I know some history and development of capitalism. However, reading an excellent article “Good Companies” in the latest RSA Journal, which relays the historical role of business in society, it hit home to me as a business owner. The article sketched how businesses were started to serve customer and society needs. Sainsbury’s and M&S gave access to farm produce, Rowntree and Cadbury’s provided chocolate of an assured standard which consumers demanded . This is causing me to ask the question of my company, Ruuvand, what gap are we plugging for individuals and for society? What are we helping clients and society to access more of, more easily or more cost effectively? Tough question for me!
Here is my response. We make meaning from our values and considerable energy can be generated from them. Yet few of us invest time in clarifying our values or in challenging our mindsets as a starting point for achievement. No wonder work-life balance is out of kilter for most people. Some are are fortunate to single-handedly identify their values and live value-led lives. We spend most of our time learning how “to do” and choosing what “to have”, but precious little time on who and how “to be”. It is not necessarily the long hours or the tough demands of the job that tips the balance, but often the mindset.
Mindset determines our attitude and approach. What we do at Ruuvand is help people to develop a Mindset to achieve their highest aspirations, best performance and to meet their toughest challenges. We get there faster than if the individual or group were working on their own.
When our clients develop a chosen Mindset, they often go on to achieve their aims whilst maintaining their well-being. For most people, a “Reach-back mindset” is key, reaching into who they really are, which can be different from who they have become.
Ruuvand’s impact on society is evident in our clients’ achievements and their positive impact on people they interact with in their lives.
Sometimes the only way to tackle a complex challenge is to be simplistic: as many have said, Africa’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness – the vast amounts of resources within easy reach. It seems to deprive many Africans of the will to desire and expect more, to create a long term vision which becomes so compelling that it motivates focussed action.
I know Africans are not one people but still, we can address all of Africa’s young ones to help them create a powerful vision to desire better things all around them, built on their strengths. A strong desire for better futures + knowledge of strengths = confidence and determination to control one’s fate. Much of the confidence I presently see in some forums appears to be infected with a sense of reliance on external influences. It is not confidence based on people knowing their strengths and their ability to choose how to address their weaknesses. Confidence mostly comes from past personal experience or for the young, from receiving consistent messages.
Education in Africa for example, can be made more effective for the future by ensuring consistent clarity of the reason for educating children, a reason that goes far beyond a certificate and personal wealth. A reason that is about the community. A desire for certificates and wealth is great and increasingly shared by young people all over the world. However few would doubt that but the environment will determine how much they can be enjoyed. The pressing need for the future is therefore to create a context in which personal possessions can be enjoyed.
Corruption in Africa which most would identify as the key problem in the continent is but a symptom driven by a short-sighted desire to cater for one, not for a community or a generation. If you ask 5 consecutive “whys” for the enduring challenges in any Africa country, I suspect you will arrive at a mindset. A mindset can be changed with motivation and persistent attention. Individuals can start taking small steps to address the real underlying weaknesses. It could be something as simple as asking young ones to consider for a few minutes: If the only restriction were to be that you must remain in Africa, what would you want to be doing in 10 years time? Who would be around you, at work and on the streets? What would the environment and infrastructure look/feel/smell like?
Such cultural change will not come easy because change is always difficult. However it can be achieved if all adult Africans were to help cultivate an ambitious, positive vision of the future at every opportunity, a block-by-block approach to building. Given my initial premise, an alternative path would involve a massive disaster that would deprive Africa of its natural resources and force innovative responses for survival. Mother nature may yet deliver this option.
So, do you believe it is possible for your African country to have the best quality of life on the planet? Really? Some wise person once said that when your future becomes clearer and more desirable than your present, you will begin to move towards it.
So does my views in the 1st installment on this topic mean that I manage myself perfectly within the time I have and achieve all that I set out to within deadlines, arriving in time for all appointments? Not really. But I certainly feel more in control of myself, my emotions and stress levels. I will share with you an 8-step outline of how I manage my self within time. It is cobbled together from my ideas, spirituality and experience, Mark Forster’s Time management system and Duncan Coppock’s approach in his book, Self Factor
- Realising that I am a very small part of an infinite whole, daily, I commend my best intentions and efforts to fit into the larger whole so that they would flow and feel easier.
- Take a week-to-week approach to time, viewing, planning and reviewing actions in this light
- Identify one main focus for the week
- Daily reminder top personal values
- List all planned activities on Monday and update as new items arise during the week – work and out-of-work
- Beside each activity, indicate its level of importance to me, taking into account, personal values, impact on own intentions, its urgency and workload
- Indicate a realistic estimate of the duration for each activity. Keeping a time-log for two weeks is helpful for estimating durations.
- Start with the most important activity and on completion, move to the next most important. The importance levels may be dynamic in response to external factors.
Whilst this system may not work for everyone, I find that it simplifies my life promoting a holistic balance because I achieve more easily on a broad spectrum. Try it for 2-weeks to see what you think. I found it to be a powerful tool for managing self within time.