The world cannot develop sustainably without a critical mass of people leading enterprising lives.

This is the view of business coach Ms Nina Mapili who will be visiting the DIVAGRI projects in Ghana and South Africa in April this year to share her knowledge with important multipliers – mostly female – in the DIVAGRI project.

“Enterprising lives,” she says, “are lives that are pro-active and creative, visionary, agile; lives in which people act responsibly, think critically. Lives in which people continually grow and develop. So that is not only for entrepreneurs, but for everyone! 

“Our world is achingly beautiful from space but when we come up close there are many challenges,” she says. “My work is to outfit people with a skillset that will enable them to take on those challenges, each in their own way. I focus on three main elements: mindset, vision and toolkit”  

Ms Mapili’s journey into business excellence and enterprise development in Africa started while for a German B2B initiative, SAFRI, the Southern Africa Initiative of German Business, in 1997.

“We worked with companies all over southern Africa, helping them to develop action plans to improve their businesses. Some teams went home and implemented, others said “That was fun! Put their plans on the shelf, and continued working as usual. Something was blocking implementation.”

Over time she realized that the block was a result of a fixed mindset. “Some people believe success is due to inherent intelligence and ability, and that those cannot be changed. Therefore, if they try something new, and fail, it would show that they are not intelligent. That threatens their self-image. They are therefore risk-averse.”

In contrast, those who went back to work and implemented their action plans did so because they had growth mindset that viewed their successes as a result of their own efforts, rather than any innate ability they possessed. Failure, they understood, was something they could learn from.

A fixed mindset is  problematic because it makes people risk averse and unwilling to try new things, whereas a growth mindset enables them to embrace challenges and continuous learning through practice.

Mapili advocates “audacious dreaming”. She encourages people to envision themselves and their surroundings at the age of 100. “Life is good!  The future you see fills you with pleasure and satisfaction!”

“Then ask yourself”, she says: “What did I do to make that future happen?” The vision once obtained enables one to live purposefully.

Finally,  proceeding toward a vision requires a toolkit:  skills, knowledge and behaviors that will support you on your journey. These include, for example, agility, perseverance and flexibility; but also analytical and planning skills.

“My work has basically moved from promoting business excellence to enabling people – including many aspiring and existing businesspeople – to lead enterprising lives. That is what we need for a dynamic society and a sustainable future!” she says.