Natumaini wengi tulishapitia hii lakini nadhani itakuwa vizuri kukumbushana pia! TARGETSETTING FOR SUCCESS- LESSONS ON PERSONAL BRANDING(A talkby Eric Kimani to the British Council Leadership Forum in Nairobi, Kenyaon 19.09.2007)Distinguishedguests ladies & gentlemen,I am delighted to have been invited to comeand share some thoughts with you. Tonight I have chosen to address one ofthe topics you asked me to speak on-targetsetting or planning for success. This is a wide topic and Ihave chosen to provoke our thoughts on Personal Branding.To answer the question why brand yourself Iwill narrate in short a chapter by Tom Peters the management guru in one of hisbooks The Circle of innovation.He tells the story how in 1980 PercyBernevik left his job in the USto take up the leadership of the giant Swedish engineering firm ASEA. There he inherited a 2,000 person headquarters. He pruned it quickly to 200people! In 1987 ASEA merged with Switzerlands Brown Boveri tocreate the worlds largest Electrical engineering firm Asea Brown Boveri (ABB)inheriting Brown Boveris 4,000 strong headquarters. Six months later theheadquarters was down to 200! As of 1998 the headcount had gone down to 140down from 6,000. The message is that if it has not happened to you it soonwill- 59 out of 60 of you and me here tonight are at risk and hence the need tobrand ourselves!How dowe brand ourselves?1. Keep time! As a general rule we havelittle respect for time. You give someone an appointment and they come halfhour or an hour late. You call a meeting and half the people turn up late. Untilyou have a reputation for respect for time you will not project yourself as apowerful brand. I have chaired a professional committee for over 8 years and wemeet from 7.30 to 8.30 a.m. and occasionally to 9 am. We have never started themeeting late or ended it late! I chair many others and I will be on time 99% oftime. I have a reputation for keeping time. It is part of my branding effort. Ihave little respect for people who do not keep time. Ordinarily they areunreliable and weak brands. This is an area of life that is easy to improve. Insome cultures like Germany,it is commonly taken as a personal affront to be late and they will cancelimportant business or social appointments on this score alone.2. To build a powerful brand of yourselfyou must be passionate at what you do. I once worked for a large tea companyand my calling/visiting card besides my name had the inscription Passionateabout Tea. And those who knew me will tell you I was passionate about it! Ihave heard someone comment that if I worked at Sameer with the same passionheaven would be the limit for Yana. I amintending to print new business cards screaming Yanawhere the rubber meets the Road! Like Martin Luther said once- if youare a sweeper sweep to the glory of God. I say if you are a teacher here tonightteach with passion; whatever your vocation give it your best. If you cannotaccount for the day dont bother to wake up and burn energy and fuel throughthe Nairobitraffic. If you do not show up on time to passionately deliver a measurableproduct you will not be a powerful brand. I get to work often earlier than 6.30a.m. to keep my brand equity higher than the competition! My friend Bill Laythe CEO of General Motors sometimes comes for coffee to my office before 7 a.m.!Martin Oduor Otieno the CEO of KCB Group gives me a 7 a.m. appointment! This isthe branding I am talking about! These men are passionate about the work theydo!3. You must learn how to deliverextra-ordinary service. You must be reliable to your customers- and thisapplies whether you are talking of a finance department staff, HR or anyenterprise. For 10 year we have run a small family business with my wife in aservice industry dominated by big competitor firms. Our customer base islargely what I would call the 5-star institutional market. Our customerretention in that decade has been close to 95% - the greatest reason for thisis that we are reliable in service delivery! Most great managers andleaders are head hunted for their extra ordinary service delivery whichportrays them as powerful brands.4. Understand globalization. I will neverforget a picture that appeared in the Economist somewhere in the late 90sshowing a Maasai herdsman looking after his cattle with his legs traditionallycrossed and talking on a mobile phone- it looked so distant then; it became areality so soon thereafter. The world is not a global village anymore but avirtual one! Jobs are no longer limited to within borders. The boundaries areno longer in existence except in our politicized minds! Our competition for thejobs and market share is not local it is global. Entrepreneurial competitionis also now global. I am incoming chairman of Help Age International theleading global Non-Governmental Organization on ageing with headquarters in London. I fly out on aWednesday night to attend board meetings and other functions on Thursday andFriday and I am back in