„It is all about your team: It is all about people, it is not about vehicles, it’s not about infrastructure. It’s about people!“
Jacqueline Mkindi, CEO of the TAHA GROUP
Holder of MBA and First Class Honors Bsc in Forestry and Nature conservation is a Development Manager specialized in Business and Trade. She is an entrepreneur and has provided strong leadership in shaping and transforming the multi million dollars horticultural industry in Tanzania and has been very instrumental in creating and facilitating strategic partnerships with the industry partners. Her involvement in various business and trade facilitation processes at the national, regional and international levels has significantly contributed towards the speedy growth of the industry, TAHA and its subsidiaries. She has risen from various positions in the Private sector to now the CEO of the TAHA GROUP.
What do you love about your job?
What I love most about my job is that it is very dynamic with new challenges every day and it therefore gives me chance to face new challenging things every now and then, hence transforming them into opportunities. I love challenges, they uplift and fulfil me! I’ve been in TAHA for almost 10 years now and it has never become boring – the work that I used to do in TAHA 5 years ago is completely different from what I’m doing now.
I started with very limited financial and human resources – but I made it. I love setting up the vision and the strategies to realize that vision.
Whenever there came a problem, we solved it. For example, when we had a problem with logistics, we solved it by establishing TAHAfresh Handling Limited, the now biggest perishable handler in the country. And, can you imagine, in October 2017 we were appointed by KPMG number 10 out of the 100 best midsize companies in Tanzania.
And I am very proud of the impact we are generating for the people in Tanzania and beyond in Africa. My dream is that one day, TAHA will be an empire, a centre of excellence for private sector organizations in Africa and beyond. And people will be coming here to learn about how the private sector organizations can integrate the development and the commercial division to provide demand driven services to the industries.
What is the best advice that you ever got on leadership?
There are several very good advices that I have gotten from my mentors, my colleagues, from my trainers like you and from my seniors in leadership, these are the best two:
- It is all about your team: It is all about people, it is not about vehicles, it’s not about infrastructure. It’s about people! For you to attain your dream, your vision, your mission, those surround you matter a lot. From the outside, you might be seen as a strong somebody, but in real fact, it’s not about you as an individual, though personal characters and attributes matter a lot in shaping any organization. It is your team that makes you to be who you are and get you where you want to be. So I’m very careful about who we hire and how to place right people in the organization. I have learnt to identify the real tigers and develop mechanisms/strategies to make them stay in TAHA. I have also learnt to hire people for attitude and then train them for the skill.
- Keep sharping the saw and continue learning as you equip yourself with new ideas and innovations! ICT is the best way to go if you want to be efficient and effective as a learning individual and organization. It is therefore paramount to be conversant with the latest technologies to catch up with the speed at which things are happening today. I constantly expose my team to new things, so they can acquire the right skills.I also continue equipping myself with the right knowledge and ideas that will enable me to lead the team strategically given the challenging terrains. When you are empowered with right knowledge and skills you can be flexible and dynamic to navigate through the demanding business environment. Not too much flexibility is required though, as you might look unserious when you allow too much flexibility in leadership. But – Don’t just stick to what you know! Listen to what the market brings for you and change quickly – this matters a lot in business.
What is good leadership for you?
Good leadership is leadership that delivers results in a timely manner that delivers maximum results with a minimum input. It is all about being efficient and effective.
As a leader you ought to be transformative, transforming teams and organizations from one level to another and creating transformative impact.
As a good leader you ought to be responsible, but also responsive. Most important: Good leadership generates good leadership. So if I as person call myself a leader, you look around me, there must be other leaders who follow my way.
What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking should I become a leader or not?
Regardless of what you do and where you are; given the competitive environment we operate into, we do not have that option of not being able to lead oneself and others. So it is not a question of wanting or not wanting to be a leader. The environment and the challenges around us forces us to possess leadership skills and attributes if we are to survive and thrive. This doesn’t only refer to corporate leadership it just cut across all the aspects of our lives. It is about being an impactful leader wherever you are right from the family level to working environment.
There are always two group of people: Those who know what they possess and use that God has endowed in them to deliver results. This are gifted with self-understanding and confidence. And there are those who need external push to make them realize what they have in terms of capabilities and abilities to do extra ordinary things.
My passion as a leader has always been to stand that position of an external catalyst to trigger that sleeping giants in people, and especially youths, challenging and guiding them while assuring and reassuring them, that they can do it and become exemplary leaders or women and men of substance. I know that sometimes I expose them to too much pressure and probably remove them from the comfort zone, but after some time, they are empowered and become leaders who can make independent decisions. And I become very proud as a coach!