Please wait, BREAKING THE COCONUT is loading...

Author: Charles Umeh

We are always as good as those we surround ourselves.

What this means is simply that we get better because people around us would have either inspired us positively or we turned around the negative energy and set ourselves on fire to literary burn for what we believe in.

So today I would be your tour guide as to why you need a thinking partner and how to identify one

Most times as we climb the ladder of our Careers we lose our root or we finally discover we are not as deep rooted as we thought we are. If we are aware, we would notice. If we are not, people would spot it out for us and lucky is he who finds those like this “Truth tellers” however the overall beauty is when we finally take action or come up with a strategy to fill in the gap. With this in view we are on a journey to becoming positively lethal.

Most times we need someone to provide us with a rich perspective and give us an opportunity to reflect on privately. Especially in the midst of our bountiful nothingness or to put it mildly in the midst of our own hype.

I would try to cover some grounds here with emphasis on the difference between an “Adviser and a thinking partner” and why you need the professional service of the latter.

Back in the days the kings had a “think tank” which was made of egg heads. In some climes one of the reasons being that it doesn’t take just royal blood to lead people it requires more.

Alexandra the Great was a student of Aristotle way back from when he was a boy and if we say greatness lies in Alexandra it was the sum total of all the men around him with due credit to his brilliance.

As the world evolved and there was more to life than wars we had people chasing career paths and global leaders seeking the services of a new breed of egg heads known as “thinking Partners”  an example is the relationship between Clark Clifford and two different Presidents of the United states of America J.F Kennedy and Lyndon.B Johnson

“The relationship I had with each man (Kennedy and Johnson) was quite different. When Kennedy called on me it was usually to play a clearly defined role on a specific problem –from the after match of the bay of Pig to the still crisis. Johnson on the other hand wanted my advice or observation on almost anything that might confront him. Johnson asked me to participate in important national security meetings which otherwise involved only government officials. Something Kennedy never did. In these meetings, I would say little unless asked to comment by the President, and even then I shared my views only with him in private.

Clifford’s description captures the essential description between two important but different advisory roles. That of the adviser and that of the thinking Partner.

President Kennedy turned to Clinton more for advice calling upon him as an expert to engage primarily in expert thinking. Clifford proposed alternatives and solutions to Kennedy’s tough domestic and international political problems Seeking expertise including in international law, diplomacy, defense and issue of national security.

Johnson would ask Clifford to take advisory roles to read and research materials report on critical issues and help him to find specific alternatives and solutions to tough problems at other times Johnson could ask Clifford to think through issues with him looking for strength and weakness .Other times Johnson would ask Clifford to be an observer rather than a direct participant. With time Clifford became a reflective foil and sounding board. This is the role of the thinking Partner”

Culled from  The Third Opinion by Saj-nicole. A.Joni, PHD.

For President Johnson, Clifford’s job took a new dimension combining expert thinking with exponential thinking which made him ask insightful questions.

The two relationships give us insight into what is required for the two job description.

You need someone to challenge your initial assumptions and help you see the broader implications you obviously are blind to.

More Requirements

He  Must be a great listener

He  must be an expansive thinker

One who can help you see the third opinion.

The third opinion normally comes from someone who is not in your immediate inner circle but exposed to the happenings of the circle which normally gives him a non-emotional Point of view.

Why do you need one?

Exponential thinking and for massive results says it all. Like earlier stated they are not advisers neither are they coaches however their insights via diagnosis could lead you to a Coach.


Whenever I play the role of a third Opinion with no string attached my inner mojo goes alive because the clarity of listening to various minds brings to the table various perspectives we are blind to.


Do you need a thinking partner? Let’s get to work!

Charles Umeh is a management consultant and author of the African Millennial heads- up guide to thriving as a change maker in Africa entitled Breaking the Coconut (available on and over 38,000 on line stores globally) host of the popular Pod-cast #TheBTCshow which shines the spotlights beyond businesses on amazing Change-makers and entrepreneurs as they relieve their recipe for thriving in Africa.

Email:[email protected]

The Tech Space in Nigeria could easily be classified green. with the outburst of several start- ups in the past five years and their thriving against its normal tidal odds.

However, my chat with the Managing Director of Future Soft Mrs. Nkemdilim Begho  took me on a new learning from her view point regarding entrepreneurship,The learning ecosystem in Nigeria and how we stand  a chance playing catch up.should we refuse to step up our game.

We delved into the negative role our educational system would play where the system  produce young people who don’t ask questions and  are more interested in cramming rather than understanding for self.

Below are snippets on our discussion and why you should listen to the two part Podcast here

You need bread and butter money in order to eat jam” not sure what that means, its the more reason you should listen here

There is a difference between a “Tech company” and a Tech driven company”

A tech driven company include sites like Jumia ,konga, Amazon , Alibaba, etc  mainly  they are retail business aided by technology. While a Tech Company build technology example of a tech driven company is FutureSoft.

Societal Pain

…Our education system has created people who are unable to ask questions…They  cram just to pass exams.

On “Tech” and the Future of Tech in Nigeria

With the change of “tech” constantly all we might finally get to do is play catch up to sustain the ecosystem. we have few hands who are capable of teaching it and passing it on

On Forming Partnership

While choosing a partner look for partners that compliment your skill- sets…it would be best to have friends or like minds  with different skill -sets on a team.

An ideal number to form a partnership should be 3! Why? One team member is able to break a tie when there is a need to.

And this wasn’t all about it .

This is just more reason why you need download the Podcast here


Charles Umeh

I carried out a social experiment on the real meaning of an African proverb thanks to Wilson joel
“Mami water we dey dance on top water him band members and instrumentalist dey under water”
I got several meanings I would share from my list of amazing friends I would spare them by refusing to call their names.

“The mermaid dancing on top of the water is dancing to a beat by Dre”

The mermaid dancing on top of the water is dancing to a sound the drum beat is from her goons under the water

The mermaid dancing under the water is dancing to her fellow spirit people

The mermaid dancing on top of the water is dancing to a song played by her bands men beneath the sea so don’t be mesmerized.

When you see a mermaid dancing on the river know that those who are playing the music are under the water beware

There is a reason to every happening

The mermaid is hovering in the aqua while the cohorts are submersible in the aqua( this fellow either has a degree in Agriculture, English language or in pastoral studies the choice of words were my reasons)

The success of one person is often dependent on community network or relationships which most times remain invincible


Though many kept cracking me up but really the best responses were the “I don’t know..”
But you see these were my lessons: firstly I don’t know the right translation.
l I tried though but all my translation cracked me up too I couldn’t even put it out

Secondly you would always have someone who knows better than you do so ask

Lastly which is the core of this you should visit our website to listen to our Pod-casts on Nigerian Entrepreneurs and change makers. we have them listed there already

There is a reason to every happening, the success of one person is dependent on network and relationships seams close though but how about this,what you are seeing as glorious today has been so much of a great foundation. So don’t be carried away Courtesy- Joel Wilson
Charles Umeh


Sharing Lessons learn t with Wilson Joel
Wilson Joel is the CEO of Doxology music. He is the first Nigerian music Producer in west Africa to be endorsed by German based music software company Steinberg.
He gives head-sup his journey on Entrepreneurship in the music business and how he stays sane on his part.

My time spent with him was super inspiring. From someone who eats, breaths and dines music. It was best getting his perspective on his journey beating his craft so I did some snippets from the Podcast available on
 Learn to embrace the process of beating your craft
 You have to get to that that stage of your life when you say to yourself this is it for me and dam the consequences of what your fears are.
 Patience as a virtue which must be embraced
 You need to stick to something for so long that everyone knows you for it.
 You need to refill your mindset with positive vibes.
 There are many things I want today but I don’t have yet there are many things I have presently I never had in the past.
 Learn to follow process. If you follow process you would stay on top of the game.
 You might stay aloof for a while but you wouldn’t sink.
 The picture of success we see most times is deeper than we see and comes more with hard work
 Nobody owes you a dime irrespective of how good you think you are.
 Be careful of what you attach your happiness to
 There is something everybody is good at whatever you are good at is what you should to be doing for the rest of your life.
 And if you meet obstacles you must continue until you get there
“Mami water we dey dance on top water, the band members and instrumentalists dey under the water”
Translation: The mermaid dancing on the sea has her songs being played by instrumentalists beneath the water.
Meaning:what you see as glorious today has been so much of a great foundation
You can listen to the Podcast on
Charles Umeh

Scroll to top