MH. Tell us about yourself?
AM. I am a first born in family of five. I lost my father when I was 13 years of age but I thank God for my strong mother. She believed in me and went into the street to become a banana vendor for me to go to school, right through to University. I am a practising attorney by profession, an author as well as a transformational speaker. I am a Partner in a reputable firm in Harare, Clairwood Chambers, where I specialise in Corporate Advisory, Legal Drafting, Consultancy, Arbitration, Litigation, Conveyancing and Notarial practice.
MH. What was your first job?
AM. I worked as a relief teacher at Nyajena Primary School where I had to walk close to 20km from the main road to the school, and did my last relief teaching work at Nyabata High School in Renco Mine in 2004. I am thankful to God as this became the foundation I needed to develop my passion in writing. I started working on my first educational guide for “A” Level Divinity at Nyabata High School, and today I have seven (7) educational books which have been approved and recommended for use in all schools by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
MH. Where do you see yourself in ten years time?
AM. • I want to be an international brand on global business speaking and consultancy. I want to focus more on international speaking engagements.
• On the legal side, I would have published several legal textbooks which will be used in universities, colleges, courts, and in business. There is a general reluctance in Zimbabwe to write. I will still be going to court but not at an accelerated pace, due to my diary.
• I want to set up a Speaking and Writing Academy where I will be able to mentor and groom young speakers in Zimbabwe and in the region.
• I would have secured a good international publisher for all my inspirational books as I want to widen my outreach of books.
• My goal is to write 40 books before I reach the age of 40.
MH. You are also a motivational speaker and a writer please tell us more about that.
AM. This is passion that I discovered, I have never let go. I love to see people’s lives change. I have a humble background, I grew up in a difficult environment but regardless of all this, I still made it. I have dedicated my life to challenging people to challenge their limits. So that you may know, I have a “U” in Mathematics and a “C” in English at “O” Level, a “C” in English at “A” level, and a “C” in University Communication Skills. I was not able to speak fluent English up to University, that is perhaps why you never heard of me, but all that changed when I realised that there is great potential in me, and I started to work on myself. I moved from speaking to individuals in “kombis” to speaking to thousands of people in conferences, millions on radio, and millions more via television and the various newspapers that I write and have written for.
My life can be summed up in this one signature statement, “I want to inspire someone. I want someone to look at me and say, “Because of you I didn’t give up”. Writing has given me an opportunity to communicate and inspire people from different walks of life. Where I cannot go, my books go. I multiply myself through books. I have written 13 books so far, my goal is to reach 20 books in print by the end of the year 2017.
MH. What are the most important qualities a business professional in Zimbabwe should have?
AM. We can spend the whole day discussing these, but there are 10 qualities that I believe are universally important for all professionals in Zimbabwe. I will share just a few of these.
Choices – decision making is very important. You are where you are because of the quality of choices that you made. Choices can make you just as much as they can break you. Excellence is a choice, and so is mediocrity. Personal Development is a choice, and so is stagnation. Justifying mediocrity is a choice, and so is challenging and defying it.
Clarity – one must know what one wants and go for it. It’s often said if you do not know where you want to go, any road will take you there. Clarity of purpose, clarity of motivation, clarity of thought, clarity of association, clarity of direction, clarity of strategy. King Solomon says where there is no vision, people perish, and where there is vision people flourish.
Courage – You have to believe in yourself and acknowledge that you are the one who has to make things happen. You have to believe that if things are to improve in your business, you have to take the initiative. Successful people are not afraid to take risks.
Consistency – I believe successful people are successful because of their routine. Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act but a habit.” Be consistent in developing =yourself, be consistent in adding value to people, be consistent in strategy and execution.
Character – this is one of the most neglected areas in business and in life. Work on your character, as opposed to your reputation. Reputation is what people think of you, but character is who you are. Your character will soon ruin your reputation. Corruption, laziness, fraud among other things are all character issues. No one is corrupt because they are in office, they were already corrupt but the office gave them an opportunity to manifest their true colours. Power does not corrupt, power exposes corruption. Discipline is key!
MH. If you could turn Back time, what would you change in your life?
AM. I would not want to go back in time. I believe that I am where I am now because all the experiences I have been through in the past, some good and some negative. All these experiences have made me a better person. Now my approach is to focus more on what I am able to do and do it to the best of my ability.
MH. What is your major achievement?
AM. I would not want to think I have reached this level, but I would want to adjudge my achievement in terms of impact, and not the monetary side. I thank God that I have been able to reach out, speak, and mentor several people throughout the country at a young age. I have toured all the 10 provinces in the country and spoken to thousands of students with no donors involved. I would love to have partnerships so that we can effectively reach out to remote areas and mentor and inspire young people. I have been able to speak at very big conferences, ones I never thought I would ever have the privilege to speak at in my entire life when I started speaking. Among all these achievements, one that I am most proud of is that I have managed to put a smile on my mother’s face. This to me is priceless. She is a happy woman wherever she is and is proud to say that is my son.
MH. What do you consider yourself good at doing?
