Success Podcast Post

Empower to Change with Kubair Shirazee

George Grombacher June 1, 2023

share close

Empower to Change with Kubair Shirazee

LifeBlood: We talked about how to empower others to change, using proven business tactics to solve social problems, the opportunity that each of has to do good, the starting point to solving big problems, and how to get started, with Kubair Shirazee, enterprise agile coach, entrepreneur, and change advocate.     

Listen to learn why you’re capable of solving the big problems you’re concerned with!

You can learn more about Kubair at, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks, as always for listening! If you got some value and enjoyed the show, please leave us a review here:


You can learn more about us at LifeBlood.Live, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook or you’d like to be a guest on the show, contact us at contact@LifeBlood.Live. 

Stay up to date by getting our monthly updates.

Want to say “Thanks!” You can buy us a cup of coffee.

Invest in yourself. Bring it All Together.

Work with a coach to unlock personal and professional potential.

Our Guests

George Grombacher

Kubair Shirazee

Kubair Shirazee

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:01
One blood for this is George G. And the time is right welcome today’s guest struggle powerful poohbear. Shirazi cupbearer. Are you ready to do this?

Kubair Shirazee 0:09
I am indeed let’s go,

george grombacher 0:10
let’s go. Kibera is an enterprise Agile coach. He’s got over 20 years of experience, facilitating the transformation of teams, businesses and communities. In other words, he facilitates people who have a vision for moving past the status quo. And he is working hard to help people find peace through prosperity. cupbearer excited to have you on tell us a little about your personal lives more about your work, why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Kubair Shirazee 0:37
Thank you very much for having me, George. It’s, it’s a real privilege to be here to share this story with you. So personal life I am. We’ve got three kids, 1610, and eight. And girl, girl, boy, we got two cats. And yeah, between the five of them, me and the missus, are quite busy. But we do find time to do other stuff as well, which I’m going to talk to you about today.

In terms of my work, I’m an Agile transformation coach. So what I essentially do is train coach, mentor and facilitate individuals growing themselves. And then, you know, self reflect on how they want to work in a team, how they want to be in the enterprise, you know, and find purpose with other like minded motivated individuals to build high performing teams. And with that affect the enterprise and how the enterprise culture treats people and creates value, and eventually contribute back to society or not. What I’d like to talk to you about is something that kind of plan out of our commercial life, or a professional life, something called peaceful prosperity. So many, many moons ago, we had that conversation when I say we, this is me and my missus, Sahar, we had that conversation where we said, okay, so really good at helping individuals inspect and adapt. And with that teams inspect and adapt, and with that enterprises become more innovative, become more people centric. Why can’t we take those values and principles and practices and experiment and see if we can apply them in a super complex environment, which is society. So we designed a few experiments back in 2010 2011. And we haven’t stopped since we’ve, we’ve moved our model is really open source, it’s it’s bringing, design thinking and systems thinking inspire them at dynamics and, and creating programs that are free to use there a low cost there, they’re easily transferable. And with that, we’ve grown teams and helped and continue to help communities in Karachi and Pakistan, in nine cities in Yemen. And as of two years ago, in Cairo and Egypt. To date, we’ve impacted about just over 2500 micro entrepreneurs, and with that impacted, indirectly impacted about more than 16,000 people created nearly 300 jobs. And yeah, that’s the stuff that keeps us going.

george grombacher 3:17
I think that’s incredible. What was it that that that 1012 years ago, made you go down that path?

Kubair Shirazee 3:27
Well, it’s, it was a realization that, you know, we as individuals, and I say, when I say we, as individuals, I mean privileged individuals, right, those those individuals who had access to good education, will have access to a supporting community around them who have had access to, you know, state and non state institutions that have been there, you know, to help us in our journey to become who we are. And with that, there’s, there’s a sense of responsibility, right? That’s, I’d argue, even lent 1% of the 8 billion that walk up pale blue dot. And with that comes a greater sense of not just a sense, a greater responsibility to figure out how do we how do we bring the 99% with us? Right? Because that’s our community. So I’m a huge lifelong fan of Carl Sagan. Right? And as he’s as as Carl Sagan says, right? We’re just tiny pale blue dot and little blue marble, you know, and this infinite universe, and that’s our community, all 8 billion and growing off us. You know, because if you look at it from an outsider’s lens, we’re all just the same because we share this planet. And some of us have had the good fortune of having a nice, good journey a purposeful journey. In fulfilling one, then it becomes super important for us to give back. And I don’t mean just give back by putting some money in a charity, I mean, give back with our own time, our own ideas, and start our own movements, for the betterment of all, with that drive towards continuous improvement, not just stuff ourselves. Because like it or not, we live in a very interconnected and interdependent world, especially with tech, it gets keeps getting smaller and smaller, and clammy and Premier. So that’s awful.

