearer.

Book Review: Stepp’d in Blood – Akazu and the Architects of the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi by Andrew Wallis

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Once in a while you are confronted by a book of a special kind. A book that deals with you. Like thoroughly deals with you.

The story of Rwanda and the genocide is horrific and so reading a booking about it is bound to be a challenge.

This makes sense in theory, until you pick up a book and actually read about what happened.

Horrific, very horrific, like traumatic events.

This was a very hard book to read. One of the most difficult books to read.

It left me asking myself how can human beings do that to each other.

It left me asking myself how do the survivors of such atrocities live with such trauma.

Stepp’d in blood is book about the history, mainly pre, during and post the Rwandan genocide.

It gives a detailed account of the events, the main characters, the background, context and why things happened the way they did.

What Andrew Wallis is a journalist who has been written and followed the Rwandan events very closely for decades. He has done a good job of researching, interviewing people involved, looked at archives, evidence and other evidence that explains the story that is Rwanda.

Wallis is intimately familiar with Rwanda, its leaders and its history. Wallis brings a journalist’s eye and pen to his book.

According to the unfolding events in the book, the genocide was bound to happen. It was inevitable. It is one of those “it has to get worse before it gets better” situations.

This book engages the deep roots of the genocide. Wallis argues that the decision to commit genocide emerged out of a political crisis.

The sense I get from this book is that it serves not to present a side favoring one party, it serves no agenda other than presenting all the events, facts and actions leading to the 94 Genocide against the Tutsi, and a while afterwards.

The research in this book is mind-blowing, it’s as if he was there in the thick of things as they happen.

What I like about this book is that Wallis just sets out the facts, and let’s the reader draw their own [in this case horrified] conclusions.

Rating

9/10

This book is well-researched regarding the Rwandan genocide. It goes deeper to the heart of the issues, stories, horrors and atrocities.

In order to appreciate a country, it is important to appreciate its history, no matter how difficult it is.

Stepp’ed in Blood is an important read. Genocides are traumatic, however it is important know where we come from, so that we avoid the past mistakes.

As I read this book, I now understand what they mean that South Africa could have went this wrong. Something that South Africa managed to avoid, a civil war in 1994, Rwanda unfortunately went through it.

Quotes that stood out:

  • “The massacres that occurred at the end of 1992 and early 1993 in the north of the country stopped when the international  fact-finding mission arrived and the massacres resumed on the very next day after the departure of the fact-finding mission.”
  • “You know we are not Tanzanian, we are Rwandan and in Rwanda there is something they call genocide. Our daily bread is genocide.”
  • “Goretti Mukunde was only a baby, when at 4am on New Year’s Eve 1963, a sergeant from the local police arrived at her home. They seized Goretti’s father and forced him into a pit they had dug only a few metres from the house. His only crime was to be a Tutsi. He was buried up to his neck in the hot red soil and then abandoned. His family were not allowed to approach him. Instead they were forced to listen from the house as their beloved father slowly died, desperately crying out to his wife and children for a drink of water in the heat of the day. After 3 days his voice stopped. The family was broken by the murder, Goretti’s brother fled to Burundi, while her mother had to face her husband’s murderers in the marketplace.”
  • “Like (Theoneste) Lizinde, and indeed Habyarimana himself, taking another man’s wife who caught his fancy was a statement of his power and status. Husbands were given work assignments away from the area, and tended to co-operate rather than face the consequences of trying to face down authority. Zigiranyirazo would sometimes stop his car when he saw a pretty lady, married or single, to talk to her or to invite her on board!” 
  • “The massacres of Tutsis from 1990-1993 followed a pattern. And the organisers and perpetrators soon learned two important lessons. First, ‘that the could massacre large number of people quickly and efficiently’ and second, ‘based on the reactions they had elicited to date, they could get away with it.’
  • “Rwanda today is a country where hundreds of thousands who took part in genocide live alongside hundreds of thousands of victims and survivors.”
  • “Only in understanding the past can those outside Rwanda make informed opinions and expectations about the country, its present and its future.”
  • “The new ruler was content to dress as a European, enjoy Western customs and happily converted to Catholicism. In doing so he took his country with him into the Christian faith to the joy and relief of the Vatican.”
  • “History had taught Akazu the way to stay in power was through ethnic division.”
  • “If the price for staying in power was genocide against the minority, they reasoned, so be it. The end justifies the means. For many, it was not even a matter of hating the Tutsi ethnic group per se. After all, many Akazu had Tutsi wives or mistresses, business partners or friends. Mixed marriage was common and all spoke the same language. Genocide was purely a matter of political expediency, a cynical way to defeat the external and internal threats.”
  • “The Rwandan horror was proof that domestic political agendas then and now count more than any signature on a piece of paper, however well intentioned its aims may have been.”
  • “Rwanda is a warning from history, and a harsh lesson for the present and future.”
  • “He who cultivates friendship with the head of the family has won the friendship of the whole family. – Rwandan proverb”