Lucas Marang'a

A man at 40

Collective Busy.

I hardly write political stories but today may be an exception. Though this may also not be a political story. It may just be observations and learnings from a politician’s life. I usually don’t buy the newspaper because I get a free copy every morning (if on time) while on the school run. Then I tune in to the 7 am news on the radio. One station reviews news making headlines in the main dailies so I feel like I get all the information I need. That sixty bob saved is worth a packet of milk so inabidi.

But earlier this week one headline caught my ear. The guy on the radio said that the Nation newspaper on Monday labelled the president a man on a mission. He has been in power for about sixty days and worked long and hard every single day. He has had a record one hundred and twenty-six engagements and counting since taking over office. Only five of those days did he have no meetings (or none that we know of). That piqued my interest enough for me to buy the newspaper.

President Ruto has been referred to as a teetotaler so we can assume that is connected to his ability to wake up early and work late into the night. I agree that a hangie would often come in the way of long work hours. I admire that work ethic, especially the timekeeping part. We desperately need it, especially in the public sector. I also like the urgency he is displaying to deliver the numerous promises he made when he was tuning us to vote for him. I hope he finds a way to keep that pace past the one-hundred-day mark, the one-thousand-day mark and beyond.

Of course, the proof of his hard work will be in our lives getting a bit easier. His new government has already burst our bubble by admitting they can’t fulfil what they promised in the first one hundred days. We have cut him some slack hapo. He had to ingiza us box somehow hehe. I’m glad he is a hands-on president but maybe with time, he should strike a balance and be hands-off but remain eyes on so that his team can have some space to work. It will be up to his new cabinet to convince him that they can be left to work with minimal supervision. Time will tell.

My concern though is, could our president be a general without an army? I know a fish rots from the head and I’m slightly comforted that this is a working head so the rot will be minimal. But I’m also cognizant of the fact that running an effective and efficient government cannot be a one-man show. There are concerns about the cabinet he has chosen. The political payback is quite evident but he has also tried to bring in some technocrats.

I feel his concern should now shift to a preference for workers more than politicians. I’m not a politician so I can’t say much about how he will deal with that. I’m keen to observe how he will grow that team culture with the workers (and politicians) he has chosen. If I were to meet Prezzo I’d propose coaching as a way to unlock performance both for his teams and the individuals. Through asking powerful questions coaching is a thought-provoking process where people become more self-aware and tap into their inner deposits to bring out the best version of themselves both at work and in their life in general.

I think this would be worth a try especially now as the new administration takes off. Hopefully, it can lead to a culture that will continue for years to come. Through coaching, we become aware of our deepest motivations and maybe that can lead to folks aligning with the needs at hand or the role one has been assigned. Sometimes we judge public servants harshly but I do think it’s often a case of trying to force square pegs into round holes. Some are probably mismatched with the requirements of the job and that will likely lead to mediocre performance at best.

I hope that by this time next year I can buy the gazeti and read the headlines as, Government on a mission. And that time not only will we be counting the number of meetings held but acknowledging the gains made towards making our great nation greater.

All the best Bwana President. We are still here to help you.

(Now It feels like I should have titled this article as an open letter to the president hehe.)

 

Friday, November 18, 2022 | Leadership, Reflections |

2 thoughts on “Collective Busy.”

  1. David J.W.Kimani says:

    Thank you Lucas for the reflection. Indeed the Head of State has been busy. Am not so sure about everyone else in government for we need to see the results of that busyness-we hope we don’t end with busy bodies. The words of the National Anthem remind us “Amkeni ndugu zetu, tufanye sote bidii. Nasi tijitoe kwa nguvu, nchi yetu ya Kenya tunayo ipenda tuwe tayari kuilinda.” We all must be busy doing the right things in the right way…

  2. Mike Eldon says:

    Fully support the need for a coaching mindset within a coaching culture, and I have acted as a coach to many senior government officers, both through the World Bank and GIZ and for others through them engaging me personally. But coaching is largely absent in the public sector. Shame.

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