Nairobion Saturday night! I tell people to stop complaining about Chinese and gettheir acts together- Chinais here to stay! We must be prepared to compete with China and anyone else on a globallevel.Today Indians are sub-contracting Kenyanson technology for back office operations; the government of Kenya hasannounced that each constituency will have a technology village. In the SameerExport Processing Zones we have American Corporations run by Kenyans on Kenyansoil but the call centre customer has no clue and does not care who handles thecall!The world has truly flattened. Toappropriately brand yourself, you must understand globalization and theflattening of the world. I heard a serious joke the other day that not long agomothers threatened their kids in America to think of the starvingIndians and eat their food; I hear that today they are implored to reador an Indian will take their jobs! To project yourself as a powerful brand inthe world we must understand globalization.5. Jobs have been re-engineered andcontinue to be re-engineered by technology. I joined Sameer Africa 2 years ago.Six of us had 6 secretaries. Today we share 2! It takes weeks or months beforeanyone types a letter for me in the office! Today you can buy yourair-ticket from the comfort of your office or home; print your boarding passand show up at immigration. Travel agency has been totally re-engineered bytechnology- what next? You must think and brand yourself appropriately!6. To create a brand of yourself you muststop thinking employment/employee and begin to see yourself as an independentcontractor irrespective of whether you are a cleaner, a CEO, a teacher or amiddle executive. No independent contractor will refuse to show up for work ordo a shoddy job because the repercussions will be major in lost income and badfuture references. A couple of years ago a Jewish friend who thought I was agood brand stopped me at a roundabout to offer to ask whether I would take ajob contract with a certain company! I did and it was one of my most lucrativejobs. Not long ago I negotiated a very good jobcontract in a Java Coffeehouse! I tell people that I am not employed by SameerAfrica- I work with Sameer Africa and my intentions are to passionately deliveran extra-ordinary performance that will raise my brand equity higher! Begin to be known as the best Accountantaround; the best lawyer; the best sales person; the best at whatever you do- itis at the heart of the brand you wish to become. You are Chairman/CEO/ of life;forget that you work for someone. It is liberating like you cannot imagine. In the same way Cocacola, Yana, Keringetare powerful brands, you need to make Kamau, Otieno or Kioko a powerful brand!You must understand that it does not work any longer to tell a prospectiveemployer that I was Finance Director, or General Manager of XYZ- You must saywhat it is you achieved- A measurable achievement! I know this one man that wasCEO of a company that then fired him many years ago and for the last 20 yearsall he has told anybody who cares to listen is that he used to be the CEO ofXYZ .! He made a poor brand of himself and no one ever employed him again.7.To brand yourself, you must pass what onemanagement writer called the Painter test. Imagine that your painter did notturn up for work would you pay him on a daily rate? Why is it then that amanager who habitually misses work and deadlines only gets away with a downgrading on his/her annual appraisal while a painter would go without pay? Wouldyou recommend a painter who misses to show up or does a shoddy job? In the samemeasure a Brand You requires that you pass this test. This test is increasinglybecoming the measure in an era of performance management.8. Branding yourself for success demandsthat you exercise power that is far beyond what is vested in your employment,contract or work environment. I tell those wishing to grow their careers thatauthority is never given; authority must be grabbed. Most well branded managers know that youtake action and then seek affirmation- Powerlessness is indeed a state of mind.I have done things in the past that even myimmediate boss could not have the power or authority to do. I oncesuccessfully recommended to my bosss boss to relieve him of his job and giveit to me. I got it without undermining anyone!9. Powerful branding demands a high levelof moral authority. This is the highest form of authority anyone can have- farhigher and transcendent than any form of formal authority. Moral authority willgive you access to people and places you have never imagined. It increases yourbrand visibility. This is the kind of authority Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi,Martin Luther King etc had. Moral authority gives you access to a very largecircle of influence. I am sure Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai will be rememberfar into the future for the moral authority she built than for the fact thatshe was in parliament! Recently I