Sunday, May 6, 2012

Thoughts from #MindSpeak: Self-leadership and the Story of a Murderer

Victor Hugo was between 50 and 70 when he expressed the following idea, packaged into his novel about Napoleon Bonaparte's takeover of France, The History of a Crime (L'Histoire d'un Crime). 

"Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come... one resists the invasion of armies; one cannot resist the invasion of ideas."
 - Hugo (1852)

pause for one second and consider the weight of that sentiment. 

I would imagine that he intended it to be a double-edged sword. That an idea has the power to be virally infectious if it's time is ripe; for better or worse. Think of the guy with the idea, then,  as The Perfumist.

I was seated next to one such perfumist last Saturday, at the Intercontinental Hotel, during Aly-Khan Satchu's latest installation of mindspeak. In barely a month, Martine Kappel, MD of True North Leadership College, has been such a wild influence on my admittedly flawed thought patterns. For better, I might add. Her Neuro-Semantic & Neuro-Linguistic Programming background merges with vast experience in charge of [to name but a couple] the finance arm of Danida, and the administrative end of IBIS-Mozambique. Her presence around me, as you would imagine, forms a truly unique blend of 'boss', friend, mentor and indeed, woman.

The day's speaker was one Tim Carsten, MD at Base Resources. His talk was on what he termed as the Kwale Opportunity; he would go on to lavish adjectives on the projects his company has been prospecting, beginning at ‘globally significant’ checking in at ‘advanced’ and ‘well-positioned to capitalize’ and arriving at ‘sustained opportunity in a mineral sands market’. 

As his presentation kicked into gear, my antennae were still recovering, at all of 10 am on a Saturday, from a relatively interesting night out; but am pretty certain a good deal of said big words were present in his intro. How? One of our students at True North Leadership College studiously took notes, which I dutifully mwakenyad into Mheshimiwa android. Perks of being the Social Media guy you could say. And no I am not lazy.

True North College student Petronilla's notes. See?
Back to the presentation, and Tim went into a great deal of figures and statistics, numbers and arithmetic, algebra and quadratics…you get the picture. To which all I could say was:
Yaawn! No artspeak at #Mindspeak...these figures be driving me nuts!
I was still reeling from the effects of hearing a good deal of ‘sustainable development’, ‘USD *insert a lot of millions* pocket change’ and ‘capitalism’ when the question answer session arrived. And Martine turned to me:
Ida Ng'ang'a, Martine and Tim Carstens.
"You’re asking a question?", she said in an I-really-want-you-to-tone.
Shoot me now, I thought while responding,
                           "But of course I am"...
Lucky enough, the question answer session loosened Tim up from the rigid constructs of numerabilia. The questions from the audience seemed to get him to reflect upon his vision and values, and a totally different man emerged. Coherent virtue seemed to flow in his words; rehearsed or otherwise, the presentation suddenly came alive. It was when we got to the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility that he impressed me most, saying:

We don't take Corporate Social Responsibility as a chore. We incorporate it into everything we do in Kwale, not as part of everything we do in Kwale. 
 - Tim Carstens      [not verbatim]
Talk about Inception. I went on a Twitter rant about that statement as soon as I had the chance: 
"Before me mind get bad, better you flip it round and make my mind get mad, me prefer fi work hard everyday, fi achieve me goals, nuh  grudge  nobody fi them own..."
    - Konshens, Jamaican artist
       [Better Life Riddim]

CSR needs a good spanking in Kenya if it's going to grow up into the impacting initiative it could be. My mentor says, repeatedly so, that nobody can drive her crazy unless she gives her keys away. I'll say, that nobody can drive Kenya to crazy heights of Vision2030 status unless she [Kenya] lends her corruption keys away...for good. 

Martine Kappel multi-tasks on the way to Mindspeak

Martine goes *perfumist* after a  play at Alliance
Tim Carstens embodies some of the same qualities of a perfumist. The power to impose will on society, just as a good [and funny enough all the more when bad] scent invades your senses. I am officially a fan of Mindspeak; and as the PA to the MD at True North, that's a good thing. Coz Martine woulda made me go next [and every other] time anyways.

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