Date Archives May 2018

Quality Over Quantity

In most organisations where performance is measured, the numbers are what matter. The number of tickets resolved, the number of telephone calls taken, the number of drinks packed etc. Numbers. This must stem from the age old ideology that quantity eventually translates to the bottom line.

However, I am inclined to think that while speed of of the essence, in service delivery scenarios, solving one problem with an over the top level of attention to detail, unique customer service and proper documentation of the problem and solution can have more serious impact on the growth of the organization in the long run.

A Support Personnel who resolves five tickets a day communicating (or attempting to communicate) via ticking tools or email may not make as much impact on the customer as alone who takes time to call the customer, provide feedback on progress, document steps taken to fix the problem and eventually ensures that the ticket is actually closed.

We all expect to be treated specially when we visit restaurants, banking halls or even when we place a request on an online tool. But we find it difficult to deliver the level of service we expect when we are sitting on the other side of the counter. This needs to be reexamined.

Bringing it all home to the IT Person, I do think that resolving one high impact ticket a day with an intense level of attention to detail resulting in permanent closure, sound customer service resulting in an excellent perception of IT and professional documentation that results in much shorter MTTR will be of more benefit to the organisation that just counting numbers.

Entangled: A Review

 

Book Title: Entangled

Author: Kenneth Igiri

Year of Publication: 2017

Size: 218 Pages

Reviewed by: Korkor Sackey

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Knowing the Author

 

I have always regarded my encounter with Mr. Kenneth Igiri as a privilege. I say so because ever since we met for the first time at ICGC-Christ Temple, Children’s Ministry,I have learnt a great deal from his passion and dedication to the work of God.

I thought it interesting to read Kenneth’s second book: Till Death. Till then, I never thought there was anything like a Christian novel, which could be as exciting to read as ever! As if it was an icing on the cake, I got the pleasure to read Ken’s latest: Entangled: A Little too Many. A Little too Close. This piece explores the concepts of sin and forgiveness, sonship and slavery, lust and love. It specifically enlightens readers on the power of the choices we make in life. They surely could enslave or liberate!

 

The Book in Chapters

 

As the sub-title suggests, ‘A little too many; A little too close’ – each a dangerous fact, if I may say. Why was Entangled written? In the mind of the author, it is basically to teach his readers to judge themselves first before judging others. In other words, that’s the way to be able to accurately analyse our true strengths and weaknesses and to be honest with ourselves. Now, this book is based on a true story. I kept wondering, whose story? Each time I did, a voice kept reminding me- most of us, if not all! Thus, these are undeniably true experiences wrapped in fourteen exciting chapters.

Chapter One: Who do we call friends? What kind of favours do we do for them and to what extent? Each and every day of our lives, we fight. Fighting to make the right choices, to stand for what we believe in. Sometimes, we let our emotions in, and it leads to many things….

“Can a man take fire to his bosom and his clothes not be burned”? (Proverbs 6:27) These are words or better still quotation that begins the second chapter. It is for all to answer.

Chapters Three and Four bring the realization that the decisions we make have greater consequences than we ever could imagine. We should be able to draw the line with what is lawful and what is helpful. Moreover, how do we define and use the freedom we have?

Chapters Five and Six reveal the reality of life to us. Life, we say, is sometimes unfair. But in truth, it is our actions that make life unfair towards us. Sometimes, as we overly place attention on us only complicate our lives situations. That’s the import of Chapter Five. The next chapter speaks for itself:

“Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down without walls”. (Proverbs 25:28)

Chapters Seven and Eight: As human beings we are truly entangled- with people, places and things. It’s hard to tell how strong or weak our attachments are until we meet reality- where the battle is. This chapter teaches us to always make the right decision no matter how hard.

In Chapter Nine and Ten, the writer makes us aware of the thin line between our Christian personality and our carnal personality. The writer enforces this by quoting Romans 7:21-23,

“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the war of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”

We all struggle with our thoughts, with our integrity and with our identity- and we all need help at a point in our lives. We speak of the things we fail to sufficiently cry out about because we are simply reading then and not watching them happen in the graphic detail of real life. Chapter eleven and twelve portray this.

Chapters Thirteen and Fourteen: Forgiveness and Repentance. These two virtues are equally important in the life of any Christian. The writer tried to establish these using biblical characters Adam, Abraham, David and Solomon. According to the writer, “Some of the holiest and most respectable men whose lives were recorded in the inspired Scriptures carried the peculiar burden of the most jaw-dropping sins; dastardly unspeakable acts of profound wickedness.”

Observations & Style of Writing

The general layout and typeset of the book makes it friendly to the reading eye. Even though over 200 paged, the author articulated the chapters of the book beautifully, making reading Entangled fun-filled! He opens each chapter with a bible quotation. My favourite is that of chapter eight:

“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7).

