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George Nuthu: To increase your employability, keep learning

Friday December 14 2018

For two decades now, George Nuthu has trained, coached and mentored leaders in top local organisations. PHOTO| COURTESY

For two decades now, George Nuthu has trained, coached and mentored leaders in top local organisations. PHOTO| COURTESY 

JAMES KAHONGEH
By JAMES KAHONGEH
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For two decades now, Nuthu has trained, coached and mentored leaders in top local organisations. He is a trained leader and an accredited coach by the International Coach Federation (ICF).

Nuthu has practiced law and pastoral work, backgrounds that offer him a rich understanding of the intrigues and complexities of human behaviour.

  

He explains why leadership training is necessary for professionals in today’s world.

 

What do you do in your capacity as an executive coach and leadership consultant?

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I engage businesses, corporates and NGOs to serve, support and stir in leadership development issues such as strategic plan execution, teamwork and improved leadership skills in their workforce.

I inspire and influence the leadership capacity of their managers and employees with leadership potential. I work in a tripartite arrangement that involves line managers or human resource managers and employees on developing areas that the business has identified for polishing depending on the desired outcome of the coaching programme.

  

Why is it imperative for organisations to have leadership training, coaching and mentorship programmes for their employees?

The modern business operates in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment.

The disruption brought about by increased globalisation and new trends is compelling organisations to constantly unlearn, learn and relearn new things on the go.

This makes it important to consistently train, coach and mentor their staff teams or risk being left behind. The other reality is the workforce dominated by millennial and Generation Z groups of workers, a demographic that requires intensive mentorship and coaching to boost their productivity.

  

As a coach, what do you think organisations need to do to accommodate the different generations of people working for them?

The diversity at the workplace today tends to trigger conflict based on ideologies between different generations of workers.

To accommodate the intergenerational diversity at the workplace, organisations must appreciate each demographic and understand their strengths and work to infuse collaborations between them.

If organisations respected and exploited the complementary strengths each generation brings on board, higher productivity and a diversity of ideas would be accrued from the richness of this blend.

 

Having been in this space for more than 20 years, what practical leadership tenet do you think is most overlooked?

Succession planning and preparing the next generation of leaders for the future is often disregarded.

Many leaders lead as if their tenure is eternal. Some forget that leadership is an episode that comes and goes.

Success is not complete without a successor, thus, leaders need to begin preparing for their exit as soon as they are appointed.

There can never be a better way to do this than by preparing those who will fill up your void when curtains fall on your tenure.

  

Modern organisations are leaner and less likely to offer job security to their employees. Is the future bleak for young professionals joining the job market?

The future workplace will only hire and engage professionals based on their deliverables. The reason for this trend is that human capital is becoming dizzyingly expensive.

Today’s professionals are more qualified and demand high wages that are sometimes unsustainable for the organisations.

As a result, businesses are adopting cost management measures by investing in technology and employing fewer people, and on a need basis.

This is already happening in the health sector, where some professionals refuse to be employed in one place, and instead choose to freelance in different places, thereby earning more.

 

What then can young professionals do to adapt to the fluid culture within the organisations they work for?

Foremost, seek to increase your employability by continuously upgrading your qualifications and competencies relevant to current and future market needs.

Rounded professionals are a valuable asset to their employers. Strive to understand your roles and execute these with diligence.

Most importantly, take personal responsibility of your career progression by developing a roadmap spread in phases. Leave your comfort zone by taking calculated risks.

While at it, never make a career move however attractive it appears if this diverts your attention from your long-term career goals. Aspire to learn more and innovate, always.

 

This era is characterised by an information overload. Is it possible for professionals to navigate through this information glut without being worn down?

It is true that information overload is wearying the modern professional.

Professionals, however, must learn how to sift through this information and focus only on the relevant information that advances their cause. In other words, learn to invest your time in engagements that are productive.

Not all information, however nourishing, is necessary for your growth as a career man or woman.

 

In what ways have your personal failures influenced your choices and decisions?

When I failed to qualify to join the University of Nairobi to study law, I had the options of either joining Kenya Defence Forces, to study a diploma in hotel management at Kenya Utalii College, or to go to India to study a bachelor of commerce degree.

I chose what people then thought was an outrageous option by going to India, where I studied and graduated with both commerce and law degrees, something that was not possible in Kenya in the 1980s and 90s. Today I am grateful for the decision.

Failure opens you up to other options that you may not have considered. You should learn to subdue your failures so that you can attain what God intended for you.

 

You have worked with corporates for many years. Are you convinced that local companies have embraced and invested in spaces that promote creativity at work?

Innovation among employees is being encouraged within most modern organisations. Some top organisations are slowly adopting modern workspaces.

The majority though have not changed tack. If local companies are to survive and flourish in the VUCA and globalised environment, investing in creativity and innovation is not an option.

Competition in business has become so vicious, and to stay afloat, organisations have to inspire and give space to their employees to innovate and create new products and services that meet the ever-changing market needs.

 

Not all professionals are inclined to leadership roles…

If you are not enthusiastic about leadership, seek to become a specialist and an authority in your field. This way, you increase the chances of being retained by your employer.

You also become the go-to person for other businesses seeking your type of skills.

 

Do you have pastimes?

I love to read and research on Christian material on leadership and coaching. My wife Beverley and I travel a lot. Listening to smooth jazz and hanging out with my friends is my second nature. Once in a while, I watch movies and sports on TV.

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