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Mistakes Are Good

“Once corrected in the right way, mistakes bring clarity of vision.”

Recently, my Partner and I discovered something unpleasant in the companies we run. Our staff decided to own a mistake instead of owning up to it. Therefore jeopardizing the life of the staff and their families. This is what happened:

One of the staff who was remitting the Companies statutory payments left us. She never got to do a proper hand over. As time passed by, things began to unravel. The person who was assigned this task discovered that there are some months that the system had not captured. But on our end, we knew that it was remitted. So they asked for receipts, and he said that he will get the receipts. He calls the predecessor and asks for the receipts in vain. The successor realises that penalties continue to accrue and decides to pay it from his salary. Unfortunately, he doesn’t say it to anyone. He owns the problem.

 

 

Six months down the line, he hasn’t managed to pay because it is not a small amount. But remember he did not say it. So he continues to struggle and we realise he is not as efficient as he used to be. So we decide to speak to him and he opens up. He tells us the entire story. We are in shock and disbelief. He says that he decided to own up the problem and pay the penalties because it sits in his docket.

We see secrecy. We are mad. Mad, not because of the problem, but because we were left in the dark in all this – there was zero communication. We are unhappy because there was no honesty and secrecy had settled in. We could not fathom that our trusted team can hide such a thing from us. My partner, who is usually this calm and quiet person, begins to speak firmly about secrecy and openness.

 

 

As my partner was speaking, one thing occurred to me: he was actually communicating and reinforcing the vision he has for the company. I shall quote him verbatim: “these two companies are my lifeline. And they are the legacy that I shall leave to my children. Do not joke with them. Never ever jeopardise their existence.”

This helped me a great deal to remember why we work so hard to grow these companies. It was a reminder to remain focused on the end game despite challenges. It was a call to keep innovating and be creative with solutions. It was a reminder to always be relevant in your line of business. It was a wake up call to focus on the legacy, to focus on what you set to achieve. It was a reminder to kill distraction and focus on the vision. It was a moment of being Re-energized. All this, due to a mistake by the Staff. I can never thank them enough for the mistake: but i dare not speak loud.

Because of this mistake, three things happened:

  1. We were able to explain the meaning of own a problem and own up to a problem. When you do something and you don’t say it nor communicate, but proceed to correct it, you have owned the problem. If you communicate and then correct, then you have owned up to the problem. Many people confuse these two words. In our case, staff owned the problem but did not own up to the problem. But they thought they were owning up.
  2. We were able to communicate the genesis of our tag lines in a better way. Our tag lines are We are Open (for company A) and Be Real (for Company B). In the two tag lines, we advocate honesty and openness. We abhor secrets. Sin thrives in secrets. Through their mistake, we were able to thoroughly replay and repeat that they need to be open and speak up when a mistake takes place: to be open all the time, rather than being secretive. Secrets are bad. They should not be afraid when a mistake happens: they need to be open.
  3. We clarified the vision that we have for the companies. We were able to tell them why we work so hard to make sure these companies grow.

It is from this, that it occurred to me that mistakes can help to clarify vision, and energise you, if you take them positively and see it as an opportunity.

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Of Homonyms & Saving My Friend

I was with a friend of mine having lunch and I wanted to share a tweet on something he had said. Allow me to put you in the context of our conversation first. This will also aid you to understand the conclusion of this article.

My friend told me, ‘I have just received a security proposal from this lady. She wants to supply me with guards for my properties, yet she runs a club. So I asked her why she is leaving the club business and she said that people nowadays don’t drink beer. The economy is bad.’

Of late I have been obsessed by the state of the economy in Kenya. So immediately I wanted to upload and tag my followers. It’s news just in and it’s hot. Imagine people giving up on the bottle; it’s proof people are broke.

I have always found the placement of propositions tricky in recent times as language transforms. It reminds me when I was in college and our Indian professor used to say, “Propositions are the most difficult in the English language.” So I wanted to get clarification of the word pray on/for.

