Tuesday, May 31, 2011

With tomorrow in mind...

Hello people. We are veering off the Branding course for now. However, you can still check up the archives for all posts, discussions and tips on branding.

Today’s post is about another important and rather pressing subject.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to speak to a crop of future leaders, young people just about rounding off their stay in a secondary school and looking forward to life with greater freedom as well as responsibility.

While I was there, I realized from conversations with these young people that somehow, they are apprehensive of what they might find once they step out into higher institutions and have to rely on themselves for decisions that they were hitherto assisted in making.  I saw how if they had the right tools, it will be a lot easier for them to be able to make the right decisions and be their own persons.

Incidentally, this weekend also marked the inauguration of the fourth republic in Nigeria; it was the swearing in of President Goodluck Jonathan and his team into office.  And as I watched these young ones it occurred to me that we have come such a long way, chronologically, yet it seems like we have not moved from where we started as a nation.
I went on a thinking spree and wondered why it seemed like we have been recycling our leaders with no respite, why all the ones who just couldn’t keep their word still found a way to come back? I realized that more than any reason, it was because as a nation, we never bothered to invest in an on going training of leaders.

Most people start to pursue leadership when their skills and personalities are already set, and it is difficult to break into their mold.  And I started to realize that if we will make the effort to empower our children this early as this particular school has done and is doing with the tools to be able to speak up, engage in valuable relationships and with the mindset that their lives will only count by the change they bring into the world, there is no telling how ready we will be in another ten or twenty years to pick leaders who know why they are leaders and whose leadership traits have been deliberately developed for the general good.

The point of my rambling today is that the future is on my mind, we all need to find a systematic and strategic way of growing leaders, who understand leadership for change.  And I am lending my voice to that of every one else’s who have asked, can we catch them young?

Let us raise our glasses to the future of our land, because in these young ones, if we make the right investments, will our nation rest. In not too long a time from now, we will begin to see that we can still bring the desired change upon the face of our nation.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Last week I received from the Press one of the projects we have been working on for sometime now. And my first instinct was, couldn’t we have done better?  The truth of the matter is that the work was well done, but there is something inside of me that keeps stretching me immediately after a victory and while, if I harness this properly, it will help me to get better at my craft, it can also adversely affect my team.

The reason I say this is because, somehow I don’t get to allow them enjoy the victory of what they had worked on for such a long time, before I start to take them to task about what else we could have done.  Now those who have the same temperament and mindset such as I have, may not find anything wrong with my taking them to task so soon, but I find that I also have in my team those who require validation to be able to do better the next time!

I have been thinking of this for a while now, and last week it was brought home to me in the most fulfilling way.  For a while now, I have been a student of the John Maxwell philosophy and in my book, Dr Maxwell, is the very best when it comes to the art of leadership and communicating.  That is why when I received the opportunity to be tutored by him and his team; I jumped at it with all that I have got.

Some of the online teaching calls however, are late at night because of the time differential between us and the United States, which means that I am not able to sit in on all the calls and have to catch up after the call.  But last week in his daily one minute video Dr Maxwell dedicated the word of the day, ‘Together’ to all of us on that team.

I was so pleased and I felt special, but it also got me thinking that even though I struggle to keep up with all the learning because of time and my schedule of work, he didn’t send a video telling me I could have done better but instead, he sent me one telling me how pleased he was to be working with me!

I learnt a new one that day, it was that I have to find a way despite my perfectionist streak to try and validate those who work with me more, so that they will be motivated and willing to do more!  This is because, Dr Maxwell’s video made me feel like I owe it to him to do more, and I imagined how if I validated those who will work with me more often, how much they will be willing to give more to the task.

Now I can assure you that this is not going to be an easy one for me, but again are we all not on a learning process?  If Dr Maxwell does it and I cannot stop thinking about those wonderful words he spoke then, it is time for me to learn to validate others as the profit comes to me.

When your brand goes out to add value and tell others how important they are to the process, they will give you their absolute best, because I am ready to give the John Maxwell Training team, my best.

Till next week remember that, what you sow will come back to you in good measure, set out to validate today, and you will make it NeverTheLess.

Best wishes

Sistar B

Monday, May 16, 2011


For over ten years I have taught, coached and trained people, almost on a whim.  I realized I had been called to live my life and passion through this gifting and I have done everything to ensure that no month passes that I don’t have to prepare for a new challenge in this industry.

To tell you the truth, I was coaching even before I realized that what I was doing was coaching.  The more I prepared for new challenges and the more I rose to the occasion to teach, the better, it seemed to me, that I got.  Because I was determined to be the best in what I was doing, I ensured that with every opportunity that came my way, I submitted myself to learning from the very best that existed.