I appreciate Entangled because it’s not just about telling a story. I felt myself within the story, because the issues within are the realities of life especially among the youth. What made it more interesting to read was the additional lines from the Igbo and Twi languages. One could easily feel connected to the story one way or the other. At least, I learnt one Igbo expression – “Nne biko” meaning “Young lady, please”Another thing I found interesting was the writer trying to define critical terms in his own words. For example, the author had five unique “descriptions” for intimacy. One was:

 

“Intimacy is an intrusion. At the beginning, it is unpleasant to give in. But when the bombardment becomes unbearable, the walls begin to fall. They crack at first, it hurts yet is thrilling. Why does the trill hurts so much? Because stone walls are crumbling under heavy fire. The women of the city are on rampage. There is chaos in the inward parts. The boundaries are no longer relevant.” Beautiful expressions indeed!

 

Critique

 

I think Entangled is a solid piece. However, I felt a little lost within the sixth chapter, as I tried to connect Philip’s actions in that chapter to the previous chapters.

 

Recommendation

 

Entangled: A little too many. A little too close, makes a significant contribution to the lives of the youth and more especially the unmarried. It teaches that our destiny is in our hands. It cautions us to be aware of the iniquity in us and to make the right choices. Are we ready to cut of our right arm if it causes us to sin? – this is a call to action, most definitely a best time seller. I fully recommend it for all shades of readers, especially the youth!

 

A Helping Hand

My son recently started picking up his feeding bottle by himself. The problem he has is he tries to get the water out without tilting the bottle. I found that when I help him lift the bottle, he simply let’s go of the bottle entirely. To me this implies he gets back to depending on me.

There is something else he does that is even amusing. He started walking about two months ago but often when you take hold of his hands he let’s himself go and you eventually have to lift him or let him crawl. Of course I know this particular one is one of his games but there is still a point to this.

The two scenarios I have briefly described are pointers to a real life lesson. There are cases where someone you are trying to help is better left to grow the muscles he or she needs to survive and thrive. Often when try too hard to lend a helping hand we rob that person of the opportunity to help themselves and to grow.

When we do help, we must do so like fellow humans who will one day have to part ways with the one in need, or who understand that we may not always be in a position to help. The one in need must know that we are neither omnipotent nor ever present.

Lagos is Not

No one sits in their shops here waiting for customers to come to them. Everyone goes out looking for customers. Even taxi drivers at the airports have agents “hustling” for passengers. Those who sit in their taxis waiting to be called find themselves at the back of the pack if even they exist. Lagos is for hustlers.

On these roads, no matter how civilized you look, how well dressed or educated you are, no matter what class of vehicle you drive, when you get on that jungle called Lagos roads, you have yo have your mouth ready to fire: “What are you driving?” “Who are you?” “Are you mad?”. Some go deeper: ” You dey craze?” “Commot for road!” and so on. Lagos is not for gentlemen.

The mass of people milling on the streets is intimidating. The rush of motor bikes back and forth is scary. No driver waits for you to cross over to the other side. The walk rate is fast paced so much so that you think the person coming towards you is after you. And in all these, you have to be conscious of you pocket, your wallet and your mobile device. Lagos is not for the fearful.

With almost 20 million people stretching this city to its limits, every contractor, salesman, shop owner, hawker and everyone else selling something seek marginal profits and large turnovers. The competition is waiting for you to make a wrong bargain and the customer is ever ready to move to the next shop. Lagos is not for slow thinkers.

If you are coming to this city, be prepared.

African Technology

I watched a bottle of LIKEM salted Garri when I thought about what a change a Garri Dispenser might make. I have seen Cereal Dispensers which made me think of this. You know the civilizations of the world which we consider more advanced than we appear to be gained traction in terms of development because they focused on solving the problems the found in their environment. Those in the norther hemisphere encountered extreme cold and found the need for clothes good enough to keep warm in. when horses could no longer carry them fast enough, they decided to build engines to move their carriages faster. When the ran out of things to do on earth, they started flying upwards and diving to unbelievable depths of the sea.

When someone in Africa mentions technological development, we are often thinking about catching up with the west. We are thinking of making cars at a level of technology that the West surpassed in the eighties. We are thinking of meeting up with them. Maybe we can, maybe we can’t. Whatever the case may be I believe the effort may be more appreciated in the long run if we focus on our strengths and produce things we need, things closer to our culture, things that match our strengths. I once saw a take-away pack on Facebook made of leaves, the same kind of leaves used to wrap Moi-Moi or Ofada Rice. In another video I watched some demonstrate a machine for “de-husking” coconuts. The interesting thing was that these videos were from Asia not Africa! I am sure smart folks out there are doing similar things in Africa so I am waiting for advanced machines that can harvest yam, or palm nuts or cashew nuts. I think such technologies will be more aligned to our way of life.