Shrewdness 101

The Create Series Flier

We’re learning how to CREATE and we want to look at the second obstacle… poor systems. Does the bible really have something to say about systems? The answer is yes! Read Exodus 18:13-27

This passage speaks about the importance of good systems. Moses had started something huge. With God’s help, he had rescued a group of slaves from Egypt and was turning them into a fearless nation that God would use to change the whole world. But all his efforts were about to be doomed – because of inadequate systems. As a result, doing someone else’s job, dying on the job, neglecting his family and ineffective in his work. This is a valuable lesson for us today. We may desire to be the people who create solutions for Africa. But if we lack systems, then our solutions will always be small and unsustainable. They will never grow beyond us. This is true for you regardless of if you’re an entrepreneur running a business, a professional working for a firm, a student in college or a mom running a home …Your solution is only as effective as your systems.

Inadequate systems means inadequate solutions.

Why do we find it so difficult in Africa to create good systems? Several reasons…

We don’t know better – One of our greatest strengths as Africans is that we can live with a high level of ambiguity/discomfort. When things get tough, we adapt. If your road gets potholes and it’s raining, you buy gumboots and pray for the day you’ll own a car! But this adaptability can also be a weakness. We haven’t learnt to constantly question our reality. To realize that every problem is an opportunity for a solution!

We’re too busy –Like Moses, we are busy people, working hard to cope with the demands of our various roles on our time. Our response when someone points to a need for better systems in our homes, at work or in our business is to say we just don’t have the time. Having good systems ensures that I am not just working hard but that I am working effectively.

We’re too gifted – Many of us are victims of our own giftedness. Like Moses, if we just apply ourselves, we can get by, we can manage. Moses may have reasoned ‘after all, I’m the one who speaks to God face to face; I have the connections and the gifting to get the job done’. Like most of us, he probably enjoyed hearing ‘well done! We couldn’t survive around here without you!’ But that’s a sure way to keep your vision small! Having good systems ensures that what we start will outlive us.

The reality is that putting in systems is hard work and often cumbersome. It can also reduce your chance to shine! When you write down your current job into manuals so that anyone can do it, people may no longer think you’re a genius! If you train others to run the company, people might no longer think you’re indispensable!

Joram Mwinamu CEO of Wylde International, a training & consulting firm that helps set up systems for large firms and SMEs, spoke at Mavuno. He explained how we often create solutions in a very informal way; and yet the world doesn’t work that way! For example the research done on prostitutes in Majengo to come up with a drug for HIV which was patented by UK  scientists; Kyondos are patented by Japan; Kenya is trademarked as the name of a Barbie doll.

We need to;

  1. Understand the systems – Most of us don’t understand the systems that govern us and so we can’t use them to our advantage. For example, many students don’t understand school systems and policy and so don’t know how to take advantage of opportunities on campus. How much CDF money has been allocated for their constituency? How to access the youth fund or women’s fund to finance a business idea. At work, many don’t know terms of their contract, amount of pension contributions + where invested. In addition, many refuse to learn any other skills apart from those of the department they’re working for. And yet it’s important that you understand how your whole industry works. This not only makes you more valuable to your company but also helps you become a better investor. Business people need to understand marketing, have a distribution system, have proper financial systems, have a good HR system and protect your intellectual property through the legal system.
  2. Set up systems in whatever we’re doing – Document what you do in manuals, train other capable people in the areas you are responsible. Make it possible for things to continue even when you’re not around.

Invitation to ‘The Successful Entrepreneur’ workshop

Joram and the Agenda team will be offering a workshop called ‘The Successful Entrepreneur’ right here at the dome, this coming Saturday from 9-1pm. Apart from discussing some of the issues from this series, Mr Palmer Thambu will be talking about ‘Investing In The Future’ and you’ll also get a chance to hear from some innovative Kenyan blacksmiths. There’ll be an opportunity for a Q&A as well.

Edit: Pastor M recommended the best book he’s read on systems… read about it here

03 Shrewdness 101 (Create) from Mavuno Church on Vimeo.


13 Responses to “Shrewdness 101”

  1. SYSTEM means


  2. Hey Pastor M,

    Great sermon. When I heard the word systems mentioned at first I was wondering whether it belonged in the spiritual realm. Looking at it from a larger perspective it is very relevant to our spirituality. Because good systems free us to attend to more important things in life like our relationship with GOD.

    I have been in business for the last 4 years and I know my mindset and the lack systems in our business have been huge challenges. We have grown but I fully understand without proper systems that growth will actually spell the death of our company in the long run.

    The sermon inspired me and gave me added impetus to learn more about systems and work with them instead of against them.

    I strongly believe that the African problem is that we continue to work against systems and we are constantly fighting change and development. Our mentality is stuck in past in an ever evolving world where technology is redefining our world system every hour! For example it is projected that by the year 2045 mankind would have built computers with superior brainpower to that of all human brains combined. Imagine the possibilities? 🙂

    Today you cannot separate the words system and Technology, the terms have become somewhat interchangeable. GODWILLING The 21st century will see a leap in human evolution and Kenya as country must not be left behind as an idle spectator and consumer. It is time for Africa to stand up and your sermon hit the nail on the head.


