Name: Paul Ochieng Okutta
Title: Managing Partner
Organisation: OKUTTA’S CONSULT
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Paul's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Everyone is a leader in their respective jurisdictions. However, being a leader is a whole different matter. You need a team that looks up to you for guidance, direction and support. You also need a business that lies on the area of your expertise for success.
Furthermore, you need to have the right self-image to navigate the complex waters that being a leader can take you through. I believe that motivation is a pillar of success in every workforce withheld. As a leader challenges can arise when you overworked yourself with the assumption that more work equals to more output, as this can lead to burn yourself out and become less efficient. Another challenge arise when balancing to keep yourself motivated too and the same time your Team as well.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I just believe in myself, and more so, the decisions that someone makes has a great impact for someone to become a leader. At my earliest age I was driven by the ability to come up with the new and innovative ideas that propelled me forward and this allowed me to stay around and focused. In the long-term, I learnt that most of the Founders & Entrepreneurs think that the growth process is a direct reflection of hard work and punting so much time and get the results you want. But contrary to this, I hereby found that their is a significant amount of creativity required in order to propel in the long-term success. It is thus not a straight line which means that what is required is not "A mere hard work" but a different approach altogether.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I start my day at exactly 5:20am in the morning and spend 10 to 15 minutes of mediation to think of what my day will bring and also remember the tasks I set for the day and note them down and then goes roughly 20 minutes of reading to set me prepared and to elevate my mind for the day, then drinks 2 glasses of water. Go ahead and take a shower and take my coffee before starting my work of the day, I don't usually take breakfast just coffee.
During the day I focus on my day to day tasks and making sure I complete my work and the set targets to achieve. I like noting and writing down the targets for the day, this is to get me prepared on what to do and to avoid going against my scope of work because I like getting things done. Most of the time I balance between my personal time to my strategic work schedule. So this is how my typical day works. In the evening when am not engaged with work I spend some quality time with the family and close people to me, and meeting with friends for catch up and engagements. I am able to manage between work and personal responsibilities and achieving my goals.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Being persistent is my recent lesson that I have learnt, as the famous quote "persistency beats talent" goes. To be persistent will help achieve your goals regardless of the circumstances as this demonstrates being committed to your objectives which is also a source of encouragement to others. Make sure you learn how to find alternative solutions to challenges so as to be able to move forward.
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?
"GO PUT STRENGTHS TO WORK" by Marcus Buckingham. First is breaking all the rules and discover your strengths. He also wrote 6 powerful steps to achieve outstanding performance. Marcus Buckingham in this book proposes that our strengths are those things that gives us energy and make us even stronger, and things that drain our energies and makes us weak are our weaknesses. We are able to differentiate through the two and through that lens, we can look past our learned skills to our authentic talents.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
In the journey of Entrepreneurship and building a Business to a pinnacle point of success, what is important than anything else is the ability to persevere even when things go wrong. My journey has taught me to learn to be alright with ambiguity. You won't have all the answers. You won't always know where to move next. You will have your wins, and you will have your losses. But through it all, you can't loose your sense of confidence. You have to always believe in yourself, and your ability to see things through to the end.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Meaningful story in my journey is about Networking and building Meaningful relationships going forward. I see networking as a critical tool for success. Building and maintaining a strong network can significantly impact your career and business, leading to personal & professional growth.
Networking is not about making connections, it is a cultivating meaningful relationships and creating opportunities. Consequently, networking will provide access to valuable knowledge, insights industry trends and helping you stay ahead of the curve, in which can lead to collaborations and partnerships. This has helped me to surround myself with the support system that can provide guidance. Building your network and strong team is a game changer for everyone in their respective areas.