I will never forget the face of the middle-aged immigration official I met at JO’burg International Airport back in 2013. I had gone there with a few colleagues from different countries (Ghana and Zimbabwe) and we were on our way back from Capetown and needed to board the flight at JO’burg airport bound for Accra, Ghana.
This slim light skinned fellow kept me at his desk asking a series of questions aggressively apparently trying to make me confess some wrong I had done. It got so intense he actually threatened to take me to the interrogation room! It had all started when he ask why I was in South Africa and I happened to mention “… came for a training …” . He had a problem with that because my passport had a Visitor’s VISA. Well I didn’t know there was a training VISA did I ? (Ha Ha Ha). This delay nearly cost me the flight and my Zimbabwean colleague queried where I was all the while.
A few blocks after I had left the Immigration Officer I realized what had just happened: prejudice. The officer saw a Nigerian passport and all his senses came alive! He had to make sure he wasn’t letting a drug dealer or scammer get past him. Sad to say some folks have made us very notorious for evil. If you know someone out there who is ding something fishy in a foreign country or to a foreigner, you should let them know they are making like a little more difficult for those who just want to mind their business and earn an honest living.
I do hope it gets better.
It is typical in business circles and otherwise to verify cash when someone drops it in your hands. This is how we behave in Nigeria and I have seen the same behaviour in other nearby cultures. It is not an issue of whether you trust the giver or not, it is simply for the avoidance of doubt. Well, at least that is my interpretation. In certain cases, we actually do not trust the person or do not want to risk trusting the at the expense of possible loss. Come to think about it, you would be embarrassed to call your trusted friend back some two hours after he gave you money just to tall him the money wasn’t complete. It it better to verify there and then.
In some cultures however, counting money when it is given to you is an explicit sign of distrust. I witnessed a Zimbabwean hand over a large amount of money to a South African Chauffeur and the gentlemen clasped his fist tightly, his eyes fixed on the givers face rather than on the money he had just collected! I later asked the Zimbabwean why he didn’t count the money that was when I learnt it was rude to count money given to you. Trust is a culture in those parts.
Fast forward. We find in our experience that it is not a very wise thing to do business on the basis of trust alone. Ideally, trust should be a fundamental value that supports every relationship but we find that those who choose to deal based on trust in certain societies simply find themselves on the receiving end of the moral and ethical failures of normal human beings. Have you ever found yourself on the receiving end or are you always extra careful in your business deals even with close friends?
In ancient Jewish culture what we currently call an employee was called a slave! It may sound offensive but close observation shows that this is very close to the truth if not a perfect fit. The difference between that culture and the present dispensation designed, largely by the West is that the slave is expected to work for cycles of seven years and have the chance to be free each seventh year. If a Jewish slave remained a slave for more that seven years it was purely because he chose that life.
In contemporary Igbo culture among the traders it is common to find a similar practice. A young teenager works for an experienced trader for six years or so and at the end of the period the master is expected to settle him: give him sufficient capital to start his own business. While staying with his master, his is clothed and fed entirely by his master and paid little of nothing as wages but it only would last a comparatively short time.
In contemporary society we fine slavery still predominant in a modified manner: nice suits, car loans, mortgages, and good wages on a monthly basis. The master expects the servant to work for thirty years or so to earn a significant amount of money called a gratuity (and subsequently pension). For most people that may be the only significant amount after thirty years. The interesting thing is that such slaves also train their children to become slaves for the most part and are very happy when their children enter the Slave Market (I think some people also call it Labour Market).
I am happy for everyone who gets a job, but I do think that if we look at the bigger picture, after ten generations if will not be possible for everyone to land a ‘middle class job’! The jobs are simply not being created fast enough. We must have a mix of the Jewish/Igbo economies alongside our contemporary ‘Labour Market’ scenario, an economy that trains people who are thinking about capital at the end of six years rather than gratuity at the end of thirty years, people who are learning on the job to build their own business not in order to land a bigger job.
Our generation of middle class folks need to make a deliberate effort to train a generation of children who think about capital rather than wages. Our school teachers should no longer ask the ‘What Do You Want to be When Your Grow Up?’. This presupposes an already defined ‘What’. Rather we should ask ‘How Do You Want to be?’ prompting the child to create something new. That is one way we can help build sustainable economies.
There is an opinion that we do have a leadership problem in Africa. Social media has made public criticism of leaders very easy and very … public. You know one thing that speaks to me about our frequent analyses of the performance of our leaders is whether I would do any differently if I were in their shoes. Would you do differently? Well, we may be quick to say a resounding ‘YES’ but we need to stop for just a second and analyze what we are doing currently.