george grombacher 5:39
I think that that I think that that makes a makes a lot of sense to me. And it’s something that I spend a lot of time thinking about. And so it’s, it seems obvious that, that you chose to approach the problem through the lens of what you’re already professionally successful at, and really good at, versus trying to do something totally different. So what are, for lack of a better term, maybe those table stakes, because because we all have needs, I need to be able to feed myself and take care of my family. And then once I meet these needs, I keep kind of progressing up. So you talked about frameworks and processes, what are what are some of those foundational ones?

Kubair Shirazee 6:26
So first and foremost, is the is the school of thought of design thinking, right? And I’m gonna quote Simon Sinek here and starting with the why. Right? So once you figured out the why you want to do something, then you find purpose. And then comes the what? How might we? So for us, the question was like, why is this important? It’s important because it’s existential. It’s important, because it’s not just about, you know, the environmental side of it, it’s about the people side, because if we want to impact the environment in a positive way, we need a different mindset for all a billion of us. Right, and the hope that when some of those reached corporate ladders and sit on the top, they’re going to do the right thing. And not, for instance, run to fossil fuel, just because things got hard. Right? So it’s starting with the why finding that purpose, and then figuring out okay, how might we bring this to life? And further, for us, it was through research, and through a lot of hundreds of conversations, you know, we came to realize, as a nation that the root of all evil is actually marginalization. The root of extremist or right wing behavior, is marginalization. Right. And it doesn’t matter whether that right wing extremists, is, you know, RSS in India, or ISIS in the Middle East, or how boys in the US, they all have some pain, and someone has reached out and grabbed and provided them with a hand that they’ve grabbed. And the reason why they’ve grabbed that hand is because they lack the ability to write their own narrative of change. We all we all want to write our own story. Right. And we all want to write a good progressive story that will be remembered, especially by our progeny, in our own community. Now, when we don’t have that ability, for various reasons, we feel cornered, we feel marginalized, we feel neglected. And then whatever hand reaches out to us to have with the promise of a progressive, positive change that is going to enable us to do so or enable us to be part of someone else’s narrative. We kind of latched on to it. Right? So for us, it became very important to enable individuals to create and write firstly, have that self belief that yeah, I got this. Right. I don’t, I don’t need a movement. I am the movement for my own betterment and my own future, for that for myself and my family, my community. And with that, enabling them to figure out how might they do it? Right. So first is like, why do you want to do it? So basically, I want one a better future for my kids. I don’t want my kids to be sitting on a street corner shining shoes, I want them to be a doctor or an engineer. I want them to have a good life. I don’t want them to go through the same hardships that I did. You know what, that is something that each and every one of us can relate to? Right? Because regardless of how much privilege we have, we want better for the next generation. Right? Regardless of how much comfort we have, we obviously want better because the drive for continuous improvement is within us and that’s that’s that’s always going to be there regardless. to how much or how comfortable we are, right? It’s about enabling them to figure out how am i de happen to that drive in a positive, constructive way. And the authors have their own destiny. So to say it, then we do that by bringing, you know, agile principles into it by bringing Agile values and teaching them about people centricity, P, teaching them about respect, teaching them about looking at the world and those around them through the same lens, right, so if they’re the fruit when the Viet in Cairo, or one of the cities in Yemen, or Pakistan, or anywhere in the world, when that fruit when the will meet George, it behaves in exactly the same way when he meets one of his impoverished community members. And he treats both of them with respect, and is equally concerned to connect with them as human beings. Right, because it’s that connection, that is going to help that individual move, up, move, move, create social mobility, because through that