Where the word of a king is there is Power! That kind of power is called Ase- The ability to say it, and have it come to pass. The characteristic that makes kings kings. The ability to say it and have it unquestioned and uncontested. The seal that guarantees you the last word. Ase! Come slug it out and let your authority be established. It is the authority of the rain that gives the sun its shine. Your tongue will not get to the bottom of your source of words. Ase!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

You are almost there

Hello Friend,

If you came here looking for Adeolu Akinyemi's site, you are almost there, this used to be it, it is now here www.deoluakinyemi.com , you can get great information that can help you develop yourself, your company and in fact, others.

If you have also had about Nigeria's number one site, it's also here at www.deoluakineymi.com/categoryjob-blog , see, i'm passionate about your success, and can't bear to have this all you see. I came back here again today after I got some comments from here, to let you know, that this is not all there is.

Thanks for coming and coming again...

Wishing you all the best in life.

Cheers

Adeolu Akinyemi

Thursday, December 14, 2006

naijablog: Obi for president

naijablog: Obi for president

Thursday, November 16, 2006

How are you Smart?

Its been long I posted anything here...get a little feel of what has been happening on www.deoluakinyemi.com

For years we have asked the question, “How smart are you?” rather than ask, “How are you smart?”. We have created a standard, called it IQ test, and measured everybody by these standards in a bid to answer a wrong question. Current research has shown that it is indeed a wrong question to ask “how smart are you?”, there are many ways in which one can be smart, and everybody is smart in one way or the other. The real question ought to be, “How are you smart?”. When you answer this question correctly you get to see that everyone of us has a genius inside, that the school system by creating uniform standards have overlooked. “How are you smart?”

This topic of smartness or intelligence is an area where there needs to be a paradigm shift, not only in some countries, all around the world. Not to get too technical, a paradigm is a way of looking at things, it is the lens through which we see the world. This frame of reference affects our beliefs, behaviours and sets our limitations or freedoms.

A paradigm is a way of thinking, usually arrived at as a conclusion of the facts at hand. The concept of Paradigms is a very interesting one, you can study the works of Thomas Kuhn (Professor Emeritus) and philosopher to gain more insigths into how paradigms work. A quick example though is the paradigm in the world at a time was that the world was flat. This way of thinking set the behaviour for those times. People rearly to ventured too far away from their houses for fear of falling off the edge of the earth. This paradigm limited exploration, limited adventure, limited the thinking of the people of the time and defined their freedom. After a while, some thinkers challenged this thinking with the paradigm that the world was round, as soon as this became proven, the world was literally set free. It is interesting to note however that paradigms do not just shift overnight, before the people who have strongly believed in a position will ever give it up, there has to be a paradigm crisis. This is a point where so many anomalies are noticed in the former theories that necesitates either blind ignorance or poignant questions. If the earth is flat, how come no one has ever fallen off, how come shadows are not along just one straight line all year long? As soon as paradigms shift, new truths emerge. I have gone through all that to say one thing, the paradigm that asks how intelligent or smart are you, has too many anomalies and is in the center of a crisis. How else will you explain the fact that Albert Einstein was rated as unintelligent in school to later become the smartest man that ever lived? How did Thomas Edison nearly pass for one with ADS Attension Deficiency Syndrome become the greatest inventor that ever lived? Why? Simple, because rather than finding out how people are smart, the systems have found out how they are not smart in the paradigm of intelligence that schools presently measure.

In the works of David Lazear, he discovered that human beings have multiple intelligences. Different people are smart in different ways. The fact that my IQ score is 140 or 50 doesn’t say how smart I am, it only says how possibly logic smart I am. David Lazear had 8 intelligencies in his research. I recommend you read his book - OutSmart Yourself! While I do not intend to rewrite his book :) , I think there is a lot in their that will help you discover yourself and your sense of worth. The eight types of smart that exist are as follows. These are further grouped into 3 categories. And don’t box yourself, you might find yourself in many, there is a survey that helps you know your leaning.

Object based intelligences
1.Image Smart - This is the intelligence that people who love to think in pictures,shapes, colours e.t.c have the most. They like to paint, draw, match colours, find their way with a map, know how a room out to be decorated, doodle as they learn e.t.c. They are usually excellent when it comes to activities that involve using the minds eye. You can easily guess the kinds of careers they would be successful in.

2.Logic smart - This is the intelligence that uses, numbers, logic and math to form patterns. They like to see patterns in things that others miss. They are analytic, love to work with numbers, perform experiments e.t.c.

3. Body Smart - Learning by doing :) This intelligence manifests in strong body awareness, connects well with activities peculiar to the body and hidden from the mind. Like how to dance, ride a bike, parallel park a car, run fast, walk on a rope, learn kung fu e.t.c.

4. Nature Smart - You have a strange connection with nature, you love the outdoors, you enjoy the scenery, you love animals, identify plant species, weather fascinates you, the farm appeals to you…this is you :)

Object Free Intelligences
5. Sound Smart - (I dear say this is strongest in Africa…but that was just me thinking out loud) You are very sensitive to sounds in the enviroment, you even remember past events by the sounds, various sounds and tones have visible effects on you, you can reproduce a rhythm having heard it once, your wife/hubby wonders where and when you heard all these songs.

6.Word Smart - you tend to think in words, you have highly developed skills for reading, writing and speaking, you like word games, making up poetry and stories, you enjoy debatting, remembering and telling jokes e.t.c.

Personal Intelligences
7. People Smart - If this is how you are smart, you learn more from interacting with people, you learn more in a team environment, you have many friends, empathise with people, understand different peoples points of view. You are likely good at drawing others out, you are sensitive to peoples feelings and ideas. What you read in a book sticks less than what you had a friendly discussion about.

8. Self Smart - Hmmm, this is the intelligence that provokes “hmmms” :) . You are very self aware, introspective, you are more likely to be in tune with your inner feelings, values belief and sense of purpose of life. You sometimes like to work alone, stay away from the crowd and range alone.You are very intuitive and are more self motivated than externally motivated. You are often strong willed, opinnionated and self confident, people naturally come to you for advice.

So the question goes to you, how are you smart? I’m sure reading this could help you come to a little understanding of my kind of smart as well :) . The first step is to know yourself, then as you begin to settle that puzzle, all your friends and acquaintances will fall into perspective. If my daughter comes home with a report card that says failed? I know better, what was measured was not her smart.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Party at Little Saints
















These are a few pictures of the event...It went really well! It's by far one of the greatest days of my life, a time that will go on to linger on my mind till I have another opportunity to do something better. I have never had a livelier birthday...more? (...)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

In a Hurry???

Where are you rushing to? What’s the hurry? These are questions I have been asked growing up, at different times and occassions. I can vividly remember a time when an uncle brought it to my notice that I was eating with close to the speed of light, talking like I had hot coals on my tongue, certainly I must be in a hurry to get somewhere.

Growing up however, I have discovered that there are things that can be rushed, and their are some things that you better allow to run their full course. A proverb says that we don’t rush up hot stew, else our mouths will get burnt, and we will not be able to use burnt mouth to lick cold stew. In other words, when the chicken lands carelessly on the rope, neither the rope nor the chicken are comfortable. I have since been able to draw up a list of what you can do in a hurry and what you shouldn’t.