Are there gaps in the delivery of service in our workplaces? Are we giving excuses and blaming other people for lapses and work that fails to get done? Are we speaking to customers (internal and external) in ways we’d rather not put on record? These are some of the things we are upset about when we encounter them in the public sector actually. But when we look thoroughly we may find that they are showing up a lot much closer home.
I do think people’s true selves are expressed more and more as they rise on the Social ladder, simply because as they rise, they have less and less need to explain their actions to perceived superiors. It is true that in advanced societies, as you rise, you need for accountability widens because you are now accountable to those you lead. Back home, we find that this is not exactly so thus there is a tendency to conclude that we shall only see the worst of people when they rise to leadership in Africa!
So, would you be any better than the current leadership in your country if you somehow found yourself up there? Is there anything in your current work habits that tells us that you will do well if we put your country in your hands. Think about this the next time you criticize leadership
When Jesus rose from the dead he didn’t go looking for those who nailed Him to the cross. When you have a significant assignment, you have no time for squabbles.
Imagine the Lord Jesus rising from the dead only to go check on the Pharisees to impress them with his resurrection. Or Pilate to tell him “I told you my kingdom was not of this world”. One could only imagine the look on their faces if they actually saw him alive and would probably have given us intense adrenaline if it was part of the redemption story. But all that, as exciting as it sounds, would be a complete waste of time given the shortness of his time on earth and the magnitude of his assignment. He simply had no time to impress anyone or take vengeance.
We may find ourselves sometimes busy trying to show perceived ‘Nay-Sayers’ that we can actually ‘make it’ or trying to show off our newfound success to old friends who did not think we could reach our present levels of success. This is an absolute waste of time and effort for anyone with a clear vision for his life. Sometimes the judgement God executes on our behalf has nothing to do with killing anyone or making anyone pay for hurting us, it may simply be aligning us better with our purpose. Ask Joseph who said:
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20
We will be so much freer if we approached life positively and from a position of rest, targeting the fulfillment of our life’s agenda rather than small squabbles that attempt to distract us every now and then.
I recently had to do some reading around Strategic Management and came across the concept of Grad Strategies. An organizations Grand Strategy(ies) refer(s) to the manner in which that company wishes to proceed in delivering on it’s mission. This definition is arrived at at a very high level and determines the details of the courses of action an organization takes.
Out of the fifteen Grand Strategies described in my sources, one which struck me was Market Development. Market Development simply means selling the same product by giving the customer new reasons to by the product, new uses for the product and the like. An example in this is a case where Nutella expanded it’s market by advertising new ways of using the spread.
The traditional idea of using Nutella on sliced bread as the only way to use the product was debunked by an advertising stunt where the makers sold the idea of making cakes with Nutella to it’s already growing throng of customers. This strategy was made very effective by including the recipe on the product’s label! A simple Google search will show how widespread this Nutella Cake idea became.
Coming home a bit, I thought to myself that this idea can be adopted by local producers of processed food. One experiment I have begun exploring is urging the producers of Hutchies Honey to show us all the nice things we can do with honey. I do hope the idea works and becomes a good reference point for Market Development in my environment.
Just before I sign out, I want to challenge you to develop a marketing plan that involves telling your customers every possible way your product can be of benefit to them. The customer is your focus remember. I believe this Grand Strategy will work for all kinds of products and all kinds of entrepreneurs as long as we are willing to thing deeply and broadly.
By the way, I will be posting videos of Hutchies Honey’s efforts if this experiment does pull through. Connect with us on our YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe1i8uesToBun0UxNj2DTew
In our quest to gain traction in the distribution of our books we have encountered many experiences in the nature of responses we receive. Most bookshops and distributors we engage are glad to help and readily accept copies of our latest book even when they are not sure how it will turn out. We definitely get a few “NOs” or “Not at this time” responses which we completely understand. The aspect we are a little concerned about is silence. Silence can be interpreted in a variety of ways, but we are not sure how to interpret it in the current context.
A person could be uncertain of an answer and choose not to commit when asked a question. For example, the question could be “Will You Marry Me?”. It is a very serious question that requires deep thought and some ladies fail to engage in such deep though or prayer as the case may be and simply choose to wait it out in silence. “Will He ask Again?” they may contemplate. They are uncertain of the answer thus keep silent on the question.
We are created to a very serious extent as emotional being. When we have become involved with people as friends or business partners we tend to avoid “hurting feelings”. One of the ways in which this position manifest is the tendency to fail to respond to a request in the negative because we are concerned about how the negative response will affect the person involved. The question could be “Can I have a loan of $20,000 to start a business?”. We have the resources, but we are unwilling to commit such an amount to our friend because we do not trust his prudence, so we go silent, stalling and hoping he forgets about asking again.
