Self-Knowledge

Leadership duality— Encourager vs Challenger



In my recent article on leadership in which I made a point about the difference between effective and efficient leadership, I pointed us to effective leadership as the better option if change was desired. This article is a necessary installment intended to deal with the next stage of leadership i.e. guiding others (or leading if you like) through the new territory. This is based the premise established in the previous article; that leaders set the pace or lead the way in a particular area—it is what makes a leader. It is in this realm that such matters as leadership styles become worthy of the microscope.
Any reader of Lee Roberson is familiar with the expression; everything rises and falls on leadership. It is also a well-accepted notion that Leadership is cause and everything else is effect. Whiles much has be written and taught about leadership styles with so many different theories being thrown about, I find two attitudes showing up in my own experiences and observation; challenging and encouraging. 

To most people it is always the nice guy who is the most attractive. In many success stories, there is always that leader who encouraged someone to do something and how lucky they were to have met that individual. The encourageris loved because of his seemingly calm and loving nature. He is accepting of people’s weaknesses and encourages them to do what they think they can. People want to be treated nicely, feel loved and respected—the encourager model serves this purpose perfectly.
In a recent attempt to teach a lady friend how to drive, I found myself failing woefully simply because, I was not using the encourager model. You see I am more the bad guy type. The kind of guy who will throw you a challenge and expect you to rise to the occasion after having sold you the idea that I wouldn’t ask you to do it if didn’t think you could. The challenger doesn’t want what you think you can do, he wants what he believes you can do. The challenger wants to work with people who have a will to do things (transcend themselves) not those who need to be convinced to do thing. That’s the challenger guy and he is not the most popular.
The challenger is usually (not always) quite low on socio-emotional competence. He is more performance oriented and less people sensitive. He is not concerned that you havn’t had lunch and that your child has a headache. Nobody likes people like that but the fact remains, it is results that make great people and for that reason alone a focus on performance instead of comfort may be the winning formula. The larger point however, is that leadership is not for everyone (don’t look so shocked).  A leader is a game changer—he charts a course —a new course and from all indications a majority of people do not do that. Those who change the game are constantly in the face of challenges. It is the ability to rise above a challenge that sets them apart putting them in the lead creating something that others will emulate. A person who has trouble with challenges can therefore only follow such persons with pain. Yet a leader cannot be a leader unless he has followers who he must guide on this path. People have needs and that includes comfort and love. We also know that people are their best when they are comfortable in what they are doing. So that it is clear that the two models have merits and demerits. The most versatile leader will know not only how to throw a challenge but also how to encourage followers to take them up without threatening their self-esteem.


If you are an encourager, then encourage more while recognizing the need for throwing a challenge. On the other hand a challenger must challenge while encouraging where it is needed. As is always the case; one may be stronger in one area than the other, this is fine and decides what kind of followers he assembles. If John C. Maxwell is right, then a leader must aim to raise other leaders. What kind of a leader will you train, how will you do it and why? Go lead with high performance!

Low Sexual Performance and the Okro Myth

”Madam, I can’t take Okro” the man exclaimed in objection to my suggestion that Okro was beneficial to his health.  I made sure to extol the benefits of Okro as a wonderful vegetable he could include in his healthy diet plan. He looked at me perplexed as though I had threatened to harm his mother. The stark reality of how much people had bought into the misconception about Okro stared me in the face.


‘Why?’ I asked concerned, waiting to hear the usual tale of ‘Okro and low sexual performance.’ I wondered how much nutrients people took for granted at what is frankly one of my favourite vegetables. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat and whispered in embarrassment.
”I have heard it gives excessive phlegm, waist pain..and…hmmm affects performance.”

