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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jael to empower the world with KOB

Every now and then you encounter something that inspires you to do something new and exciting. We have all had that moment at some point in our lives but creative people experience this the most. Regardless of the depth of talent you might have, inspiration can trigger a powerful engagement for you. Talent will remain a potential until engagement but engagement has driving forces and inspiration is one of them. During engagement, it is also what we believe, think and feel that ensures that we stay engaged and ensures we are able to be the best that we can be.

Inspiration comes from all kinds of sources. Sometimes it is just something you see or hear, taste or feel. This is because we collect information through our senses and decode them with our brain bringing interpretation to the raw data. It is raw material that can be used to fuel performance. For this reason, any source of inspiration is valuable. However, like anything else, some sources can be more effective than others.
This week my attention was brought to a music video that has been making the rounds on both traditional and new media. Whiles the video is new, its main character is not new to Ghanaian and international music circles. It was the unmistakable face and figure of the inspiring and adorable Jael Wiafe-- a Ghanaian gospel artist who never forgets to add a dash of inspiration to her already exciting gospel recipe. I ran into her a few months ago at Capital TV where we naturally broke into an informal conversation about her music and ministry. She was quick to point out how important inspiration is to her. People empowerment is a major part of her ministry and she has sung many inspirational songs in the past. But this new one; keep on believing is like no other.  It is an outstanding piece of art that does more than accomplish its purpose. Anyone who hears that song and doesn't feel inspired may have a relationship of a sort with the darker side of our universe.

What is also fantastic is the video. From story-line to scenery and characters, the producers left nothing to chance. Now perhaps you are wondering about the overall effect of great music, great video and a great artist coming together into one product. The result transcends anything you have ever felt before as it comes at you through all your senses completely trans-mogrifying you into a highly inspired individual who is bound to affect others towards a more inspiring world. I guess that’s what a great product does; we all become carriers of the ripple effect that must reach the banks of the universe. Jael gave meaning to a key concept in performance theory; it is not enough to have a great product, you must also delivery it powerfully and she has succeeded on both levels scoring 2/2 on the structure and content analysis. If you have already seen the video then perhaps you won’t mind my getting all technical and analytical with it. Chances are you are just as inspired as I am.

I don’t know what is on your to-do list for tomorrow but I can promise you that if you start your day with the keep on believing video, you will go on to have a fantastic high performing day. It is not surprising then that there are rumors of the song becoming the theme song for a larger empowerment project to be dubbed KOB (keep on believing) and to be run by an organization called the EL Empowerment Center. Personally I find Jael inspiring as a person and I have no doubt that she is on her way to transforming lives through her music and empowerment ministry. Her new album promises to be ground-breaking as it features major international acts like Papa San and a host of others. Look out for the album review as I already believe it is the next big thing after Cwesi Oteng’s Mercy project. Be sure to let us know what you think by leaving a comment

Monday, November 10, 2014

When big is not better

There are two kinds of people in the world. Actually that’s not exactly true. How many kinds of people there are in the world or the whole of the universe is directly dependent on the system you use and there are countless number of systems that attempts to categorize people.  In this article however, I am concerned with the big picture and small picture people idea. For me any attempt to bring structure  to anything (or systematize it)is a fantastic idea. And it is not necessarily because the structure is a good one but I have a firm believe that a bad system is by far better than no system as an existing system makes for easy trouble-shooting. You can fix something that doesn’t work well because it exists and it is identifiable.  

A typical Big Picture person sees things in large pictures. But of course it is expected. They are visionaries who see the larger system than the small details. If you are a big picture person;

You can quickly see patterns in complex problems
You like to come up with new ideas and new projects
You have a low tolerance for busywork, tedious errands, and filling out forms.
You are great at outlining what needs to be done, but filling in the details can feel painfully exhausting.
You are a visionary in fact as you can see far into the future

Small picture people also referred to as details thinkers are almost the opposite of the big picture people. Whiles big picture people tend to be messy, small picture people see the details and like to keep things tidy. They are orderly and are good at running systems. What big picture people find difficult to do, this bunch will do with incredible ease. It is in their very nature to dot the Is and cross the Ts even when it seems unnecessary. If you are a small picture person then

You think about things in great detail and sometimes miss the big picture.
While you are certainly smart, others may joke that you lack common sense.
You would prefer to edit or tweak a plan than to come up with it from scratch.
Highlighting study notes doesn’t work for you, because you end up highlighting everything.
You have excellent attention to detail and you always spot the small errors that big picture people miss.

