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Leading Change

  Sep 18, 2014

Dr. Caesar Mwangi, the Regional Director of GVEP International began his personal reflections session by quoting Alexandre Havard, author of Virtuous Leadership, “leadership is not reserved to an elite. It is the vocation not of the few, but the many.”

Many people often experience work as a necessary evil, an occupation till retirement, meaningless and laborious with some experiencing back stabbing, boot licking, blame games, unhealthy competition, negative health effects, stress, dishonesty and corruption.

From the beginning of his role as the Managing Director of Sasini Limited, Dr. Mwangi was faced with various challenges including but not limited to incompetent staff, low staff morale and productivity, intimidation and fear, high staff turnover, dishonesty and corruption.

The challenge was very clear to Dr. Mwangi; he had the daunting task of changing a poorly performing organisation, made up of five business entities to a high performance organisation with motivated staff. For his organisation, the key to change was leadership.

Being an avid reader, he also quoted renowned Management guru Charles Handy, “Thinking about it the other day, I realized that some of my unhappiest moments have been in organisations…in my worst moments I have thought that the organisations were places designed to be run by sadists and staffed by masochists – why does it sometimes have to be so awful?”

He linked Handy’s thoughts to his and summarized by saying that the best organisations to be in, are the busiest ones as long as they are busy for someone else, whereas the worst are those that are obsessed with their own innards. Everyone needs a purpose beyond themselves to make the best of them.

It is important to give others a chance to utilize and develop themselves as well as enable them to find a sense of meaning in their work and join others in serving towards a common task.

A leader can influence the workplace by Enhancing Employee Engagement, whose components include: morale, confidence in the organisation, career opportunities, trust in leadership, rewards and recognition programs. People are the brains of an organisation, and are not just another input in the production process. When you get people right, other things go right.

Dr. Mwangi asserted that change needs to be focused on people leading themselves. There is need to promote a culture of listening to employees ideas and having meaningful face to face interaction with others. In his conclusion he quoted Stephen Covey, “To value oneself and at the same time subordinate oneself to higher principles and purposes is the paradoxical essence of highest humanity and the foundation of effective leadership.”

About Dr. Caesar Mwangi

Dr. Mwangi is currently the Africa Regional Director for the Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP-International) which promotes access to renewable energy in Africa. He previously served as the Managing Director of Sasini Ltd, a publicly listed Agribusiness Company involved in the growing, processing and marketing of tea, coffee and dairy products in Kenya. Prior to this he has worked as an Associate Director with the Consultative Group in International Agricultural research, as a Management Consultant with Deloitte & Touche in Nairobi and Johannesburg and also as the Managing Director of Maisha Consulting in Johannesburg.

He is a graduate of the University of Johannesburg – PhD. in Organizational Performance and Change Management (2004), the University of the Witwatersrand – Wits Business School in Johannesburg – MBA (1995) and the University of Nairobi (Kenya) – BA Econ. (1988). Dr. Mwangi is also a Certified Public Accountant (K) and a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). His career spanning a period of 25 years has been varied and enriching in terms of management and leadership experience. He Chairs the Boards of the Institute for Social Accountability (TISA) and Kianda School and he serves on various other boards including the Kenya Markets Trust and the Strathmore University Council.

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