Thoughts on Influence with Strive Misakaya (GLS18)

Considered one of the world’s greatest leaders by Forbes Magazine, Strive Masiyiwa shared leadership wisdom at GLS18.

From his website:

“Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman of Econet and Founder of the Higher Life Foundation, draws upon his experience in business and entrepreneurship to create strategic solutions that will have greater impact on communities. Masiyiwa is dedicated to developing untapped human potential.”

Here are some of the insights we learned from Masiyiwa:

Strive left Zimbabwe at age 6 because of civil war and returned in his 20s. He wanted to start a mobile phone company at a time in history when 75% of Africa had never even heard a phone ring!

He filed to have a company even though the government owned the state telephone monopoly. Strive could have bribed the government to make money. Instead he went to constitutional court which took 5 years of fighting to win the rights to do so. He was imprisoned many times during the legal battle.

While his dream was incarcerated, others were allowed to do the same thing in other African countries so he felt left behind. The government offered compromise which included him taking on partners they would choose, but he chose not to agree.

Leadership requires going against the culture. 

He had no money left after winning the court battle so he went public with the company for funding. He was forced out of the country in 2000. Now the company is worth $3 billion.

He moved to South Africa and started the Higher Life Foundation which serves children in many countries.

On Diversity

Doing global business requires understanding multi-culturalism and respecting other cultures.

To do so, reach out and embrace across cultures. Make sure others know they are important and valuable to what we are doing.

Become a champion of respecting others and hiring diversity to have many voices around the table. To remain relevant where we are become a student of others who are different. Curiosity can drive us and lead to innovation.

Seek to find commonalities and build on them.

Hold on to universal values.

On Meeting Needs

Build your business on solving a problem others need solved.

Otherwise we are selling what we like. Don’t assume the costumer is me.

Now 75% of Africans own phones!

On Technology and Human Connection

We have all this technology and yet the world doesn’t know each other as well as we should. Technology should bring us together!

Change the culture by changing the conversations!

Sound bites aren’t as important as what is coming from our hearts.

Salt is a preservative and keeps things together rather than breaking things apart.

On Leadership

Building things takes longer than we think. Developing confidence requires wins. A great vision is only as good as you are able to deliver short term wins. This requires consistency.

Sometimes we waste time winning in areas that aren’t moving us forward.

Make sure you have a core of people who believe in you and challenge you.

We need signposts along the way in the form of affirmation.

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