AM. I am a people person. I connect with people, and that is why I am passionate about bringing the best out of people. God has given me the opportunity to speak to lives, and this I do effortlessly.
MH. How would you decide on your objectives?
AM. I commit my finest energy to my finest priorities. I plan my days in advance and that way I am able to clearly categorize and prioritize my objectives. I do not believe in activity, I believe in action supported with results.
MH. How do you manage your day?
AM. I do a lot of things so I have to be strong on planning. I have a diary for everything, speaking, court cases, meetings, and court attendances. I give priority to court cases, and to my clients. I write books after work, and I sleep after midnight daily. I can do a lot in a day.
MH. What motivates you?
AM. Making a difference. Seeing lives change and improve is the greatest fuel in my life. If I do not do what I am doing, God will raise someone else to do it, and I will miss out on the fulfillment that this brings.
MH. How do you cope without motivation?
AM. I cannot cope. It’s very difficult. I make it a point to stay motivated. My life revolves around motivation. People call me because they need encouragement, and inspiration. I have to be inspired so that I can inspire others.
MH. Describe your ideal work environment?
AM. I cherish and thrive in an environment which recognizes and celebrates potential and talent. I am thankful that I have such an environment. It is easy for people to feel intimidated and jealous about what you do, but if you are in the right environment people are actually happy for you. I have engagements that need me out of the office midweek at times, and the Firm has been supportive. I also enjoy a quiet environment.
MH. Describe your worst work environment?
AM. It will be exactly the opposite of the above.
MH. Tell me about a time when you successfully handled a situation?
AM. This is what I do almost every day. I help resolve disputes, settle cases, help people who are about to commit suicide. I would not be able to go down into the nitty-gritties.
MH. Tell me about a time when you felt that you dealt with a situation inadequately and how has that changed how you would approach the same situation?
AM. I have learned to evaluate myself when ever I do something, and deep down I can tell myself that I have not done my best, and see room for improvement. Even when I win a case, I still want to ask myself whether I did my best. I have changed my drafting style several times because I felt there was room for improvement. I do the same even when it comes to arguing matters. The same with my speaking engagements. I listen to my recordings and watch my own videos for improvement in the next engagements. It has worked so far.
MH. What decisions do you find easy to make?
AM. I make decisions daily, but sometimes I think I do not make decisions daily because many of these are now in the routine. It’s more of habits in motion. I find it easy to decide on what to wear, what to do every day when I get to the office, what to eat, where to eat, what to drive, what to read, and what to write if I need to write.
MH. What decisions do you find difficult to make?
AM. I am single. Choosing a partner for marriage I think has been one of the most difficult decisions to make. I have handled divorce cases for both high and low profile figures. Trust me, it’s never a good experience. This has reminded me of the importance of making the right choice when choosing a life partner. Inevitably, I will make the decision though not hurriedly.
MH. Do you like to work in a team or on your own?
AM. I would say both. In a team because I get to maximize on the strengths of other people and alone in the sense that I also need to develop myself so that I add value to other people in the team.
MH. In your view, what are the major problems/opportunities facing the business industry?
AM. Problems – the general economic environment has not been fair to many businesses. There are several problems facing businesses in the country, and I would be lying if I say I will exhaust all of them. The cost of operating is significantly high. The formal sector is under threat from the informal sector. There is someone who has a shop selling clothes, which they have declared and paid duty for, and there is someone who is selling the same clothes which might have been smuggled into the country with no duty paid. The same people have to sell clothes at the same price. The formal sector is faced with many challenges. The tax man is on the door at the end of every month, accounts are garnished, and accounts have not been settled. There are several labour cases with employees claiming their salaries. There is also a serious default rate on debtors, and that’s why we become busy with debt collection. Every sector of the economy has experienced such shake ups. The situation has been worsened by the cash crisis. Some businesses rely on imported products, and now with the rate at which the transfers are being processed many businesses will not survive. The problems that businesses are facing are a reflection of how the economy is generally performing. The environment has to enable businesses to start instead of stifling them at birth. With the talk of ease of doing business, I hope there will be changes which will promote business growth.
Opportunities are in crisis. The focus for the business people is to provide effective answers to the problems. Debt Lawyers are busy as people are defaulting, medical industry is also busy as people need constant attention when they are depressed, insurance business as well as people cannot afford to remain exposed where is no uncertainty, funeral industry as well because people are dying and someone has to be paid, food industry has serious opportunities as people tend to spend more even when they don’t have the money.
Payment solutions are also making money through the specialised platforms for money transfers; mobile communications companies are making money through the provision of data services to their clients.
Social media has become important to people’s lives daily. This is an opportunity for people to capitalise and make real money.
MH. Do you prefer to manage yourself or let someone else do the managing?
AM. I manage my diary, in communication with my Personal Assistant. That way it makes it easy for me to operate.
MH. Are you a leader or a follower?
AM. I am both. I need to follow someone so that I can be able to lead. There is no leader who was never a follower.
MH. On a lighter note what kind of car do you drive?
AM. You should have asked me what my first car was (laughing). I drive a Mercedes Benz. I like the convenience that it provides when I am travelling.