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15 Startup Lessons From IMF Chief Christine Lagarde On Her Visit to Kenya

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image  by Sam Wakoba,

1.Stick to your guns

IMF MD Christine Lagarde has said that the body will revise upward its global growth forecast of the economy, as she was wrapping up her two-day visit to Kenya.  She was visiting after a final disbursement of the a $750 million loan to Kenya. Analysts argue the loan may have been unwisely as the government is looking to raise a soft loan from IMF again, a month after the final disbursement.

The misuse symptoms could be the causes behind the IMF’s raising the global growth forecast just three months after it lowered them in the October World Economic Outlook report. According to the IMF economies in the emerging markets are losing momentum as advanced economies rise due to change from easy-money policies which have slowed capital inflows to emerging market economies.

As a CEO of your startup do what is right even after a party with your friends, team or investors, you are the CEO.

2.Stand out, be an outlier

Firstly, she is the first woman to head helm of the IMF, she has beat many odds to become who she is today,and she is fiercely competitive world. She didn’t come from nowhere, she was a finance minster back home in France.

As a teenager, she took to two swimming after French schools shut down in a student uprising. She went ahead to win a bronze medal in the national swimming championships. She says she learned, ‘Grit your teeth and smile’,” which has been helpful to her in the political world. It a game of resistance and endurance. Being in tension and in control. She has been everything most french women just admire to become but minus the effort and determination to achieve.

3. Don’t be predictable

She might have partied and smiled with Kenyan dignitaries but she stuck to her guns. Never be predictable like her, she might grit her teeth and with her lovely white teeth, everyone will smile, but in her mind she will be making decisions on raising growth standards.

4. Be confident

VC’s want founders who are confident-note we are not talking about sales speeches here. The IMF chief doesn’t undermine herself, she instead wants to help women who do. It’s argued that her stay way from France saw her rise to who she is. She has a strong command of English and knows what she is up to, to finer details. Do your homework, be confident in the truth you know, be knowledgeable with facts not boasting in crappy sales speeches.

5. Face your fears

Before her election to the top job, she had to convince the world that she was worth being voted for. She went to China to do so. She convinced the stakeholders in an afternoon. If you fear, you will never go out to do it. She ventured into Law, French politics and international finance which are a reserve for men in her society and she has been good at it.

6. Be Lucky and use your luck

She is the only girl to her parents. She was born on New Year’s eve. Her dad was an English professor and she is so good at it. Her mum was a Latin teacher, she went to America’s to study. Even when her father died when she was just 17, she knew she would make it. She is beautiful and knows her charm keeps men listening.

7. Never give up or think you are weak

After studying in America, she came back home to study law, She failed the exams to get into the French civil service twice and therefore not allowed to practice law in France, she then joined Baker & McKenzie, an international law firm where she rose to board chairman. Now she is the chairman of the IMF, not chairperson.

8. Be quick to respond to change

When was asked to join the French government in 2005, she left in a hurry and forgot her glasses behind and couldn’t recognize people who sat with her in the first cabinet meeting. Then as a the finance minister she asked for a review of the 35-hour working week.

9. Make friends and keep them

Lagarde made many friends from across the world which were helpful to the French government. She persuaded the German government to reduce VAT in French restaurants. One night she called Henry Paulson, the then US treasury secretary not to let AIG to collapse. She visited her former Chicago apartment-she lived their six years ago but because she made and kept friends, the janitor ran to her, kissed her and said she had been missed so much.

10. Work out regularly

Apart from her swimming, she is a vegetarian, religiously goes to the gym every day and cycles over 20km once a week. She believes that success is an endless combat and each morning more tests for combat.

11. Give praise where it’s due

She praised the Kenyatta government for making great strides towards economic development.

She said, “I congratulated President Kenyatta and his colleagues for the remarkable progress made over the last few years. Kenya’s economic conditions have continued to improve thanks to a far-reaching reform agenda. The external and fiscal positions are now stronger, inflation has been tamed, the economy has maintained solid growth, and rapidly expanding financial inclusion has given millions of Kenyans a stronger stake in the economy. In short, Kenya has achieved the objectives set by its economic program and supported by the IMF.


12. Let your staff be self-driven

Give time and chance to your staff and let each department minus less supervision and just walk in to evaluate. She gave Kenya money to do with as they wanted, then on last disbursement of the $750 million loan she came to inspect. We shall soon see her recommendations.

13. Give everyone a chance

As a CEO of a startup, forget growth-hacking, experiential strategy and product design or UI for sometime, focus on the people, let them do what they want or know best, then as the several align their tasks to your companies objectives. Startups will be geat if they got this peope-first mentality in them. As IMF chief, she gave Kenya a loan and minus SAPs, etc, Kenya had its own budget and timelines, they had a chance to use their money as it best suits their needs.

 14. Give attention to details

She wanted special emphasis on; a) Fiscal devolution is essential, b) Improved public spending needs to improve by providing more resources to infrastructure investment and social programs, and by strengthening revenue mobilization and transparency, especially in the management of natural resource wealth. c) Regional integration.

15. Be down to earth

Meet everyone, even your janitor and be nice until they mess up and see the lion in you

She met President Kenyatta, Treasury Secretary Rotich, Central Bank Governor Ndung’u, and other senior government officials. Then she also met parliamentarians, civil society organizations, women leaders, and the private sector and the press.



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