I kick out toxic employees

 Chris Foot, Chair at A Rocha Kenya and former chairman of Kenya Film Commission

I am involved with various entities in different sectors, ranging from tourism, agriculture, film and TV, conservation, education and advisory services. Knowing that this is what God has called me to do today, for this season, is what keeps me motivated to go to work each day. I also believe giving somebody a job is the best way to reduce poverty.

One of our human alarm clocks usually comes into our bedroom at some unearthly hour and you can kiss sleep goodbye. I try to have some prayer time before my feet leave my bed. I always need a cup of tea to get the engines fired up (I still can’t find anyone making decent Kenya teabags. I suspect they export the best).

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I have a study at home and spend an hour or two in there with my phone off and in my pyjamas, working on important rather than urgent matters. By nine I have a bowl of porridge or mursik, get changed (I try and limit wearing a suit to one day a week) and head out, after the traffic has calmed down.

My favourite part of the day is when the dust has settled and the house is quiet, a vodka martini in one hand and book in the other. Once the babies are asleep, the Mrs and I will have a catch up over dinner, which I often cook. If we can sneak in a glass of wine, all the better. Then it’s either Netflix or up to my study to push on with work. Then I need to read for at least 20 minutes before I sleep.

Currently I am setting up an agri-processing business which I believe will benefit Kenya. Also, as Chair of A Rocha, a Christian conservation organisation, we are working on creating a global conservation hub in Nairobi. It will bring scores of environmental and conservation bodies under one roof to share facilities, resources, ideas, and network.

My proudest achievements so far are helping set up companies and turning other organisations around, for example changing the Kenya Film Commission into a functioning, viable organisation and helping to put the potential of film and TV on the national agenda. I get huge satisfaction from sorting out organisations’ problems.

The day to day work challenges I face vary on which organisation I am working on. Most organisations have about 65 per cent of staff who are there to keep their job, collect their pay and do enough not to get fired, 15 per cent who are actively working against the interests of their employer (either intentionally or negligently) and 20 per cent who are worth their weight in gold and who go way beyond the call of duty. My aim is to try encourage and appreciate the 20 per cent, motivate the 65 per cent to higher aspirations and clear out the 15 percent, especially the toxic ones.

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I love the outdoors and wilderness. I love exploring the far-flung parts of Kenya on foot, motorbike, horseback or car. My other passion is fly fishing, an ancient way of fishing which is part poetry, part science and part meditation. Kenya is blessed with some amazing trout fishing spots from Kericho to Mt Kenya. I still play polo. Whatever I do, I will always have a book in hand.

I have just finished reading A Vast Tome by Richard Massie. The book is on Peter the Great, an amazing biography of the progressive and enlightened Tsar who brought Russia out of the dark ages into modern times, making it one of the most powerful nations in the world. A testament to vision, ruthlessness, hiring the best, personal sacrifice and sheer bloody-mindedness. He faced many of the problems and opportunities that we see in Kenya today.

The best career advice I’ve ever gotten was if you enjoy what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life. The best advice I’d give is seek God’s guidance on what He is calling you to and be unwaveringly faithful in your faith.

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