Okro or Okra (aka Lady’s Fingers) is the stuff a Dietitian’s dreams are made off. To say Okro is nutritious and offers numerous health benefits would be like saying ‘the sun is hot’ you simply can’t do enough justice to the statement. Its health benefits read like something out of a Nutrition book’s ‘Hall of Fame’

From its anti-diabetic properties, rich nutrient value ( high vitamin C, foliate, potassium, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals), excellent weight reducing properties (due to its rich fibre content and low calories) to its cancer preventing properties ( rich in antioxidants), promotion of colon health (prevents constipation) and relief from respiratory problems ( such as asthma). The list is endless. 
Surprised? Just read on.
www.dooneyskitchen.com  |   www.foodstantly.com

It also boasts of its ability to boost one’s mood and prevents depression and is also known to give a smooth and beautiful skin with protection from pimples. Ancient history has it that Cleopatra; the ancient Egyptian queen who was celebrated for her beauty was noted to be a great fan of Okro. (Oh spare us. You like Sources too much, everything Source! *laughs*)

Okro is found in dishes and cuisines all over the world. It is consumed in the US, Western Europe, Caribbean, Greece, Turkey, India, South America.  In Ghana, it is eaten mostly in stew or soup preparations and found to be engrained in the traditional dishes of most Ghanaian tribes. However, in spite of its versatility and benefits, Okro has not entered into the good books of some people, chiefly to blame is the myth surrounding it.

It’s slimy nature has served as a turn off for some people and had led to negative speculations about its nature. Interestingly, it’s slimy (mucilage) nature lowers cholesterol and serves as a lubricant and laxative for the intestinal tract.

Still in doubt? Then you account for a part of the school of thought that supports the notion that Okro has negative implications on reproductive health and result in impotence.
Below is my last set of facts about Okro. If you still are not convinced, then …
Okra’s high level of vitamins notably vitamin C and folate help prevent birth defects and it’s highly beneficial for a pregnant woman and her baby. Okro has also been recommended for years for use as a natural aphrodisiac and researchers have found that the folate in Okro as well as its other numerous minerals and vitamins enhance sperm quality.

Well….let’s just say the jury is out there…as well as hard scientific facts. Let conduct a purely subjective exercise. Shall we?

1.      Make a list of all the Ghanaian tribes who have had Okro as part and parcel of their traditional dishes for centuries.
2.      Have we noticed any desirable traits about the indigenes that we could link to the benefits of their regular intake of Okro? and finally
3.      Do you eat Okro?
4.      What has been your experience?  We will be happy to hear from you
Meanwhile, as you to ponder over these questions, I am off to get a huge bowl of Okro Soup with ‘Banku’. You are surely invited.
www.globalsportsgh.com

The Writer is Dede Kwadjo, a Dietician/Nutritionist and a member of the Ghana Dietetics Association. She lives in Accra, Ghana. You may reach her directly via Dede.kwadjo@gmail.com

When big is not better


There are two kinds of people in the world. Actually that’s not exactly true. How many kinds of people there are in the world or the whole of the universe is directly dependent on the system you use and there are countless number of systems that attempts to categorize people.  In this article however, I am concerned with the big picture and small picture people idea. For me any attempt to bring structure  to anything (or systematize it)is a fantastic idea. And it is not necessarily because the structure is a good one but I have a firm believe that a bad system is by far better than no system as an existing system makes for easy trouble-shooting. You can fix something that doesn’t work well because it exists and it is identifiable.  
A typical Big Picture person sees things in large pictures. But of course it is expected. They are visionaries who see the larger system than the small details. If you are a big picture person;
You can quickly see patterns in complex problems
You like to come up with new ideas and new projects
You have a low tolerance for busywork, tedious errands, and filling out forms.
You are great at outlining what needs to be done, but filling in the details can feel painfully exhausting.
You are a visionary in fact as you can see far into the future
Small picture people also referred to as details thinkers are almost the opposite of the big picture people. Whiles big picture people tend to be messy, small picture people see the details and like to keep things tidy. They are orderly and are good at running systems. What big picture people find difficult to do, this bunch will do with incredible ease. It is in their very nature to dot the Is and cross the Ts even when it seems unnecessary. If you are a small picture person then
You think about things in great detail and sometimes miss the big picture.
While you are certainly smart, others may joke that you lack common sense.
You would prefer to edit or tweak a plan than to come up with it from scratch.
Highlighting study notes doesn’t work for you, because you end up highlighting everything.
You have excellent attention to detail and you always spot the small errors that big picture people miss.