In a hurry to be rich, men kill themselves

In a hurry to to grow up, girls betray themselves

In a hurry to arrive, guys end up “the late”

In a hurry to be great, many bite the hook and miss the bait.

What’s your hurry? The meal taken in haste seldom is enjoyed. The chinese say that when you eat for an hour, you won’t be hungry for long. Don’t rush the clock, savour the moment. While my search brought me to see that haste was waste, I also discovered that there is a time to crawl, walk, run or even fly. There are times you must fly!

If there is one thing I’m in a hurry to do today…I’m in a hurry to be happy!

Happiness is an interesting concept. It’s not really a matter of events, its usually a function of perception of events. Happiness is a state of thoroughly enjoying what one does. Of all things in life, happiness is not something your can successfully postpone, if you are not happy today, it reduces your chances of ever becoming happy.

“We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.” -Anne Frank

While in life you ought not hurry for many things, happiness is a state that must characterise you today! The seed is similar to the harvest, in fact you can estimate the fruit from it’s seed, in some cases the seed is even in the fruit. Today is a seed, if happiness is not in the seed, tell me, should it be in the future? In different ways, happiness is what we all seek. We must not however wait and wish, that by some stroke of genius or in ways unknown, we will suddenly find ourselves living lives of happiness. Happiness requires action!
Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action. -Benjamin Disraeli

So ask yourself, what will make me truely happy? What will I do for the rest of my life if money was available to live my dreams. Happy futures are never a product of sorrowful pasts. Happiness is the reward of those who find happiness all through the journey on the way to happiness. Successful people are usually people doing what they enjoy, until success comes.

Don’t mortgage your happiness…find what makes you happy today…and commit your energies to it! At the end, one man said, all that will matter in our actions is whether or not it won the respect and admiration of God, family and friends. When the chips are down, what matters most is happiness.

And in case you are wondering if being happy is entirely a selfish do it now project? Try these quotes on for size
John Templeton
Happiness comes from spiritual wealth, not material wealth… Happiness comes from giving, not getting. If we try hard to bring happiness to others, we cannot stop it from coming to us also. To get joy, we must give it, and to keep joy, we must scatter it. .

Lord Byron
All who would win joy, must share it; happiness was born a twin.

Happiness is like peeing your pants: Everyone can see it, but only you can feel it’s warmth. –Unknown –:))Are you happy today? Find true happiness…the seed is in the fruit and the fruits in the seed.

Written by Ase on June 8th, 2006 with no comments.
Read more articles on Happiness.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Jobs Jobs Jobs


You may want to check www.deoluakinyemi.com/categoryjob-blog for latest vacancies, you migh also want to visit www.deoluakinyemi.com for a shot of motivation.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Unemployed? Unhappy with Your Job? Not Sure About Career Growth?



Unemployed? Unhappy with Your Job? Not Sure About Career Growth?
If any (or all) of those three describe what you are experiencing at the moment, then there’s still one more question. Otherwise, you might as well stop reading this…
And the question is: are you ready for change? Will you be willing to trade your present position for a 180-degree turnaround to a better life? We could have suggested 360 degrees (as is often said) but this is not some form of motivational cliche! And by the way, if you turn around 360 degrees, you will be back to where you were before you started in the first place. So, what is your response to the question? If your answer is YES! and you are ready for the journey (yes, its a journey that begins on a special day) then you will be spending your Workers’ Day in a different way this year…
How would you like to be gainfully engaged in less than 7 days? No kidding, this is real, your life can be better than it is today! The idea… Attend a FREE seminar and change your fate and fortune forever! Two young men will lift the lid on what has been working for them, so others can learn and start or re-energise for the journey.
How will this work? More information will be provided shortly (from April 25)… Watch Out! Where? http://www.deoluakinyemi.com/, http://www.gbengasesan.com/ and Nigerian dailies… And one more thing, if you won’t be in Nigeria on that day, or this does not apply to you, please forward this to someone who will remain eternally grateful!

Sgd: Adeolu Akinyemi (http://www.deoluakinyemi.com/) & ‘Gbenga Sesan (www.gbengasesan.com)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Fortune favours the Bold!


Hmmm...I'm at a point in my life where this better be true ;-)
I just resigned my job!!!!! Officially I have today become the president of the association of unemployed people of Nigeria.

Come off it, Adeolu, tell me, where are you going from here? What's the new place like, what is the new offer? How much better is it. Sharp guy!

But seriously, I resigned, and I don't have an appointement letter for anywhere else!

But why??...Let's say it's boldness!... Or Courage. We all need a doze of it in our lives!

Let's examine the context of courage!
We live in a part of the world where we are trained to be respectful (and fearful), where we are inspired and encouraged to take our tow on life's security queue. In our school days we are encouraged to be the best, to lead and be first! We are encouraged to wake up early and work hard. All this to get a good job, (by definition, a good paying job) and be safe and secure, all the days of our lives. While this is good, it rids us of pushing our way into the world and daring! Unfortunately we have been trained to be lilly livered, accept the status quo and not go against the norms.

I have pondered with keen interest on a strange anomally. Why is it that even though our educational system is reputed to be so poor, our less than average colleagues go out to the west and excel! I have also wondered that if this proved that there is quality within our people that transcends the systems, why does Africa not have "many" inventions to boast of?? My summary is that despite the fact that we have great talent around us, our systems have made us timid, earn as you go security seekers!

"Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death!" - Earl Wilson

Courage is not the absense of fear, it's the suspension of fear! It's like public speaking...even the best of the best get shivers up their spine from time to time, but the real expert is one who is so gifted he uses the shivers to advantage. One of the strongest paralizers of initiatives is fear. Fear binds. Those who have no fear of death, live life to the fullest. Whatever fears you have, face it and move despite of it! I'm not advocating brainless motion, no! I'm only saying you need to boldly confront your fears and prove yourself right or wrong. Like Winston Churchill said, courage is the act of moving from failure to failure without loosing enthusiasm. Courage is being able to answer the question what is the worst that can happen and facing those consequences with the conviction of securing the best!

"The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become." -Charles Dubois

I shoulda woulda coulda...This is the snapshot of those who refused to live life to it's fullest. We only have one shot at life! One miserable possible event in life, is to be at the brink of death and to wonder, "what if?" It takes courage to confront our "what if's?", and answer them. What would happen if you go for the job you truely love? What would happen if you do the business you are passionate about? What would happen if you ask for that salary increase, ask that girl out, or stand up and speak your mind in that meeting? What would happen? Courage is being able to sacrifice what is for what could be! While we all find success stories interesting, have we ever wondered what would have happened if the key actors in that story of success didn't act? Imagine the world without Bill Gates courage of dropping out of Havard to pursue his dream, imagine that Michael Jordan stopped playing basketball after missing so many shots (6000), imagine Thomas Edisson not trying the light bulb so many times. Imagine how different the world will be today if some men/women did not sacrifice what they had secured for what they could have? Their is no taking on any new thing without letting go of the old. What is in your hand?

