so you want to be a strategist?

So, you want to be a strategist…

If you’re 18 years of age, this is an important time. The career path you choose to follow now has the potential to be the best decision you could ever make. So, step up if you believe you’re a strategist – and find out from Antoinette Tyrrell, director of strategy: the Switch Group, if this career is really the one for you…

Q: How do you know if you’re a natural strategist?

A: If you’re a person who always asks “why?” and keeps asking until you understand completely (or someone hits you!) you’re a strategist. We’re the people who interrogate authority figures and ask the difficult questions no-one else is prepared to ask.

Q: What key qualities should a strategist have?

A: Definitely insight. You must also be determined and courageous – and have the guts to keep asking difficult questions and tell people things they often don’t want to hear. You also need to be able to look at a situation or problem in the minutest detail and completely holistically. Emotional intelligence is a must, too – you must be able to relate to people from all walks of life on a personal level, everyone from construction workers to CEOs.

Q: What are the biggest misconceptions about the job?

A: That a strategy sits in one person’s head and you can just “cut” and “paste” this into a document. Many people believe that you develop a strategy sitting behind the latest model laptop in a marble-floored office wearing a suit and tie. You don’t. The best strategies are developed on the ground – by getting into the thick of things; by becoming part of the business and searching for solutions.

Q: What is the biggest job reality you should know about?

A: Strategy isn’t for sissies. It’s not a nine-to-five job. To get to the point where you eventually sit down behind your computer and write your strategy involves a huge amount of analysis and understanding – a long, hard process. To make a real difference you’ve got to get involved and be prepared to go the extra mile each and every day.

Q: Describe what’s involved in the job. What are a strategist’s core responsibilities?

A: As an entry-level strategist you’ll be involved in information and business analysis and, in some instances, benchmarking and modelling. You’ll have to get information from different sources and dealing with complexity is all part of the job. You’ll also help your boss prepare for workshops: putting document packs together for example. As you become more experienced, you’ll get more involved in assessments and business case development. That being said, you’ll be involved with your clients from day one – immersing yourself in their business and helping out wherever needed.

Q: Describe a typical day as a strategist.

A: As a junior strategist you will spend a lot of time on site at the client’s premises. About 50% of this will be in the office doing analysis, while you’ll spend the rest of it in the field gathering and collating material.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you must be prepared to face?
A: Multi-tasking – dealing with so much information, and so many different people – all at the same time! Strategy is all about making choices. You need to decide what’s important, make the tough calls and stick to the choices you’ve made.

Q: What makes it such an exciting job?

A: Definitely the diversity of what you do and the challenge of adapting to new situations. Taking what you learnt yesterday and applying it to today’s problem. No two days are ever the same. This makes it incredibly exciting.

Q: What is the best route to follow when it comes to training to become a strategist? Do you need a degree or a diploma?

A: I would suggest starting off by getting a general business degree. This will give you a firm foundation on which to build your career, and give you an understanding of business and business “language”. After this, I personally wouldn’t suggest going straight into strategy. Rather focus on getting yourself some cross-functional experience – do some work in sales, supply chain, operations and so on. By working through the different functions of a business you’ll soon understand processes and systems. When you understand how the different pieces of the business puzzle fit together, you’re ready to start your career in strategy.

Q: What kind of opportunities can you look forward to as a strategist?

A: Lots of bosberaads! You’ll be exposed to all sides of business, industries, brands and environments. It is often complex and even daunting, but at the same time completely exhilarating. It’s one helluva ride!

Q: The best thing about being a strategist is…
A: Using your left and right brain at the same time.

Advertisements

Opposition has a hand in the violence

Officials from Raila Odinga’s Kenyan opposition party have been accused by human rights activists of orchestrating ethnic violence in the country’s Rift Valley province following the disputed presidential election.

Human Rights Watch said in a report on Thursday that Orange Democratic Movement officials and local elders planned and organised attacks by opposition supporters primarily on members of president Mwai Kibaki’s Kikuyu ethnic group.

“Opposition leaders are right to challenge Kenya’s rigged presidential poll, but they can’t use it as an excuse for targeting ethnic groups,” said Georgette Gagnon, HRW’s acting Africa director.