Upon asking him which proposition to use (he holds a PhD in Agriculture), he said Pray On. I was not in agreement so we began arguing about it.

After a few sentences flew, my friend realized that I meant the word PRAY, but he thought it was PREY. This automatically sent me thinking why he chose the meaning of Prey and not Pray. I discovered that You respond to words according to your context/situation.

“Unconsciously, we find ourselves reporting our situation. We understand words and statements in the current context: the situation you are in makes you understand words differently that have the same pronunciation.”

I asked my friend if everything is ok. And he quickly answered YES. Then I started to pay attention to his words and statements. Once in a while laying traps to see what words he will use. I chose words that were similar In pronunciation but different in meaning – Homonyms. And I paid a lot of attention to the words he picked.

 

 

Unfortunately, he fell to my trap and chose words that reflected his current context. I took him for a drink and there he opened up. I discovered that he was going through a challenging time in his life and he had not disclosed it to anyone. I was happy I paid attention and now we are walking the journey of healing and prosperity.

I discovered that the context you are in makes you choose the words that are closer to that context even if it has multiple meanings. Start paying attention to words with the same pronunciation but different meaning when conversing with your friends and you could be the person saving your friend.

Another Homonym that you can try to test financial stability is broke. It can mean not having the money or something that’s been tampered with. Test and see how your friends are doing financially. The list is endless. We just need to pay attention.

 

 

This is a very powerful tool for people to assist their friends who are going through mental health or facing certain challenges. But unfortunately, we don’t pay attention to these statements that appear as a mistake.

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The Prius & Why I Love It!

I had the privilege to be the first person to customize and drive the car that we have nicknamed – The Car of the Future. This is none other than the Toyota Prius. It is a car that combines the electrical and engine components to propel the car at different times. The engine kicks in when the accelerator is applied, and the battery takes over when you brake the car or when the car is idling.

This car also senses when the battery level is low and immediately the engine runs to charge the battery to the recommended or set level. When it achieves this (usually in less than 5 minutes), the battery takes over again. It is due to this that this car is considered a town car. It uses very little fuel in traffic as most of the time it’s on battery, and this battery is charged when the car runs on the engine.

Here are some of the outstanding features I have observed:

  1. Space – This car is generally roomy. It has more space on the inside and feels bigger. On the rear seat, three people can sit comfortably. We traveled for 500kms and it was comfortable. A RAV4 or a Juke wouldn’t match the same comfort if seated on the rear seat.
  2. Fuel efficiency – This car consumes literally zero fuel when in traffic. In normal vehicles, we waste around 30% of fuel due to traffic jams. Using this car around means that you get to save on fuel.
  3. Environmentally Friendly – The Prius saves 30% on fuel costs. This helps to reduce carbon emissions and saves our Environment that is in dire need of conservation and intervention. Imagine a car that saves 70% on fuel, the environment would award us big time.
  4. Electrical Components – Generally, in motor vehicles, electrical components tend to last longer than mechanical parts. That is why sensors last long in cars. Toyota’s inclusion of electrical parts in the Prius model means that they have blessed us with less mechanical costs and durability of parts.
  5. Keyless Entry – I love the keyless feature in this car. It has the keyless entry on the drivers and co-drivers side.
  6. Picks Speed Fast – I was amazed by how fast this 1800 cc was picking up speed. Especially when you engage the power mode. It was accelerating pretty well for such an engine size.
  7. Parts – I can’t finish this blog without mentioning parts backup. Parts are a big headache and concern to many people. They determine if you will buy a certain type of car or not.

This car suspension fits parts from other cars like Fielder and Rav 4. The service parts interchange between Fielder and Axio/Belta- which are very popular brands. It’s only the air filter that is different, and of course the electrical part.

I will continue to access the car for a year and read up its manual then do another blog, one year later.

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