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Opportunities & Insights from Across Our Community

Hi everyone, here’s what we have for you this week:

  • If you had to hire a team today to pursue a new opportunity, do you already have a dream team in mind? That’s the mindset Maurice Otieno has used during his networking over the years, which recently paid off when he launched the Baraza Media Lab in Kenya and needed bold creative leaders to come on board with him.

  • Individuals who experience a rapid rise in responsibilities early in their careers can easily find themselves slowing down. Délice Fatiro from Rwanda-based Resonate reflects on how she quickly rose from an intern to a program manager in 3 years and now continues to intentionally find ways to grow to avoid stagnation.

  • Most employees aren’t engaging in well-being benefits, according to new recent research. The Harvard Business Review shares three strategies on how to boost participation rates at companies.

Read on for more details…

Building a dream team, applying sports lessons to the professional world, and the power of networking and community design

Here are a few highlights from the conversation with Maurice from Kenya:

  • Channel your experience in sports to your work teams: Maurice learned many leadership lessons early on when he served as a captain of his university rugby team. Despite being one of the smallest team members, he was able to communicate well with his larger and more experienced team members and play a crucial coordination role. He also found himself practicing the art of compromise, strategy, empathy, and managing a diverse set of abilities.

  • Networking is a powerful tool to make yourself useful as a young leader: Early in his career, Maurice found himself managing a business school program and a startup community, both during which he felt pressure to prove himself to team members and community members. He credits his proactive use of seeking out resources and individuals to demonstrate his value.

  • Even in a community-driven setting, a leader must recognize when an important top-down decision needs to be made: While at the Metta Nairobi community, Maurice pushed forward a decision to do away with a particular membership strategy that was proving to not be financially sustainable. The community understood and got behind the decision based on its merits.

  • Continually develop a dream team in your mind of the top talent you come across in your networking: This strategy has helped Maurice move faster in recruiting and hiring thought leaders for his various initiatives. In this way, he now has a “team of lions” that he is able to empower to push forward a set of ambitious visions. 

Listen here

The journey from intern to manager, knowing when to hand over responsibilities to your team, and avoiding career growth stagnation

Here are a few highlights from the conversation with Délice from Rwanda:

  • Don’t see yourself as “just an intern”: During university, Délice studied business management with a concentration in logistics, which was the focus of her internship at Resonate. But she also took the liberty to explore and get involved in a number of different aspects of the organization outside of logistics. In fact, even when her internship role was only meant to be a 3-days/week commitment, she found herself wanting to show up each day to learn and contribute further. By the time her internship was coming to a close, the team realized that if she left, there would be a big gap to fill. She credits “showing up fully” and not seeing herself as “just an intern” for securing a full-time role at the end of the internship. Then, within 3 years of joining as an intern, was promoted twice, most recently to Programs Manager.

  • Know when to pull back from your hands-on operational role: Délice initially found it difficult to reduce the amount of training she was doing on her own, but eventually realized that she would have a bigger impact supporting the other trainers and found ways to develop trust in their abilities. She now approaches her work with a mindset of how is she going to help her team do it, rather than do it herself.

  • Be aware of the risk of stagnation after initial spurts of professional growth: Often individuals who experience a rapid rise in responsibilities early in their career find themselves slowing down. To make sure she doesn’t get too comfortable in the scope of her current role and achieve her longer terms goals, Délice has begun to more intentionally pass on more of her responsibilities to her team.

Listen here

3 Strategies to Boost Participation in Well-Being Programs

Recent 2021 research from Gartner indicates that while 87% of staff are given access to well-being programs and benefits, only 23% actually use them. In a Harvard Business Review article by Carolina Valencia, three key strategies are described to increase staff participation:

  1. Increase employee understanding of well-being needs and offerings.

  2. Reduce well-being stigma and apathy.

  3. Reduce the time and effort needed to participate in well-being programs.

Read HBR Article