The Toughest Challenge Ahead Of You, Is Building An Organization. (Part 8).

Continuing with the theme, how do we turn a small business into a large and successful company, I’m reminded about something I heard, recently:

In an interview, the late Steve Jobs, of Apple, was asked what was the most challenging thing that he had faced as an entrepreneur. The interviewer, who told the story, says he was expecting Steve Jobs to tell him that, it was developing one of his iconic inventions such as the Apple computer, or the iPad, or iPod, or iPhone, but that is not what he said:
He said the most challenging thing, he had to do, was “to build an organization”……
…..I completely agree with him!

Having a great product, or unique invention, that the world has never seen before, is not enough, for you to succeed. You must be able to build an organization, and to manage it as it grows.

A few months ago, I had lunch with the founder of one of the largest financial institutions in the world, in his New York office. Something he said stuck in my mind:
“In my business we do not depend on patents, and IP, to win; we are extremely organized and efficient; that is our strength. We have built an efficient organization, that is highly effective.”
Then he asked, “how good are you, at building and running an organization? If two of you were given a cell phone license, on the same day, with the same terms, and conditions, would you come out top?”
I smiled, and said “yes”.
“Anywhere in the world?”
” Yes”.
” I believe you. And I would be happy to invest our money.”

In this series of discussions, I have really just scratched the surface, about some of the key issues, you need to focus your attention on, if you want to begin to turn a small business into a very large and successful business, with continental and global reach.

You are part of that generation for which this is increasingly easy to do.

Do you remember that CNN interview, in which I was asked, to give an example a practical lesson, I have obtained from the bible, that I use in my business?
Well I spoke of the discussion, between Moses, and his father in law, a man, called Jethro. By the time the two men, met Moses had become a mighty man of God, who lived a truly miraculous life. And yet despite this, Jethro gave him a lesson on how to create an efficient leadership, and organizational structure.
If you do not attend to it, in a studied and methodical manner, it will not happen, by itself. It is your responsibility, to go out and get the skills, in this area. You are not born, with an ability to manage. As I have also pointed out, don’t assume, it will come through experience, over time…..even those who are “experienced”, need to continuously study, otherwise their methods, become obsolete, and even harmful, to the business enterprise.

The End.

Merry CHRISTmas.

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About Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

One thought on “The Toughest Challenge Ahead Of You, Is Building An Organization. (Part 8).

  1. Ephraim Rwamwenge

    Dr. Strive, I have followed your story since day one. I’m a 21 YO Rwandan, Botswana-born entrepreneur. Been in business since the age of 17 and currently studying CIMA (Chartered Institute of Managements Accountants). I am the head of Rwa Business Group (setup in 2012); we have 3 registered subsidiaries in ICT, commodities trading and mining and through a VC fund I set up this year I have interests in countless other start-ups in Rwanda. My story is a long short one, I have one question and one question alone.

    You have talked of educating ourselves both formally and informally and effectively applying that knowledge to better run and build our organisations and I agree 150%. No one person knows everything, and with very little of the brain capacity being utilised there’s nothing like knowing too much. As I have progressed with business and learning simultaneously, I’ve come to notice that with developing business systems for your organisation it comes down to one thing: common sense. And this is where analytical thinking is crucial.

    My course is one of the most competitive business courses out there and even with the continuous updating of the information I realise how some approaches can’t work. Case and point being Michael Porter’s Generic Strategies and how irrelevant that model is today. In some industries, competitive pricing has become a threshold competence. And there are many examples of how modern business theories and principles are just that theories and principles and offer a guide but in practicality the entrepreneur is expected to apply themselves beyond what they know and ask themselves what do they think is best.

    If my two cents is worth anything please consider addressing the issue of analytical thinking as crucial aspect of entrepreneur. We are aiming to build entrepreneurs who can build multiple entreprises like yourself and Mr. Dangote, and in order to do so we need to build capacity.

    I’m young, I’m still learning, still achieving, still mastering, still making mistakes. But one thing I learnt about life is that personal development is the only thing in life that goes against the law of investing: high risk, high return. Developing myself has the highest returns out there and the risk is virtually non-existent.

    Thank you for being such a blessing in many young people’s lives. I have young guys I’ve invested in talking about your page and the lessons and it puts my mind at ease to know my capital has gone to someone learning from a master.


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