While we were at Jifundishe in Tanzania we held 5 business seminars. The attendees were a combination of students and members of the business community from the Arusha area. We discussed a number of topics during these afternoon sessions including: Ethics, Entrepreneurship, Global Marketing, Qualities of a Good Global Manager, Presentation Skills, Review of “Theory You” as well as a comprehensive Q&A session. The sessions were enlightening to me as they opened up the Tanzanian culture and business environment.

I put forth my view that a good CEO is in essence an environmentalist. By that I mean the CEO creates the environment in which people work and a good environment allows people to realize their potential. Industries differ, companies differ and managers differ. Every work environment should not be the same, and the worst action is to attempt to copy or mimic another firm’s environment. CEO’s should be pro-active and create the type of environment in which teams and the company can thrive and excel. A superb environment can transform an organization. As W. Edwards Deming said: “Quality is made in the boardroom.”

The highlight for me was a visit to one of the businesses run by several attendees at the seminars. The business was a film production company called Kili Films, Kili a shortened version of Kilimanjaro since Mount Kilimanjaro is in the area and seen each day. As soon as I walked through the front door I felt at home. The environment was a creative environment that reminded me of ad agencies I had visited throughout the globe. The owners and managers had created a physical environment where people could feel comfortable and produce creative ideas. We spent a portion of the afternoon reviewing some of their work, from a TV show to a documentary to a music video to a long form ad. The give and take and presentation of the work reinforced the strength of their environment. It was a great physical environment as well as a great people environment. The proof was in the work and in the pride everyone took in the work.

I’ve included a photo from that afternoon at the head of this blog showing some of some of the people from Kili Films: Rogathe, Livina, Msechu, and Timothy. One of the great joys in working with agencies in so many countries around the globe was the comfort level of being in a wonderful and creative environment. I worked with agencies on every continent: Africa, Australasia, Asia, South America, Europe, and North America. I learned something of value from every visit and I was reminded of that when I visited Kili Films where I also had a terrific learning experience, proof that no one learns more than the teacher. I saw that good management is universal!

One interesting question posed to me was how to find good people. I made two points that I believe were helpful. First, when you find good people take good care of them. Second, change your Organization Chart to fit the good people, don’t try to force good people to fit the Organization Chart. I saw that principle in action at Kili Films and it was gratifying to see. People were able to perform jobs that utilized their talents, from behind the camera to in front of the camera.

If you want to see some work from Kili Films look up the video for “Mother Africa” by Warriors From The East on You Tube:” Warriors From The East Mother Afrika”. Kili Films created the concept from scratch and produced the video. Just like good managers are everywhere, and good people are everywhere so too is good creative work everywhere.

Good people and a great environment are a winning combination!

Asante sana.