  3. I listening to the gut-wrenching sermon on systems and thought most of it was beyond me. Today morning (Monday), I decided to give my “European” car a break and hiked a lift from a colleague on our usual route to work which is full of huge craters, when the jarring ride reminded me of the examples passie and Joram gave on concern for roads.

    I started a conversation on what we could do about the road and was shocked to discover that the guy in charge of the road in question was a roommate and classmate to guess who……………………………………………my colleague who was giving me a lift. Armed with his name and title, I have written a letter addressed to him which I hope to dispatch by tomorrow. I have done my part and now trust God to do His. Thanks.


  4. The sermon was inspiring it got me thinking about ma own personal life and whether i had systems…..guess what i had none! From Monday have been placing systems in ma life like waking up early to do QT, fikain jobo mapema, arranging ma schedule for the day…etc. I believe its the small things that count the most as i prepare for God’s Blessing…….Thanks pastor M for that Sermon and May God continue to bless you.


  5. We all have this ‘Ka’ mentality i.e. Kabiz Kangu,Kaside hustle.Made me realize that this’Ka’business can grow into a Big business by doing some simple record keeping on that 32page exercise book.But since its just a ‘Ka’business that we are doing to get that extra pocket money no need for putting systems in place to gauge the health and progress of the ‘Ka’business.We’re only striving to maintain our day job and get that extra coin from the ‘Ka’business which if well nurtured can help with the unemployment problem in Kenya.
    Thanks Pastor M.


  6. Pastor M! I am one of your satelite listeners and since I cannot catch the live on-line sermon due to time difference, I cannot wait for Tuesday when the sermon’s are available online.
    The lack of systems – wololo! I am one of those that goes on leave with my work laptop and have my blackberry on the office messanger “Incase someone in the office or a client needs me”. Yaani the number of holiday photos i have of me sat in the middle of Maasai Mara, in shaggz, wherever on my work blackberry communicating with people 10k miles away! This challenged me recently, when i was flicking through photos of a “romantic getaway” that my hubby and i went for and there is a shamelss photo of me sat in a boat, squinting typing away furiously as a respond to a client! ridiculous! Hearing your message has galvanised me in to action, delegation and relinquishing tasks is my top priority for this week, and every week thereafter. I need to free my mind to focus on being creative, building solutions, working on ideas and not just being reactionary to situations around me or being a doer.


  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joram Mwinamo and Muriithi Wanjau, Richard Nderitu . Richard Nderitu said: Shrewdness 101: […]


  8. I love it, straight to the point. I like the fact that;
    – we prefer to adapt to problems,
    – insecurity hence we don’t want to train others,
    – and we like to do things the harder way most times we don’t trust technology
    – and lack of mentor-ship could be an added reason


  9. i am also a satellite listener. This was an amaizing series. I have one question. What are you going to do with the entries for the 50k that dont win? Some of us cant think up an idea but are happy to act on others. Why dont you start a system to have a think tank that people can go into and either pay a small fee for the idea and work on it?


  10. Last born gal Says:

    Hey all,

    Jay, That was funny. I am not there but sat I told someone, I will be in away in march sijui watafanya nini 😦 as u preached I sank in my seat a lil bit. Well this week, I am putting up systems so whoever will handle matters while I will be away will have it easy. As for systems in my personal life…That too is a work in progress. Lets just say the number of times I have made it to work on time this year can be counted on one hand 😦 I am making effort to close that particular file of misdeeds as I put the rest of my life in order too. Thanks Past. M! God bless you!!


  11. This sermon on systems was touching n glory to God 4 u Pastor M.Being a nurse i’ll look at da mentally challenged guys?our poor systems even start from simply our thots.How do you perceive a mentally challenged guy?If 4 example a ‘wazimu’ enters in church and sits next to you,the next thing u’ll be thinking is kwani da ushers wamedoze ama kunaendaje?wat has he done 2 be pulled out of dat seat?hav you ever thot that if that guy was helped n got some medications he cld even be very resourceful to da society?instead of looking at them positively we are alweiz quick to judge them.our poor systems hav taught us that search a person should be thrown away in da streets,cant change from his state,deserves beating n shld be tied wit ropes wen violent.I’m sorry bt shame on us.LET’S SAY NO TO THIS STIGMA.
    Wat do we as a society do to da drug addicts?we term them as useless pple,we neglect them and never give them a chance to prove their positive sides.Who brought this thinking to our society?Due to this they befriend the drugs more n more,they dont hav a family n frustrations alweiz pass their way every second.Be a friend to them,accept them they need u n me ,they are not criminals,let them tell u their story slowly by slowly-wat makes them abuse drugs and let them hav a will to be assisted not kulazimisha my dears.AM bitter at how we percieve guys in Mental hospitals esp. MATHARI n all rehab centres.OUR THINKING,A POOR SYSTEM.Let’s start from the church to bring a change in our country n continent.God please guide us. STD. NURSE X


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: