While I was growing up, I was a rambunctious fella. I loved a good tussle now and then. I wouldn’t go out of my way to make trouble but when I spotted a threat, I’d not be happy till I neutralized it. We had a neighbor called Victor. Victor was a henchman. A terror to behold. He would beat any and all. It baffled me why he was so strong (and believe me I could hold my own). He just was. That didn’t stop me from picking a fight. Thing about me is I hate leaving anything undone and Victor…well he was a project I needed to deliver.

You don’t always have to win your own battle yourself.


My ass just kept getting beat every week. He had this chokehold which I couldn’t get out of. Those were trying times. Lol. I never reported this to anyone. One day I accidentally stumbled upon a breakthrough. I had been a solo person. I was not used to working in a team. I just felt I was self-sufficient because I was very handy with things, I didn’t like people mucking up things for me and I could hold my own in a fight…except for Victor. Well that blessed day, I learnt an invaluable lesson: You don’t have to win your own battle.

Comes in henchman 2. Musa. Musa lived in the next compound and I had my run in with him as well. We had thrown down a couple of times and came to a mutual unspoken respect for each other: No victor no vanquished. However, we had a mutual enemy: Victor (You guessed right). Victor the unassailable. As fate would have it one fateful day we all went to get some water for the house. There was a queue and everyone had lined up to get some. Musa and I were there first and had queued up waiting our turn when the incredible hulk showed up. Without batting an eyelid he walked up to the front of the queue and plop, dropped his container. Everyone kept mum but not me. I walked up to the front grabbed his container and flung it, then took my stance awaiting a reprisal. I believe it was my audacity that gave Musa courage. As Victor made a beeline for me, Musa charged him. Musa came with a lounge at Victor’s mid-section but Victor dug in and made to lift Musa for a good WWE smackdown. I made my move. I wrapped an arm around his neck and threw down my whole weight. With the combined effort Victor was splayed on the ground. We pinned him down and proceeded to teach him a lesson in humility.

You see sometimes we have to unlearn and relearn. This is the essence of improvement. The lessons I learnt growing up have helped me in my corporate forays. Teamwork is a vital part of organizational structure. Sometime ago I read a book titled “The Fifth Discipline”. A quote from that book stuck with me. It is a famous Zulu saying, “Umuntu ngumuntu nagabantu”. It translates: A person is a person because of other people. I could not agree more. Back in school we wondered why we had to do the arithmetic of finding how long it would take several people to achieve the same work that one person would do. We can never truly reach our potential without involving other people. The people resource is a very vital part of processes. Learn how to utilize people resources to achieve your aims.

There are certain people who are not naturally inclined to working with people but not within a corporate organization. Social skills are most times acquired. It takes honing to perfect the art of working with and carrying people resources along to achieve organizational goals. When work is tough and skills are lacking, that is when the realization dawns, that grit may not be enough.


Written by Kevin Akaniru
Kevin is a technologist with an avid interest in business. He is the founder of The Boss Exchange: An exclusive entrepreneur/professional club. He can be reached on +234 803 663 7262