Humbled

 

Humbled is how I feel, right now. Today I spent the day with emerging leaders that have been, are and will be influencing the African continent through film…

 

They are the gatekeepers of culture. They have a say on what becomes culture through the music videos, television productions, documentaries and movies they have made and are going to continue making. They represented a number of countries and I’m privileged to be allowed to speak to them on being leaders.

 

I’m humbled to have spent time with them engaging on the kind of leaders Africa needs. We also talked about areas we need to grow in as individuals leaders in order to make a lasting and significant impact.

 

Change, in Africa is not going to come about through looking only to political leaders. Change can also be influenced through media. Our focus has been too much on the political leaders, who have been, in general, mostly a let down. Perhaps we have expected too much of politicians.

 

Culture gatekeepers such as the leaders I met today need to be included in defining a greater future for our continent. To every person I met today:

 

I am humbled to have the privilege to serve you. I am also excited to see the work you continue to do. Be great stewards of the influence you have.

 

While it will take people passionate about Africa to make a difference, passion is not enough. Passion is only a part of the equation. It will take influencers such as the ones I’ve met to have great passion, character and courage.

 

The task ahead is not going to be an easy one. Turning around a continent will take combined effort from everyone acting in their areas of speciality and passion. Everyone has something to give.

 

After being int he presence of the calibre of African leaders I met today, I’m hopeful. Expectant. Excited.

 

Viva la revolución! A luta continua! (The struggle continues)

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The Anatomy Of “A Hit”

 

You either love or hate this song. I didn’t think I would, but I love it. Love it or not, this song is a hit. Like Gangnam Style . There are things that have or will have influence culture, in general, that will impact us in one way or another.

When PSY was making Gangnam Style, he might have thought it would be a hit. Perhaps more hoped, but nothing prepared him, or the world for his 2012 hit, that broke YouTube records.

The same applies to Ylvis and “The Fox”. I’m sure he hoped the song would be a hit. Every artist, inventor and leader’s dream; an uptake of whatever they work on, to influence the world.

The context in which we create and lead is irrelevant when it comes to anticipated impact in and through what we do. We all want to make a significant dent in the universe in one way or another.

The reason I use Ylvis’ hit, “The Fox” as a case study is that there are things that will shape culture and our environment, whether we love it or not. Understanding these things helps us to engage better with the environment we work in. It helps us understand people more. It helps our approach and appreciation for our work and efforts.

The University of Bristol did a study to find out what makes hits, hits. Something they noted was how certain songs were likely to be hits during particular periods in history. Different things at different times made hits.

My thoughts:

What if you were on the watershed. What if you were on the verge to redefining what hits are? One of the reasons I do some of the things I do is a desire to redefine.

What if my next “song” (substitute “song” for whatever you do) is the next thing that will redefine culture? What if my next ad campaign is going to redefine advertising? What if my next leadership intervention defines how leaders are trained?

You really don’t how the impact what you are working on will have. Perhaps it will run away and be a hit. Maybe not. But what if it was a “hit” and you never put love into your work. What if it had the potential to be a hit and you abandoned your work on it?

The foundation to any hit is not its structure. It is not how similar it is to something that is already created. It could be, but it doesn’t have to be. Perhaps no one understands you and your ideas. But who was ever understood by everyone right out the gate?

The first thing that determines if something will be a hit, is that it is made and shipped. Given to the world. Nothing will change the context you work in or culture at large if it stays in your garage. Ship.

Making hits evades many because they don’t focus on the things that they have the most control over [Click to Tweet]

The second thing is the love you put into the creation. True passion is also key. Remember, it is true passion, not the romantic idea of passion.

The third or fourth thing in the anatomy of a hit is often people or the world. You have some but very little control over this factor. Thus it becomes extremely important that you put as much love, energy and passion into all you have either complete or significant control over.

There is enough in your hands to have a go at making a “hit”. The question is, “will you?” Will you dare. Will you start. Will your give passion. And, will you ship?

Sixty Caution Potholes – Message Overload

I’m a student of communication in leadership (& yes, life too).

There is more than one message I get from this photo I took. The thing is, there is the speed limit sign and a mistake they made was add another message, causing “message overload”.

“Message overload guarantees a level of distortion in the messages being conveyed.

Great communication is core to great leadership. Make sure you never load other messages onto others.

Context

Be clear on the context and parameters a of each communique. It is always helpful to establish the boundaries of discussions and communication as it combats ambiguity. Ambiguity often births discord and division. The discord and division can be clear as well as subtle, hidden.

Load

Never piggy-back a message or communique on another. Respect the importance of each message and craft your message. Never communicate a lot of new ideas with a shotgun approach. Important messages deserve surgical treatment.

One Way

I’m sure the guy who put this sign thinks it’s clear; “Speed limit is sixty and be careful, there are potholes”. I laughed when I saw the sign because my initial interpretation was, “They have put sixty caution potholes?! What happened to other ‘traffic calming devices’?”

Never assume your message is as clear to others as it is to you, the sender [Click to Tweet]

This may be a rather obvious thing. Right? Wrong. Leaders and teams still stand to make this same mistake. Assumptions have destroyed teams, relationships and organisations. Rather err on the side of verifying that you understand messages and, likewise have been understood.

Hence the importance of feedback systems.

Related:
Why You DON’T Get The Feedback You Need | Part 1
Why You DON’T Get The Feedback You Need | Part 2

Recap

Remember: communication only takes place when message on the receivers end is received and understood as indented by the sender.

Never piggy back messages on each other. Always establish context and parameters for your message or communique. Have clear feedback systems to make sure that messages or communications are well understood by all parties involved and affected.

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