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A tale of two organisations

This column’s last week article tagged “Kano versus Dubai-the difference” has been described by most of the readers as a tale of two cities. That was one of my options. Still, the desire to relate it to the Nigerian situation prevailed and helped me in using Kano, one of the principal cities in Nigeria to explain my message. However, the theme and the lessons are clear to all from the responses I received. The difference between our Kano and the Dubai we craved for is in one word, leadership.

Most of the organisations have in December marks the end of the year for many organizations and comes with a rush of activities. It is either there is a pressure to finish well, or there is an ongoing reflection on how to be better in the year 2020. Whichever way, organisations have begun communicating with their staff and other stakeholders in the form of expected financial result or divided to be declared, teams to be applauded or sanctioned, policies and strategies to be reviewed or refined following the impacts of regulations, economic environment or government pronouncements.

There are two sides of the divide when it comes to accountability after a period of engagement with the stakeholders. Some companies will be celebrating the year given the success of their strategies, as reflected in the results year-to-date. To these companies, it is time to reward the staff and other stakeholders, plan to repeat the performance in 2020, noting where there are needs for adjustment.

The second side of the divide are companies trying to meet up with the financial projections. Here, the slogan “finishing strong” and the threat of sanctions for staff is the order of the day. , negative communication by leaders who are threatened for being accountable for the poor outcome and what the excuse to give the shareholders for the below-average performance on their investment at the annual general meetings (AGM).

The difference between the two organisations with different year-end narratives is not far-fetched.

some organisations have fewer branches and resources invested, moderate staff strength and publicity, but better return on investment to the shareholders, engaged staff, loyal customers and good internal process for managing the stakeholders.  While their counterparts are not effective even with enormous opportunities and resources deployed during the year

The difference between what is going on in the companies is nothing other than the productivity of the staff and the culture. Productivity is, however, not a word that is infused into organisations without efforts. It is an output of the mixture of the brand, products, and process, staff commitment and engagement with customers in the organisation.

The culture of any organisation is so influential that it always eats the strategy, customers and even the most cerebral workforce for lunch if not in alignment with them. In other words, any commercial project or aspirations not in line with the culture will be confined to the casket soon or later.

So, if culture is that powerful, who is responsible for it in any organisation? The custodians of the culture are the owners and leaders of the organisations. The culture that has helped some companies deliver value year on year and transformed businesses into sustainable institutions is simply the ownership culture of the employees. Productivity is a function of ownership. I will illustrate this with how the fans of Flamengo FC of Brazil displayed the concept of extreme ownership on Wednesday 20th November 2019.

Flamengo FC was billed to play River Plate FC, the champions at the Copa Libertadores final match on 23rd November at the Estadio Monumental, Lima Peru. The fans of Flamengo gathered in a first of its kind send forth procession for the team. All the fans gathered around the team official bus, and were shouting, singing and escorting the team to the airport for the flight to Peru.

The outcome of the send forth procession is in the history book. Flamengo FC came back from a one-goal deficit to defeat River Plate FC in the final. The winning goal was scored by Gabriel Barbosa in the 92nd minutes to give the Brazilian giant the most prestigious trophy of South America’s biggest club football competition.

Behind Flamengo’s performance was the motivation by an essential element of the stakeholders before the match. The victory-like send forth parade was a motivation playing in the mind of the players and gave them the ownership mindset to do all it takes to bring home the cup for the fans.

Employees of organisations who lead in accomplishments and deliver values for their shareholders consistently have the infusion of skill, and the culture of extreme ownership in a learning and performance-oriented environment. A perfect strategy and out of the world process will fail if the human aspect of business engagement is not motivated to deliver beyond the tools.

My journey as a business and leadership consultant has validated the fact that there no sustainable business without engaged employees who are not necessarily the highest paid in the industry but feel valued. What makes employees valuable is the culture in the workplace environment.

So, the starting point for a consistent business performance and industry leadership is the creation of extreme ownership culture in the employees and, not the slogans and threat of replacing the people at will. In 2020, your culture will determine the engagement of your employees and the rate of returns on the shareholders’ investment.

BABS OLUGBEMI

Olugbemi FCCA, is the Chief Responsibility Officer at Mentoras Leadership Limited and Founder, Positive Growth Africa. He can be reached via email on babs@babsolugbemi.org or 08025489396.

 

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