"When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

The world is indeed a scarecrow ;-) I remember growing up in the countryside (isn't that what we'll call it today?). Back in the days, we would go to the farm with our parents. My parents believed that salaries will never be enough and that we had the responsibility of supplementing what comes in, by venturing into other things. One of such things (amongst others), was farming! We would go to the farm to plant maize, okro, beans, yam, potatoes, cassava, guinea corn, watermelon, e.t.c. It used to be hard times then, but now such memories are fun. At those times as well, we would do all sort of things to protect the seeds we were planting, a range of things really. We would soak the seed in some form of poison, so that the fowls that came to do business when we had gone home would be terminally discouraged. We would also set traps, so that when the 4 legged farmers (rodents) also came to feast, they could have ready made food in a mama put style cage, where the sumptous meal will hang hooked in a cage that keeps the culprit alive until the real farm owner came. Chief amongst our devices was also the scarecrow. We would arrange sticks, and dress them up in such a way that the birds and rodents will think that it was a human being still in the farm and would not dare come near. Once in a while, some birds brave the odds, fly down and eat, with more frequent trying the soon discover that the scarecrow is the picture of a horse, all pose, no action. Most of the time, the things we are scared of are simply scarecrows. A good percentage of fears are not real. Why not dare to ask, speak, do... who knows, you might even find out that standing on the shoulders of the scarecrow you might see further.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." -Anais Nin

It's been said that fortune favours the bold! That we are are like air and will fill any container we give ourselves. Our lives are limited by the limitations we place on ourselves.
You don't need a job, you need courage, you don't need money, you need courage. It was once said by Winston churchill, that courage is the greatest of all virtues, because it takes courage to practice all others.

Dare to act!!! Fortune will smile on you!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Back Online...

After one week of my internet connectivity misbehaving, I’m finally back! Now I can give the time and attention this deserves.

I stopped on my talk about wealth creation. I think this is a very interesting topic. Considering that here in Africa we have a lot to be desired. Poverty is so real around here that it requires extra effort to operate outside of a poverty mindset.

The first thing a poor man needs to change, is his thinking. We are a product of our thoughts, our lives move in the direction of that which we meditate on consistently. A poor man percieves resources as limited, he thinks in terms of scarcity and invariably feels that if the other man has, it must mean one less for him. This poverty thinking patterns are so apparent in African homes that rather than eat a good meal today, many families prefer to save a good part of it till tomorrow. Not seeing what is available, we settle for what we percieve remains. Poverty first needs to be a state of mind before it can perpertrate itself.

In the quest to acquire wealth and live lives of influence, the key things that must change in us is not our age, resources, boundaries of existence or climate. The things that must change in us are things that we can control. We need to change our ASK’s; Attitudes, Skills and knowledge.

Wealth creation is like the story of the man who boasted to his villagers that he could walk on waters. He fixed a date and challenged the entire village to come watch him perform and extraordinary miracle. To their greatest suprise, rather than be the mock victim of the day, he became a rising star. He actually worked on water. On being asked by the press what exactly he had to say, he answered, everybody can do what I did. The whole town looked so shocked he had to explain quickly…everybody can walk on water, if they knew where the stones were. These stones are principles! If you know the principles of wealth creation, you can do it!!

There are principles for getting wealth… they are embedded in ASK- Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge,

Am I glad to be back??? Certainly!!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Introducing Job Blog

Have you seen www.deoluakinyemi.com/categoryjob-blog/

Do you have any jobs in Nigeria, West Africa or across the world that you think that Nigerians will be interested in?? Feel free to paste it in the forum I just gave you a link to. It will be a site that will be allowing job advert placements, coaching, counselling, helping and advisng. Let' slug it out @ www.deoluakinyemi.com/categoryjob-blog/

Or are you keenly interested in getting a job? Go there as well, it's a job information market, someone has the tip that you are looking for.

Ciao

Brandfaces Article 3-Branded Culture

www.deoluakinyemi.com
First of all, what are brands, what is branding? What is culture, and then we should also ask, where is the meeting point of these words, is it possible for a culture to be branded? Just how do we achieve this? When do we know if the culture is well branded, how do we know when it is not? I personally fear that this edition will take us a number of months to conclude, but it’s going to be quite an interesting ride. Please, follow me!
First I’ll like to start with what I call “the tale of two cities”, this is my adaptation of a story I heard recently.
Once upon a time, a man from a city A goes to visit a friend from city B. On getting to city B, the man from City A finds out that his friend is really prosperous. He lived in a nice decent see facing apartment in a lush part of town. These were men who had been childhood friends. Out of curiosity, the man from city B asks his friend how he came about such wealth. The man smiled, and rather than answer the question, the other man removes his car keys and leads his friend to his flashy BMW X5, 4.4Litre engine, asks him to enter and takes him for a ride. After about 25 minutes of driving, they arrive at a sensational park; the friend parks the car, ahead of them is a state of the art bridge, the bridge was properly constructed and transversed a gigantic river. The man in City B, proudly points at the bridge, and says, “see that bridge?” he points to himself and says “I constructed that, 40% of the deal, was mine!” The friend gazes in thought and latches on with an inspired smile, ah, that is the answer to the question on how he came about such wealth.
5 years down the line, the man from city B, goes to city A to also greet his friend. He was also pleasantly surprised to discover that his friend had not only become affluent, but glaringly so. He lived in a proper mansion in the heart of “Government Reserved Areas”, he had attendants in the dozens, answering to his beck and call, and the front of his house was littered with branded cars. “My friend must have hit a jackpot”, he probably wondered. Well, in other to put his curiosity to an end, he decided to ask his friend how he also came about his wealth. The man in City A laughs hysterically in the fashion of “I thought you would never ask”. He repeats a similar ritual to that of his friend 5yrs ago. He ushers his friend to a Homer Jeep, gets in line with a convoy and they travel for another 45 mins. After a while they arrive at a deserted joint. The man from city A points into the savannah, and says, “see that bridge?”. The friend wonders, thinking it’s a joke, what bridge, I can’t see any bridge. Yes the man from city A answered, I constructed that, 100% of the deal is mine!
For those who know to interpret, those are two different cultures!

