Friday, September 9, 2016

The MARK of Distinction… Mark Zuckerberg Example

I guess I am not alone on this, can you imagine, the 7th richest man in the world came into Nigeria and I never knew that was going to happen until he was already in the country and I started seeing pictures online, especially on Facebook. Is it that there was no noise, propaganda or some official publicity to prepare the ground for his coming? Or was it that the ‘gentle’ man didn’t see a need for all the noise and just wanted to be himself – Simple, Humble and Easy-going?

Eventually, I was able to watch on YouTube one of the meetings he had with some Nigerians. Let me quickly state here that I am very happy that these Nigerians were not the “pot-belled-agbada-wearing-attension-seeking-clueless-Nigerians”, they were “ordinary-everyday-regular-forward-looking-Nigerians”. Oh, how glad I was.

Another thing that caught the attention of so many people, especially the young ones, is the fact that #MarkZuckerberg looked so simple in his dressing – no suit, no tie, no unnecessary stress that many people in our society would have burdened themselves with. Just jeans and simple round-neck tops – 7th RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD O! (Except of course when he returned to see Mr. President. I guess some politics must have gone into bringing him back for this ‘presidential’ visit).

Now, let me get to the meet of this piece. I saw a lot of posts, pictures and even Youtube posts about his visit, and as I pondered and tried to make sense of it all, I got some ideas and I will like to share them with you. So, enjoy reading and enjoy learning – THE MARK OF DISTINCTION

Hitting that MARK in life where you become distinct or achieve distinction, I believe is one thing majority of people desire (Let us not assume everyone does – but saying ‘majority’ is safe).

And in hitting that MARK there are a number of things that one must endeavour to do, imbibe as a habit and live out on a daily basis.

These are the things I picked from #MarkZukcerberg and his visit to Nigeria.

M – Mentorship: As I watched the Youtube video of one of his meetings, Mark kept talking about his Foundation and Facebook looking for opportunities to create platforms for Tech engineers, developers and business people. They want to simply create opportunities for people to help create the future. 

One of the banes of Nigeria’s development is the lack of leadership, which is an aspect of mentorship. People in our environment find it difficult to pass on what they learnt on their way up to achieving success in life to those coming behind them. That is why many businesses die after the business owners die. And I make bold to say that is why we are experiencing the many challenges we are as a nation, even in government circles. Where are the true leaders? Who is teaching the next generation the tenets of leadership? Look at the people supposedly leading us today, all a set of recycled men. 

Now, the other side of this coin is that those of us, who are growing in business and influence, need to learn from Mark Zuckerberg. Mentoring is the way we must go. There is something you know, whether by way of knowledge acquisition or experience garnered over the years that someone around you needs to know. Don’t deny that person the opportunity to learn and to grow.

A – Articulate: This refers to your ability to be able to explicitly explain; lay bare your thoughts, ideas, plans and actions in a way that your respondents can easily comprehend. Mark Zuckerberg did that well. He explained simply his plans, without any flamboyant grammatical expression to try and impress anyone he came from America. 

This is a total departure from what we are used to with most of our so called leaders. They try to impress by using unnecessarily big grammatical expressions, but what is even most annoying in the end is that they end up being incoherent. Some of them even talk like ‘na by force them take go school’ (pidgin).

We must all learn to communicate effectively in order to be able to get across to people in the simplest way possible. 

Another part of communicating in an articulate manner is listening. Mark Zuckerberg emphasized again and again that he also came to learn from Nigerians some things he could take back to California and use to improve on what Facebook is already doing. What a leader!

One of the signs of true leadership is ability to listen to your followers. What are their concerns, complaints and complications with their work and their lives? And you want to find out from them what they think you can do to assist them to overcome those challenges. That Mark Zuckerberg did very well. He didn’t just come to shove his ideas down the throats of people, but he also came to listen and to learn in order for Facebook as an organization to get better.

Dear reader let me ask you, how often do you listen to people? Do you even create the ambience where people can express their thoughts and concerns? Think about it!

R – RESPECT: As Africans, especially Nigerians, this is something we consider very important as a people. Respect, or if you like, you could say ‘regard’; we want people to respect us; our ideas, our work, our culture and everything about us.

Mark Zuckerberg, in spite of being one of the richest men, not only in America, but in the world, still had enough sense to hold us as Nigerians, in terms of our culture, in high regard. He ate pounded yam, not with cutlery, but he used his bare hand. 

You may say, “What has that got to do with business?” But don’t forget that when you are in Rome, one way to connect with them is to behave like them (When you are in Rome, you behave like the Romans). He did not come to show us his ‘Americanish-tendencies’. He was simple and down-to-earth. He answered questions posed to him in simple terms, acknowledging everyone and every question asked. He complimented people and praised them. Wow!

Dear ‘rich’ man, or rich-man-to-be, do you RESPECT people? Or do you see them as trash to be trampled upon? Food for thought!

K – KNOWLEDGE: Yea, industry knowledge. I listened to him as he oozed an abundance of industry-based knowledge of what the technological world is and the direction it is likely to go, and especially the role they at Facebook are willing to play to even further determine which direction it should go. 

Not only did he communicate as a tech-person, but he did very well as a businessman, I mean we are talking about the 7th richest man in the whole-wide-world. He definitely knew what he was talking about.

How much of the industry we play in do we know? What levels of business acumen have
we developed? In what ways are we in our own little corners seeking knowledge to improve on what we do? These are questions we must all be asking ourselves, with a view to finding answers to them. Knowledge is power, especially when it is rightly applied.

There you have it, the lessons I was able to glean from #MarkZuckerberg and his visit to Nigeria. I hope I have been able to make some sense to you and encouraged you to do more than you are currently doing?

I am your friend,

Abiodun Mabadeje (MSA), Author/Actor/Speaker/Trainer/Publisher
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twitter: @AbiodunMabadeje

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