conceived an idea to strengthenthe activities of Palmhouse Foundation- an educational trust I co-founded withmy wife and whose mission is to finance the secondary education of bright anddeserving children. I invited 13 extremely highly regarded andplaced Kenyans to become the Advisory and Oversight Board. Some are men andwomen I would otherwise hesitate to ask for any kind of favour because of theirhigh status in society. Not one of them turned down the request! And why? What authority did I have? I have moralauthority. Moral authority belongs to those who offer themselves for the wellbeing of others. The reward you get is a powerful circle of influence and avery high brand visibility! Many of you know me for higher positions Ihave held in society but I can guarantee you that none of those positions wouldbeat the Palmhouse Foundation and its moral signature on my life.10. Personal branding demands highercredibility. Credibility comes from trust. I recommend a book by the chairmanof one of the leading companies in the USA titled winners never cheat.Those looking to establish a truly transcendent brand must be trusted. I haveon many occasions told the story of a man who years ago offered me a sevendigit thank you for something he perceived I did for him. I was aware that Ihad done nothing out of my work/job and he had won the contract transparentlyand performed it judiciously. I turned down his thank you offer. To this day heremains perhaps one of my greatest brand testimonies to many in his very wideand global circle of influence! Credibility and trust are central to protectingyour brand equity! Nothing will kill your self confidence and self worth astaking a bribe and no matter how rich you become through this avenue, you willremain a weak brand in the market. I know many seemingly successful and richpeople who would pay anything to increase their brand presence but theircredibility kills it!11. To increase brand visibility it wouldhelp to build yourself a website. I have had one since 2003! Some of the mostincredible lessons I learn today are from some of you who visit and postmessages on my website. It is need not be the most state of theart. Very soon a website will become as much a necessity as an email addressand if you do not have one you are mteja you cannot be reached. Four months ago I received an email from Australia froma man I do not know. He was looking for the founder/chairman of Group Four Securitya gentleman by the name Ed Van Tongeren. He told me in an email that he hadbeen looking for him for a long time because he once saved his life many yearsago but they lost contact. When he went to the World Wide Web and searched, theonly Ed Van Tongeren was mention in a speech I posted on my website. I was ableto connect the two gentlemen. I trust you understand the power of the website.12. Finally learn and upgrade your skillsto improve the brand you! Read voraciously. I am an accountant, lawyer andmotivational public speaker! To retain my command on these and many areas Ihave to read widely. Only this way can you learn to anticipate the future!People ask me where we get the time. I respond by saying to them redeem time!Many people spend unnecessary time on TV, and reading newspaper from end toend. Like my chairman likes to put it by the time you finish reading thenews paper your morale is so reduced by the bad news that are the hallmark ofour newspapers that your output is greatly reduced. I read all my three papersin about 10 minutes and if I missed to read them I would not notice. I can gowithout TV for days. I choose to do things like reading that enhances my brand.Having spoken about how to set targets andbrand ourselves for success, I will conclude by trying to answer the questionoften posed;How much success does a man need?I will attempt to answer this question witha short story told by the famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy in his book- Howmuch land does a man need. In this book he narrates the story of a man who wasasked to walk all the land he needed as long as he had to be at the startingpoint before darkness. The deal then was that he would get all the land as faras he walked and back. He started at day break and walked and walked andwalked. Every time he thought it was time to start heading back he would thinkof a little more land to walk ahead. The sun started threatening to go down andhe started walking back. The sun was now threatening to set faster. He began torun. He ran, and ran and ran. He tried harder and faster. Finally as thedarkness was about to fall he crossed the finishing line with final leap andfell on the ground with blood oozing out of his mouth he died! His servant whohad accompanied him dug a shallow grave long and deep enough to bury hismasters dead body. Leo Tolstoy answered his question- how much land does a manneed? - Only enough to cover him from the head to the toe.How much success do you need?Thank you and God bless you.©Eric Kimani 2007.