Lay man’s explanation of terminologiesBrands: Brands exist in the minds of customers; they have the power to begin, maintain or terminate a relationship with an organization. Successful brands thrive on the power of imagination. Great brands promise consumers things that they value.
Branding: This is the process of making a product a brand. Flavored water is a product, coke is a brand. Canvas is a product, Nike is a brand
Culture: This is the way of life of a people. Culture is not an excursion, it’s a journey
Brand Culture: This is a new concept that involves creating alignment between the culture of an organization and the brand it produces. It also involves making the company itself a brand that attracts great people brands.
Branded Culture: These are companies where the culture is as well known as their products and services. Where the HR managers are as good as Brand managers! They represent the kind of companies we all want to work for!
Because the power and truth of a brand is judged by how frequently it delivers its promise, it becomes more and more important for the organization to live the brand. Every employee becomes a brand manager by virtue of their behaviours.
It is also becoming increasingly clearer, that no matter how much a company spends on advertising and product design, the behavior of its employees can completely destroy the brand. Employee behavior which has colossal effect on the brand is a function of the culture (motivation, quality, attitude e.t.c) of the employees. Brands are defined by people, it is the people who determine how an organization is seen, and this influences the customer to start, maintain or terminate a relationship with the organization.
It is grossly important to get your brand culture right!
Let’s drive this point a little further in. First we all agree that the customer is king! One school of thought even says that the customer is Queen, that’s the respect of the king added to the caution and modesty in relating to a lady. If the customer is Queen, then the soul of business must be to deliver service, or get our product (branded) into the hand of our customers. How do we do this efficiently and effectively? Easy, by improving product quality, process efficiency, reducing overheads e.t.c. These are all strategies for achieving customer acquisition, retention and fulfillment.
While all this is good and sounds nice, the reality at the base of getting the product across, is – what interaction or experience will convince our customers to allow us service them? In between the divide of marketing and the delivery process is people. People are the fulcrum, it is where the customer makes contact and it’s where relationships are made. In fact Southwest airline ( an airline I will definitely talk about in details in subsequent editions) is quoted as saying “Customers come second – because you can always replace the people who buy your product, but you can’t always replace the great people who embody your culture and deliver what you do.” Now don’t quote me on this one just yet!
If the people know what is required of them and are fired up to achieve it, then you have your culture rightly branded! The unfortunate thing that happens in many cases is that the employees don’t know what the customer expects. The marketing communication that makes the promise to the customers and the culture and processes that bring it to live and deliver it are not aligned.
In many companies employees do not believe in their culture, it doesn’t give them anything to believe in. There is no cause or purpose, they merely come to work. It’s a sad fact that most of the people responsible for convincing the customer to buy the brand they work for have no idea themselves why they come to work.
Why does this happen?This happens because - there is no compelling, singular, riveting idea driving their work. They are not on a mission. They are merely there to take up a seat, meet a job description or earn a salary. They are not emotionally involved; they are motivated by where they are on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
It also happens because many companies pay lip service to organization culture. These days the word company culture has become a really sexy term, people love to just say it. Every executive wants to tell you that they’re committed to living their brand from the inside, that they want to be the employer of choice, that their people really are their greatest asset and they’re not just saying that … yeah right!, but words are cheap. A company to saying it is committed to its people costs that company nothing. It looks nice, it sounds nice, it’s even reassuring to a point, but it’s one thing for a company to say it’s committed to its people, and quite another for it to commit and act in ways that the people themselves believe. Mark my words; one key symptom of a company with an unbranded culture is financial and emotional turmoil.

How do we create the right brand culture?First let me be clear in saying that it is not aboutCreating the right brand culture involves applying the concept of branding to the people. There are quite a number of ways to look at this.
1. PurposeGreat brands represent a lot more than the product. Brands embody an idea. Imagine a Coke advert, it shows you successful people, people at different stages of life, flashy cars, good houses, the brand coke ignites imagination and subtly represents more than quenching your thirst, or lets look at the presently popular Maclean. It promises you to be successful, important and to restore you confidence! I have heard that so much, that these days when I brush I feel my confidence coming back (Maclean ought to pay for this) Great and exciting brands represent more than just the product. Let’s apply that to culture branding, making people’s work represent mere crunching numbers, selling products e.t.c. In order to do this, we must first of all be able to identify people’s generic needs. People love to have something to commit to; a cause that they believe will make a difference. They need to represent beyond the product. You cannot get the best from someone whose emotional deposit in what he does is nil. Let’s take some examples, a company like Walt Disney defines its mission as making people happy, Procter and Gamble defines its as improving lives everyday, Wal-mart defines its as to give ordinary people the chance to buy things as rich people, you can imagine how the employees of these company worked! The idea lights them up and helps justify the many hours they spend at work. They know that they are working to make a difference. Their culture is aligned with the brand they are selling. This is not all about a good by line that is just a mere charade. This is about developing an idea that matches with the deep emotional needs of people and drives the business strategy for the organization.
An organization with a cause is an organization with focus. A culture with purpose creates unity. It bonds the individuals within an organization behind a single idea/brand. It defines the role and expectations for every person within the culture. It keeps the company faithful to its customers by ensuring everyone understands what they are there to do. And it does all this against the backdrop of the company’s business strategy, its market positioning and the factors and mindsets that make the enterprise unique.
A cleaner at NASA was once asked. “What are you doing here?” “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”
Question: what does your cleaner say?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Moving Sites...Public Notice;-)

This is to inform you that while I intend to maintain this blogsite, I have decided to relocate to a more spacious, beach facing, state of the art blog space at www.deoluakinyemi.com. So in case you don't find this place as up to date as you'll love to find it, just click on the link. There are other interesting things there as well...such as...click to find out... www.deoluakinyemi.com

Saturday, March 25, 2006

There is More Available

It's almost 3am in the morning...I'm not suffering from insomnia, believe me. I'm on my bed, my wife fast fast asleep beside me, my growing girl not too far from me. The fan is slowing down, and it seems PHCN (Power Holding Company Nigeria or Like they say, Problem Has Changed Names) might do their bid again tonight...I silently muster "Lord please help". But what keeps me awake??

It's the ancients that said that if you see an elder running franctically at night, it is either he is hot on the pursuit of something, or something is gaining on him. Nothing abnormal just happens, the fault is that of the farmer, the pestle does not pound the motar for no reason. I am doubtless motivated by the picture of the future that I see, at times many that view might wonder, what is after him, or what is he after. My motivation comes from a strong awareness, that there is more available. That which we desire is ahead, we have to move towards it!

I'm a firm believer in the fact that the earth was made as man, that there is an omni-intelligent, powerful and knowledgeable God in the universe who is the creator. I know that he made all that man needed ahead of him. That when man had the first hunger pang in history, that which he would eat was available. I believe that a mans appetite is proof that a banquet exists, I believe that our desires for more, better, best for ourselves, our communities, our societies and nations is born our of the availability of those desires.

This week of census, designed to be a week of rest has nevertheless been an activity packed on for me. I launched the holiday by organizing a full day sales training for a group of talented ladies and gentlemen. It was an interesting experience for me as it was for them. I literally watched their skills improve and listened with excitement when I heard that rehearsing was almost the first thing the next morning. Adding value is such fun. In fact, I'm beginning to get an interesting idea of running probono sales training for as many graduates as are interested. If you can sell, you might not be so desperate for just any job.

The last 3 days as well have been spent resting/reading in the day and working at night. I have been getting home as late as quarter to 12am. What was I doing?? While I'm not at liberty to declare it all now, I can assure you that it was all legitimate business, no vices no ills.

I'm so busy these days even I don't fully understand it, but the more I look, the more I see, opportunities are scattered all around, with insufficient people to make the most of them. It's available, your dream is available, there is more available. Our limitations are the ones that we set for ourselves, if you think you are there, it's because you closed your eyes, there is more available.

If anybody ever tells you it is not possible to do 4 jobs at a time in Nigeria, send them to me.

Cheers

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Lets rescue our global perception

I wouldn't have blogged today, if not that I discovered a mail in my box today. A mail that shocked me once again with the reality of how we are percieved as Nigerians. Not that there are not many events in a normal day that return us to this self same reality, but it certainly doesn't happen like that everyday.

I remember having a discussion with a friend who told me his own gory story of how he used to be a very patriotic Nigerian, not as though he wasn't anymore, but he has balanced it with a lot more wisdom, seeing that it just doesn't help. He told me of times when he'll travel out of Nigeria, practically wearing a Nigerian football jersey, he told me of how many times he had been stopped at the immigration of many countries for no other reason other than the fact than that he was a Nigerian. He told me of one occassion when an officer told him that he would surely find something wrong with him? Can you imagine?? At that time he was a UN official! Let's not deceive ourselves friends, our corrupt country colleagues spoil beyond their names, they give us perceptions that make us difficult to relate with. I can easily remember times at the borders of different countries as well, when being a Procter and Gamble employee or a Virgin employee meant more than being a Nigerian, isn't that sad?

