As I mentioned in my first blog post before heading over to Kenya three weeks ago, I had decided a few years ago that I would never write a blog. Several of my Kellogg students had tried to get me to do it, but I managed (up to this point) to avoid it completely.
I had several excuses, one of which was I didn’t have the time (a bad excuse)…..but I had a serious question which helped to delay the process…..what is “a blog”??? So the obvious question you may be wondering is….. what happened?
The story I am currently using for how I came to write a blog is that I was tricked! One of my Kellogg students that recently graduated, Khalid Ali, told me that he wanted to set up a web site for me (www.harrykraemer.org ). As you can see, he did a great job setting up the web site. The mistake I made was asking him how I could pay him for all of the work involved in setting it up. He informed me that the only “payment” he would agree to take was making me promise to write a blog. (Khalid will deny this, but it is true!!!!) 😉 If you would like to hassle Khalid directly, send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, here we go! I just returned from an amazing, (and I really mean amazing), trip to Kenya to visit the One Acre Fund (OAF) team in Bungoma, Kenya. In a word, I was blown away by what Andrew Youn and Matt Forti and the amazing OAF team have accomplished. Since starting off working with a few farmers in 2006, the OAF now employs more than 1,800 folks in Kenya, Rwanda, and several other African countries; they have doubled or tripled the crop yield on more than 175,000 farms; impacting more than 800,000 children!
Julie and I and three of our children, Shannon (20), Diane (16) and Daniel (12) had the opportunity to meet with OAF team members, visit farm families and learn of the significant progress being made. We visited the dairy operations focused on increasing milk production and spent time at the crop innovation center. You have to see it to believe it….take a look at www.oneacrefund.org . When I think about the four principles of values based leadership (self reflection, balance, true self-confidence and genuine humility), I cannot think of a better example of putting these principles into day-to-day practice than the work of the OAF. We often discuss in my Kellogg leadership classes the significant challenges we face on a global basis that often are assumed to be addressed by the infamous group known as “those guys”. I sometimes ask “who are ‘those guys’. I believe “those guys” are the men and women who focus on becoming Values-based Leaders…….clearly the One Acre Fund team has taken on the challenge of truly being some of the most dedicated “those guys” that I am privileged to call my colleagues.
I had originally told Andrew three years ago that I would try to give one leadership talk a month, with all of the proceeds from the talks and sales of my leadership book, “From Values To Action” going to the OAF. However, the good news is that I have managed to give more than 400 leadership talks in the past 40 months. Having experienced first-hand what the OAF team is accomplishing, I intend to give a lot more talks in the months ahead!