we build relationships through that we build, retain the customers, right through that, we will remove a to a degree, the friction of negotiation, and all of these things, right? They’re all common sense, but they’re not common practice. And when and especially when individuals are in, you know, living between a rock and a hard place, they don’t have the luxury to think about these things. So we kind of have this intervention, it’s a free program, we go in, and we teach them these things. We also teach them about how to run a business, because a lot of these people that are entrepreneurs and circumstances, right, like we’ve, we’ve got the privilege of being entrepreneurs of choice, right, George, the majority of our fellow human beings on this planet, they don’t, either you hustle, but you got hungry. So if you are gonna hustle, and we want to teach you how to hustle properly, right, and a bit of vision. So you’re not just hustling, you’re you’re creating value, creating wealth, to reinvest in yourself, in your business, in your family, in your community. And with that, not just grow your own social mobility, but that of your entire community. Right. And we’ve we’ve had examples of entrepreneurs where a handful of entrepreneurs, micron printers have have have created an app, well, that has lifted their entire community, you know, maybe a couple of degrees up within the span of, you know, a few years. And that is, that is what keeps a big smile on our face. That’s what makes us sleepeezee. Yeah, we’re, we’re doing our part. And what we did was we open sourced all of this, because we want you to come and steal our stuff. Right? And we teach you how to use it. Because what are we doing? It works, we’ve got more than 10 years of data. And that’s why we keep investing in it. Right? So we self fund this because as we were talking before we started, if you can take institutional aid. It comes with strings attached. And a big thing about our world as agile practitioners is we want empowerment. Right? And particularly as product owners or people with a vision, we don’t want people to dictate where and how are we going to take our vision, that’s, that’s operative, because we’re invested in it more than anyone else can be. And that’s why we self funded. And because it works, we keep funding it more. And because it works, we keep expanding it. But we have finite resources as everyone else, right? Where my wife’s a lawyer, I’m an Agile coach, we work and that’s how we fund this, right. And what we want to do is grow this exponentially. And the way to do it is to reach out and say, Hey, George, here are a bunch of programs, here are a bunch of structured programs that you can take, and within a couple of weeks, you can be on top of the bar and you could be running them, why don’t you go and run them in your own community. Right. And it’s not about the global south in the Global North, because there’s a lot of poverty in the Global North. Right, we just have to walk down the streets in New York, London, Seattle, Dallas, whichever big city and to see the homelessness. Right and as heartbreaking because we’ve got enough in our part of the world to not just house and upscale and recalibrate the homeless in in our cities on our continent. We’ve got enough to do it all over the world. Right. And that’s what only happen when we have this grassroots movement where in the vigils, like like myself, like you. So you know what, I’m not going to wait for the state to do this, I’m not going to wait for the federal authorities to do this, because you know what they’ve had hundreds of years and they haven’t done it. And that’s, that’s my bone of contention with, excuse me some very bright. And some very dear friends of mine work in the sector, which is international development. And my challenge with them is that look, if you were really if you guys were so good at your job, you would have developed and moved on. Right? You wouldn’t need me to step in, you wouldn’t need the hardest step and you wouldn’t need honey and Abdul Rashid and an unknown and David and Imran and Emma and Hamza in Egypt, or use Ryan, and Yemen to step in and do what, essentially you’re paid to do. Our tax dollars or euros or pounds, go to Elsa. And through this, I’m not criticizing, I’m criticizing there, what I’m saying is that, look, you guys need to rethink how you were right? And just have that self awareness to go like, you know what, maybe there is some truth and what this madman is saying that if we were really good at international development, we would have done out so ourselves out of a job. Right? Because that is, when I step into an organization as an enterprise transformation change coach, I’m immediately talking about my exit plan.