While the two may seem like opposites and may lead to conflict when working together, they work incredibly well when people understand their nature and how they complement the nature of others. One is not superior to the other although big picture people may often be the leaders because of their visionary nature. Nevertheless, they need the details to be filled in by small picture people in order for the mission to be accomplished.Small picture tidy up things and make them work. The dynamics of the two are called into play very often in entrepreneurship. Many people have not understood the fact that creating a venture is significantly different from presiding over the day-to-day detailed administration of it. And that in fact the two task may not manifest at their best in the hands of one person.

This is one of the many reasons why self-knowledge is an important component of the SPiD-UP® workshops. The many systems you are tested in reveals you in new ways and allows you to understand yourself better. So whether you are a big picture or small picture person is really not important. What is important is that you know which one you are and how to apply your strength whiles tapping into that of others. Understanding which of the two you are will have a great influence on your performance as it will point you to the strength which you must function by. Don’t forget peak performance is possible only when you are more of what you already are.

Your eight or so intelligence systems

Your eight or so intelligence systems
In this post I attempt to address the Howard Gardner multiple intelligence system developed by the Harvard professor of developmental psychology. In his 1983 book, “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligence,” Gardner distinguishes seven kinds of human intelligence: linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, and two types of personal intelligence. He proposed that people who exhibit intelligence in one domain do not necessarily exhibit it in another. Each person’s unique blend of competences produces an individual cognitive profile. This means that one may have a variety of levels on the testing matrix and this can be used to determine which field they can naturally excel in. It is a simple understanding of where you are strongest so you can put your best foot forward.


In my work as a performance coach, I have encountered many an individual who really have no idea where their strengths lie. Some are partially aware but are not sure if its worth following. This is matter that needs more attention than is often given. In the self-knowledge section of this blog, we treat other test systems that help to identify strengths to help guide you to a good choice. If one’s life enterprise is the only thing they live for then what they use to undertake this enterprise must be handled with utmost care.
I must warn however that whiles articles like this might provide a good idea of the system, it is not a good enough substitute for reading the work of its creator and Wikipedia is a good starting point. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Gardner
You must however find the book itself and read it. For those who attend our workshops however, you will receive a guidance on how to use the testing system and receive analysis and recommendations by experts. So it is prudent to attend the next SPiD-UP workshop. But if you do read the book or attend the workshop, here is a taste of what you might learn:
# 1 Musical–rhythmic and harmonic
While we all love music not all of us have the gift to create or perform it. In fact, some friends of mine are completely tone deaf. They can’t sing one song right- they just don’t have it. This area of intelligence has to do with sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones, and music in general. Such people are able to sing, play musical instruments, and compose music. They generally excel in music and related fields.
# 2 Visual–spatial
This area deals with spatial judgment and the ability to visualize with the mind’s eye. People who are visual-spatial learners excel in the arts and sciences. They are also leaders and strategic planners who are intuitive and have the ability to see the big picture.
# 3 Verbal–linguistic
People with high verbal-linguistic intelligence display a facility with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words along with dates. They excel is careers related to words, speaking etc as they have a natural flair for it
# 4 Logical–mathematical: This area has to do with logic, abstractions, reasoning, numbers and critical thinking. This also has to do with having the capacity to understand the underlying principles of some kind of causal system. People with this kind of intelligence excel in math and related fields. They are good at strategy games, have a mind “like a computer”, enjoy science experiments, organizing things by category, Abstract thinking, looks for a rational explanations, Wonder how things work. I think I might know somebody who is heavy in this area of intelligence except the math part. They make good Scientist, Mathematician, Lawyer, Doctor, Accountant, Bookkeeper, Computer Programmer, Researcher, Financial Planner etc.

