Helping Leaders Achieve Sustainability

Archive for July, 2017

Leading through change

Last week I wrote about “weathering the storm’ and that was a first bite at the interesting topic of leading in challenging times. I gathered enough information to write a second blog on the same issue. Is it not wonderful that notwithstanding the challenging and volatile times that a lot of practioners and authors are sharing with the rest of us their thoughts and experiences on how best to navigate the times?

Let us count ourselves as extremely blessed that notwithstanding the so-called adverse conditions there is enough material at our disposal to equip us with the relevant tools.

John Maxwell’s reflections on the topic are quite encouraging as he asks the question – when do people need a leader the most? He argues that it is in times of volatility and uncertainty, as most people often freeze; stand still; start doubting themselves and there is a lot of indecision. He sights the role the then Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani played during the 9/11 crisis. What had happened in New York was unprecedented and many people were left despondent. The role Mayor Giuliani played was instructive in terms of leading the charges, making the necessary decisions to bring New York back to functionality; created a makeshift command centre whilst calming everybody in and around the city.

Leading from the front requires agility, self-confidence, resilience and clarity of purpose. Great leaders are not the ones who run for cover during difficult times; they stand up to be counted and ensure that they rally the troops and bring a sense of hope and direction, in other words they bring a certain level of calmness to the situation and bring everybody on board in seeing the bigger picture.

It is my submission that in order to play this role a leader needs to have certain attributes that they bring to the party and these I discuss below:

  • Know your worth– leaders need to know what they stand for; what are their strengths and what destination/direction are they leading everybody to?   Often times I ask leaders what do they have to offer; what do they bring to the organisation and more importantly what is their legacy? I often get surprised about how many people have not confronted these questions. My advice is – spend time on these big questions and create clear and measurable indicators for yourself in whatever leadership role you play.
  • Be content – knowing your worth and value proposition put a leader in great stead to lead the charges and often times he or she is less swayed by stuff that derails them from their course. They are able to discern between a small breeze that is creating a minor turbulence from the real winds of change, which might even require a change in strategy and tactics. More importantly, they know when things are about themselves and when stuff is about the environment and are able to respond appropriately.  In addition, they are confident in what they do and don’t personalize things.
  • Strengthen your emotional intelligence – I have come across many leaders and managers who are often not conscious of their impact on others. They could be knowledgeable and outstanding individual performers but are oblivious to the needs of the collective and often lose support from team members just by the way they relate to others.   The doorway to greater emotional intelligence is self-awareness. Ask for feedback on how you impact on people and dedicate time to personal reflection as well.  Maya Angelou famous quote on this is – “I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but will never forget how you made them feel”
  • Build stamina and grit – this quality is required and gives you that extra motivation to work harder than everyone else.   Angela Duckworth’s work on this is instructive and she defines “grit” as that extra something that separates the most successful people from the rest – it’s the passion, perseverance and stamina that we must channel in order to stick to our dreams until they become a reality.

I am starting Mastermind classes in September in order to work with leaders to build these often intangible but necessary skills. Working in groups and online (video calls from the comfort of your office/home) I will be leading conversations and engagements with like-minded leaders who are prepared to invest in themselves and build their success index up a few notches. If you are game please contact me so that we enroll you accordingly.

Pam Yako

Leadership and Success Coach

‘Helping women leaders to be attuned and find their inner goddess’

+27 12 998 7337 or +27 82 550 5225


p.s. please feel free to contact me if you want to learn more about this or sign up for my newsletter at


Weathering the storm

I live in South Africa, where in the last year or so there have been profound levels of change and uncertainty. Looking into the future, there is an increasing amount of anxiety around dinner tables and people asking what has now become the familiar question – “What is going to happen?” I sometimes wish that I had a crystal ball and had the ability to answer eloquently and with a heightened sense of wisdom.

The more I am posed with this question, the more I see the need to reflect and try and answer it. Primarily for myself but more importantly for the people that I socialize with, be it family, friends, clients and/or possible business partners. It has now become customary and expected at many of social engagements that one has to provide an answer.   Writing this blog is an attempt to answer the question personally and by grace I hope to reach and influence others.

“If one thing is certain, times are uncertain. Still everyone wants a path to success.” Kevin J Daum.

As humans we are all of on a quest to succeed and find happiness whatever the prevailing circumstances might be. It is the one thing that probably separates us, as humans (at least in my belief system)… The one thing that distinguishes us from our co-inhabitants on planet earth. We are always in search of success, happiness and more importantly ‘meaning and purpose’. We seek to make a difference and leave some sort of legacy.

How do you do this in times of uncertainty? How do you lead yourself and others through this often complex and volatile world? With this blog, I will attempt to answer those questions, as I am not one who likes to live by chance or meander around aimlessly without a plan. Some people believe that sometimes “no plan is the best plan.” To me, this is a higher level of consciousness and I must admit I am not yet there. I understand what ‘surrender’ is, and often times I wish that I would develop the competence to ‘give over to a higher self’ or the universe… But I personally struggle to implement this in my own life. I do however ask that you indulge me and allow me to share my thoughts in this regard.

Before I do that, I would like to refer you to a YouTube interview with Satya Twena in Gerard Adams on ‘Leaders Create Leaders’. A big part of me is fascinated by Satya Twena’s story. She came to America/New York with no job, no money and no plan on what she is going to do and today she is running a very successful hat factory. I encourage you to find this clip as her journey and story is very inspiring. However, her starting point might be a little unnerving for someone who is as risk averse as I am.

Let me share some tips for you to ponder and engage on:

  • Embrace change and learn to ride the wave – as indicated change and uncertainty is as certain as the fact that the sun will rise from the east and set in the west. It does not help if you do not anticipate and prepare for this eventuality. A time of volatility and uncertainty can be the best time to prepare adaptation strategies, reinvent yourself, and diversify your offerings. Remember everyone is looking for an answer or a solution so dig deep and think out of the box and provide workable solutions that will give you competitive advantage. Remember, the more the uncertainty there more people would be looking for “how to’’ solutions – Ride the wave and be the go to person during these times.
  • Be focused and stay on course – in order to make it in these times we needs clear dreams and goals that will remain our compass to find our true north or organisational mission. This is not the time to go for short cuts however, it is the time to sharpen our resolve to dream big and relentlessly pursue the mission as if your dreams and goals are congruent with who you are and offer the much desired solutions. So how do you justify using setbacks and life challenges to derail you? Keep moving and continuously put one foot in front of the other!!! Be purposeful, remain focused and before you know it, you will have climbed a mountain! My daily affirmation in these times is – “keeping it moving”.
  • Be grateful and celebrate success – Being grateful of how far you have come is a great motivator for dealing with uncertainty. Count your blessings and as you do this daily, you will be amazed at how much you have achieved and marvel at all the great things that you have to offer. I keep a gratitude journal and when the chips are down I go back to it. Often times I realise how far I have come and how giving up will be throwing away all of those gains. Of course, the small celebrations (in economically challenging times, even a cup of cappuccino as a treat!!) are a great motivator for individuals and teams.

Leading in uncertain times requires a lot of personal resilience and inner strength! However there is nothing that tastes a sweet as a victory once you have weathered the storm.

Pam Yako

Leadership Coach

‘Helping women leaders to be attuned and find their inner goddess’

+27 12 998 7337 or +27 82 550 5225


p.s. please feel free to contact me if you want to learn more about this or sign up for my newsletter at




Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: