Companies and organisations lose grip of their core focus not due to lack of knowledge, but due to poor knowledge management. Most of these organisations do not realise their mistakes until it is too late, and they are irredeemable.
Phowad Solutions, a leading management consultancy firm, which mainly deals with knowledge management has realised the need for proper knowledge use and management and is organising a conference on the same in October.
Its CEO, Mr Moses Wadeguh was instrumental in implementing knowledge management at Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC), Communications Authority (CA), Kenya Electricity Development Company (KenGen) and Kenya Film Classification Board. He has trained on Knowledge Management to several organisations including Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC), Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa), Kenya Institute of Research and Development (KIRDI) and ICDC.
Business Today’s Francis Muli speaks to Mr Wadeguh about knowledge management and the conference, and this is what he has to say:
Q: What exactly is knowledge management in the context of a corporate organisation and why is it important?
A: Knowledge management defined in simple terms in the context of an organisation is about getting the right intelligence, to the right people, at the right time, to make the right decision. When explaining how important knowledge management is to organisations, I always use metaphoric representation of an organisation as an organism that is presented with various decisions or choices every day to ensure survival.
In order to survive, just like organism, organisations need to understand their environment and have the right knowledge to make choices that will ensure adaptation or success. Past experiences and organisational memory should enable you make appropriate decisions today. Additionally, you should be able to anticipate the changes in your environment and make appropriate decisions to sail through the changes and stand out.
Today, organisations fail due to lack of proper management of their knowledge. They are not innovative, they lose knowledge through retirement and staff turnover, they repeat mistakes and fail to replicate successes, do not collaborate within the organisation and fail to transfer operational knowledge to staff members quickly.
Q: What are the main themes of the Knowledge conference and its expected outcomes?
A: The main theme of the knowledge management conference focuses on how organisations can get it right in knowledge management implementation and reap the benefits from knowledge management. Knowledge management holds a lot of promise to organisations but its implementation has been a problem, especially in Kenya where the practice is still at its infant stages. There are few success stories in knowledge management implementation in Kenya and with extension Africa, due to lack of understanding on best practices. The participants in the conference will get to learn on what works best, international best practices, tools to employ, success stories, expected challenges and how to overcome them. Additionally, they will interact with industry leaders and learn from them.
Q: Who are you targeting with the Knowledge Conference and why now?
A: We are targeting all the players in knowledge management starting from practitioners, experts, academicians, researchers, beneficiaries and consultants. The conference is timely as organisations are struggling with better service delivery through innovation, employee retention and loss of organizational memory through retirement and competition. Organisations, both public and private, are also failing due to lack of proper utilisation of their knowledge assets.
There are several cases in the country of failed organisations and businesses due to lack of effective knowledge management framework including Nakumatt, Kenya Airways, Banks, Telecommunications firms, even international firms like Nokia, the list is long. Every single business failure in Kenya and the world at large is linked to knowledge management.
Kenyan government has introduced knowledge management in public organisations because of the inevitable loss on knowledge management to retirement. Kenya’s public service has an aging population who are just about to leave the service. The problem is when they leave, they’ll be leaving with their knowledge.
Q: Would you say Kenyan companies are excelling at Knowledge Management? If not, what are they (not) doing?
A: Kenyan organisations are not excelling in knowledge management. In fact during our five year interactions with organisations in Kenya about knowledge management, very few organisations have been successful in implementing or introducing knowledge management in their organizations. I can attribute this to lack of even the very basic understanding on what knowledge is, the value it has for the organization and how it is linked to the overall strategy of the organisation. At Phowad Solution, we have however worked with a number of organisations and guided them through the process. They are now reaping from knowledge management. They are now innovative, agile and are gaining competitive edge. Service delivery is improving each day and their customers are happy.
Q: How is the concept of knowledge management changing with the current globalized economy powered by real-time tools like social media?
A: Knowledge that organisations require for decision making is majorly tacit/managerial knowledge. The problem with this kind of knowledge is that it is not easily codified. In fact critical knowledge for any organisation is tacit knowledge which cannot be codified at all. This is where we start looking at collaborations and social relations. We are looking at creating environments where people can interact collaborate and share tacit knowledge. The answer to this is collaboration tools. Knowledge bases are social interaction environments/tools.
