“Obusaija babwetera”, goes a popular saying. Loosely translated to mean, “Before others call you a Man, you have to act like one.” Over the years, I have got to understand that self-esteem is the key. The feeling of self-worth is critical.
On 5th February 2018, I was called for an impromptu meeting at 7:00am. During the meeting, I received a reminder via a short message (SMS) from a prospective client that I am expected in their Boardroom at 11:30am sharp, to make a presentation of my proposal to formulate their five-year strategic plan 2019/2023 to the top management team (TMT). Apparently, the Secretary had been advised to inform me the previous evening, which she forgot to do.
I live by the mantra, “Don’t get ready. Stay ready.” I instantly replied, I will be there in time. Time check 11:40 am, I arrived at the prospect’s reception, 10 minutes late. This is the worst position to be. I still cannot forgive myself for the delay. Traffic jam is not an excuse. I was late, and it is unacceptable. No power point presentation slide deck. No print handouts. Immediately, I was called to the Boardroom. I found 10 executives seated on one side, they directed me to occupy on an empty sit across the table on the opposite side.
“The Agenda for this meeting is (i) Prayer, (2) Introductions and (3) Presentation of your proposal. You will lead us in the prayer. You have 20 minutes. Echoed the man who introduced himself as Chairman of the meeting. This prospective employer is a religious organization and they wanted to assess my spiritual skills. I love such opportunities to shine. I took the moment. When it came to the presentation of my proposal, I asked for the flip chart and a marker. Whereas other consultants, could have been busy reading power point slides, I drew two points on the flip chart, connected them with a straight line and asked: “at which point is your organization today, and where does it want to be in 5 years’ time from now? How will you get there?” I then showed them how my methodology would help them make strategic choices to win with their customers and stakeholders against the competition and as they say, the rest is history. They called me that evening, that my proposal had been selected.
You must have high self-esteem and stay ready. In your job, try to study common rejections you receive, and role play with a colleague how to overcome them. Have ready answers so that you avoid being caught off-guard. Above all, feel great about yourself. Make sure you brush, put your great suit and face each day as if it was your last. Wish you success. Remember obusaija babwetera.
Bernabas M. Mugisa, Mr. Strategy, helps plant the seed of transformation. Visit www.summitcl.com/boardtools to become a better Board member TODAY.