So what happened today that flagged up my passion for the pen? I applied for a West African training consultant opportunity for a company in the US, last week and only checked my box today to see their response today. They felt I was very qualified, but would need me to validate myself. They said the volume of credit card frauds that come from Nigeria, makes them weary of doing business with Nigerians! Can you beat that? The interesting thing is, if it were you or I on the other side, we would have similar perspectives, we can't blame them.

What we need to do, is to put our own house in order. To continue our fight and struggle against scam. We need to move faster in our drive to creating alternatives for these jobless youths side by side with our clamour to get the antiscam bill signed. We need to shine our light! Darkness they say is merely the absence of light, and the only contribution needed from good for evil to prevail is silence. We must not be silent, we must fight this evil at home and abroad, we must ensure that the world knows that there are Nigerians that value and have integrity.

I can't imagine how many legitimate business proposals get deleted on the merit of these ill meaning few. I can't imagine how many good intentions have been coloured by the tons of scams that these yahoo boys generate. The fight against crime is not a fight against individuals it's a fight for the expression of genuine talents.

Lets rescue our global perception...for every one scammer, lets showcase 10 positive youths.

It's a war friends, we need to understand the dynamics, and strategically progress.

Regards


Adeolu

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Talk @ Harvest International Church

Today is one of those days this year that I come back home with a feeling of deep satisfaction. I have again spent my time doing one of the things that I love doing -Adding value to lives in the quest of people development.

From the moment I grabbed the mic and started my first story till the end, it was great! I could hear people standing to clap, people shouting, people laughing, I could hear them listening and I watched them learn. I got their response, It was a good feeling.

I was there to speak to them about climbing the corporate ladder. It was a good event. I could see from the eyes of the people that they were blessed. I spoke about having a vision of what you'll love to end up doing with your life, ensuring that your ladder is leaning against the right wall before spending energy to climb. I also spoke about planning and how they can ensure that they have a plan that works. One of the sad things about our existence in this side of the world is that we take planning for granted. Our desires for fruits for example requires no planning, at one point or the other one fruit or the other will be available. I spoke at lenght about the need for planning and how to plan. Houses are not built on rough sketches, they are built on plans that cost 10% of the cost of the house.

I later went on to talk about preparation and persistence. The details of these topics will come on this blog in some more days to come.

I typically would spend another 1-2hrs chatting with people and taking their questions one on one, but this was not possible today...guess I can't have it that way always ;-)

The high points of the day?? One of my mentors was around to hear me speak, and he was really impressed. In fact we spent the entire journey back with him sharing experiences that corroborated my views. We had spent the previous night sharing information and thoughts about my crossroads ;-) He seemed to agree with me thought, that nothing risked nothing gained. He supports my move, only I needed to do some homework.

He shared a little more about his business, how he started is millions of dollars business with less than $10. He shared with me some truths about integrity, how he gets credit worth hundersds of thousands of dollars equivallent that he makes about 10% on within a month. In other words, his longstanding integrity gives him the opportunity to earn a lot more than most executives without even spending any of his own money. We also spoke at lenght about his getting into consulting and what I could do to help open up that aspect of business, not for the money really, but for the fun of it ;-)

Between yesterday night and tonight, I learnt a lot, sowed a lot, and hope for a lotin the next coming days. What will happen with the consulting idea, what will I do about my crossroads, when will I post the details of my talk?...Stay tuned!!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Obedience First, 1st January, 2006

How do you teach a child?
Or an infant to be mild?
How do you teach a toddler to walk?
Or a baby to talk?

The work of a teacher is not an easy task.
Wisdom to know the right arrangement of class.
Patience to talk without confirmation of being heard.
Kindness to continue without getting hard.

Before the egg becomes a cock it cracks
The seed that becomes the corn first dies
Before the gate of understanding there is a track
The word that’s understood gets to tie

Before the mind can learn to understand
The heart must first learn to obey
Nothing is transferred without a gradient
A teacher is that, because the student obeys

The gateway to the mind of a student is obedience
Once the youngster learns to obey he can learn the world
The degree of obedience determines the depth of learning
Obedience creates the gradient along which love and knowledge flows.

Thots… Adeolu Akinyemi

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Starting your Own Thing- A new book


It’s 27th of January, 2007, finally the first stroke of ink to an idea born in my mind two days ago. The idea is to write a book from my own experience about the hurdles jumped in the bid to set up a new company. This will undoubtedly serve as an asset to anybody aspiring to start his/her own company. I’ll try to capture the information day by day as things unveil, you’ll participate in the intrigues, the humour, the uncertainties and definitely the successes. Since I’m starting from the middle, I’ll make reference to the past and the present. I’ll capture some of my dreams for the future, and together we’ll move day by day into what the future would later reveal.

Some of the past

Having an Idea

My experience
The first step to starting a company is having an idea. What exactly is going to be the service provided by this company? Like all companies, I also had an idea. It all started with an idea. The idea was to start a Human Resources Specialist company that would provide information and people development services to the millions of unemployed in Nigeria. The idea was born out of a passion for people and organizational development and out of a perceived gap in the industry. As far as I was concerned, there were many HR companies that where loyal to and provided services to employers and none that was committed to and provided services to the candidates. This concept was the motivating idea behind the need to form a company. Apart for having a passion for people development I had also at this time also worked extensively in HR as a recruiter, trainer, and customer business developer. And in case you think that having the idea was something that happened 2 weeks ago, it didn’t quite happen like that. Don’t get me wrong, it does happen at times that you get the idea today and start processing the company registration tomorrow, but that as you would see was not our experience.

Tips
Successful people don’t do what they hate to make money to fund what they love. Successful people are people who do what they love and as a result money naturally comes. The secret of happiness is not money to live your dreams. The secret of happiness is living your dreams and money will come. Don’t be attracted into a business because of the financials; there are as many ways as the hairs on your head to make money. Be attracted only by an idea that stirs your passion. Go with an idea that is your own choice of how you wish to be successful. Every business has its low times, if the business is not one about which you are excited, your desire to go on can wean at such times. Finally, ensure that you have spent quality time building the skills you require to do this business.

Sharing the Idea

My experience
The next step was to share the idea with some people that I believed I could partner with and believed shared my passion on adding value to the man on the streets who also needed help but was getting none. I must have shared the idea for over a year! The more I talked about it, the more I discovered it was something I had to hit the market with quickly enough. Yes it was a profitable business idea, but beyond that, it was something I would be willing to dedicate my life to, even if it wasn’t profitable. I shared the dream with prospective business partners, with friends and finally with my mentors. I shared it with incurable optimists and with pessimistic critics. In the course of my sharing it, I heard some negative comments that made me refine the business idea; I also had some positive comments that propelled me to start. There are two instances I will never forget. One time I shared the idea with one of my mentors in an “all night laying my vision bare session”. He looked at the other plans I told him I had and told me that he had most confidence in this particular business idea. He told me that I should start it together with the work I am presently doing and watch it grow. He had always told me as well, that the business I should do is the one I’ll enjoy even if I was making a loss. The second time was when I discussed the idea in the company of an old time friend and a new acquaintance. After I shared the idea, the new acquaintance wondered if I was alright having such an idea and not haven done anything about it. She sounded really motivating about my starting it, and doing so quickly!