There are people in our lives to whom we feel a sense of debt because they helped us in the past or because they are senior to us. We cannot see ourselves say “NO” to them on any request. We go out of our way to give them all their hearts desires but when we hit that point where the heart’s desire is simply beyond our own reach we do not know how else to handle the situation other than being silent and avoiding the person.
In our case, we feel we may be victims of number 2. The bookshop simply does not want to hurt the feelings of a budding author so goes quiet on a request to distribute books. They hope that the author will become fed up with “We shall get back to you next week” and eventually stop asking. That happens most of the time with any reasonable person but we do feel that a quick “NO” gives the requester opportunity to ask the next person. A quick “NO” is a good response. So, when next you get a request you cannot grant or are unwilling to grant, do not be afraid or too concerned about the requester’s feelings to say “NO”. You could be doing the person a big favour.
Buy Entangled on eDwaaso
Watch my interview with Agyeman Asamoah, an upcoming Ghanaian artist who works very well with “Juke”. Learn about his incredible paintings and their meaning in a few minutes.
We recently performed an installation of a SQL Server 2016 Failover Cluster Instance using the command line syntax similar to the one below:
setup.exe /Q /IACCEPTSQLSERVERLICENSETERMS /ACTION=installfailovercluster /INSTANCENAME=SUNGRD /INDICATEPROGRESS /UPDATESOURCE=C:\Installers /FEATURES=SQL,IS,RS,AS /SQLSVCACCOUNT="OMATECH\sqlserverkampala" /SQLSVCPASSWORD="********" /SQLSYSADMINACCOUNTS="OMATECH\MSSQLDBAdmins" /AGTSVCACCOUNT="OMATECH\sqlagentkampala" /AGTSVCPASSWORD="********" /FAILOVERCLUSTERNETWORKNAME="SVR-AVAYA-SQL" /FAILOVERCLUSTERDISKS="INST5_SysDB_Data_01" "Inst5_SysDB_Log" "INST5_AVAYA_Data_01" "INST5_AVAYA_Log" /FAILOVERCLUSTERIPADDRESSES="IPv4;188.8.131.52;Public;255.255.255.0" /FAILOVERCLUSTERGROUP="SQL Server (AVAYA)" /SQLBACKUPDIR=L:\INST5_AVAYA_LOG\BACKUP /RSSVCACCOUNT="OMATECH\sqlserverssrs" /RSSVCPASSWORD="********" /INSTALLSQLDATADIR=K:\INST5_SYSDB_DATA_01\DATA /SQLUSERDBDIR=K:\INST5_AVAYA_DATA_01\DATA /SQLUSERDBLOGDIR=L:\INST5_AVAYA_LOG\LOG /SQLTEMPDBDIR=K:\INST5_SYSDB_DATA_01\TEMP /SQLTEMPDBLOGDIR=L:\INST5_SYSDB_LOG\LOG /ASSVCACCOUNT="OMATECH\sqlserverssas" /ASSVCPASSWORD="********" /ASSYSADMINACCOUNTS="OMATECH\MSSQLDBAdmins" /ASCONFIGDIR=K:\INST5_SYSDB_DATA_01\SSAS /INDICATEPROGRESS /ASDATADIR=K:\INST5_AVAYA_DATA_01\DATA /ASLOGDIR=L:\INST5_AVAYA_LOG\LOG /ASTEMPDIR=K:\INST5_SYSDB_DATA_01\TEMP /ASBACKUPDIR=L:\INST5_AVAYA_LOG\BACKUP /ISSVCACCOUNT="OMATECH\sqlssisbigdata" /ISSVCPASSWORD="********"
This was not the first installation of this nature and in this manner we have done but in this case, we found that quite close to the end of the installation we noticed the Analysis Services component did not start on the and the installation failed effectively.
Note that Database Engine services had been installed and was up and running both on SQL Server Configuration Manager and on the Failover Cluster Manager. The error we got on the front end was this:
Unable to read parameters from registry for Service '(null)'. Error: 13, property in error is 'ServiceName'.
As part of troubleshooting we removed the /Q parameter and ran the command again. This gave the opportunity to view the GUI in detail for the error. We still got the error at the end of the installation and had to dig into the Windows Event Log where we found the error below after filtering for errors with MSOLAP$<Instance_Name> as Source:
The service cannot be started: File system error: The following error occurred during a file operation: Access is denied. . (\\?\K:\INST5_AVAYA_DATA_01\DATA\CryptKey.bin).
We were able to solve this by granting full control of the parent folder for this file Cryptkey.bin to the account NT SERVICE\MSOLAP$<Instance_Name>. As at now we do not knw whey the permissions were not automatically granted but once we retried the started on the installer (an option we had because we resorted to GUI), the installation completed successfully.