Saturday, September 6, 2014

Structure Everywhere

Creativity demands the ability to unshackle ourselves from conventional ways of thinking, to "think outside the box". But we need to go a step further. Once outside the box, we need to construct a new box or boxes (that is, new intellectual frameworks or models) to help us structure our thinking. Only once we have done so can we generate truly game-changing ideas - That came from a strategy course I am taking.

Why I found this interesting; I have met too many people who seem to think being creative means throwing out procedures and systems- structure for that matter. I have always maintained to the infuriation of some colleagues that you cannot function without structure. Creativity must champion the march towards order and structure is the only vehicle that can achieve that. Things are the way they are because of what is holding them in place. The human face has a certain order to it i.e. it is structured in a certain way. The more we perceive this order the more we see beauty. The opposite is what we might call ugly simply because it is moving away from the order (if a person’s nose is above their eyes, we will see something wrong). If God decides at any point that he is going to rearrange the human face, he is going to need a way in which it must be- a new structure. Others are going to need something that will make it possible to recognize what a human face is.

From your daily priority list to the Fibonacci numbers, from running your life to your business, from building a house to planning an economy, structure is key if things are going to work. Those who ignore it at any point in time only end up in chaos. Recently we have seen the difference a simple contract can make in the life of a business.

Goals setting and the many tools motivational speakers teach all come together to form a structure that must lead to predictable results depending on content. In other words it doesn't matter what you are doing, you still need a goal and a method via which you can reach it. When we lay pipes, whether we run water or milk through it, it is going to have to flow in the direction of the pipe. There is no other known way around this. In buildings it is the pillars, in writing it is introduction body and conclusions, it is not possible to exhaust the list.

Take a walk in the bush one of these days. Pick a tree in the distance you want to reach. Notice how difficult it is with all the bush in the way. On your way back, cut your way through the bush with a machete to create a path. You will find on your next journey to the tree that it has become significantly easier. This ease will be enjoyed by anyone else who finds your tree interesting enough to visit it. Now you know why cars have roads and trains have rails. The box is always needed.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Okyeame Kwame and others recognized for high performance at SPiD-UP Launch

The Center for self development (CSD Africa), a peak performance training organization in collaboration with Capital TV, an Accra based TV station yesterday launched a project dubbed SPiD-UP at busy internet in Accra yesterday 21st of May, 20014. The project is designed to provide performance awareness training to young people between ages 17 and 27.
The event was presided over by the new CEO of the National Youth Authority (NYA) Mr. Ras Mubarak who confirmed the support of the NYA for the project although he admitted his outfit may not be able to provide funding due to the limited budget.
During his presentation, the project coordinator: Mr. Markus Kennedy Katey explained that the program will treat four key areas through the monthly workshops that will be held in various locations across the country. The four include self discovery, self esteem, career pathways and spiritual awareness. He said there will also be a multiple intelligence test to help young people understand their areas of strength in order to align all elements to ensure a better output in both their occupations and larger life.

During the event high performing individuals and organizations were recognized and awarded certificates for their contribution in their respective fields. Among them was musicians Okyeame Kwame who was cited for his performance and contribution to the music industry.  The rest include Manifest (Musician), Esi Ansah (Axis human capital), Kwame Owusu Boateng (Opportunity international savings and loans), Mawena Trebah (Ghana Investment promotion), Patrick Awuah (Ashesi University), and Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah (Ministry of Education) Prof. Stephen Addae (). Prof. Joshua Alabi (UPSA) The award also inducts them into the SPiD-UP® fellowship™ program and enables them to engage with young people to share their thoughts and experiences regarding performance during SPiD-UP events.

Five organizations were also awarded in the high performing organizations category. These were Ashesi University, MTN Ghana, Imani Ghana, and UT Bank.
Mr. Katey told the press that the awards and fellowship program is an extremely important component of the project and as such many more of such awards will be given during the upcoming annual international peak performance summit dubbed Tune-UP.