Tips
Sharing your idea is a good idea. In the multitude of counsellors there is safety. Your idea will gain resilience and tenacity in the presence of criticism. Your idea will gain passion, support and drive from optimistic encouragement. Some people will reduce your idea; some will blow it up in your face. If we decide to close our eyes for bad people to pass, our eyes will still be closed when good people pass; we cannot afford to throw away the child with bad water. If we say we want to only hear positive encouragement or nothing, we are likely to have neither. Believe in your idea and be certain it’s one in which your passion lies, set your sails, and every wind both positive and negative, will steer you in the right direction.


Commit Yourself

My experience
My first act of commitment was paying for a shop. By the time the first NGN175,000 left my hand for an empty office; I knew I had gotten to the point of no return. From now on it was forward ever backward never. The die was cast, a number has to show! See, every business idea is an idea until a committing step is taken. Until you burn the bridges behind you, the journey back is always more familiar than the journey forward. It all started with an office search, I and my wife had discussed in detail about the business idea and the need to get an office space as soon as possible. We commissioned a number of people to help us with the search of office space. Eventually someone told us he had seen one, and we decided to check the place out. As soon as we saw the office, it looked like a good space in the right place. We asked about price of the space and we were told it would cost NGN350,000 for a two year period. This money was not available at this time, but we committed ourselves verbally to a date, and set out to meet the date, at least with payment for one year. At the set date, we went to the landlord together to propose that we pay half now and the other half later. Interestingly, the landlord agreed! We paid for the first instalment for the office in November with the promise to complete the other half before the year ended. All this happened after over a year that the idea was born. At this time as well, I was still sharing the vision with as many as cared to listen, in fact I took some friends over to where the office was for them to see and get a glimpse of the growing reality of a business without a name. When December came, I and a friend went together to see the Landlord. I went there to tell the landlord that I could muscle myself to pay up the balance of the money for the office, but it would be at the detriment of a great Christmas celebration (my creative version of, please sir let me pay next month). The landlord calmly told me that it was better to make two Christmases good rather than make one great and the other bad, bottom line, pay all or pay half. In the course of our discussion, it became apparent that the office opposite our office was becoming vacant that month. We had spoken about it briefly the first time, so I took it up with him again, and he told me that if I was willing to pay another one year for that, he would give it. I told him I was coming back the next day. I thought about it over the night, and decided it was better to dim my present to brighten my future. We paid for the second office the next day and from then on, it became compulsory for us to have a company!!

Tips
MALT: More Action Less Talk. Labour is profitable, but idle chatters lead to poverty. Commit yourself to your idea. Ideas without plans and actions are daydreams, wake up! You need to get yourself to a point of no return. That point means many things to many people. Some people resign and as soon as they do, they know that their future lies firmly in their decisions or lack of it. Different people have done different things, things that if they did and didn’t succeed the world would have told them, “ didn’t we warn you?” “why did you do that?”. Burn your bridges, make it difficult for yourself to turn back. Use the model of the eagles in training- the mother takes them from their nests, takes them to the clouds and drops them, to fly or to crash! Your business needs to be taken to a reasonable height where taking a walk is not an option, where stopping is crashing, where not succeeding means failing. No grey areas! You may learn all the theory behind swimming, watch all the displays of skills, be capable of explaining the styles, the day you start learning to swim, is the day you enter the water. With the help of good coaches, with the benefit of what you had learnt, with practice, you can very well be on your way to being one of the best the world ever saw. Move on confidently, commit yourself.

Writing Your Business Plan

My experience
This one, is not as easy as spelling it. Writing a business plan is one of the most harrowing processes in starting a business, paradoxically however, it is one of the best things you can do for a business. I tried hard to dodge away from the responsibility of drawing up a business plan for this business. In fact, what I have now is an excuse for a business plan, but with sufficient information to give a prospective investor basic ideas about what the business is about. How did I start? It all started in one of my idea sharing sessions, I had discussed with someone I look up to in the field of HR about the idea and the possibility of our combining forces to make this a success. In the course of our discussion, some other peoples names came up that we believed could add some value to the overall execution of the idea. We therefore scheduled a meeting with one of such people with the intention of sharing the idea and seeing how all of us can come together to make it happen big-time. For about 3 hours I shared the idea while the 3rd person I had come to present the idea to asked one question after the other. In the midst of our discussions, the idea seemed to grow, we migrated from one topic to the other and by the time we were finishing our discussions we were all convinced that it was a good idea. Now it came to the “next steps” part of the meeting and I was saddled with the responsibility of developing a business plan for the company. At this point the company still had a proposed name “career managers”. I really felt bad that day, that after all I had said, this people were asking me to write a business plan. In my mind, I felt this people want to see how profitable this business was before making an investment into it, while in my mind I felt, even if this business wasn’t profitable I would still run with it. I held up on the business plan for unduly long. If only I had known better!

Somewhere along the line I also got into discussing it with one of my mentors, I told him about the business idea and the first thing he asked me for was my business plan. I decided to put together a PowerPoint presentation that spelt out the business proposal and an Excel sheet that captured the figures.

Tips


Interlude 28012006

Its 28th of January, 2006! This is one of those days when you feel it’s criminal not to record the happenings of the day. It’s one of those days when you laugh hysterically while in pain. I think we call them red letter days, the kind of days that in 5yrs time you say “once upon a time”. It was a day that had comedies, intrigues and high points. It’s a day worthy of documenting.

In other to give you a clearer insight into the happenings of the day, I’ll have to delve a bit into some of the events that preceded this particular day. It will also take me into the dynamics of creating you own business name.

Creating Your Business Name

My Experience
The idea started out with a typical name on it, the initial idea was to name the company career managers as this was essentially what we were built to do. Gradually as time went by, with increasing possibilities of going into some HR consulting and some marketing services work, I decided we needed a more all encompassing name. The name that next came to mind was The Agency. This sounded like a cool name, it also sounded like an opportunity to take the entire niche of agencies by becoming “The Agency”. Everybody I bounced the name on liked it, it was a good name. With a name like that, we could do anything. The world would be our field, and anything we ventured into, we would be “The Agency”. It would literally be dreams come true.

Well, that dream did not last long, as we were rudely awaken from it. Apparently it was a daydream. The first hurdle that shook off the dream of the name came when we decided to register the company. We were asked to submit three names so that they could check for the availability. I was adamant that they should simply check for “The Agency”. After a lot of back and forth, we were told that we could not register the name, that it was too generic. Creative spells took over us and together with the team that I had formed then, we decided to look for close cut alternatives to “The Agency”, names like “the professionals”, “the managers”, e.t.c. were ideas, but we new they would be too generic. Mind you, around this time as well, we had started talking to a company and were about closing a deal on an HR/Sales support role that we would be providing for them. We were already using The Agency, which thanks to God for being generic enough we could easily say that’s how we want to be called. But we were in dire straits to come up with a name and register it at the speed of light.

