University Education isn’t everything and 9 lessons from fallen Safaricom CEO BOB COLLYMORE.


Monday, July 01, 2019- Robert Bob Collymore joined Safaricom as the CEO in November 2010 and has stayed at the helm till his death.

Collymore died on Monday morning in his home in Nairobi after a brave battle with cancer.

What many do not know is that Mr. Collymore did not go to university.

He was offered a place at Warwick University but turned it down because he was not eligible for funding.

Nevertheless, he rose to a corporate titan and CEO of company earning over Sh10 million per month.

Last, year, Mr. Collymore shared these gems of wisdom in an interview and it is quite thought-provoking.

Below are 9 lessons as shared by Collymore.

1. University education isn't everything

There tends to be a lot of reliance on paper qualification. We stuff ourselves into universities, then we come out and there is very little difference between us and all the other people who also did the same.

 In this industry and many others, if you are not a learning treadmill, you will be left behind very rapidly. The advances that we are seeing in technology such as in artificial intelligence, robotics - I do not have to go to school to learn about it.
I can learn about it because the resources are there. I can buy a book on Amazon in two clicks.
So get into continuous learning instead of relying on the old things you learnt in university – things have moved on.
2. Be adaptable
I have done many different types of jobs but I never anticipated that I would become the CEO of a mobile phone company in Africa.
Just because you went to university and studied law doesn't mean you become a lawyer.
You need to go into the world knowing that what you learnt in the university was how to learn. You must be adaptive.
3. There is no shortcut
Millennials believe that once you get employed, it will take you a matter of weeks before you get the corner office and get the land cruiser.
 We forget that in all ages, especially in this one, everything takes time. Whether you want to become a basketball player or a CEO, you have to put the hours in.

4. Be hungry

Grab opportunities. Opportunities sometimes present themselves only once and you have to grab them.
Because at later stages, what you regret is not the things you did, but the things you did not do. All my regrets are of things I did not do.
 Luck also has a big role to play, so again, don't sniff at luck. When luck presents itself, just take it. When you get a good fortune, just take it.
6. Lose the sense of entitlement
I never had the sense that I could not work in the shops because I had completed my A-levels. I was a delivery chap delivering furniture, I used to stack shelves – I never imagined I was too good for any job.
 I did a lot of things and I said, "It's a job. I will do it and I will take my lessons from each and every one of those jobs."
If you look at how I engage with people working in shops when I go shopping, my interaction with them is shaped by that experience because I walked in those shoes. I worked behind that checkout. I know how dehumanising people can treat you sometimes.
I hold those people with huge admiration and respect. Don't have a sense of entitlement. You are never too good for anything.
You are never too good to sweep floors and all. That is the thing about opportunities. They may not present themselves as you expect them to.
8. Are your skills important in today's world?
Get to the front of the curve. Read. I always tell my team, "I mustn't know more about stuff than you. You have to be smarter than me.
If you aren't smarter than me, then why would I need to hire you?" You need to stay ahead of the curve and there is no excuse for not doing it because everything is online these days. You need to ensure that you are skilled to do the jobs that exist today.
9. Read and read some more.

This speaks to continuously learning. Even now, I probably get through two or three books in a month, to try and keep myself ahead of the curve. If I am not travelling a lot, then I read more.
Right now I'm reading The Devil's Bargain by Joshua Green and The Net and the Butterfly by Olivia Fox.
I tend to read two or three books at the same time so that if I get bored with one, I can pick up the other.
However, if I could recommend books it would be Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari and Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle.
 The Kenyan DAILY POST.




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