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Twaila loved real estate.  Her favorite past-time during weekends included reading newspapers, property websites, and meeting agents all in pursuit of her next purchase.  She knew all the hot real estate growth areas around Kenya.

Kachero opened her business on a Thursday morning.  As she unlocked the main office door, she began mentally arranging her team’s brainstorming session for later that day.  Kachero desired more innovative technology products emanating from her firm. 

Onyango always dreamed of becoming a great business leader.  From his educational pursuits at the University of Nairobi, he understood that prolific leaders learn managerial skills and do not inherently just know the right actions from birth.  But throughout his professional life, Onyango felt like he saw most effective managers appearing more on television than he ever encountered in real life.

Kipchirchir formed a payment solutions company in 2010 based in Mombasa.  He excitedly told clients about Mombasa as an idyllic place to locate a corporate headquarters with its ancient history, mix of cultures, and beautiful beaches all visible from his office window.  Over a few short years, he expanded the business to serve markets from East Africa to South America to Southeast Asia.

Adika strode confidently into the office.  He knew his work and he grasped that he performed well.  He met with clients who believed his confidence came from a strong company product.  Adika viewed himself as self assured and strived to guide his team on the right corporate path.

Jepkemoi launched an innovative marketing and public relations firm in 2009.  She focused on creative solutions to client needs and quickly gained a solid foothold in the Nairobi and later Mombasa markets.  Her top line revenues tripled each year between 2010 and 2012 and doubled afterwards until sales took a nosedive in 2014.

Muigai paced back and forth across the office floor one Wednesday evening.  He began to notice significant discontent among his staff.  What originally started with a few rumbling comments later manifested as decreasing performance. 

Muigai’s firm employed thirty people and he desired the team to still feel like a family environment.  He found meaning in his life that he provided a stable work environment for his employees.  He tried hard not to let the company’s fluctuations affect his staff.

Kibet operated a technology firm that specialized in mobile app development for insurance firms.  Formed four years prior, the business expanded steadily at a healthy rate of 30% annualized growth. 

Zulea noticed seemingly striking similarities between employees in various offices over her years in the workplace.  She found that employees who seemed happier with their lives outside of work also came across as happier with the realities in the workplace.  She wondered whether someone satisfied with their personal lives, family, etc. then would also performed better because they were happier at work too.

Business Talk is a series by Prof. Scott Bellows, published weekly in the Business Daily (Kenya) www.bdafrica.com.