Eventually we resulted into names like “The Agency Resource Network”, “Agentur”, and even “L’Agenture” both coined from Agency in other languages. One by one, all the options fell, for one reason or the other. “The Agency Resource Network” flew, but the person who got the name available had to travel for Christmas, we needed the company registered before Christmas, so we couldn’t wait. Little did I know that we were still going to be talking about this issue today!

Well, we decided to go back to the drawing board, and really really, come up with a name that could serve our noble intentions. The instruction to all was clear, brainstorm, think, pray, whatever you knew how to do, let’s come up with a name that can be the next big brand. In the process of these thoughts a good number of options were thrown up. I also decided to ask deep questions about our essence. What was our mission statement? “To create innovative solutions that develops people and businesses” What does create mean? What words mean the same thing in other languages? What are the characteristics that make up a good brand? What is the meaning of Google, Amazon, Microsoft, E-bay? All these questions were answered eventually in a name that sounded right to me and consequently everybody that heard it. The word was Generi! Somehow it felt like it was going to be a great name. It answered all the questions, at least all the initial ones.

In case you are wondering what Generi means, don’t worry, I’ll not leave you wondering for too long. Generi is an Italian work which means create; it’s also derivable from an English word with Latin origin- sui generis which means unique. Generi also has a similar formation with Google, Amazon, Microsoft and eBay, which is basically equal number of vowels and consonants. When we discussed it as a team, everybody was cool with it, we have gotten our own name, and more than anything else, it sounded right. This was a no-cost investment but it felt like a big hurdle crossed. But not just all crossed yet.

We started with the next steps, doing the availability and registering the company. This was another ball game entirely! It is true that the one whose eyes are sunken should begin to cry from a distance, for it is only then that his tears will be useful for those for whom he wishes to let his tears be seen. We started in earnest, with a number of options. “Generi”, “Generis Concepts”, “Generis Consulting”. I also decided rather than wait for 3 weeks, with all this pressure that we had with the deal about to close, why not pay for urgent registration, this would cost NGN120,000 rather than NGN60,000. This was well worth it.

To be continued...this is going to be published at a later date... all encouragements to continue are welcome ;-)

IDENTITY-Brand Faces Article 001

How did we get to where we are?

Today’s corporate world has come a very long way. Industry gradually transformed from the agricultural economy of the 1700’s through the industrial revolution of the 1800’s into scientific management in the 1900’s which has resulted into the hypotheses and theorems we have today. The laws of history are emphatic: Things are the way they are because they got that way, and those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it! Nigeria’s corporate history is littered with examples of cases where things had gotten bad because those who led them were either not aware of history or deliberately took things there.

Our quest to open our doors to all that present themselves as foreign investors has left our national corporate identity a blend of many odds. While I quite agree that there are some strong personalities whose names tie into their company brands, it is non-the-less incorrect for a company’s corporate identity to derive its personality from its owner’s culture or personality. Microsoft will be making itself globally irrelevant for example if Microsoft everywhere in the world lives by America’s culture or by Bill Gates whims and caprices. Today however our corporate citizens suffer from many syndromes, from the all notorious One-man company syndrome to the foreign company culture syndrome. Many companies have been unable to exist beyond the makeup of their owners. The Lebanese, Chinese, English, Indian, American cultures all pervade different companies with their characteristic ambience.

Once upon a time
In the 1700’s we had an agricultural economy. This time was characterized by farm produce and craftsmanship. Items were made unique for individuals who wanted them. Human beings were motivated by the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and comfort.

Not long after, the world witnessed an industrial revolution. Power was discovered, a powerful tool that needed to be fully utilized. Industry moved from home to factories and gradually the Military and Church organizations became the model for the new age industry! Attention moved beyond unique making into mass production. Some level of personal identity gave over to corporate identity. The concept of ‘in vogue’ was born. Communal identity was born. The needs of man moved beyond the basics to profound needs such as the need to belong.

Scientific management became the glee of the 20th Century industry. Work became more and more mechanized, processes were introduced, work broken into tasks, a number of theories promulgated and economic motivation seen as the only source of motivation. As industry progressed in the careful hands of history, knowledge was garnered from experience and a number of other theories and best practices saw the light of day.

1930’s

Hawthorne studied the effect of working conditions on productivity, and had the first recognition of human/social factors at work.

1940’s

Work became more diverse, and scientific methods were employed for selection.

1950’s

Behavioral Science was heralded by a number of behavioral scientists who came up with ideas on styles, motivation and human identity. Some of these behaviors govern the culture of some organizations today. Most Asian companies for example are predominantly X theory companies. The typical philosophy of which is “The average human being has an inherent dislike for work and will avoid it if he can; because of this human characteristic of dislike for work, most people must be coerced, controlled, directed, or threatened with punishment to get them to put forth adequate effort toward the achievement of organizational objectives. They believe that the average human being prefers to be directed, wishes to avoid responsibility, has relatively little ambition, and wants security above all.”

At this point I’m sure I have some nods, knowing smiles and sighs of relief across the nations were the corporate identities of company’s makes mere employee of employees.
I’m certain there are also companies that have tried as much as they could to escape from the stigma of racial, tribalistic or owner labels. I hope some CEO’s are hanging this edition over their faces not to be noticed and saying, “I hope this is not mere criticism, but an attempt to help with advice to bring about sanity.” Well, whatever category you fall into, tighten your seat belts, because we are not going to mince words and we won’t be done until we hear thank you!

Editions to come in this column will feature these behavioral theories, classify the corporate environment in Nigeria into ownership classes and look at them in the light of what exists and what is missing in these theories. Together we’ll be looking critically into what our colleagues are being deprived of as corporate citizens by being in systems that are skewed either by one man or by the prevailing management national culture. Together we’ll consult for such companies, proffer solutions, advocate for the employees and lead change in today’s industry. Peradventure you happen to be reading as well, and you ask, “What’s in it for me the entrepreneur?” Well, you better start making sure, that your culture is your brand value, because only then will you be able to deliver your brand promise.

Adeolu Akinyemi, an HR expert from Lagos, Nigeria
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ARMs Alive

It's interesting how much can happen in a few weeks! It's also a lesson in patience, perseverance and faith. A good number of times, the reason why it's not working is not because things are not done right, it's just that the time has not yet come. There is indeed time for everything!

ARMs?? What's that? That's African Role Models. A vision that was set to start in 1999. The entire concept of ARMs was to augment the university curriculum in such a way that students will graduate from these higher institutions of learning armed with resources to compete successfully in the corporate and business world.

Two years ago, a friend and a brother I'll remember forever was commisioned and delivered a key milestone, the development of www.arms-ng.com website. Shortly after he came to my house to show me what he had done, the tight fist of death took him on a high horse to heavens gate- I'm talking about Abimbola Fashua (legend). A lot of progress had been made over time, but only now are we beginning to see significant progress. As I speak, ARMs has been inaugurated in 10 higher institutions in Nigeria, all within the last 10 days. A number of dedicated men and woman, made this happen. For the records, their names are Dayo Ayeni, Femi Ogundoro, Ola Daramola, Seun Olajide and Temitope Akinyemi...and of course though from the sidelines, moi!

The vision is that this year alone, we will not only be present in over 60 institutions, our presence will be felt. We'll be organizing seminars, having competitions, sponsoring business ventures, fostering cooperation and partnerships for small businesses e.t.c. all on the wings of ARMs. It will require a lot of work, a lot of commitment, but Nigeria and Africa will benefit from these small ripples that are gathering strenght and speed.