# 5 Bodily–kinesthetic
The core elements of the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are control of one’s bodily motions and the capacity to handle objects skillfully. Gardner elaborates to say that this also includes a sense of timing, a clear sense of the goal of a physical action, along with the ability to train responses. People with high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence excels in athleticsdancing,  acting. They also make good builderspolice officers, and soldiers etc.
# 6 Interpersonal
This type of intelligence is characterized by a high presence of Social skills. This area has to do with interaction with others. In theory, individuals who have high interpersonal intelligence are characterized by their sensitivity to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations, and their ability to cooperate in order to work as part of a group. They make good sales persons, politicians, managers, teachers, counselors and social workers.
# 7 Intrapersonal
This area has to do with introspective and self-reflective capacities. This refers to having a deep understanding of the self; what one’s strengths/ weaknesses are, what makes one unique, being able to predict one’s own reactions/emotions. Having this kind of intelligence as it helps one to have a deep understanding of themselves.
# 8 Naturalistic
This area has to do with nurturing and relating information to one’s natural surroundings. Examples include classifying natural forms such as animal and plant species and rocks and mountain types. This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef. This sort of ecological receptiveness is deeply rooted in a “sensitive, ethical, and holistic understanding” of the world and its complexities–including the role of humanity within the greater ecosphere.
Of recent times there has been discussions concerning what some refer to as spiritual intelligence. Whiles Howard Gardner himself has not committed to the idea, he has proposed an existential intelligence as a more acceptable construct. Personally, I subscribe to the idea of spiritual intelligence idea. In the the x-Gen component of the SPiD-UP® workshops we treat spiritual awareness as a full topic as we are aware of how much influence it can have on a person’s output. In Christianity it is thought to take the post of the most important intelligence system available to man.

Man; know thyself

Self-knowledge plays a key role in performance. We have seen from the work of theorist like Maslow that high performance comes from being more of what one already is.

“Self-actualization is the intrinsic growth of what is already in the organism, or more accurately, of what the organism is”. (Psychological Review, 1949)
“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.” (Motivation and Personality, 1954.)

When there is a lack of self-knowledge, one is likely to engage from a weak position. Many other theorists agree to this idea. Man from time immemorial has continuously made many attempts at categorizing people in the hope of explaining their capabilities. Every culture, religion and worldview recognizes that no two people are the same and as such have made attempts at identifying the strengths in people in order to ascertain which aspect of life they are meant to function in. For the individuals this knowledge can have a rather profound influence on the power of their engagement. For we are or have all been faced at some point with the question of what we must do with our lives.



Whiles this may not be such a difficult question to answer on the surface, it becomes more complex when we are looking for the vehicle that will allow us to not only engage but also be the best that is possible for us to be. This of course must determine the occupation and when we get it right, all things work out for the best; then we are on a roller-coaster ride to peak performance. We have seen of course that a quality output in our daily engagement must result in a high output in our larger lives. But the knowledge of what we are made of gives us more than an idea of what we must do or be. It is also a primary source of confidence and the highly valuable self-esteem. It engenders self-belief and we must remember that high performers start with a belief in their ability and its correlation with the task at hand. Those who have self-knowledge therefore have extremely valuable information that sets the foundation for peak performance.
Self-knowledge was so important to Plato, he is said to have made famous the expression, “know thyself”. He had it inscribed at the very entrance of his academy and ensured that all neophytes resolved the matter before learning anything else. He developed his own categorization system for people; a topic which I shall address as part of the self-knowledge section of this blog. Hopefully I shall find a way to remove all the seeds of eugenics therein.
For the forgone reasons, self-knowledge is an important part of the SPiD-UP® workshops. We use various test systems to help participants identify their strengths and weaknesses and help them align them correctly for optimum output. It is after this that they can move on to the career component of the project.

The inconsistency of inconsistence |REV-UP®

Consistency ensures that you are powering at full capacity. Every cycle adds to the power being generated by your activities. Whiles one cycle may not seem like much compared to the power you are looking for, it is the fundamental building block needed to reach your full capacity. When one cycle is missed therefore, you are one cycle short – that’s not your full power.

