End-of-year reflection for 2018

The end of another year is approaching. It has been a challenging year, filled with meaningful work, many lessons and lots of opportunity. There has also been too little time to do everything I’d intended to do.

I believe strongly in the value of reflection and always do a formal debriefing at the end of the year.

Here are some of my thoughts on 2018 before I take leave on Friday 14th December to enjoy a much-needed break. It sheds some light into my work with non-profit organizations and social enterprises in South Africa, and things I’ve learned along the way.

A month in a consultant’s life: how I spent my time

I am increasingly obsessed with time. Maybe this is a consequence of aging. I see time moving too swiftly. I strive to make the best use of every moment.

I have conducted multiple experiments over the years to see how I can make better use of my time and be more productive at work.

This article concerns my tracking of my work time over a period of one month or 20 workdays. It will yield insight into how this freelancer (or independent management consultant) spends his time. Hopefully the results will still be useful more generally.

I also hope to address the misconception that freelancers spend all their time delivering their service. We must realize that freelancers are still running a business, and therefore need to make time for all the usual business functions within their work week.

Career advice for a young professional in the social sector

I recently received a thought-provoking email from a young graduate who had some work experience with a non-profit organization.

Because her message was so sincere and endearing, I decided to provide a proper reply.

This article contains my career advice for her and other young professionals in a similar position. I will share my career philosophy, insights from my own career, and some collective advice from other consultants I work with.

Descent into Xenophobic Violence

This passionate letter was published in the Cape Times in early 2008 about the xenophobic violence that has gripped the country.

It discusses how, as a proud South African, I am dismayed by how our Rainbow Nation has descended into a state of xenophobic violence. It has certainly put a black mark against our name. I also discuss how this sad turn of events is symptomatic of poor government performance in a number of areas, and the role of some of our leaders in promoting racial and cultural categorization.

Iraq war is not a long term solution: resources should be used for healing and development

Read my letter that was published in the Cape Times, Cape Argus and Business Day in April 2003 in response to the war in Iraq.

It discusses how many of the published letters I’ve read in recent weeks have been about the war in Iraq. Most of the writers have either tended to blame George Bush or Saddam Hussein for the war.

However, this war is clearly a manifestation of the way in which these two leaders and their countries have interacted over the last few decades. It is a results of the short-term solutions that have been employed on the problems in Iraq.

The leaders of both these countries have sought win-lose as opposed to win-win solutions. But in reality everyone loses. War destroys people and breeds hatred.

Cultivating strategic clarity.

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