No One Wants It Half-baked!!

By Kevin Odongo

Growing up in the rural parts of western Kenya, I had the pleasure of having my grandma close by. In fact every day I would go to her place from primary school for lunch which in most cases consisted of sweet potatoes and Uji.

Now it is six years since we lost her but I still remember how she made her potatoes. She would dig them from the Shamba about 2kms away from home, carry just enough for two days, wash them clean, throw them into a traditional pot with just enough water, put a polythene bag in so that it floated but covered all the potatoes, before covering the whole thing with an heavy lid.

If you have tried cooking sweet potatoes before, you will agree with me that it is an art that is not as easy as taking a walk in the park. There are high chances that your potatoes will come out half-cooked or overcooked. When overcooked, they are too soft and have absorbed a lot of water. So you want to put in just the right amount of water. When you put in less than enough water, the potatoes do not cook enough. And if one opens the lid to put in more water while it is cooking, the potatoes undergo as my grandma called it, 'fuwo' thereby losing its good taste.

Today, I see a lot of similarities between my preferences for my grandma's potatoes as a child and clients' preference for a job welldone. Doing a shoddy job just because you haven't been paid enough for it or you don't get enough returns from it only ends up selling you badly to the rest of the industry.

As a student who has had to work to sustain my life on campus, I have learnt that doing a good job even when you aren't paid enough for it ends up giving you more clients to work for. I am not good in economics but from my little experience, I have learnt that the more clients you work for, the more the economies of scale will tip to your direction hence get more returns.

It is not easy to always deliver your best even in changing circumstances. You will find clients that are very difficult to work with, and the temptation to be rebellious and deliver according to how they treat you will be enormous. One requires discipline to continuously deliver a good work even when all odds are put against them.

This discipline to always want to do a good job does not mean that you become a mean person who mistreats those under you to get what you want. It does not mean that you become proud and stop listening to other people's inputs. This discipline should give you the wisdom to appreciate the different dynamics involved in carrying out a project and appreciate the fact that teams tend to produce better results than when one works on a project alone. This discipline means that you remain focused on the goal as leader of your team, providing assistance and direction to the rest of the team. This discipline also should teach you to take responsibility for mistakes of your team and give credit to your team when the team delivers successfully.

When all is said and done, just remember what is at stake whenever you take a client. Your reputation and that of your company is of most importance to you. It is inherent in humans to trust companies that have handled similar jobs before and have not been involved in any under-hand methods. A single negative review could harm the integrity of the individual and that of the company he represents. So always remember that your reputation is at stake and that no one likes their potatoes half baked.