Right? And some businesses, some sponsors find it a little strange, a little bizarre, a little weird, when I go like, okay, so what do I need to achieve with you? What do I need to aid facilitate, support, teach, train and mentor you do? That would enable me to leave? Right, dude, we haven’t actually started working. I’m like, Yeah, but what’s the outcome, we have the outcome in sight, we can make the outcome transparent, then we can inspect our and adapt our weight to it. And once I’m there, I know my job is done. Right. And I will enable your own people to carry this forward, because there’s another bunch of people who could potentially, you know, benefit from what I’m doing here. So with that attitude of working ourselves out of a job, keeps us focused, right on getting the job done, in the most effective way, so that we can move on to the next adventure. And again, I go on and on, George, you love to stop me.

george grombacher 17:23
I think it’s all I think it’s all wonderful. Like I truly do, and that you’ve been doing it for over 10 years, suggests that it’s working. That is you are seeing results that people both desire to do this kind of work and have the ability to do this kind of work.

Kubair Shirazee 17:44
Indeed, and we’ve got some amazing stories. So if you have a look at our website on which is bring You’ll see lots of videos of before and after we’ve got a very active channel on Vimeo. We’ve actually just started moving stuff to YouTube. But we’ve got a very active and old channel on Vimeo where you can see some of our participants from like 5678 years ago. And then you can see some of them with their stories and narratives. Now we have one story went through really quickly narrated there’s a there’s a gentleman he’s a he’s a barber. Right. His name is Anwar, when we first met him back in 2014. He had a he had a towel and rusty scissors and comb would keep missing and and beaten up chair and a heartbroken mirror that used to hang on the side of a wall and used to do is conduct his business on the pavement. And we started working with it and we’re in over a period of time, like nine months later on, we’re a tiny shop with four, you know, fourth, fifth hand, Barber’s chairs. He had four apprentices if you needed if he wanted artwork, cut your head, they are booking an appointment with the guy, right? It’s a complete transformation not not just his business but his life. We have another story about a gentleman who who sells samosas those little potato things. And they are delicious by the way, they’re so delicious. The first time I met him I ate so many of them. He didn’t want to sell any more to me saying that, like you’re gonna get an upset stomach. And I was like dude, I can’t stop eating them. And he’s like, if you get an upset stomach, it’s not my samosas. It’s your good idea. It’s your greed and gluttony. And guess what? He was right after about 13 samosa like okay, I need to go right this gentleman he had a tiny stall you struggling in his business. And within a year of working with us, he was supplying to two local schools. He had a bunch of tables laid out in the evenings he started serving tea as well. And now we have I met this gentleman a year ago, he’s managed to educate. And this is, by the way, like, this is like a six year journey for him, he managed to get his son out of the country working in another country because he got enough money to get him some vocational training. Right? That is the generation changed. Right. And that’s the kind of stuff that’s that’s the impact that we have, like in Yemen, the the the micron for printer communities that we work with, they become a support structure for one another in a war zone. Right? It gives them the ability, leave their houses, come together with purpose in a small community, and share everything from what’s going on with their business, and how might they improve because, remember, Warzone or not, you gotta live you got to eat, you got to write some take refuge elsewhere, most have don’t even have that choice. So they’ve got to stay put. So how do we then work with those individuals, not just to help them grow their business and make some kind of living so that they can survive? But how do we keep keep them? You know, how do we keep them mentally healthy. So we’re like, okay, in Yemen, our primary objective is in revenue and profitability growth is getting these people together, so that they can have an alternative community a support structure, they can come to come and talk to us about it, whatever it is that they want to talk about, right? Just get them out of the daily grind. And give them once a month, give them a place where they can just come and be mindful about that one thing that we want to talk about. And then in Cairo, we entered the Cairo market, because one of our trainers from Yemen ama bless him, he moved to Cairo once he could leave after COVID. And when he got there, he saw the Saudi social strife in Cairo. Because most of the refugees from the Middle East and Africa, you know, whether some people will accept it or not, they don’t come to Europe. They go to Cairo, they go to South Africa, they go to Egypt, to go to Nigeria, these are the big economic centers of that great continent. And when they go there, those countries are already in some sort of strife. And then they just add to that, so to me picked up a lot of social tension between the locals. And the refugees from Ethiopia, from Sudan, South Sudan, red Korea, Somaliland, Somalia, Yemen. And any recently so what can we do here, I was like, well, we can treat them all as equals, let’s get them in a room. And let’s get the journey started not just for the locals, but also the refugees. And why that we started bringing local entrepreneurs, micro entrepreneurs and refugee micro entrepreneurs together and help them come up with that realization that you know what? I might have escaped a war in Sudan. But I’ve come here. And I’m the same position that George is a local in Cairo. We’re no different. And for the locals to have that empathy and go like, you know what, George is just a micro entrepreneur like me. Right? And together, we can crowdsource our way out of our challenges, rather than, you know, have start building up this hate that George has come to my country to take my job. So I do it, I didn’t have a job to start with. I’m hustling on the streets of Cairo. And that guy’s hustling as well, maybe we can hustle better together? Who knows, right? But just get that empathy. And those conversations started, that became our focus in Cairo to remove that friction between the local community and the refugee community. And in that they’re making money, right, in that they’re creating wealth for themselves and for the economy around them. And obviously, they’re loving it. And obviously, we’re grateful to the universe to be able to play a small part in enabling them to do so.

george grombacher 24:03
It’s incredible. It’s incredible. Goodbye, you and I can talk for hours. And I and I hope to I look forward to having you back on because I’m sure that everybody else wants to learn the details of the program. So where I know that you mentioned the website wants but give us all the places that people can learn more and start to engage.

