Understanding the Agile Mindset from Apollo Makubuya’s Vantage Point

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Last updated on November 17th, 2022 at 01:14 pm

Sometimes, the worst of times come with the best of moments of growth for those that seek to explore the opportunities available. The Coffee With Alice mentorship program is one of these unusual opportunities. Coffee with Alice is a brainchild of Counsel Namuli Alice Blazevic, a partner at Katende, Ssempebwa and Co. Advocates, aimed at bridging the gap between the theory learnt in Law School and the challenges of the legal profession.

The program has organised online virtual mentorship sessions with live discussions on Twitter and Facebook. One of these much-anticipated sessions was the 24th April 2020 session on the very rare but highly relevant topic of Understanding the Agile mindset with Owek. Apollo Makubuya, a Partner at leading commercial law firm MMAKS Advocates as the Guest speaker.

With a number of aspiring lawyers and young lawyers tuned in as a virtual audience, the prominent lawyer delved into sharing on not only the day’s topic but also priceless lessons learnt from his long-spanning experience as a lawyer in Uganda and elsewhere.

‘What is success?’, the author of “Patronage, Protection or Plunder?” wondered, before asserting that it is the attainment of one’s goals. The audience was then served to a menu of critical factors for success in the legal profession.

“Goals- have a North star…have a purpose. Be intentional, purposeful towards a goal” Owek. Makubuya counselled.

“Intellectual capital, knowledge, skills, specialisation and continuous improvement, Personality and character matter-Honesty, integrity, reliability and a positive outlook”.

Owek. Apollo Makubuya’s raft of lessons also included Humility and empathy, Branding and development of networks.

” Contacts open doors..broaden your network constantly” He said.

” Hard or smart work- be organised, priorities, and be disciplined ”

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Never has an agile mindset ever been as necessary as it is in these rapidly changing and uncertain times.  According to Owek. Apollo Makubuya, agility is the “Ability to quickly learn and unlearn.”

Quick adaptation to new laws, new technologies in the legal profession is something the 25- year long experienced Advocate emphasised. An agile mindset also calls for quick and innovative responses to clients problems and situations.

Aspiring and young lawyers alike were also advised to identify areas of specialisation by finding their “sweet spots.”

“What makes you tick? What are you the best at?” he pondered.

Agility requires one to grow and expand their networks, according to Owek Makubuya.

“Hire the best and fire the rest” he advises.

Aspiring and young lawyers were also implored not to look for what others can do for them but rather what they can do for others while building supportive networks.

“Individual agility can be limiting…collective agility is critical for success”

To attain an agile mindset, the audience was advised to resort to reading and training, coaching and mentorship, speaking to role models and depending on analytics- data and information to guide decision making.

This flexible, fast and focused agile model Counsel Makubuya would then summarise in the acronym A.G.I.L.E  with A standing for anticipating change through sensing and monitoring. G, to mean generating confidence through connecting, aligning and engaging. I, for the initiation of action based on decision making and collaborating. L, for liberating thinking through having idea diversity, customer focus and elimination of bias for innovation. And lastly E, for evaluation of results through seeking for real-time feedback and fact-based measurement.

Now, uncertain times, like those our generation is faced with are best met with action. From the session, we gather that for this action to lead to success, we must make it with an agile mindset.

Because like Owek. Makubuya averred, “Successful people are agile people. They face challenges and fight to overcome them. They constantly lookout for opportunities and do their best to exploit them. Agile people are learning and unlearning.”



Christopher Percy Mpindi is a Former President of Makerere Law Society.

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