Take the engine of a car for the example. The pistons move up and down in the cylinders in order to generate the power the vehicle needs to move. The more cycles completed the more power generated. When one cycle is missed, the vehicles power is reduced. The more cycles missed the less power the vehicle will generate. Eventually the vehicle will stop and not reach the intended destination.

Your life is not that different. The cycles of your life are the crucial blocks that make up your entire life. Seconds becomes years through cycles. When a minute is one seconds short, it is not a minute. You may not consider some cycles very important yet they have a say in your final output. At work you are expected to come to work every day and spend an agreed number of hours doing something in particular.  Your work adds to the overall output of your team and organization. A single day or hour missed will affect the performance of the organization but not before it has taken away from your own performance- You are one cycle short.

Every single cycle no matter how small is important. They are the micro components of the macro life that you live and if you are to maximize your life, you must first maximize the small cycles that make it up. Imagine having a computer that decides for itself when it will work and when it won’t. My guess is you will get rid of it as soon as you can- for a more reliable one. That explains why you get fired when you don’t show up for work regularly. What about spouses and colleagues.  

My favorite fried yam seller is not there half of the time. I don’t particularly like walking all the way down there just to find out she didn’t show today. That has happened one too many times so I gave up on her.  Yet she complains about not making enough money in her business. She doesn’t seem to consider it important to be consistent in her work.  One customer short can hardly be described as being her best and the number of days she didn’t fry any yams has everything to do with the poverty she complains about. A close friend of mine is contemplating dumping his girlfriend. As he put it…”Well she is never there when I need her”.

I don’t think I have said anything new here. Everyone knows what it means to be consistent and how it can be beneficial for one’s performance. But why then are many people so inconsistent even when they really want to be consistent. INTEREST and MOTIVATION and their effects on choice!  When interest and motivation are weak you find one of the waiting millions of reasons not to be there. To get the most out of yourself, you have to be there all the time. Not some of the time. You have to be at full power all the time not some of the time. One cycle short is not full power. |REV-UP®  
Some questions you can use to check your levels. Email the answers to  csd.ghana@gmail.com to join our no-obligation,  one month free performance coaching program.

When the last time you missed work was and what reason did you give?
Did your reason match the truth?
What is the real reason why you do what you do where you do it?
Do you find it hard to be consistent at anything at all in your life?
Give an example

The distinguished gentleman from Ada

Whiles it is highly possible to meet someone called Markus and maybe even a person called Markus Kennedy, you are not so likely to meet someone called Markus Kennedy Katey. It’s like trying your luck with a combination lock system. And even if you did, his Markus will not be spelled with a “K”. But if for some impossible reason I was wrong and you did find a Markus spelled with a K, it will mean that person must be German in which case, they are unlikely to have the name Katey. They will still need to come from the Aklie family and bear the name. Ok just maybe…that might be possible because he could be half German and half Ghanaian which will make it possible to have a name like that but that will mean then that he comes from Ada. But that still doesn’t make him me because I am not half German. Besides he will have to be born on the 16th day of the month of May and it will have to be a Thursday by which virtue Yaw will have to be added to his names. Now how likely is it to get all the combinations right out of the billion possibilities?




The combination that became me is much more complex than that. It is what makes me impossible to replicate unless you resort to cloning. But I am not even sure what the result of that will be. Let us go down the rabbit hole and see why I am so impossible to copy.
See… even if you had the same name as me (something I doubt very much) you will still need to come from Kasseh and Akplabanya which is where my mum and dad come from respectively. And you will have to have grown up in Accra with all the gutter-to-gutter, piloloo, stay, guava and mango raid experiences. (Lets just leave out the Julor ke police, alokoto (please do note that the word is not alikoto), and bayler chasing for now).

