John Waweru – Brigadier General (Rtd)

John Waweru joined the navy as a young man; it was a career that taught him many skills and opportunities to widen his interests.

What’s your story?

I am a retired Naval officer from the Kenyan Navy. I served for over 35 years, rising to the rank of Brigadier General (Commodore). After retiring from the military I was appointed as the Director General of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) for nearly 4 years. I have extensive experience in strategic operations, planning and environmental conservation.

What excites you most about your industry?

The military was the best thing that happened to me. It developed me fromI was a young man and helped me develop through training and appointment to positions both in Kenya and abroad. My appointment as DG(CEO) of the KWS was also a great experience for me to understand wildlife conservation and environmental issues in general.

What drives you in your career to push beyond what other people consider normal?

I am a team player and always endeavour to succeed as a team. In both the military and KWS I always insisted that we could only achieve true success through pulling together as a team. That’s what drives me to push beyond being simply ‘normal’.

What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?

The most useful skill I have learnt over time is to do more listening than talking. You will learn much more by listening and learning from others.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

The best piece of advise I ever received was to be empathetic to your team members. We don’t all have the same type of skill set. Our combined skills set is what enables us to perform better. So, empathy to your team members is very important for team success.

Who inspires you?

Robert Greene – “The 48 Laws of Power”.
Sun Tzu – “The Art of War”

What have you learnt recently that blew you away?

I attended a Public Sector Fellowship course at the African Leadership University in Kigali and I was truly blown away when we, the participants of the course, were asked not to focus on the solution when dealing with customers, but instead FALL IN LOVE WITH THE PROBLEM. I have never looked at problem-solving the same after that!

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?

I would want to help more people or institutions to be more empathetic with the staff and allow them more leverage to use their initiative for problem solving more. I believe it will help create innovation for the company or institution. Military organizations are very rigid in the manner which they conduct their business.

How do you unwind?

I love to read a good book, play some golf and listen to music.

What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your career?

Being a military officer, I had little exposure to diplomacy. However, when I was appointed to the Kenya High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa I was introduced to diplomacy as a means to interact with countries and also solving problems between them. This was very new to me then.

Everyone in business should read this book:

The Ride of A Lifetime by Robert Iger

Shameless plug for your business or career:

I believe I am readily and easily approachable. My demeanour is friendly and I tend to make conversation easily. There is usually a ‘trust-feeling’ that is created when I encounter people for the first time. That may sound cocky but it’s not meant to be. It also allows me to put my audience at ease as I gather as much information from them as possible.

How can people connect with you?

My phone number: +254111214050

I can be reached on Linked in at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-waweru-37937311

My email address is: wawerubusiness@gmail.com

Social Media Links?

Instagram: @johnwaweru01
Facebook: John Waweru

This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.

About The EnterpriseZone Writing Team

Shining A Light on the Small Business World and highlighting Entrepreneurial Investing Opportunities.

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