An ODM spokesman said the party ”has done everything it can to publicly call for peace” and was ”the first to condemn the loss of life” in Rift Valley.

He declined to respond directly to HRW’s allegations, but said: ”If an investigation was to show that anybody was involved, our position is that the law should be allowed to take its course.”

Rift Valley province in western Kenya has seen the most ferocious violence – and suffered the greatest economic disruption – in a nationwide round of bloodshed that has killed over 600 people and driven more than 200,000 from their homes.

Thousands of refugees camping at churches and public parks in and around the provincial capital Eldoret say they were chased from their homes in the days after the election by young men from the Kalenjin tribe – which is indigenous to Rift Valley – who looted their possessions and burnt their properties.

Human Rights Watch said it had interviewed members of several pro-ODM Kalenjin communities who described the ways in which local leaders and ODM party agents actively fomented violence against Kikuyu communities.

The organisation said in many communities, local leaders and ODM mobilisers arranged meetings following the election to direct and facilitate violence by gangs of local youth.

“Many Kalenjin community leaders told Human Rights Watch that if the area’s ODM leadership or the local Kalenjin radio station KASS FM told people unequivically to stop attacks on Kikuyu homes, then they believe the violence would stop,” the human rights organisation said on its web site.

While the violence appeared to be triggered by the poll – in which most ethnic groups voted as a bloc for either president Kibaki or Mr Odinga – it was fuelled by a deeper-seated sense of injustice in the Kalenjin community over land and inequality.

Land was expropriated from Kalenjins and given to white settlers by the British during the colonial era. After independence, Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first president and a Kikuyu, granted land in Rift Valley to members of his own tribe to relieve over-crowding in the Kikuyu heartland.

Some Kikuyu refugees say they were told they would have to leave their homes after the election, even before the result was announced.

from FT.com

Ruto funding violence in Rift Valley

“The election results are just an excuse used to execute a preconceived genocide” William Ruto, the Eldoret North MP Elect is the man behind the Genocide in Kenya . check out his profile at wikipedea… http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ William_Ruto corruption galore. Over the last couple of days, we have seen Hon. Raila Odinga come to terms with the escalating lose of human lives in our country, and has consistently softened his stand towards a peaceful resolution to the current crisis. One thing that has aroused our curiosity is the posture that William Ruto has taken in the whole reconciliation process. We got concerned and embarked on a quick investigative research to unearth what is driving Ruto not to explore peaceful resolution to the social-political crisis going on in our country. Let the truth be known that William Ruto is the man sponsoring the genocide operations going in Rift Valley through the Karamajong Guerilla Fighters, a militia with operations similar to the old known militia “the Shiftas” that fought Moi in the 1980s. Reliable sources indicate that Karamojong Guerrilla Fighters arrived in city of Eldoret where they mercilessly massacred hundreds of innocent people including women and children. Recently Ruto was reported to be out of Nairobi , and could not attend the meeting between Raila and Kalonzo. We have established that Ruto was in Eldoret meeting with the Karamojong Guerilla Fighters. Ruto knew that the only way ODM could have access to adequate firepower (KEG) was to engage the Karamojong Guerilla Fighter who are obviously known to possess insurmountable quantities of AK-47, Automatic Rifles and other sophisticated small arms. It is important to highlight the fact that Karamojong communities are cousins with the Luos, and therefore, it is the same militia that is killing people in Nyanza. It is therefore imperative for the government of the day to take decisive and conclusive action against William Ruto, and the perpetrators of genocide. We cannot afford to see one more live lost. We are also asking Hon Raila Odinga to disassociate himself with William Ruto and speak for peace and return of the nation to normalcy. Who knows whether the judicial process could over turn the ECK decision, and see a re-run of the presidential elections? Karamoja, the nomadic pastoralists of Northern Uganda and Kenya have traditionally raided each other’s livestock, an activity that flows naturally from their cultural frameworks for life. During the raiding season, the raid is typically followed counter-raid with considerable loss of life. Ever since they became neighbors, raiding has gone on intermittently, not only between Karamojong and Pokot, but also between them and Jie, Dodoso, Turkana, Samburu, Marakwet, Sapiny ot Sabawot, and Bukusu. Before 1970s, Karamoja was peaceful, pastoral and traditional, but the years according to Mirzeler & Young (2000) ushered in the new era of guns. The proliferation of automatic rifles (Leggett, 2000) has unequivocally infected the Karamojong culture with ills of modern AK-47 raids, which currently pose the single greatest risk to the security of the northern region. Mirzeler & Young (2000) write that there are over 40,000 AK-47 in Karamojong community, while Gray (2000) estimates that there are over 100,000 automatic rifles in Karamoja. Firearms are not novelties for the Karamojong, they have enculturated them with very little fuss, just like other Iron implements, all of which are acquired from foreigners. The Karamojongs have possessed firearms since 1870 when the colonial government licensed some, and there have always been at least a few illicit firearms. The community started acquiring sophisticated guns in large quantities in the 1970s following the routing of President Idi Amin’s army in Uganda by an alliance of Tanzanian People’s Defense Force and Uganda exiles (Mburu, 2000). One known major source was the Moroto barracks which the fleeing Ugandan dictator abandoned intact thus allowing the Karamojong to help themselves to unlimited quantities of rifles, small arms and ammunitions. William Ruto, knowing very well that in the context of the Turkana and Karamojong people that the current governments in Kenya and Uganda are part of the insecurity problem, has incited the Karamojongs and other communities to violence, and secretly engaged the Karamojong Guerilla Fighters to inflict fear and suffering among the people in protest of the outcome of the just concluded general elections. To this end, Ruto should be apprehended as an underworld warlord who incites ethnic communities to arm and commit genocide like what recently happened in the church campus in Eldoret, For those who think the government should not act decisively and conclusively with William Ruto should read (Romans 13:4) .. for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