Okyeame Kwame in an interview after the program expressed his excitement for having been recognized for the work he and his team has put in at one-mic entertainment. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Komla: What they are not saying

Somewhere in the very orderly chaos that resulted from the passing of Komla Dumor, I lost count of the number of glowing tributes. Everywhere I look, I saw one. Everywhere I went I heard somebody making one comment or another (not that I get out much- thanks to social media). That this young man of 42 inspires almost everyone is a truism beyond dispute. Not even his failed attempt at becoming a physician could touch him. In fact we might even point to it as another episode of great Komla lesson. A lesson on purpose and calling if you like.

With the burden of a ministry in performance on my shoulders, certain things do not escape my attention. To me the wonderful things the tributes are saying are not as powerful as what they are not saying.

Of the many glowing tributes, I have read, a majority of which were simple facebook comments, I am yet to see one that talks about how much money he made during his life time. Even the greediest of journalist (and there are more than enough of such) are talking and writing about his character as a person and most importantly how he did his work. I couldn't help but to wonder, whether we are in the same Ghana where people say everything these days is about money?

There are many who considered his presence on the BBC platform an achievement. I am compelled to agree to this simply because people are so proud of it and I really do not want to be a kill-joy. But if I were to be honest, I will say that I really do not see the big deal here. A well informed young man with a Harvard degree and many years of broadcasting excellence hired by the BBC…come on! Besides he has a great personality, character and work ethics to go with it. The BBC will have to be out of their minds not hire him. The real achievement is what he did with the opportunity.In a recent conversation with a friend of the family, I learnt something interesting; Koml’s plan was to go to the BBC and change the way they present Africa to the world. Ha! Why not for the money?

In times like these I am compelled by the forces of necessity to draw some parallels between the likes of Komla, Madeba and the Osagyefo and the likes of Mobutu, Abacha and the many others who we know were driven by money. The result is self evident and I need not elaborate. Komla leaves us not with a way to make a lot of money but many very valuable lessons on how to maximize one’s existence. By the Komla Dumor method, the greatest broadcaster in Ghanaian/African history was created. Leaving us with a powerful legacy that we need to protect with every iota of integrity we can find. If we do not see a statue being erected at the University of Ghana and another one somewhere in the Volta region and a road or monument named after him, it will be a real shame.

Of the many leaders that have been trained at our nation’s premier center of learning, too many have made their living at the expense of the people. When such men come along with such extraordinary legacy therefore, the institution must hold on to it with all it’s got as the power of Good is the only thing that can overcome its many evils.
For those of us who cannot seem to think beyond our need to eat, drink and have sex, we must see from the examples that a man with a noble ambition never lacks. Solomon didn’t ask for money, he asked for wisdom. Komla didn’t ask for money, he asked for an opportunity to change. Madeba didn’t ask for money, he asked for the opportunity to bring justice. Osagye didn’t ask for money, he asked for freedom.

It is by this means that these men have achieved immortality like the many others who lived before them and continue to live with us through their ever powerful legacies. As I write this, I am reminded of the Marcus Aurelious’ meditations and what it has to say about noble character. If you haven’t read it, now will be a good time. The path to the maximization of existence is not that hard to find. The problem is; there are not many who are willing to travel that road in spite of its many rewards.

I do not know what you do or how you do it. Or even how much of it you do and the real reason why you do it. I do not know how long you intend to exist on this plane and what your plan is towards the maximization of the opportunity. But I do know that the clock doesn't stop ticking and that there will be a time when the world will have an opportunity to make an assessment of your existence. Because it matters- you were created to serve a certain purpose.