At Phowad Solution, one of our automatic strategy for knowledge sharing is a social platform where employees a can collaborate and interact. Social media therefore is an important component of knowledge management. Social media defines levels of interactions and collaborations. We are looking at faster and more comfortable ways of sharing knowledge as social media continues to shape globalized economy
Q: What are the cardinal rules for a company to excel in knowledge management?
A: There are basic requirements for knowledge management success in an organisation. First and foremost you need to get it right – an organisation need to have a clear vision and objective, liked to the overall strategy of the organisation that knowledge management needs to achieve.
Without a clear vision and objectives any knowledge management framework is bound to fail. Other important enablers include support of the leaders in the organisation (management support/commitment), organisational culture, knowledge assets, best practices, budget allocation, infrastructure and collaboration.
Sam Shollei’s surprise career move
Former Standard Group CEO Sam Shollei has joined Keroche Breweries as managing director.
Shollei left the Mombasa Road-based media house two months ago after allegedly falling out with Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, who represents the interests of the Moi family, the company’s main shareholder.
However, during a recent farewell party, he denied the reports, saying he left at his own volition.
Speaking to Business Today, Shollei confirmed he has joined Keroche Breweries as a director. Before joining Standard Group, Mr Shollei was the Director-Group Business Development at Nation Media Group.
Mr Shollei also served as the managing director of Tanzania’s Mwananchi Communications, an NMG subsidiary.
He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nairobi and an MBA from the University of Nairobi.
Keroche Breweries is a family-owned company co-owned by James Karanja and his wife, Mrs Tabitha Karanja, who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer.
The Sholleis are close family friends of the Karanjas and attend most of each other’s social functions. Mrs Karanja appears to have tapped his skills to actualise her aspirations to launch operations across the continent.
He will be the second media CEO to be tapped by Keroche Breweries after Paul Wanyagah, who was in 2014 appointed managing director as the company readied to embark on regional operations.
Wanyagah, formerly the CEO of Mediamax Network Ltd and Standard Group and before then a senior manager at EABL, however, left soon after in unclear circumstances. He is now the CEO of Kenya Markets Trust.
In a previous interview, Mrs Karanja, who co-owns Keroche Breweries with her husband, James Karanja, said she was targeting to fully increase its market share in Kenya to 30% and 20% in the spirit and beer markets respectively before exploring the East African market and finally going African.
“My dream is to see Keroche grow to the whole of Africa,” she said.
The home grown brewer has over the years defied competition from industry giant, East African Breweries, and multinationals, high taxation and State interference to turn into a multi-billion venture.
In 2015, the company received a loan of Ksh 5 billion to expand production levels of its signature Summit beer from Barclays Bank from 10 million litres per year to 110 million litres.
In 2010, Mrs Karanja was honoured by former President Mwai Kibaki with a Moran of Burning Spear (MBS) for contribution to liberalizing the liquor market in Kenya.
Gina Din Kariuki opens up on her struggles
Public Relations pioneer opens up on he struggles to success and the lessons she has learnt as a female entrepreneur
Gina-Din Kariuki is widely admired for her resilience in shaping African conversations, and a brand evangelist with over 30 years experience in the Public Relations and Communications. She talked to to Abel Muhatia of Biznews on how she grew the most reputable PR company in the region and her current challenges in the business world.
The Gina Din Group was started in 1997 – and celebrates 20 years this year! When it started, Gina Din was one of the only standalone PR companies in Kenya. Over the years a lot has happened, she says, some good, some hard lessons. “It’s been quite a journey,” says Gina Din. “It’s been a wonderful 20 years of shaping African conversations.”
1. What’s your take on the PR industry?
Everyone sees PR people as people who “spin” stories.. I don’t spin, I evangelise particularly for brands I represent and especially when it comes to the incredible success stories we have on this continent. It is up to us, Africans to change the narrative where we only see famine, conflict, corruption and struggle. Of course I am a realist, and leadership and governance as a whole in Africa still poses challenges. However there are amazing success stories of people that have broken glass ceiling and overcome incredible challenges. I want to tell those stories. Over time, I have become more and more select on what work I do.
2. How did you decide that this is the path I want to follow in my life?
To be honest, I somewhat threw caution to the wind when I started my business. It wasn’t as if I had a plan of any sort but I realised that I wanted to do work that I was deeply passionate about. I wanted to create something that was bigger than me. There comes a point where one must stand alone. Sometimes familiarity and comfort need to be challenged. That’s when you really experience life – when you step into the unknown. Every day is different and every day I do work that fulfills me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Gina Din-Kariuki is a mentor, respected businesswoman, philanthropist and the Founder and Executive Chair of the Gina Din Group. With over 30 years of management service and experience providing state of the art media and communication strategy to corporates, governments and NGOs both in Africa and abroad, Gina has built a reputation as a leading authority in the communications field in Africa and has been named one of Africa’s 100 Most Influential People by New African magazine.