The Facade that is ODM leadership

Yesterday after meeting with Kofi Annan the two ploitical leaders, Raila odinga and President Mwai Kibaki agreedto work out thier differences and bring peace to Kenya a country that has been rocked by political violence. The violence has been instigated by political leaders with part of the ODM top brass having been implicated in ethnic cleansing activities in Rift Valley especially in Burnt Forest, Kuresoi and Eldoret with the excuse being the disputed presidential polls.

Both leaders gave thier speeches a committment to end the violence and come to an amicable peaceful solution for the good of the country. Right after that i was purturbed by an ODM press conference called to discredit the president for saying in his speech he was duly elected. I lost all respect for Anyang Nyong an educated man but one who lacks wisdom.

You see the ODM leadership likes to talk and make accusations that have no real backing and cannot stand in a court of law. Contrary to popular belief, Kibaki did win the election and the claims of rigging were all manufactured. Now the country has undergone a period of violence largely in Nairobi, Rift Valley and Kisumu and the ODM leaders have the audacity of still trying to bring in thier conditions to mediation talks? If they can not show respect to the President of Kenya then why should any of the Kenyan citizen show pay them any respect? They want to jostle for positions nad want to gain those positions at the expense of the lives of Kenyans, which only goes to prove they are as greedy and corrupt as thier corrupt counterparts in the Moi goverment. They forget that Kenya is also my country and i dont believe in that fasade they keep putting up…it doesnt fool me even one bit
Alot of people have lost thier lives and been displaced by the wave of ethnic cleansing sponsored by the ODM leaders, especially in Rift Valley but it shall haunt them one day.

As for the international press and international journalists, im tired of the pictures of tear gas and running battles and burning houses. People are going to work and life is back to normal, i wouldn’t expect the likes of CNN, NBC and ABC to know i mean Kenya is just another 3rd world country…with thier descriptions of the bad case for Democracy Kenya has become forgeting over 55% of the population did not vote for ODM…but how would they know the running battles make much better footage!!!  Shame on them!!!

As for the human rights activists why sit on the fence? Police get killed in kisumu not even one human rights activist says anything, but when looters are shot all hell breaks lose…who exactly are you defending?