The question is, what will the world say about you? Will you receive endless glowing tributes or will you fade into nothingness after your huge “gbonyo party” while a few members of your family go on a shopping spree at the expense of your lack of a lasting legacy? Or will you spark inspiration in the hearts of the world like Komla has done for you and the rest of us? The answer is performance. SPiD-UP.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Of time and the maximization of existence

It is a fact that we do take time for granted. That is not surprising at all; we do that with most of the every one of vital gifts life has provided for us. Everything with a beginning must have an end or must it? Time certainly has a beginning that is in fact unique to everyone. It starts form the day you were born and “sort of ends” the day you pass on depending on how you choose to see the world.
So that at the end of this period that you will be dwelling on planet earth, it becomes possible to determine how much time you have spent and what you did in that time. This can be measured as you probably already know; down to the nano-second. Our seconds, minutes hours and days all the way down to years provide a structure with which we can understand and measure our existence. This being the case, it cannot be hard to see that it is among the most valuable resources we have.
Its importance to our very existence (something we all cherish above everything else) alone tells us that an effective use of this valuable resources is the means by which we can maximize our existence.

For those who’s intention is to make a lot of money, they must begin to measure how much they are making per hour or second in order to understand how much they can make in a year. This will then make it possible to determine how much one can make in a life time.  This kind of clarity can make it easy to understand where you are in order to determine where you want to be. The goals you set therefore have a relationship with where you are now and the gap between the two is good old time.

God in his wisdom has ensured that regardless of where we are on planet earth, we all have twenty four hours which breaks down into 86,400 seconds-- Justice. If your intention is to make money, it is not difficult to see where you are in the process when you compare yourself to the likes of Bill Gates (Sorry I didn't mean to make you sad). Yep he has twenty four like you. The difference is how you use it.

I do not know what you are involved in but one thing is for sure. It is how much of it plus the quality you produce within the seconds, minute and hours that will make sure that you maximize your days, weeks, months and years. There is also decades and centuries but since I really do not know how long you intend to live, I won’t venture into the millennia zone.

To understand this is to understand that every single second is an opportunity waiting to be maximized by you and that; what your hour will be is directly dependent on what you do with your seconds. No seconds, no hours, no years. No existence of course. It is your time and unique to you only. You determine what it can be by what you do with the seconds. Maximize the seconds and maximize your life. SPiD-UP!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Evidence of underperformance in supreme court

The ongoing case in the Supreme Court is useful in that, it lays bare the typical Ghanaian attitude towards work, duty obligation and standards. Or should I say the African Attitude. The amount of errors is beyond reason and it shows that people simply didn't do what was expected of them. It is a mindset problem and it cuts across almost everything we do. It explains why we don't have water and electricity even with all the resources available to us.
What do you do and how well do you do it? For those who think they can just do things and no one will know, think again. 
You name could pop up in the Supreme Court.
Our average is below standard- Fact.
We seldom meet deadlines and standards- Fact.
We always need double and triple supervision- Fact.
Most of us function at 35% of our true potential- Fact
We take details for granted- Fact
We are low on integrity
We worry when the bar is raised
We never expect the best from leadership
We never show up on time, never deliver
We are afraid to challenge ourselves and the status quo- Fact! Fact! Fact! Fact! Fact!

The list is endless but we are not going to just sit there and do nothing. It is time to shift gears. Every month The CSD with the support of our partners will train and 500 young people on peak performance across the nation and soon the continent.

We welcome help from sponsors, partners, and volunteers who are concerned enough to help cause change. What we need is a major shift and it is going to take work. You can start by participating or recommend the program to any person you know who is 30 and below and let us introduce them to what performance is, why it matters to them and how to be their best at all times.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Free Workshop: Introduction to Peak Performance

It is a known fact that the continent is suffering from a quality human capital deficiency-- people are not functioning at their best. The question is; why. And so we ask a lot of questions. For the most part people do not know why. They just simply don't know better and most people are not conscious of their performance. The result is that organisations and nations are not function at their best and the reason is simple. People make organisations and nations; they are the most valuable assets of any group and when they are at their best the group is at its best.
In our quest to solve this problem and as a part of our social responsibility the CSD is now providing a free monthly workshop in various locations across the continent. Our objective is to train some 500 young people (every month) between ages 18 and 30 on what it means to be one's best and how it can be attained.

To participate in the program, email the message
"I want to learn peak performance" with your
your name, phone number and location to and we will send details
or call 0268 388 560 for assistance

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A pint of Feedback please!

