14 December 2012

Rwanda: The Early Bird...


This is a sequel to last week's conversation. We talked of the importance of getting everything into proper perspective and having the right approach to things; and of course starting early.

It must be noted, however, that right perspective, attitude, and approach are as good as dead if there is no execution; no practice. Execution is what brings all your aspirations into reality; it is the reality.

But good execution starts with good preparation. There is something about preparedness that is universally acknowledged; it produces results. The early bird catches the worms.

Preparedness must begin with the big picture in mind; the results. Naturally, the grand picture must be broken down to smaller bits. The vision is run by a mission which is broken down to objectives, activities and tasks. Time factor comes into play.

Time is critical. The time horizon (duration between decision-making and execution), timing (right thing at the right time). Progress demands an increase in the speed of decision-making (in this case, your new year's resolutions) and the effectiveness of project execution to take advantage of the shorter window of opportunity.

Gaps between approach, preparation, budgeting and supervision have to be identified and measured so that they can be dealt with; on the go. This is the strategy adopted by leading-edge project management disciplines. An early start would be necessary here.

The best way of knowing where these gaps are and fixing them is in execution. The earlier that takes off, the sooner the problems are noted and sorted out and the earlier the problem is fixed. It is for this reason that we say there's no such thing as over preparation.

The time horizon has to be short to ensure success. In decision making circles, it is known that the longer the horizon, the less likely it is that the decision will be implemented.

On paper, all this sounds straight forward. In practice, however, it is a little different. Perfection is a habit and habit comes from repeated activities/behaviour. But to seize an opportunity you must be ready for it. Some mistakes will be made along the way. Just because you chose to succeed doesn't mean you will, right away. On most occasions you have to go through the learning curve of making mistakes and learning from them before you can get it right.

Getting it right will involve the right timing. The right should be taken at the right time. That you must be concise in your timing cannot be overstated. The window of opportunity hardly ever opens for a long time.

All this, therefore, involves a formation - a creation of a new you. Formation if you want to shape up and cut flab next year, you will have to have the discipline to pay attention to little do's and don'ts. You will have to spare time for the gym and workouts and/or jogging. This is typically much easier said than done.

In this age of the light bulb, we expect instant results - success switched on at a moment's notice. Unfortunately life does not work that way.

To achieve your New Year's resolutions, remember the Kiswahili saying haba haba hujaza kibaba (little by little fills the pouch). Or the Japanese saying; the thousand cuts of the samurai or the saying; Rome was not built in a day. Point is this; persistent and patient determination at that involves working little by little to achieve your goal is something that is universally acknowledged.

Besides, it is called New Year's resolutions because there is something to be resolved all year long, not in a day of a month.

This does not mean sloth. This means working at your objectives and continuously improving. It means not working too hard such that you suffer burnout, but rather proactively with focus to ensure you do not lose focus. It means being the early bird- setting out and doing what you have to do, sometimes literally. A new better you.

It is more like the 'imvugo niyo ngiro' spirit. Start early.

The writer is an expert on entrepreneurship.

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