Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Thinker

Continued from the previous post....

“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” – Pamela Vaull Starr

The Thinker is The Dreamer's most important companion. The Dreamer represents the "what" and The Thinker represents the methodical "how." He compliments The Dreamer by knowing the special role he plays in the manifestation of The Dreamer's vision. He is the one who asks the questions essential to formulate the business plan.

After the exciting dream, it is time to sober up and formulate plans geared towards attaining your dream. For Otieno’s business, he needed to formulate plans that would gravitate towards the success on a single workshop for a start. How about the growth plan for the conglomerate of workshops spread across key towns in Kenya and later Africa?

How about formulating a 5year business plan that stipulates at a strategic level how he intends to run the business? Those strategy figures that we are afraid to document…. How comfortable are we with turnovers, residual incomes and ROIs of this world? Isn’t is easier to operate a business on auto-pilot mode? That business plan should capture your dream at a higher level. You must then come up with yearly operating plans that are a derivative of the strategy figures.

But how did u expect Otieno to draw a business plan and outline the expected ROIs when he never went past high school. The only accounting knowledge he has was the one acquired in primary school…remember Business education subject? How then would he navigate the world of figures? Maybe he needed help. May be this is the help I ought to have given him….May be I ought to have picked him under my wings and assist him nurture his dream..Somebody asked me whether I missed an opportunity here….maybe I did, maybe I did not. In this world full of opportunities, it serves you well to pick your opportunities well.

How many of us know this story. This man who presented a charcoal buying and selling business proposal to his buddy who happened to be an accountant. Of course the accountant dismissed the idea. The man went home disappointed but soldiered on with that business and later grew an empire only to employ the accountant later…well well…..believe in your dream.

The thinker element in the entrepreneur sometimes can actually kill a dream. It is the element that does analysis. For the clever and educated fellows (like the accountant above), too much analysis leads to something they call analysis paralysis…..followed by doubts…followed by confusion..inaction…non-belief..then death of a dream… That fellow who never went past primary education simply does basic maths: income, expenditure, profit and bang..he is in business.

Lesson: Let the thinker element support the dream. Let him ask questions around the dream and find solutions. Let him analyse the risks of the business and get the mitigating strategies….Simply let him do his job and assist actualize the dream.

My father used to give me words of wisdom, he once told me that a man was requested to climb a tree and cut some branches for a small pay. He got so excited coz of the small pay till he forgot to remove his shoes which made him slip and break his leg. The other one was requested to cut a banana stem and he went for an axe as opposed to a panga. With one heavy cut of an axe, he not only cut the stem but also part of his leg. Both shared a characteristic of foolishness because neither took time to think through the task to be done and prepare themselves adequately. Look before you leap.

Next lesson, we shall talk about the storyteller….him who conveys the dream with clarity and precision…the singer of your song.

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