While the two may seem like opposites and may lead to conflict when working together, they work incredibly well when people understand their nature and how they complement the nature of others. One is not superior to the other although big picture people may often be the leaders because of their visionary nature. Nevertheless, they need the details to be filled in by small picture people in order for the mission to be accomplished.Small picture tidy up things and make them work. The dynamics of the two are called into play very often in entrepreneurship. Many people have not understood the fact that creating a venture is significantly different from presiding over the day-to-day detailed administration of it. And that in fact the two task may not manifest at their best in the hands of one person.

This is one of the many reasons why self-knowledge is an important component of the SPiD-UP® workshops. The many systems you are tested in reveals you in new ways and allows you to understand yourself better. So whether you are a big picture or small picture person is really not important. What is important is that you know which one you are and how to apply your strength whiles tapping into that of others. Understanding which of the two you are will have a great influence on your performance as it will point you to the strength which you must function by. Don’t forget peak performance is possible only when you are more of what you already are.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Shatta Wale II: A walking paradox

After my last article on the self-proclaimed dancehall King, founder, leader and life patron of the Shatta Movement(SM), I thought it will be fair to know the man a bit more. Something in his temperament and upbringing must account for his lifestyle. I left a half an hour conversation with a close confidant of his convinced that he was not merely an attention seeker. He is in fact a perfectly good man with an emotional intelligence deficiency worsened by the badman ideology.

According to the source, he is in fact the shy type. He extremely introverted with an incredible capacity for showing respect to others. He is described an extremely generous and self-sacrificing beyond reason individual. He is also very trusting and quite dependent on the people he loves and trust. Quite a contrast you might think—perhaps.  But this personality is not a very rare one per se. Such persons who easily sacrifice themselves and trust others tend to expect the same treatment from others. In our beloved Ghana, you don’t get a lot of that kind of integrity and hence disappointment is the other of the day. The self-sacrificing individual suffers.

Temperaments like his; possibly melancholic is a bit of an extremist. They are either being too nice or reacting too violently. This violence whiles not their nature results from the depth of emotions. This character is also a deep thinker and we know that actions are the result of thoughts. In between is the emotional alarm system that warns us. Deep thinking begets extreme actions and the individual appears unrestrained. Yet those who are close will tell you what wonderful person they are by nature.

In Shatta’s case, he may need a good understanding of his temperament and the reason why he behaves the way he does. He must also understand the nature of his environment and learn to accept how it works. So that he will be clear on how he fits into it and how he can influence it with what his has towards an achievement of his goals. He must also understand that he is influenced by the dancehall culture which is to a large extent abusive and violent. This makes his extremism even worse. Yet he can control himself from the thought level but only if he understands enough.

He must finally realize that what he does on a daily basis will culminate into his larger life and therefore the amount of positives he accumulates in the seconds and the hours are what will determine if his life is a positive or negative one. Shatta Movement like most tools in the hand of individuals is like a knife, he can cook dinner with it or he can stab someone with it. What will be King Wale?

Shatta Wale: Another case of self-sabotage Pt.I

I recently wrote a piece on Gifty Anti and her self-sabotage at springboard. Perhaps I should mention that these articles are not meant to attack any personality but to analysis the conduct of very visible individuals and how it affects their occupational and life performance. In effect they are performance analysis and it is hoped that readers will learn a thing or two from the situations.

Barely a fortnight after the Gift Anti article, the self-sabotage alarm bells went off again. This time, it was a bigger catch or is it. Shatta Wale have managed to get himself sued for 10 million GHS by entertainment event giant Charterhouse. Doesn’t sound good but believe me it is worse than it sounds. Even if by some miracle Charterhouse decides to drop the charges, Shatta Wale would have had a close encounter with bankruptcy barely two years after his breakthrough. It is not fun by any stretch of imagination and it could actually mean career death.