Books became my greatest assets.  I bought books and I read them, I took notes while reading and I developed my own notes based on my audience and my personal style.  As I did this I kept praying that an opportunity will open up for me to do this with the best in my book when it comes to communicating. Today, over ten years later, I have received the privilege to learn from the Master himself, John C. Maxwell.

All these time, I have come across people who recognized my gift and wanted to be able to tap from what my gift could offer, and I did my best to pour out what I knew. I rose up each time to the challenge of having to learn something new and I did my best each time with excellence.  Today, I can tell you that even though I will keep learning and growing, I am as good as a trainer, teacher and coach can be.

So when people, especially those younger than me, ask how it happened for me, I am quick to say that I prepared! And prepared hard! I prepared and prepared adequately!  It didn’t matter if I was going to speak with one person or with a hundred, I gave my all and I gave with joy.  Now it is beginning to pay off and people are starting to recognize my brand for what it is.

So I guess what I am getting at today is that a brand is only as good as the background work that is put into it.  Preparation is absolutely important and should never cease.  If as a number one brand you stop preparing and stop doing what you need to do to get better, a day will come that even though you remain number one, your following may have dropped from 80% to 60%.

You may still be number one here, but you can tell that something has reduced.  The only way to remain the top brand is to keep preparing and learning new things.  Remember that your brand is the sum total of who you are, and your ability to prepare can add to or enhance the totality of your brand.

This week do something to deliberately prepare for when your opportunity will show up and you will be amazed how far you will go.  While at it, remember that every chance you get is an opportunity to get better at what you do.  The implication is that in the end every step is a learning curve and every curve brings you closer to your dream brand.

You will make it NeverTheLess.


Sistar B

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The DPRI of Branding

Hello people.  I am so sorry that posts here have been kind of erratic lately, just a reflection of how my life has been and how badly I need to balance a lot of things out.

We are still on the issue of Branding though. This will probably be our last post on the topic for now, but I do believe it has been worth our while, hasn’t it? 

What is the big news in your part of the world?  In Nigeria where I write from the big news has been the elections, the successful birthing of a new dispensation on so many fronts and the coming of age of the Nigerian electorate.

On the world stage, I believe no news has been bigger than the killing of Osama Bin Laden by the United States Navy Seals.  So we will look at these two separate events and pick out words that may be used to describe the key players and see how they relate to branding.

The first person I will like to take a look at is the first lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan. Leading up to the elections, the first lady was the butt of so many jokes and lampoons from a lot of people and their grouse was that she was not very fluent in the English Language.  But there were some extremely positive traits that the first lady possessed but no one was looking at, and that is DETERMINATION and PASSION.  What she may have lacked in finesse, she made up for in determination and passion for what she was doing.  In the history of electioneering and campaigns in Nigeria, I have never witnessed a wife stand by her husband the way the Dame did.

Dame Patience Jonathan

The more we laughed, the more determined she was, and in end she has made her way into the presidential villa by sheer determination and passion.  For every one who wants to be a brand to be reckoned with, these two words must be part of your life. Determination – a mind set to not give up no matter what, and Passion – the ability to go the extra mile.

The other person I will want to look at, still in Nigeria is Prof. Attahiru Jega. Like INEC Commissioners before him, no one gave him a chance. We have been taught surely elections in Nigeria can never be conducted properly, especially when there had to be a postponement of the first set of elections.  But he, Prof. Jega, stepped up to the plate and took RESPONSIBILITY for what went wrong. He even went on to promise that the election process will be as free and fair as possible, and even though I recognize that some people don’t agree that things went well, I believe that with this last process, Nigeria has come a long way.

Prof. Attahiru Jega

Responsibility is a recognition and understanding of what we are called to do, and rising to the occasion to ensure that we deliver.  This is another hallmark of a strong brand.  Because Prof. Jega was bold enough to take responsibility and didn’t go the blame game route that was the way things were done in the past, I will add another word to him and that is INTEGRITY.

Now a lot of us think that integrity is a character trait of the infallible, but I have come to find out that it is the ability to own up to our mistakes when we make them that make us people of integrity and not the absence of mistakes.

Our words today therefore, are DETERMINATION, PASSION, RESPONSIBILITY AND INTEGRITY.  Every strong brand must have each of these traits or it may collapse in no time.

Your brand is only as good as the sacrifice you make to build and nurture it.  Remember that your first step will be to understand that it is not an absence of mistakes; it is an ability to own up. It is not a perfection race, but an ability to focus on what is important.  Till next week, you will make it NeverTheLess.