Kubair Shirazee 24:30
Absolutely. And thank you very much for that opportunity. So this is a call to action to each and every person who listens and listens to George’s podcast and wherever the message reaches, right? We need to start we need you need you need to inspect and adapt and see what can you do at your own grassroots level. And I know each and every one listening to this ones too, right? Because that’s what you’re listening to George’s podcasts. Now, we’ve got a means to get you started. Now we’re not saying take only all programs, we were saying that, hey, there are a couple of experiments that work. We show you how to work them, take them, and run with them. And then on the basis of that you can design whatever experiment you want in your own community. You can find us on online, so we’re bringing TTP. So that’s bring us in br i n g, peace through prosperity. So We’re on LinkedIn has peace through prosperity. And those are probably the two best places to come. Because on our website, you’ll find details about the program. And from there, you have links to our Vimeo channel, our YouTube channel, a social media stuff, so you can go and have a look at the kind of trades we work with and the kinds of results that we get. You can reach out on LinkedIn, our team’s pretty much on LinkedIn where most of them are co founders are Zedi Shirazi, she’s usually the first point of contact, because she runs our mentorship and our coaching programs. So we’ve also launched the reason program where we’re taking professionals be a data scientist, or agile coaches, or Scrum Masters getting started in their journey or experienced ones, and getting them involved with certain specific teams. So we’ve got a, a recently certified scrum master working with a karate team, helping them with improve their ways of working and in that practicing their craft we’ve recently engaged with a data scientist is going to help us look at the mess that is our data over the last 10 plus years, right. And I say that because what that will enable us to do is even dig deeper into the data and bring even better narratives to the world and say that, hey, this stuff really works. And just get engaged, right? Reach out to us talk to us, and just get engaged. I know you’re all very empathetic human beings, right? But we use that channel that empathy to create some action. Because the we can’t rely on institutional action. I hope you realize that by now. And I hope you wit that you pick this up and you run with it, and bring change in your own communities. And with that, you know, oh, wow, I want I want to see a very happy pale blue dot before before I walked the next journey.

george grombacher 27:20
I love it. Well, if you enjoyed this as much as I did, she’ll compare your appreciation and share today share with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to bring p TPBRINGPT And check out everything we’ve been talking about today and start turning our empathy into action and coming to the recognition that if big organizations or whatever they are, were capable of getting us out of these problems, then they would have been helping us get out of these problems. And it’s incumbent upon you listener and and me and Kibera and everybody else that recognizes their ability, which we all have to start doing better. Thanks again, Cooper.

Kubair Shirazee 28:04
Thank you very much judge. Pleasure, and I hope to speak to you so

george grombacher 28:08
until next time, remember, do your part like doing your best

Transcribed by

Thanks, as always for listening! If you got some value and enjoyed the show, please leave us a review wherever you listen and we’d be grateful if you’d subscribe as well.

You can learn more about us at LifeBlood.Live, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Facebook.

Our Manifesto

We’re here to help others get better so they can live freely without regret
Believing we’ve each got one life, it’s better to live it well and the time to start is now If you’re someone who believes change begins with you, you’re one of us We’re working to inspire action, enable completion, knowing that, as Thoreau so perfectly put it “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” Let us help you invest in yourself and bring it all together.

Feed your life-long learner by enrolling in one of our courses.

Invest in yourself and bring it all together by working with one of our coaches.

If you’d like to be a guest on the show, or you’d like to become a Certified LifeBlood Coach or Course provider, contact us at Contact@LifeBlood.Live.

Please note- The Money Savage podcast is now the LifeBlood Podcast. Curious why? Check out this episode and read this blog post!

We have numerous formats to welcome a diverse range of potential guests!

  • Be Well- for guests focused on overall wellness
  • Book Club-for authors
  • Brand-for guests focused on marketing
  • Complete-for guests focused on spirituality
  • Compete-for competitors, sports, gaming, betting, fantasy football
  • Create-for entrepreneurs
  • DeFi-for guests focused on crypto, blockchain and other emerging technologies
  • Engage-for guests focused on personal development/success and leadership
  • Express-for journalists/writers/bloggers
  • General-for guests focused on finance/money topics
  • Lifestyle-for guests focused on improving lifestyle
  • Maximize-for guests focused on the workplace
  • Numbers-for accounting and tax professionals
  • Nurture-for guests focused on parenting
  • REI-for guests focused on real estate

Feed your Life-Long Learner

Get what you need to get where you want to go

Rate it
Previous post