Anybody who lives in Ghana knows that Shatta Wale although extremely, talented only just started peaking after so many years of obscurity in the industry. His contemporaries; most of who are in possession of only a fraction of his talent left him behind as he struggled to gain the recognition that he truly deserves. Many years ago, I was flipping through radio stations when I heard his voice verbally assaulting an ace producer. That was the first time I heard him speak and got my own helping of his famous venom. He is not a very nice guy when he is unhappy. It takes a specific kind of person to release such insults on a well-respected public figure especially when the whole world is listening. Shatta Wale is that guy and he left no stones unturned and he dealt with Mark Okraku Mantey.

Not too long ago I started hearing his voice on X fm as a regular on a show hosted by one Mr. logic. They donned the dancehall “badman” badge and proclaimed its manifesto complete with the extreme negativity and profanity that characterizes the Jamaican dancehall. In the midst of the cacophony they called radio broadcasting, Mr. Logic constantly chanted praise to Mr. Wale as he pointed the whole world to his talent and the authenticity of his rebel mentality. He projected Wale as the true dancehall artist as he has  not only the talent but also the attitude. They had fun for a while but nothing lasts forever.

The two apparently got into a misunderstand for reasons I have not bothered to find out. But it wasn’t long before Wale’s constant appearance on xfm or perhaps the magic of Mr. logic’s management skills paid off. His Dancehall king single took the whole country by storm and before one could say Ananse; Shatta Wale is off the ground. But there was no Mr. logic with him. Then came the dis songs and the counteractions. Lyrically and musically the two were at each other’s throats and apparently it hasn’t ended.

I have deliberately decided not to mention his well know brawl with Samini for obvious reasons. It seemed Shatta Wale is not a very patient man and that in more than one way accounted for why it has taken him so long to get off the ground when talent wise he had more than it takes. I saw some of his famous videos on YouTube. The same videos that have earned him a 10 million GHS law suit and I struggled to understand what he was getting at besides the obvious burning passion to abuse charterhouse and its owners. He seemed very good at it which can only be the result of years of practice – you see being disrespectful is a mainstay of the Jamaican dancehall. They even have competitions about it. If you can’t dis, you are not cool.

Wale epitomizes the self-sabotage phenomenon- building something you treasure with a lot of hard work over a long period of time and by your own action destroying it in a day. There is no negative behavior that results in positivity and those who do not understand this little moral law tend to row against the tide when they can sail downstream aided by a strong yet gentle breeze.  But to understand these moral laws are the realm of structure. In my work I have talked extensively about the important influence of structure on content and how it is structure that determines the direction of content. Our friend in question obviously has a weak structure though he carries great content. That he is a very talented individual cannot be challenged. He generates a lot of power applying his gift but he has a problem knowing how to use this power. This is what has made it possible to use it against himself coming close to destroying everything he has built over years of struggle.

Think about it this way; when the ordinary person records a video abusing a powerful institution, it doesn’t really attract that much attention. But when a person with as much power at his disposal as the founder and life president of the SM movement does it, it attracts a law suit. So he does have power but what can he do with that power. But let’s just assume that he doesn’t understand these things; how is it that those who have a commercial interest in his work did not know better as their cash cow is on the path of self-destruction. If indeed his managers are capable, we must see a tactful handling of the matter and a resulting drastic change in behavior. Otherwise they may all need the service of a life coach who might help them answer the questions concerning how your regular activities will determine how your life will ultimately pan out.

From where I stand, Shatta has a few problems; wrong thoughts that will without fail lead to wrong behavior, lack of emotional intelligence leading to a low level of socio-emotional competence and a weak structure to manage the great content he has. A weak structure is like a cracked glass trying to hold precious water. The solution to his problems is a simple one, he needs more than his managers, he also needs a life coach.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Your eight or so intelligence systems

Your eight or so intelligence systems
In this post I attempt to address the Howard Gardner multiple intelligence system developed by the Harvard professor of developmental psychology. In his 1983 book, "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligence," Gardner distinguishes seven kinds of human intelligence: linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, and two types of personal intelligence. He proposed that people who exhibit intelligence in one domain do not necessarily exhibit it in another. Each person's unique blend of competences produces an individual cognitive profile. This means that one may have a variety of levels on the testing matrix and this can be used to determine which field they can naturally excel in. It is a simple understanding of where you are strongest so you can put your best foot forward.