Well, I felt you should know how much progress had been made on that. The only reason we can recollect history accurately was because wise men wrote, I guess I'm trying to make my own contributions....

ARMs is alive, it's taken a consistent dream, it's taken time, it's taken able bodied human beings, but it's alive. The machinery has been developed to develop young Nigerians and Africans. I am happy!

IDENTITY-Brand Faces Article 002

The Smell of a Place

Let’s start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result - all the monkeys are sprayed with cold water.
Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, turn off the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs.
To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted. Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. Note that the previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm. Again, replace a third original monkey with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four monkeys that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing the fourth and fifth original monkeys, all the monkeys that have been sprayed with cold water have been replaced. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs. Why not? Because as far as they know that's the way it's always been around here and that's how company culture is formed, and that’s how you come about the smell of a place.

Every company has its smell. It’s the way it’s always been around there. Nobody can really explain why some things are the way they are anymore, it’s either that’s what management said, wants or expects. This subtly defines a culture for the organization. Imagine how the fifth monkey would have felt when it entered the cage, he’ll see opportunities all over the place in “banana’s untouched”, he’ll wonder in its mind why nobody is making use of those opportunities, he’ll also wonder how come the hostility when he tries to reach the banana. The other monkeys will attack it with glee, without having a clue why things are done that way. At that point, the one who can pick the smell of the place most is the new comer, but he/she looses the ability to see the difference in sometimes less than 3 months.




The smell of some places
Where do you work? Do you work in a hostile, high-pressure, cubicle-laden owner-centric labor camp with lousy benefits, bitter, talentless managers, and buzzing, green-tinted fluorescent lights? Or do you work in an open, airy, truly stylish converted warehouse with relaxed, competent coworkers and managers that not only care about your well-being and job satisfaction, but work continuously to improve it? Do you to set your own hours, banish your suit and tie in the deepest corner of your closet, and bask in the creativity of well-humored individuals who actually come to work (and leave) in a good mood?

Do you work in a company that allows total freedom in managing your priorities, decorating your workspace, and provides solid health, dental, and financial benefits? Do you work in a place where you never, ever see another cubicle again? Where there is no big fish and hence no aquarium? Or do you work in a ‘do as I say’, no initiative required environment, where the boss takes all the decisions, your bosses are addressed as ‘royal highnesses’ and you are rewarded on your ability to stay forever on a particular job?

Companies are so different, and most times unexplainably so, but if you by chance find yourself in a company that has gotten used to a particular way of doing things, there are a number of things you can do to change the game or at least be happy.

How did we get here?
Ask questions. The most stupid question in the world is the one we never ask. That question that hangs on the tip of our tongue and never finds expression is the dumbest question. Ask! Find out a little about the history of the place. Don’t just join in a practice. Ask. The monkeys in the story did the things that they did without knowing exactly why. Dig a bit; find out the things that create the smell of where you are.

How do we smell today?
There are many ways to assess your company culture. There are consultants who will do it for you, for a fee (I can connect you ;-). The easiest way to assess your company's culture is to look around. How do the employees act; what do they do? Look for common behaviors and visible symbols. Listen. Listen to your employees, your suppliers, and your customers. Pay attention to what is written about your company, in print and online. These will also give you clues as to what your company's smell really is. Your company can figuratively be a sweet smelling perfume, winning the hearts of customers, the passion of employees and the commitment of suppliers, or your company can be a stench, where employees hang around until they have a choice, suppliers are struggling businesses and your customers haven’t found alternatives.


What is our essence?
It’s also crucial to know what you stand for as a company. To consistently act in a manner inconsistent with our values and inner beliefs is another definition of insanity. Every company has an identity, a persona, a corporate culture. Corporate culture is a broad term used to define the unique personality or character of a particular company or organization, and includes such elements as core values and beliefs, corporate ethics, and rules of behavior. Corporate culture can be expressed in the company's mission statement and other communications, in the architectural style or interior décor of offices, by what people wear to work, by how people address each other, and in the titles given to various employees. You need to be able to explain or describe the personality of your company.

How do you want your company to smell?
This is a two sided question, the top executive can ask this because he/she might want to change it, the freshman may ask this because he/she wants to consider and weigh his/her job options. Whichever side of the coin you fall in, you should have an idea what you want your corporate culture to be. Before you can change the company culture, you have to decide what you want the company culture to look like in the future. Different companies in different industries will have different cultures. Look at what kind of a culture will work best for your organization in its desired future state. Review your mission, vision and values and make sure the company culture you are designing supports them.
Here are some characteristics of company cultures that others have used successfully. Decide which work for your company and implement them, or on the other side of the coin, look for them.
Mission clarity
Employee commitment
Fully empowered employees
High integrity workplace
Strong trust relationships
Highly effective leadership
Effective systems and processes
Performance-based compensation and reward programs
Customer-focused
Effective 360-degree communications
Commitment to learning and skill development
Emphasis on recruiting and retaining outstanding employees
High degree of adaptability
High accountability standards
Demonstrated support for innovation
Adeolu Akinyemi, an HR expert from Lagos, Nigeria
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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Crossroads!

Hmmm... I never seem to be out of dull moments. Every object has unlimited views, you can turn 360 degrees around it from 360 different angles, and even those angles can still be divided by as much as you want. If you don't understand it, it's because I didn't explain it clearly enough, even you can have your veiws about that ;-)

Striking and interesting it is though, that the same events extract different responses from us all. The same event that makes the farmer cry is the same one that ushers laughter out of the guinea fowl. Fat and beef being cooked in the same pot react differently.

Take a snap shot of Nigeria at the moment. Just freeze the country in your mind and what do you see? Figuratively, Nigeria could be that giant pot where Nigerians are the foundational ingredients. While many feel the heat and want to pop out of the pot into wherever, other ingredients are being added and enjoying the splendor. While some would rather not stay, some cannot stand the thought of leaving. Prevailing situations make some stay while others in their own volition, by and by the combination gets done, the resulting aroma is sweet and it's a delight to all who know what is good! I dare not say I know of certainty how much of a pressure cooker the nation is, how heated it's furnace or how stoney it's ingredients, but I'm sure that with some ingredients i have seen and their passion for making it work...it's just a matter of time!

Don't mind me, my passion for Nigeria atimes get's over bearing, but more to the issue on ground-Crossroads!

Have you every felt your heart and your head dissagree to a decision? Has the voice of your logic ever been doused by the tears of your emotion? Has your heart every aspired while your soul endlessly pondered? If you have, then you probably are on the same page with me. Sometimes when your heart longs for something it gets presented to you. Your brain tries without luck to comprehend it and slows down your pace. You want to go, yet you want to stay. It's a crossroad, all the roads have only similarity in common, they end in various destinations. There is no backward way forward, no forward way backward. I'm there at the moment, with all the mixed feelings that go with it. I'll keep it philosophical until it makes sense to divulge it. Then you'll have a worldclass story. Ase!

Hurray, He's crawling!!

Today, 11:40am 16th November, 2005 I Adeolu Akinyemi had my first baby crawls into blogging. It's the beginning of a new journey, one that intends to traverse crawling to walking, walking to running, running to flying and flying to 'vincing'. Yeah, the word vincing is mine, as would be many others. Ase!