Mr Douglas Mboweni presented the final morning presentation at the Yale Young African Scholars Program (YYAS) on Friday. Mr Mboweni’s conception of leadership comes from a background of personal experience (from working in the public and private sector) and also from strong links to his faith. He believes every human being has a God given inherent ability to lead. We all have tremendous skills, talents and the capacity to be leaders regardless of who we are or where we might come from.
He defined successful leadership as being people oriented. This means that one cannot lead when they are no people following him/her. True leaders will be recognized by the sum total of people following them. Leadership is not about rules, positions, titles or organizational charts. According to John C. Maxwell leadership is about one life influencing another.
He proposed a ten points for successful leadership:
- God designed each person for leadership.
- Sin compromised man’s original leadership capacity.
- Salvation restores it.
- In a ‘VUCA’ (volatile, uncertain, confused, ambiguous) world the restored man is a victor. Man is able to prevail over the storms life throws at him.
- A true leader develops a bigger perspective to life. He/she determines how they fit into the picture even if sometimes it may not be understood by other people. Leaders are designed to be bigger than any problem they may encounter. They are created to dominate their particular area of influence or business.
- Leaders respect time. Therefore, students as leaders must utilize and maximize their time. Time is the scarcest resource in the world. It cannot be bought neither can it be stored for future use. If time is not properly managed then nothing else can be managed successfully. Students as individuals should start to learn to prioritize activities that support them to achieve their goals.
- A leader establishes a balanced life. There is need to maintain a balance in all facets of life such as family, health, social life, finances, spirituality etc. For instance, for one to be able to pursue personal goals he/she would need extra energy and that means enough rest, good eating habits and exercise.
- A leader creates a clear vision and plan. This is true for personal life, family or businesses. The vision has to be clear so that it can effectively guide your plan without ambiguities. A vision becomes a compass in life that guides a leader from being side tracked. Any person without a vision will waste time. The vision must be broken into goals and strategies. It should be specific, measurable, relevant, and time conscious (SMART).
- He/she is execution driven, this is key to overall success. He developed the following equation: Success = (Planning + Resources) x Execution
He pointed out that this has to be properly configured to produce the desired result. In Africa we lack in the area of execution. Our planning may be excellent and we have the resources but execution is a problem. He gave the example of Dr Strive Masiiwa the chairman at Econet Wireless and co-founder of the Higher Life Foundation as one leader who has been execution oriented since the beginning of the organization even in the face of adverse circumstances and situations. This has lead to their projects prospering all over the world.
- Leadership starts with God and ends with God.
Mr Mboweni also stressed that to be an effective leader anywhere a person has to be an effective leader in his/her personal life (at home, school etc). Private practice determines public performance. If an individual’s life is highly disorganized the same trait will follow them everywhere and supplant all efforts towards achieving goals.
There is need for individuals to develop daily routines that cultivate positive leadership habits in them. These will automatically supersede and replace all negative behaviors that stifle success and progress in a person’s life. Setting up a day’s plan every morning when one wakes up and ordering things to be done according to priority is a good start. Constant meditation of one’s vision and goals is vital as people become what they spend their time thinking, eventually.
He also reiterated that our time on this planet is short even if we could live to be a 120 years old. It is, however, not surprising to see a person around 70 years of age or more not having acquired anything meaningful in life let alone leaving a legacy for the next generation to learn from. He encouraged the young students to maximize on time rather than spending it on valueless activities such as drugs, watching movies all the time and so forth.
Mr Douglas Mboweni is the Group CEO of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, he has been serving the organization in that capacity since 2002. He joined Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in 1996. He is currently studying for a phd degree. He attained his first degree in the 1980s from the University of Zimbabwe, a BSc in Computer Science. He is a family man, married to one wife and they have three children.