Her smile seems permanently etched on her face whenever she speaks of both the highs and lows, exemplifying her disarming personality. You would quickly want to engage her as your Olivia Pope, to fix your bugs. Which you can, but you will be limiting her ability to help you excel.
Have you ever had a client who when you send a quote, they negotiate downwards, which you revise and send back, but when they send you the contract, it’s the original figure, which almost swept you off balance? Like who does that! Everyone wants to save a penny and Kenyans are good at it. Unless you are Dr. Patricia Murugami, this is fake news.
At 14 years, Breakthrough Leadership Transformation is catalyzing peoples and organizations’ potential in incredible ways, across the world. That is a teenager, but even teenagers who are mature in their minds get to have solid conversations about their likes, preferences, ambitions and dislikes with elders. And they ask tough questions they need answers.
For Dr. Murugami, the journey started as a personal moment to achieve a career breakthrough. She was in finance space and strategy, areas that she felt at home and was excelling but something in her felt inadequate.
“I was at the pinnacle of my career and many people couldn’t understand the decision I was making. But I was at peace with it. I needed to transform and lead somehow. In a sense, the path started to greatness”, she exclaimed.
She explains that the first thing for anyone wanting to join the journey is to deepen self-awareness. One needs to undertake a SWOT analysis, establish who are you, what is holding you back and what is emanating from the external environment. But this process can unearth painful truths, so it is important not to be too defensive and depersonalize feedback.
“The second step is self-management. How am I managing my time and energy? Once you establish this, we can seek to understand others and how to relate with them”, she explained.
Her family has been her bedrock. It couldn’t be the same without their support to allow her study to PhD, be a mother and wife as well as follow her dream.
In her journey, one client that has been phenomenal is Safaricom. It is them who made her doubt the contract and whether the figure was correct
She sees her journey as intertwined with the Big Green, albeit it is six years older. One trait she takes positively from the engagement is her efficiency in negotiating skills, which she has gained over time working on different assignments with them.
Her engagements with Safaricom now include working with Women in Business. She now does coaching sessions with its senior leaders as well as other businesses. She has been doing some online leadership sessions with women in business, staff and suppliers to help them weather the storm.
Safaricom at 20
The first assignment they had in which she delivered well as the foundation for deeper engagement with the brand and others, who saw confidence in her considering her portfolio showed she works with them. It’s the magic touch that comes with working with the biggest company in East and Central Africa, something she does not take for granted.
“20 years you just come out of teenagehood. They have tried, tested, reimagined, and learned to constantly be at pulse. They have changed their lives. They are now in adulthood. Everything they do has a real impact on people’s lives. I hope they continue to share what will lift the human spirit”, she held.
She hopes Safaricom can maximize opportunities with technology. She cited the need to think of how global payments can be easier with Lipa na M-PESA, in what she described as “walking a mile for customers’ pains”.
“I hope to see collaborations with customers. They should reconsider the roaming tariff. They need to negotiate with more countries about it. Communication is critical in this day and age and I hope to continue working with them to raise the human spirits”, she averred.
You get what you negotiate for
Her message to entrepreneurs was crisp. “If you focus on building solutions to build human being problems, it will pay off as people will invest in the business and the solutions you are providing. You need to know your numbers. If you are the founding leader, don’t hold its growth. Invest in people, knowledge, and stay hungry and keep doing it despite the fear”, she asserted.
She says LinkedIn is a platform to be educated, broaden knowledge, encourage, critique and compliment that can change the rhetoric in professional spaces. Impact on social media is about posts you make and them lifting people’s spirits.
One of her learning is that it does not matter where you come from. She was an auditor, and some companies put forward an assignment that required five years’ experience. She did not have it but pitched that collectively as a team, they had more than five years. This imprinted in her that you get what you negotiate for, not what you deserve.
The COVID-19 period in Kenya came at a time when they were organizing a global conference. “Following directions from the Ministry of Health, we had to postpone the conference 24 hours before it took place. They then moved to advise everyone by mail and later through calls of the sold-out conference, asserting that life is more important. It was really humbling to receive positive feedback from everyone, including speakers and guests who had arrived from outside the country who even declined refunds”, she said.
But that pain, based on how she handled it, paved way for clients.
As a leadership catalyst, her work is about helping people and organizations have an accountability framework because knowledge acquired is insufficient. It has to be implemented. This is when true growth happens.
She looks forward to launching her book on December 5th. The book is a call to action. It discusses how to use a four-level manifesto for growth. It will offer an opportunity for people to read from across the world and she hopes to inspire multiple generations to come.