In the last few years I have increased my commitment to philanthropy. I am the Goodwill Ambassador to the Kenya Red Cross and to UNFPA as well as having my Gina Din Foundation. For me philanthropy is a lot more than simply writing a cheque. Of course providing resources is important but giving time, expertise and using my extensive global network is just as important. My foundation is fully self-funded right now, and it’s incredible the impact you can make to people’s lives by investing even a little bit in them. My involvement with UNFPA is what motivated to give back based on my personal experience of having a child that was premature and a lot of my foundation work is based on the realisation that giving to women is a powerful way to effect large-scale change in society.
3. How do you manage to keep your business relevant having in mind that technology disruption is fast rising in this generation?
We aim to stay at the top of our game in our industry, which means embracing technology and new trends, but we also do it by coming up with innovative ideas and executing them with excellence. We always want to add value. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, people want to feel they are receiving a service that is of value and high quality – that will always be relevant to the end user.
I have had to reinvent myself a number of times in my career because things change, your clients’ needs change and I believe you remake yourself as you grow and as the world changes.
Philanthropy is a lot more than simply writing a cheque. Of course providing resources is important but giving time, expertise and using my extensive global network is just as important. Your identity doesn’t get found. It emerges.
4. How much did you need to start your business, and overcome the initial financial challenges?
I did not have capital when starting my business. I was fortunate to have a three year retainer agreement from my former employer Barclays Bank as my first client which helped me start. What I did have was faith and an inner belief in myself. When you have a new idea, you will find hundreds of people who will tell you why it cannot be done. And I had plenty of those. Do not give power to invalidating people. Believe in yourself – and believe in your idea. The learning process is to feel in your gut that you are right and that every obstacle is an opportunity.
5. How do you manage to balance between family and business?
When I was younger, I looked at my own mother — at her passionate devotion to husband, children, home and extended family — and I thought I could improve on that! I would go out into the world– out where the important things were happening. It took me – as I think it took millions of other women, as well – a few decades to see how very wrong I was. I ultimately realised that my mother’s very traditional role was far from meaningless. I now see that is a woman’s God-given role to tend to the home and take care of the children: it’s just that the entire planet is our home and every child on it is one of our children. Hell yes, women need to be out in the world if that’s where we feel led to be, but not at the expense of our spiritual mission. Rather, we’re in the world to fulfill that mission, by proclaiming that the world is our home and that we’re responsible for all of our children.
I am responsible for my family and my business, and I give my time to both. I am lucky that my work takes me to different parts of the world and that I am fortunate enough to be able to take my family with me when I can. My two children Natalya and Naythan are both in the UK. Natalya is pursuing a PHD in English Literature at Oxford University while Naythan is pursuing a BA in Football business Management at Southampton University. I try and see them as much as I can. Family is very important to me, and so is my business, so I make it a priority to give my time to both. You have to make the decision that you’re going to do it.
When you have a new idea, you will find hundreds of people who will tell you why it cannot be done. And I had plenty of those. Do not give power to invalidating people. Believe in yourself – and believe in your idea.
6. What kind of challenges do you face in your day to day work and how do you manage to overcome them?
I often meet young people who believe the PR and communications business is cool, glamorous and endless cocktail parties and travel. I must admit, I am living my dream. I love what I do but the first steps toward any dream are slow, unsexy, and inconvenient. I have handled most of corporate Kenya and it is well known that I handled Safaricom from when they started for 12 continuous years and I am absolutely delighted every time I see the name. Its success makes me so proud. I consider it a huge part of my life. But it was hard work. For a long time I would be on the phone to Michael Joseph at 6.30 am most days by which time I would have had to have read and analysed the media for the day and have a strategy for the way forward if need be.
Life has taught me that to overcome challenges you need to develop a thick skin and build an inner strength. You have to take failure and success in equal measure. Failure is bound to happen, it doesn’t matter how many accolades you have won or how successful your business is. The key is to fail forward; evaluate what went wrong, learn from your mistakes and keep going. I used to be really afraid of being outside my comfortable zone but the more experience I get the more comfortable I am being uncomfortable and that’s where most of my growth as a person happens.
