10 lessons I learnt from a billionaire

March 5, 2015
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8. Your Life is Your First Business
Chris Kirubi will never involve himself in something he does not stand to gain. Secondly he will never live beyond his means. One day he took a workmate and I for a drink at the bar downstairs. He started by clearly stating that we were only going to drink for an hour since he had guests who he was supposed to meet later. As we ordered our drinks I noticed him frown as I made my order and I instantly knew I’d done something that he didn’t approve. You see while he and my workmate had ordered a beer, I had gone ahead and ordered two doubles of a single scotch whisky.

“How can you engage in the same nonsense that the young man seated behind us is doing?” He barked while pointing to a guy in his thirties who was busy entertaining two girls with a bottle of rum on the table. “You should never order a drink you can’t afford. I’m not saying you won’t be able to pay for this but I am telling you, ask yourself what percentage of your salary you will have used to buy this drink.” I got him loud and clear because I knew he lived by this principle. In every aspect of your life, you need to live within your means and this will be your best motivator to work hard to move to the next step. Likewise, every action one involves themselves in should lead to an outcome of positive gain failure to which it will be time wasted.

9. A Leader Does not Delegate
Yes you heard me right. In the years that I worked for the man, I never saw DJ CK delegate work even once. Instead he used his skills as a salesman to sell ideas to his employees. He would come up with an idea or a challenge and start breaking it down himself in excitement. It was always fun to witness how his mind works. The surprising result of his proactive nature was proaction by his employees. Everyone wanted in on his project because he had sold it to them first and not ordered them to do it. Soon every team member would assign themselves duties and the job would be completed half the time it would have taken if we had followed a conventional format. It somehow always reminded me of the show ‘Pimp my Ride’ where the garage owner sells his idea to his team members who in turn share what their contribution will be towards restoring the featured car. I acknowledge that every company is different but I believe for any person in management, this principle will get you great results that are good on time and quality. When you delegate you are forced into an uncomfortable zone where you have to rely on mediocre business systems to drive your machines (workers) to produce.

10. The Eagle in the Sky Holds the Sharpest Vision
I have always been interested to hear people talking about the companies in which they work. One of the things that strike me is how frustrated many people are with their jobs. One would expect that these frustrations are caused by poor pay but surprisingly they arise from lack of a clear understanding of one’s duties and roles in the company. This is caused in turn by a leadership that lacks a clear vision that is easy to understand  and explain. Many people often find themselves in roles they are not supposed to be playing and are not passionate about – this has become the source of their misery. CK has always had a clear vision of what he wants and how he will get it. He is always reminding his employees why they are in his business and the roles they have to play to achieve his vision. In addition to that, he is always asking employees to have a clear vision for their own lives. If you were to walk into Capital FM offices today, all you will find are happy faces of people who know what role they have to play towards the vision of the company which is clear and simple to understand.

There are many lessons that I have learnt from this man that would constitute volumes if I were to write them down, so this is just but a start. What have you learnt from your mentor lately?

@ngigimichael

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