Name: Mulima Chibuye
Oranisation: Lumina Technologies Limited
Highly experienced tech professional with a strong background in telecommunications, data network design, and fintech. Proven track record in leading large-scale projects, implementing innovative solutions, and driving technological advancements. Entrepreneurial mindset with a focus on customer needs and business growth.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Mulima's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Having a vision of where I see things and finding the right people that resonate with that vision has been a challenging thing for me. Further, I always believe that one's goals in life must be meaningful and transcend basic wants, we must contribute to humanity in a meaningful way and draw fulfillment from that. That is how I believe organizations survive the longest. However, I see that today, it is quite difficult to find like-minded individuals.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I became a leader by doing the things that most people would shy away from, by volunteering as early as my 9th grade to perform tasks that I felt were honorable. There was no pay in the 9th grade :-). In senior high school , I joined causes that contributed towards the pride of the school, granted that sporting activites and the like form such causes, my angle was to look at things from a collective persepective, from an intellectual persepctive, clubs such as social clubs, debate were what I was drawn to and I believe that being the first born from my parents might have had an influence as to how I received life in general. I always felt the need to take initiative, to make others feel like champions, to lead. This naturally led me to take such steps in corporate society, I rose to leadership roles in every organization I ever worked in because I was outspoken, I volunteered for tasks over and above what I was paid for and I drew pride in seeing others succeed with or without my assistance. I believe in collective wins and that naturally led me to wanting to build my own organization and seek out a team that I could work with to build a collective goal and to work toward that.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I get up at 5 AM each day and have some quite time to myself for 20 minutes or so. Do a couple of push ups and some cardio work. I then go over what I have planned for the day and carefully draw out what I should do, prioritizing the most important things first. I spend about an hour with the kids each morning as I drop them off to school. I usually skip breakfast and lunch but prefer brunch. In the morning I look at my email and respond to those that I can, I schedule my meetings between 10AM and 1PM and reserve the afternoon for phone calls and following up to important issues. I also dedicate the afternoon to my personal reading, writing and advancing my skills. My days ends at about 6PM and I'll be home by 7:30PM, the long drive is usually accompanied by me listening to audio books or some interesting podcasts. I go over homework with the kids till about 9PM and once they are off to bed, I find something to read and once in a while, there is some cool new series I'd watch until 11PM or 12AM when I fall asleep.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
I have learned that sometimes, it might be necessary to pivot if something isn't working, I have leant to leave emotions out of the machine called entrepreneurship. If a business is built on a set of rules, those rules must be followed as religiously as possible. It must be a sin to break a rule. If the venture still fails, it might be necessary to review the premise. The rules are usually built on top of the premise and the goal. With reasonable effort, if a venture still fails, it as never a right fit and it is time to rewind, regroup and relaunch a new venture.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The Almanak of Naval by Naval Ravikant is an absolute treasure. I always wondered why I felt lethargic and tired and worry most of the time. That book opened up a whole new world for me. I dove into Stoicism, really thought about the meaning of my existence and it generally made me a more positive and optimistic individual. What I leaned consolidated my beliefs in doing more and helping more people, to focus my happiness on seeing joy in others, that feeling can keep one going and a change in how I perceived things is something I can never repay.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Do honorable work lie your life depended on it, if something is possible, work towards it no matter how hard it seems, if something benefits more people than just you, that should be what you should prioritize in life.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
I had always ventured into the unknown but known for a certainty that with reasonable preparedness, nothing is impossible. I recall the time I started by recent business, I had just resinged from a management role at a top telco with a view to start a farming business, that did not end up well and I lost all my savings, savings that took me 7 years to accumulate. What never changed was my resolve to build something meaningful, despite my meagre resoruces, I soldiered on. I leveraged the conections that I had , exploited my experiences and pivoted into the telecom space. In less than 3 months after being at zero, I was slowly rising and that year, my business generated more revenue that I ever did in the previous 7 years of my career. I instantly realised the power of entrepreneurship and I have never been the same.