7. The topic on girl child and women empowerment has been around for a long time now, do you think women have been empowered enough?
To be empowered is to have control and confidence. It’s something we should strive for, for all our children, it’s something that we need to work towards if we want to build a sustainable and equal society. There are, however, issues that are unique to women. Women still do not have the same opportunities as men when it comes to access to education, health and more.
Societal norms dictate that women should stay in the home and do a disproportionate amount of household work despite the fact that she may have ambitions that go beyond that.
And when they do enter the workforce, women are not paid as much as men for doing the same type of work. A UN report actually found that this type of disparity is costing Africa more than $100 billion every year. The question then is how can we close the gender gap, while also supporting the boy child? It will take deliberate policy and action from our leaders, but we should also expect the same type of action from each other.
8. Are you content with the ratio of women entrepreneurs in Kenya to that of men? If not, why?
Kenya – and Africa – has many women entrepreneurs in the informal sector running businesses to support their families and in many cases, their extended families and friends. These are the women who reinvest their earnings back into their communities. It’s very inspiring to see what they do. They are building our future on their backs without any formal recognition.
In the corporate sector, the number of women entrepreneurs is growing steadily but we are still outnumbered by men. And I don’t believe it’s because there aren’t women out there who want to branch into entrepreneurship and have the ability to succeed..We need to find ways to support these women more.
I love what I do but the first steps towards any dream are slow, unsexy, and inconvenient. Life has taught me that in order to overcome challenges you need to develop a thick skin and build an inner strength. You have to take failure and success in equal measure.
9. How can this ratio be improved for the sake of growing a sustainable economy and create employment?
Women need the opportunities and the tools to allow them to become the leaders and entrepreneurs that they were meant to be. It starts at the beginning with education. Women are still less likely to get an education in Africa compared to their male counterparts, which hinders their ability to go on and start and run successful businesses. Women have less access to land and credit, which is an important factor when one decides to start a company.
Women also need to look inwards to know that they have the confidence and the ability to take calculated risks and pursue their aspirations.
10. Do you think the Kenyan culture favors men more than women in the context of ownership of businesses and leadership? Should this be a worry for women empowerment?
I am saddened when I hear well-educated, successful women refer to their “choice” to spend more time with kids rather than stay on a high-powered career track. They should never have to make that choice in the first place. Instead, we need to reconstruct the very nature of those top jobs if we want to include the unique perspectives of women at the table and take advantage of an enormous talent pool.
We have made great strides when it comes to women in senior positions in private and public sectors but it’s not enough. It’s a tall order to push back against the work patterns of a highly achieving economy, and I’m not unrealistic; I know the drill from my many years working in the corporate world with two young children. But until we acknowledge honestly that the relentless demands on professional leaders discourage smart and talented women, we will fail to move the numbers significantly for women at the top. So everyone loses.
Ironically the shift can only happen by men leaning in, since they are the ones who now hold the levers of power. In Africa where we used to speak of – it takes a village to raise a child and where we no longer have villages around us, that conversation must begin in earnest.
11. What advice would you give fellow women who look up to you and would love to venture into the entrepreneurship space?
To be honest, it took me a few years to become an entrepreneur. There’s a lot of confusion on entrepreneurship because not everyone that is self-employed is an entrepreneur. Being self-employed is definitely more secure because you tend to depend mainly on yourself and your skills that you are selling. After a few years of being self-employed I began to venture in areas that required a lot more risk such as real estate development and oil exploration. Entrepreneurs have a mind-set that allows them to see opportunity everywhere.
But until we acknowledge honestly that the relentless demands on professional leaders discourage smart and talented women, we will fail to move the numbers significantly for women at the top. So everyone loses.
It could be a business idea, but it could also be seeing the possibilities in the people that can help them grow that business. Entrepreneurship is all about embracing challenges. When you’re building something from the ground up, you need to understand what your talents are and how you’re going to use them to create a business. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle; being an entrepreneur is ingrained in one’s identity. It’s the culmination of a certain set of characteristics: determination, creativity, the capacity to risk, leadership and enthusiasm.
Being a successful entrepreneur requires a great deal of resourcefulness, because as an entrepreneur, you often run into road blocks, and I have run into several of those. You need to be able to bounce back from losses if you want to be successful. Know that you will experience disappointment, but you will also experience success.