There is more- you will have to have six siblings from your mum and wonderful nieces (of course). You must come from a highly disorganized extended family. You must have been a Mazda RX 7 fanatic turned a BMW freak and you will have to have done countless number of reckless things in order to find yourself. You must have been crazy about the Amiga 16 and adored the early macs. You will also need to win a gold medal for Ghana in a West Africa Karate Championship after experiencing countless number of bruises that will still be with you fifteen years on. 

You are also going to need friends who sell you a pair of jeans only to come back and borrow them never to return them. You must have lived in a community where your TV doesn’t come back after its been picked for repair and be related to somebody who will borrow your very cherished Sony amplifier and never return it; leaving you with a turn table and a set of vintage reggae and hi-life vinyls that will eventually be abused and tortured when you are away for a few years by individuals who have no appreciation for the delicate contact between needle and plastic and the soothing magic that follows.
You are also going to need a countless number of siblings from your dad of which you have met only a few; making it possible for you to hit on your own sister at a family funeral. You will also need to have started countless number of businesses failing woefully at some and simply just abandoning many of them because of youthful exuberance and an unstable mind. Oh I forgot to mention the motor bike accidents especially the one at Kingsby junction that will leave you with a few scares that will itch occasionally and remind you about what it means to be riding at 120km/h in the night without safety gear for the sole purpose of showing off (something you can share with your son some 20 years down the line).

You will need Sensei Ben, you will need Big Dread, Marley, Voltaire, Kant, Plato, Rockstone, Twinkle brothers, Yeshuah Ben Yosef a Mashiak, Garvey, Ghandi, Madeba, Adler, Dennis Brown, Frankl, Apostle Paul, Nkrumah, William James, Chesterton… I can’t give you the full list here. You are going have to do a lot of 360 degrees in order to arrive where you should have been a long time ago.
You are going to have to lose the love of your life and she will have to come from Winneba and you will need to spend the rest of your life looking for a replacement hoping to do all the things you didn’t do and undo all the things you shouldn’t have done. And when she marries a doctor, you will need to find a reason to run away from the wedding before the reception starts. And on the way, still carrying the present that was meant for her in your hand, you will have to wonder why you didn’t go to medical school. Eventually you will arrive at a “happy yourself” conclusion because you think of yourself as one who has mastered the tools of emotional intelligence.

You will have to have broken a few hearts and have your broken a few times in return. You are going to need to be betrayed by best friends of many years and an engaged wife in order to wake you up to some of the harsh realities of being Ghanaian. You are going to need integrity beyond reason and you ought to have built several things I don’t want to mention here and loose them in a self-sabotage manner.
You are going to need to be used, refused and abused. You are going to need a gift that will haunt you… giving you sleepless nights for some thirty years until you finally figure out what to do with it. You are going to need to be a peak performance advocate in a country where nobody gives a toss.

Now when you have done all that, come back and I will give you another set of combinations you need to get right and I have a whole library of them. In the end you are going to need to decide if it is all worth it and since it will take you a whole life time to figure it out, you are going to have to decide what you will do with the “you” that is waiting with its own set of combinations that others will have to spend a whole life time trying to replicate.
And I should mention; that I have not stopped creating new combinations yet so there is still a lot of work to be done for the library.  


There is nothing else like you. It is just impossible. The look alike is a look alike, not the real thing. That Charlie Chaplin took part in a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest and came second is an unpardonable fallacy. To distinguish yourself is therefore a very simple matter. Don’t try to. Just “being” is easy, painless effective, and powerful. The masters say you are at your best when you are you. There are those who set off on a journey to distinguish themselves. In the personal development business this is the mantra of many a motivational speaker. You have to work hard to stand out. You must distinguish yourself by doing this and that.


Those who work hard at distinguishing themselves soon find that they are trying to do something or perhaps trying to be something; moving away from what they really are when they already are something of great value. The more they try the more value they lose. Your real substance is what you already are because it is an incredibly unique product. It is being more and more of what you are that is the key. When you finally go on sale, you will have a target audience and there will be absolutely no competitor whatsoever. That’s because there can be only one you: good bad and ugly. Distinguished beyond distinguish.
I am the distinguished Gentleman from Ada. Who are you?

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