Build people and they will build your business


Zig Ziglar said

β€œYou do not build a business. You build people, and then people build the business”.

Do you believe this statement to be true? Let me tell a story about a mentor who makes me believe this statement to be true.

Early in my career, I was clandestinely led to a boss I would call anonymously for this article, Mr. John Doe. Under his apprenticeship, here are four mentorship-inspired lessons that I would love 🧑 to share.

Mentorship lessons

On Presentation

He taught me why presentation matters

At my interview, when asked why I wanted to be a software engineer, one of the reasons I gave was that I viewed software engineering solely as a backend role. And with all back-office, I would not need to be noticed. Being the introvert that I was and still am, this career choice seemed to mesh perfectly with my attitude. He smiled.

He went ahead to ask that I present the first project I built, to the paying clients. And all by myself! 😟 However, he could also tell when I was not ready to present. I remember one such incident. He then took over and presented.

And indeed, with my team members, I encourage them to lead and to present what they create. And why not! They would be the best people to explain their work.

On delight in the job

He taught me why passion on the job, and about the job and for the job you do matters

Through his dealings, he demonstrated why passion matters in your work. Clients pay you to deliver. Hence you must necessarily ensure that every Cedi πŸ’° given translates into quality work. Your enthusiasm for the work shows in your results.

His meetings with clients, with staff, and his late working hours all demonstrated this quite evidently. With my team members, I encourage them to be enthusiastic about the work we deliver. All these ensures that we step up in the quality of service we render.

On work experience

He taught me why experience matters

Many times, greenhorns find it difficult to be given that first opportunity to prove themselves. When starting out my software engineering career, I would encounter obstacles in coding πŸ’», once in a while.

He would not spoon-feed me. He would give me enough rope to research πŸ”, research πŸ”, and then do some more research πŸ”. Until I finally landed upon a solution πŸ’‘.

It was only after I had exhausted all available resources before he would step in. In no time at all, I did not need him to step in anymore. This was because I knew what to look for. This was only one of several instances in which he showed the years of his experience.

Subsequently, how I lead today, takes inspiration from those experiences. I take care not to spoon-feed. I also do not micro-manage. I would prefer to grow the confidence level of each team member.

Every employee works differently. Tell your team members what you want, and they will astound you with their approach and results.

On work etiquette

He taught me why work etiquette matters

The stressful nature of the work never seemed to reflect in the way he talked or walked. He remained professional. He was always polite. He was always smiling at everyone 😁. And he made sure to laugh heartily.

Consequently, I always endeavor to be polite. Even though we all have unmovable deliverables, we do not need to include backhanded tactics in getting our goals achieved. The story of how legends rise to the pinnacle of life is made of 99% hard work.


If Mr. John Doe ( not his real name ) had not opened these doors for me, then I might still

  • Unappreciate the need to present my work (presentation)
  • Be passionless in my work output (passion)
  • Disregard the need for work etiquette (work etiquette)
  • Finally, I would not have gained that first bit of work experience needed

Being someone who was and still is an introvert, I am very grateful to Mr. John Doe for these opening doors for me. The effects of those opportunities are present with me even to this day.

I endeavor to replicate these same lessons with my team members so that one day I can also be spoken of in a positive way as I do of him today. Maybe someone would also write a blog post of me one day too! πŸ˜„

Train your staff and let them be the seeds 🌱 for a prosperous business. With that, your business is sure to live for many years even after you pass on.

If you have positively being impacted by a mentor in your life, please go ahead to share.

Take care and cheers.

Anthony Eli Agbenu would love to get in touch
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