In my work as a performance coach, I have encountered many an individual who really have no idea where their strengths lie. Some are partially aware but are not sure if its worth following. This is matter that needs more attention than is often given. In the self-knowledge section of this blog, we treat other test systems that help to identify strengths to help guide you to a good choice. If one’s life enterprise is the only thing they live for then what they use to undertake this enterprise must be handled with utmost care.
I must warn however that whiles articles like this might provide a good idea of the system, it is not a good enough substitute for reading the work of its creator and Wikipedia is a good starting point.
You must however find the book itself and read it. For those who attend our workshops however, you will receive a guidance on how to use the testing system and receive analysis and recommendations by experts. So it is prudent to attend the next SPiD-UP workshop. But if you do read the book or attend the workshop, here is a taste of what you might learn:

# 1 Musical–rhythmic and harmonic
While we all love music not all of us have the gift to create or perform it. In fact, some friends of mine are completely tone deaf. They can’t sing one song right- they just don’t have it. This area of intelligence has to do with sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones, and music in general. Such people are able to sing, play musical instruments, and compose music. They generally excel in music and related fields.

# 2 Visual–spatial
This area deals with spatial judgment and the ability to visualize with the mind's eye. People who are visual-spatial learners excel in the arts and sciences. They are also leaders and strategic planners who are intuitive and have the ability to see the big picture.

# 3 Verbal–linguistic
People with high verbal-linguistic intelligence display a facility with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words along with dates. They excel is careers related to words, speaking etc as they have a natural flair for it

# 4 Logical–mathematical: This area has to do with logic, abstractions, reasoning, numbers and critical thinking. This also has to do with having the capacity to understand the underlying principles of some kind of causal system. People with this kind of intelligence excel in math and related fields. They are good at strategy games, have a mind "like a computer", enjoy science experiments, organizing things by category, Abstract thinking, looks for a rational explanations, Wonder how things work. I think I might know somebody who is heavy in this area of intelligence except the math part. They make good Scientist, Mathematician, Lawyer, Doctor, Accountant, Bookkeeper, Computer Programmer, Researcher, Financial Planner etc.

# 5 Bodily–kinesthetic
The core elements of the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are control of one's bodily motions and the capacity to handle objects skillfully. Gardner elaborates to say that this also includes a sense of timing, a clear sense of the goal of a physical action, along with the ability to train responses. People with high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence excels in athleticsdancing,  acting. They also make good builderspolice officers, and soldiers etc.

# 6 Interpersonal
This type of intelligence is characterized by a high presence of Social skills. This area has to do with interaction with others. In theory, individuals who have high interpersonal intelligence are characterized by their sensitivity to others' moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations, and their ability to cooperate in order to work as part of a group. They make good sales persons, politicians, managers, teachers, counselors and social workers.

# 7 Intrapersonal
This area has to do with introspective and self-reflective capacities. This refers to having a deep understanding of the self; what one's strengths/ weaknesses are, what makes one unique, being able to predict one's own reactions/emotions. Having this kind of intelligence as it helps one to have a deep understanding of themselves.

# 8 Naturalistic
This area has to do with nurturing and relating information to one’s natural surroundings. Examples include classifying natural forms such as animal and plant species and rocks and mountain types. This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef. This sort of ecological receptiveness is deeply rooted in a "sensitive, ethical, and holistic understanding" of the world and its complexities–including the role of humanity within the greater ecosphere.

Of recent times there has been discussions concerning what some refer to as spiritual intelligence. Whiles Howard Gardner himself has not committed to the idea, he has proposed an existential intelligence as a more acceptable construct. Personally, I subscribe to the idea of spiritual intelligence idea. In the the x-Gen component of the SPiD-UP® workshops we treat spiritual awareness as a full topic as we are aware of how much influence it can have on a person’s output. In Christianity it is thought to take the post of the most important intelligence system available to man.

Man; know thyself

Self-knowledge plays a key role in performance. We have seen from the work of theorist like Maslow that high performance comes from being more of what one already is.

“Self-actualization is the intrinsic growth of what is already in the organism, or more accurately, of what the organism is”. (Psychological Review, 1949)
“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.” (Motivation and Personality, 1954.)

