We had the good fortune of connecting with Evans Kwesi Mensah and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Evans Kwesi, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Work life balance has become a buzzword far more than practiced. Without sounding perfect, because, of course, I have made some mistakes, however, through such mistakes, I’ve been able to control my family, social life and work related activities into a component, where each is tackled almost one hundred percent but in its separate bucket. I am a family man and a present father to my three boys, attending each’s sports games and various academic activities, at the same making time for friends and loved ones, while executing my consulting work with tact and diligence. The secret is calendar management.
What should our readers know about your business?
I was recently appointed as Adjunct Faculty Coach for University of Denver, in the Frontline Management and Leadership Program (FMLP). While doing that, I have a full-time business in a consulting firm, ValueCycle – a leadership and executive training company. We also partner with both academic and corporate institutions to engage in short-term leadership certificate training programs, where various leaders are trained, either in country, or taking them on an international space to gain additional skills, strategies and knowledge to lead their institutions in a more effective, and efficient way.
What sets us apart is that, we focus on employees and making them number one in their institution. Our goal is simple – the bottom-line comes naturally when you treat your employees well – that calls for a combination of art and science.
I am personally proud of the number of institutions and individual executives across the globe that have gone through our program, ranging from banking, mining, manufacturing, nonprofit (NGO), corporate bodies, governmental institutions, educational, hospitality, healthcare and energy, just to mention a few, and we are still standing tall. Most importantly, we are very proud of the numerous and diverse people that went through our coaching programs, from zero know-how to elite level in leadership, with a broad smile at the end – that gives us and me energy to carry on.
Personally, I am a work in progress. I have lived, schooled and worked in three continents, and so know how to live with everyone, both as humans, regardless of creed or race etc. Also, I have developed business acumen for cultural fit, as a result of the many countries I was privileged to spend time in – this is one of the reasons our company is different in its operations. Let me point this out, of course, it wasn’t easy, as I needed to navigate racial challenges, but I also pretended it didn’t exist and refused to allow anything to come between me and the fulfillment of my aim, else that would’ve sucked my [positive and God given] energy away.
I have learned so many lessons, both in life, and within the corporate world, as I was on the corporate ladder for so many years and rose to become an executive leader, managing millions of dollars. Never look down on anyone because you’re currently at the pinnacle of life, because you never know who will save you tomorrow. This, to a large extent, has been my recipe for success, at the same time, something I watch out for in everyone.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
So, with this, let me put on my strategy hat. While I will desire to take this friend to many places I may like, I would be conscious of what he or she prefers most. This is where we separate mono culture ideology from multi culture wisdom. What I may like may not be what that person may like, so I will ask about their desires, so as to provide a mix of activities without assuming it. This is because what may be fun and sound exciting to one, may not be the same feeling for another. Having this in mind, I can also suggest various eating places, various activities – ranging from sports, TV shows, movies, a road trip, roller skating, networking events and probably, share what is available in the city where I live and also safe to allow him or her to choose from. For example, I will not just take him or her to pizza parties or watch American football if this person is coming from Europe or Africa, since they may not enjoy or understand such sports, or love to eat pizza in the first place. I will share ideas but always ask for preference from the visitor.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents, who sacrificed everything within their little means to provide the right education and network for me to be where I am today.
Other people may be those who made life difficult for me on my journey. Yes, it may sound ironic, but, without them knowing it themselves, they helped me to persevere, persist, work harder and smarter, and so I allowed nothing to come between me and the fulfilling of my aim to get to where I am now, and still going.
Only the photo with Colin Powell – credit to Eisenhower Fellowship.