Two Dozen Basic Management Principles (Pt. 4)

The four boys were loaded into a truck – a much nicer truck – and taken to Kakuma. Kakuma was a United Nations refugee camp and it became Lopez’ home for the next ten years. Life at Kakuma was not a picnic. After the three older boys disappeared from the camp – Lopez never saw them again – he moved into a tent of ten boys in camp section fifty-eight. This group became his new family. Each one looked after the other. They shared what little they had with one another. Let me share a couple of snapshots from his time at Kakuma. Food — Once a month, the UN called their names for the food distribution. Each received a bag filled with grain, some oil, a little sugar, and a little salt. When they got back to the tent, they combined their rations and hid them in the tent from the older boys who preyed on younger, weaker boys. Even with pooling their rations, they only had enough grain for one meal a day. Six days a week they ate their meal in the middle of the night. That way, they were the hungriest when they needed their strength the least. Management Lesson #4 — Live Within Your Means It is easy to be successful when you have access to unlimited capital funds. It is easy to be successful when you can raise your operating budget 5% every year. It is something different when you are asked to do more with the same amount or fewer dollars. Lopez learned very quickly how to ration out the limited amount of food he got. This was made even more important when that ration was cut by 50% due to a famine in Kenya. Can you be so disciplined? Can you be successful if your budgets are held flat or cut? Can you learn to live within your means? Six days a week they ate only one meal but one day was different. Every Tuesday around noon, workers left the fenced UN compound and pushed wheelbarrows to the far side of the camp. Every boy in the camp listened for the squeak, squeak, squeak of the...

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