If you have ever been at a concert where the artist’s performance intensified as the applause grew, you have seen the effect of feedback. This is a very common phenomenon in fact and speakers are very familiar with it. In Ghana it is very common to see a very still and expressionless audience watching the performer trying very hard to force out a drop of feedback. Such situations have the capability to steal the performer’s confidence and render him powerless even with a great talent at their disposal. This is when you hear, 

they don’t like me no matter how hard I try”. “Why is there always something wrong with everything I do”? “Nobody appreciate me even though I am doing my best”.

When we engage in an activity there is always feedback except and it is not always positive. When it happens to be positive however, we are empowered to do more. Positive feedback is nitro-octane 5 fuel for performance which makes a strong case for the reward and punishment system. If you reward people for doing something they are likely to do more of what they did before; perhaps even better—they want more reward. Negative feedback is however, crude oil that can be refined into a variety of products that can either fire or dampen performance. It is a question of how it is processed. The high performer is in the habit, according to experts like Czickzentmihalyi, of consistently monitoring feedback. She needs it as it is the dashboard that tells us when we are doing the right thing or not. Guys, when the ladies say NO, they mean it. Trust me, I have five sisters.

Anthony Robbins’ success cycle also illustrates this idea quite well. When the feedback is success, it engenders more success. If you have been reading my work you probably already know that it is the small cycles of success that culminate into the larger success. This develops the ever valuable success mentality. The girl who wins all the time is used to winning; because of feedback. She enters an activity expecting nothing less than winning. And we all know what roles expectation, confidence and goals play in the quest for success.

The opposite is the failure mentality that results from the same method. When one is told all the time that he is a failure and hears the words fail and you in one sentence after an initially attempt at something, he develops a failure mentality. He then approaches everything with fear and the expectation to fail though he may not show this. Parents and teachers are especially guilty of this when they are unable to determine what the strengths of a child. In my part of the world it appears such negative statements; “you can’t even do simple things, you will suffer in life” are very often used if not abused on young people.

It is not an easy feat for the untrained mind to rise above negative feedback which I should mention is not always authentic. Because of this, many talents are rendered powerless. This is the reason why it is extremely useful for one to build a career in an area they are naturally gifted for. It is unwise to disconnect goals and occupation from purpose which is the result of self-knowledge. Because once the feedback is positive, one builds the confidence to step further and build the reputation of a high performer. This then can serve as the platform from which she can use her winner’s mentality to reach other areas.

Monitoring and dealing with feedback lies within the realm of information processing. Read more of my work and you will know that things, events, circumstances have meaning and purpose only because we gave them one. One statement that I abuse almost on a daily basis; we are the most active participants in the creation of our circumstances. Such tools as the CSD®’s PSR™ (Positive Speculative Reasoning) are of great value in this regard. It is possible to turn negative feedback into something useful when you know how to process information. At the same time it is possible to receive positive feedback and indulge in complacency and this is not as rare as you might think.

When a person tells you consistently that you cannot do something or you are not good enough, you have two things to do. The first is to verify the authenticity of the statement itself—people talk crap for their own reasons. Yet they are a great source of feedback and this is the reason why you cannot hang with the “I will do only what I like and others do not matter” folks. The teacher or the parent cannot tell the child they are right when they are wrong. The second is to investigate how and why you have arrived at the decision to engage in that activity in the first place—but that is when you are sure the comment was authentic. In short if you are going to be involved in something ensure you are gifted for it. It will ensure you have positive initial feedback-- Nitro-Octane 5 for your performance; remember? The girl who is a natural will always be ahead because she has positive feedback.

I just realized I cannot possibly exhaust the idea in one article; I might need to add another small eBook to my SPiD-UP® series. By the way the first two are available on smashwords with four more coming in the next few weeks. I should mention that the first one performance awareness is absolutely free—thought you might like that. Be gracious enough to ignore the problems, as I still haven’t found that Angel to edit my work. And if you are in the mood, buy one of my raw books: it’s the positive feedback I need to write some more. Glad you stopped by.