10 Worst Innovation Mistakes In A Recession.


Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on January 13

We are probably already in a recession (or very close to it) and, in the past, CEOs made serious mistakes in trying to cope with a slowing economy. Here is a list of What Not To Do. All of them hurt innovation. Unless you really want to compete on price (remember, last week India launched its $2,500 Nano car), the ability to do sustained innovation is the one competitive edge left. Innovation is the driver of performance, growth and stock market valuation.

Here are the 10 worst mistakes you can make in a recession that will hurt innovation:

1) Fire talent. Because of America’s accounting laws, investments in talent are expensed, not capitalized, so cutting back on people, especially really smart, high-priced people, is a quick

way to cut costs. The accounting rules only hurt companies who follow them. Talent is the single most important variable in innovation.

2) Cut back on technology. Xerox and others report that companies are already curbing investments in technology to save money. Banks especially. The rise of social networking and consumer power means that companies have to be part of a larger conversation with their customers. This means big money spent on IT.

3) Reduce Risk. Innovation requires taking chances and dealing with failure. Recessions push managers to be more conservative. They need to fight this instinct.

4) Stop New Product Development. Saving money often means cutting back on new products and services during an economic downturn. This hurts companies when growth returns and they have fewer offerings in the marketplace to attract consumers.

5) Boards Replace Growth-Oriented CEOs with Cost-Cutting CEOs. Sudden declines in revenues and profits often leads boards of directors to search for managers with experience in pinching pennies. That’s what appeared to happen recently happened at Bang & Olufsen. Boards forget that most recessions last only two or three quarters and, these days, are relatively shallow. Penny-pinching CEOs don’t have the skills to grow, when growth returns.

6) Companies Retreat From Globalization. It’s expensive to expand globally and managers often save money by cutting back on emerging markets. It’s a big mistake. Emerging markets are sources of new revenue, business models, and talent.

7) CEOs Replace Innovation As Key Strategy. By turning defensive, top managers take innovation off the top of the official agenda and replace it with systems management and squeezing costs. The entire organization follows. It is extremely hard to reverse this when growth returns.

8) Performance Metrics Are Changed. To Save money and cut costs, managers shift employee evaluations away from rewarding riskier new projects toward sustaining safer older goals. Risk-averse behavior follows. Again, this is hard to change.

9) Hierarchy Is Reinforced Over Collaboration. Sudden drops in revenue and profit often lead companies to panic and mobilize to stem the decline. The need for fast decision-making often leads to a return to command-and-control management. This alienates creative-class employees, young Gen Y and Xers and stops the evolution of corporation organization toward a flat, collaborative, open source model.

10) Retreat Into Walled Castles. Cutting back on outside consultancies is seen as a quick way to save money. Yet one of the key ways of introducing change into business culture is to bring in outside innovation and design consultants. They know what companies across a broad range of industries around the world are doing to promote change. Not receiving this information can hurt a company’s global competitive position.

Winners always emerge out of recessions and they almost always beat their competition on the basis of something new. Apple worked on iTunes, iPod and its retail stores during the last recession and came out swinging once growth returned to destroy its competition. Apple didn’t make any of the top 10 innovation mistakes. Your company shouldn’t either.

Businessweek (www.businessweek.com/innovate/NussbaumOnDesign)

Politics and my beloved country

I am very disappointed at our political leaders who are happy to sit on laurels and encourage lawlessess, fan tribal animosity and have the audacity to claim that the country is behind them. Today is the swearing in of MP’s and they will expand their fat wallets from our money…the taxpayer. None of the MPs has had the audacity to call for an end to the political impass via Dialogue , all except 1 – Kalonzo Musyoka.

Its sad but as leaders both Kibaki and Raila have failed Kenya, as blood is being spilled they are arguing about who is wrong and who deserves to be president. I don’t car who deserves to be President what i know is at the moment none of them deserve it. They have placed thier own follish interests over and above the interests of Kenyans and for that they shall be judged harshly.

As a Kenyan this is my country and i will leave in harmony with my brother and sister regardless of what tribe they come from. Why? because in Kenya there is only on tribe…the Kenyan tribe which i belong to.

God Bless Kenya