12. What are the top three lessons you would give to up and coming entrepreneurs?
Be prepared to work hard and take a lot of risks. The work you will do will not always be easy or glamorous. Be patient and tenacious. It may take a long time before you get to where you want to be, but if you learn to love the journey it will be worth it.
If you draw up a plan for your life, make sure you draw it in pencil. I never ever thought my life would have taken me on this incredible journey I am on, it’s required a lot of risk, flexibility and faith and taken me to places I never thought I would visit and meet people from across the world that have greatly inspired me. Do it because you love it. I truly believe that’s when magic happens. (This article first appeared on BizNews)
Tuskys and Nakumatt reach management deal
Nakumatt and Tuskys shares will be owned by a holding company to be formed as part of the merger deal between the two retailers.
The two, which control the retail business in the country, are currently reviewing the structure of the two businesses to facilitate the merger process, The Standard reported today, quoting an inside source. “The new company will own all the shares of the two entities. It is still too early to know who will own what stake in the new entity, whose name has also not yet been agreed on,” the source told Standard.
Though details of the deal remain scanty given the secrecy that has characterised the family businesses, it is also understood that the two firms will leave a number of shares to be sold to a private investor at a later date.
“In the end, there will be a company whose shares will be owned by the two entities after it is determined what share each would own. This will allow the two firms to continue operating as separate entities,” said the source who is not authorised to comment on the negotiations.
He said the two families have engaged transaction advisers who are working on the deal before it is presented to the Competition Authority. Negotiations are also ongoing about the fate of the two retailers’ staff after the merger.
The retail chains issued the first joint statement last week confirming the merger talks but pointed out that the process was complex and would require some time to complete.
Cash flow crisis The merger is expected to offer Nakumatt Supermarkets a lifeline in dealing with a painful cash flow crisis and bringing back stock to its empty shelves. The deal is being described as a ‘homegrown solution’ to the retail chain’s troubles.
The entities last week formed a caretaker management team that comprises executives drawn from the two firms. Audit firm KPMG is providing transaction advisory services for the merger. In exchange, Tuskys, which still enjoys some supplier goodwill, will offer Nakumatt access to stock from its retail value chain.
The retailer’s current position is a far cry from its former stature when its ‘You Need It, We’ve Got It’ tagline promised shoppers a vast variety of goods. It had 66 branches in the region before it began closing them, weighed down by piling supplier debt and unpaid rent. According to a recent report released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Nakumatt led in debts to suppliers, owing Sh278.9 million by December last year.
Angela Ndambuki takes over as KNCCI chief executive
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) has appointed Ms. Angela Ndambuki as the new Chief Executive Officer.
Ms Angela, who took over Monday, succeeds George Kiondo who has been the Acting CEO for the last 8 months.
In a press statement, KNCCI chairman Kiprono Kittony said that after a rigorous search, the Board concluded that Ms Ndambuki’s leadership and considerable experience in strategic leadership, advocacy brings a wealth of business knowledge and management experience.
Ndambuki, a former singer with Tatuu band, previously worked with the Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) as the CEO and demonstrated throughout her career the ability to work successfully in different environments, designing and leading strategies which resulted in impressive value creation.
“I look forward to working with her to create the next chapter of the KNCCI’s story of success. I also thank Mr Kiondo for his exemplary leadership of KNCCI over the last eight months,” Kittony said.
He noted that Kiondo has ensured that the organization has continued to move forward both strategically and operationally, and has delivered results having taken on additional responsibility at a critical time for the Company.
Kiondo, the former Acting CEO, said: “I welcome Ms. Ndambuki to her new role and wish her every success. I should like to thank all my colleagues for their support during the past 8 months. I will continue to offer my support and ensure that the Company continues to drive forward.”
Ndambuki, on the other hand, said she was excited to take over as the new CEO especially at this time when the country is experiencing great and favorable attention as the most preferred investment destination in Africa from leading global investment agencies.
“My role will focus on enhancing this image and grow the international investors’ portfolio. With the same energy we shall focus on key advocacy issues affecting the business community to ensure a favorable business climate for Kenyan companies and facilitate ease of doing business,” she said.
She promised to grow the KNCCI membership in partnership with all the 47 county chapters to include all corporates and SMEs countrywide.
Ms Ndambuki is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya. She holds a Master of Laws Degree (LLM) in Intellectual Property Law from the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom and a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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