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The Advice My Father Gave Me

By – Peters Lois

Happy Father and Son Outdoors --- Image by  Robert Michael/Corbis

Its only a fool that keeps doing the same thing and expects a different result.

As a growing up girl, I was closer to my dad than my mom. My mom was the typical Margaret Thatcher. The house was always hot whenever she was around; no breathing space ever and I used to wish my mom wasnt my mom. I always admired that of my friends. Her mom was so soft and caring, giving her anything she wanted. But mine, Oku nere ere (spewing fire). So for us in my family, my daddy won our votes. In retrospect now, I thank God for the toughness of my mother. It is because of her ceaseless shouts and repetitions that I am where I am today. Nevertheless, my dad was quiet but hard. He had mastered the art of penetrating your soul with words. He believed in giving counsel not necessarily in beating and flogging. He believed that a word is enough for the wise, it was his mantra. So he raised us in that manner. It was in one of such scenarios that he gave me the advice above and this advice has hidden at the back of my mind since time immemorial. They have served like goads, carefully directing my steps and affecting my relationships with others.

So yesterday at the office, in one of our Tuesday meetings which was sacrosanct, a colleague raised an issue which the HR of my office attempted to dismiss, calling it inconsequential until I intervened. My boss believes in performance enhancement. He would like his staff exhibit rooftop performance and productivity so he believed in spare the rod and spoil the child just like my mother. But then the question was, with such good intention, how far has your strategy affected the productivity of the people?

My boss would often instruct that the HR deduct fines from staff who do not perform well or as expected for a particular day or time, especially for late coming. So one of my colleagues asked, If the consequence of late coming is a fine and deduction from your salary, how come the consequence of going late, which is overtime not additions and bonus to your salary? Now this put the HR in a tight corner where she couldnt answer anything because she knew well off that most times, the job we do keeps us in the office or in the field longer than proposed and nothing has been done ever to compensate the staff.

In her defense, she responded, So how then should we punish people for this misdemeanor and misbehavior in discharging their duties?

I quickly answered her by asking her a question, What is your goal? Why do you deduct peoples salaries? What do you want to achieve? Has deducting salaries effected any change?

At this point, she could not say anything. So I said, I believe that what we learn in business in that the goal determines strategy and if a strategy hasnt created the desired change, there then need to be a change in strategy because it is only a fool that does the same thing and expects a different result!

If really the goal is to step up the game of the staff, then it should determine the strategy. You cant expect anything more from a staff you dont train and bring up developmental plans and courses to see that they are exposed and yet somehow you expect them to perform like Harvard graduates.

This is also applicable to our individual personal lives even to the workers in my office. You cant keep doing the same things and expect a different result. If something must change in your life experience then your mindset must change, your methods must change, your strategies must change, cmon that is why there is such a concept like innovation!

Everyone wants to be successful but not everyone is doing what is needed to have the expected results. Brian Tracy said, If you do the right thing the right way, youll get the right result. So what is the one thing in your life right now that seems to have remained stagnant or a problem that seems difficult, How about you apply a different approach, strategy and method. Even to our relationships, why dont you try a different approach, just maybe the person will changehuh? Whatcha say?

Zig Ziglar would always say, Successful people dont go through life, they grow through life! This is what gives us the opportunity to be better at whatever we do and allows us see beyond the periphery and our current strategy. This mindset allows us to try and get better and achieve more and be better leaders in our organizations otherwise we would just have every other person to blame but us. And dont forget, its only a fool that keeps doing the same thing and expects a different result!

To your success, I take a bow!


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  1. As always Lois, brilliant piece

  2. Thank you Drew. You’ve been very supportive. God bless you.

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