When there is a lack of self-knowledge, one is likely to engage from a weak position. Many other theorists agree to this idea. Man from time immemorial has continuously made many attempts at categorizing people in the hope of explaining their capabilities. Every culture, religion and worldview recognizes that no two people are the same and as such have made attempts at identifying the strengths in people in order to ascertain which aspect of life they are meant to function in. For the individuals this knowledge can have a rather profound influence on the power of their engagement. For we are or have all been faced at some point with the question of what we must do with our lives.

Whiles this may not be such a difficult question to answer on the surface, it becomes more complex when we are looking for the vehicle that will allow us to not only engage but also be the best that is possible for us to be. This of course must determine the occupation and when we get it right, all things work out for the best; then we are on a roller-coaster ride to peak performance. We have seen of course that a quality output in our daily engagement must result in a high output in our larger lives. But the knowledge of what we are made of gives us more than an idea of what we must do or be. It is also a primary source of confidence and the highly valuable self-esteem. It engenders self-belief and we must remember that high performers start with a belief in their ability and its correlation with the task at hand. Those who have self-knowledge therefore have extremely valuable information that sets the foundation for peak performance.

Self-knowledge was so important to Plato, he is said to have made famous the expression, “know thyself”. He had it inscribed at the very entrance of his academy and ensured that all neophytes resolved the matter before learning anything else. He developed his own categorization system for people; a topic which I shall address as part of the self-knowledge section of this blog. Hopefully I shall find a way to remove all the seeds of eugenics therein.
For the forgone reasons, self-knowledge is an important part of the SPiD-UP® workshops. We use various test systems to help participants identify their strengths and weaknesses and help them align them correctly for optimum output. It is after this that they can move on to the career component of the project.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Otabil brings structure home

I experienced a surge of inspiration this morning when I tuned in to E-TV and beheld godfather; Pastor Mensa Otabil of the International Central Gospel Church delivering with incredible insight and Biblical dexterity; the very idea that have come to form the backbone of my own thinking. Look around this blog and the one thing you cannot miss is my thoughts on structure and content. Over the years I have been put in so many different situations that have afforded me the opportunity to witness from a front row seat the effect of the imbalance that without question causes failure.

He built his case on Elijah and the poor widow (1 Kings 17:7-24) who had very little oil and but soon needed extra vessels to keep the oil that resulted from Elijah’s miracle. There was a clear analysis of what the vessels represent and what the oil they contain represent. He explained that every person carries something that is their own oil but must work towards the vessels in which it will be carried and delivered. Now that is quite significant. Elijah instructed the widow to borrow vessels from everywhere including her neighbors. This he said represented how people carried and delivered their own oils i.e.; how they do things.

He pointed out that when the vessels are weak, they will not carry the oil very well. He insisted that one needs to borrow know-how from almost everywhere but we need to take precaution regarding who we are borrowing from.  He explained that some of the seemingly successes we see around are not necessarily due to good vessels. Hence borrowing from such people might lead us down the wrong road as their vessels may be weak.

In his experience most people go to borrow the oil and not vessels. When they go to a rich man they will attempt to borrow his money (the results) and not his vessel (how he has reached that result). In our context oil is what you have by way of capability -- what you are going to engage with and vessels represent how you function as a person. When the vessel is weak, the oil leaks out and the result is not the desirable. We see again that high performance is the result of a good structure and good content. Where there is an imbalance, the result is not the best it can be. However, the influence of structure on content is quite profound and hence structure becomes the more important of the two. A number of experts on the subject agree on this. I realize this needs further explanation so I shall do another post on the matter. But imagine a highly talented individual who lack the needed discipline (discipline is an element of structure) that will help him carry his capability to the best.

Discipline will not only polish the talent; it will also manage it and deliver it. So that it is clear that the one who has a weak structure is not likely to succeed with his content and everyone has content.  For the vessel leaks and the oil does not get to serve its purpose. What we do at CSD Africa®  and project SPiD-UP® is structure education that is supposed to allow and enable the content that people have by nature and that which they have gained from formal education so that they can be complete. For more on structure, When a man of Pastor Otabil’s stature validates your thinking, you are inspired to do more. For more otabil messages;