A global conference speaker, strategic leadership expert, author and minister of the gospel, SAM ADEYEMI, who profoundly provides business advisory, and is CEO of Sam Adeyemi GLC Inc., Success Power Inc., and founder of Daystar Christian Centre, spoke with KEMI AJUMOBI on leadership, nation building and the youths. Excerpts.
Sam Adeyemi helps leaders to see possibilities and to become those possibilities. He is a global speaker, strategic leadership expert and minister with specialist insight on developing economies.
Sam Adeyemi has trained thousands of people in leadership for more than two decades. He has done this through the Daystar Leadership Academy (DLA), which has graduated over 45,000 people since 2002, and through seminars, workshops and conferences. He currently serves as mentor to hundreds of top CEOs in Nigeria.
As a global conference speaker, he has addressed audiences in the United States, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, South Africa, Nigeria, India, and several other countries. In 2015 and 2017, he spoke at the Global Leadership Summit, a global conference attended by over 400,000 leaders in 130+ countries.
He holds a Master of Arts degree in Leadership Studies from the University of Exeter, UK, and a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University, Virginia, USA. He is a member of the International Leadership Association.
Sam Adeyemi is the CEO of Sam Adeyemi GLC, Inc, Success Power Inc and founder of Daystar Christian Centre. He is married to Nike Adeyemi, a social entrepreneur, and they are blessed with children.
Why the passion to speak and coach on leadership?
I have leveraged electronic media, print media, social media, conferences, and books to teach millions of people on personal success for over three decades. However, I have seen people’s capacity to achieve their dreams greatly limited because of poor leadership. The level of human suffering is heartbreaking. We must improve our leadership culture and it begins with us knowing that every human has the potential to lead, and with us accepting responsibility to develop and use our influence positively.
Being a boss doesn’t equate to being a leader. Kindly elaborate on this and what one must do to wear both caps especially because it is doable.
Leadership is the ability to influence one or more people to achieve goals. This happens at all levels, not only at the top. Being a boss multiplies our capacity for influence. We can use that influence positively, empowering people to be their best selves. Or we can use it negatively, dominating people with fear. Sadly, many business owners and CEOs tell me many at the top of their organisations have poor people skills. Gratefully, they can be helped with coaching.
How can poor leadership destroy a company, a state or a country as a whole?
Poor leadership destroys morale and creativity, and frustrates the productivity of the greatest assets of a company, state or country and people. The weakest (and usually poorest) companies, states and countries are those that frustrate human potential. It’s not rocket science. The results are there for us to see all over the world.
Are leaders born or made?
Few positional leaders are born, like those born into royal families. However, most leaders are made. They are made as their minds and values are shaped in homes, schools, religious institutions, and other institutions. They are made as they try to solve their personal problems, and as they accept the responsibility to help others solve their problems. Becoming a leader is not a day’s job, it’s a daily job.
What insights can you proffer on developing economies?
Two professors of economics, Daren Acemoglu and James Robison said in their book, ‘Why Nations Fail’, that members of the elite class, a small number of people, always use political power to channel economic resources to benefit themselves and those close to them. The nations that have prospered the most are those that have promoted equality and curbed the power of the elite, allowing better distribution of wealth. The exceptions are monarchies where the leaders have empathy for their citizens. It’s in the interest of the elite class of developing economies to empower their citizens to prosper. It’s going to be increasingly difficult to govern impoverished people, especially the younger generation. Citizens should also exercise their influence and hold leaders accountable.
For more than two decades, you have trained people on leadership, what have you observed and learnt from this?
I have seen leadership training give people paradigm shifts in their mindsets. I often meet people who say that their best employees are products of our leadership training. Others that attended our training have found the courage and skills to found organisations. I am hoping that we can leverage our collective influence to shift the general leadership culture.
As a mentor to top CEOs in Nigeria, how do you measure the impact of your mentorship with them and what have you learnt and observed from mentoring these top professionals?
Becoming a CEO in Nigeria takes vision, hard work and a lot of grit. It’s also very challenging because of the high level of unpredictability. The CEOs are usually high achievers that are talented and smart. However, their greatest headache comes from the quality of talents they have to work with. This is a function of the quality of our schools and the prevailing culture of mediocrity. They also have to deal with a business environment that is not very friendly. I commend them for their positive attitude, which helps them to spot opportunities in the midst of chaos. My job as a leadership coach is to help them succeed more, especially with people management.
What danger lies ahead for CEOs who do not recognise that they need help in certain areas of their professional standing and how can it further affect their business if not addressed quickly?
CEOs come under tremendous pressure, like footballers playing in a major competition. While it’s easy for spectators to score goals with their mouths, the players have to make quick decisions knowing that members of the opposing team are coming for them. It’s easy for CEOs to lose awareness under such pressure. They may ignore some important parts of their lives like their relationships or their health. Their success usually changes the structure of their relationships and they may need to resolve conflicts that give them pain at home or at work (for example, they don’t teach you how to deal with envy in the MBA class). They may even need to resolve past trauma that is now surfacing and affecting their decision making. The best players in the world have coaches. They need high quality advice.
What must anyone who desires to be a global conference speaker like you know and do?
Public speaking is a skill and it can be learned. Be clear about the purpose of your presentation, whether it’s to inform, educate or entertain. Plan your introduction, main body and conclusion. Be a master storyteller, then use every presentation as a rehearsal for the next one. And while at it, be intentional about building your brand. Define your message and be visible.
You are big on people ensuring they stay humble and keep learning. With Masters and PhD in leadership, this is brilliantly still your line of thought. Why so?
The world is changing at a rapid rate. Knowledge is getting obsolete fast. We can easily become illiterates if we don’t update our knowledge. Humility is proof of wisdom. It is also the avenue to gain more wisdom, and wisdom brings success.
When you founded Daystar, did you ever see that it would get to the height that it has gotten to today? What do you believe are the sustaining factors?
The vision I had for Daystar from the beginning was that of a mega church, because of the level of impact God has called us to make. The vision is to raise role models and we need millions of them. That vision has sustained us. Our mission is to empower individuals to discover, develop, release, and maximise their potential. That has been our driving force and it has made us to be heavy in creating training programmes. Our values have also helped us to create a unique culture. They are: Innovation, righteousness, excellence, accountability and love. We have well established operational and management systems, and exceptionally dedicated people who run them.
There are pastors who have gone ahead to do great things after leaving Daystar. How were you able to build emotional intelligence and strength to handle their transition to greater heights, as this isn’t an easy process for other pastors or even CEOs when their strong hands leave. What advise do you have for them on this matter?
I know as a leadership expert that the purpose of leadership is not to acquire followers, much as that feeds our ego. It is to produce leaders. However, I’ve had to reinvent over and over to maximise my leadership potential, and to move from being a leader to being a leader of leaders. I’ve had to ‘die’ (figuratively) at one level to evolve to another. People’s behaviour can make a leader insecure, but we can’t stop taking calculated risks on people. Insecure leaders frustrate the potential of others. Producing successful people takes a leader from organisational leadership to industry leadership.
Tell us more about Sam Adeyemi GLC Inc., Success Power Inc., including impact so far.
The first Success Power broadcast aired on 8th February, 1995. We added conferences and the TV broadcast with time. I have met people in several countries and online who have benefited from our programmes. I established Sam Adeyemi GLC Inc. right after I completed my Doctor of Strategic Leadership programme, to enable me invest more of my time in advising leaders globally and training the people in their teams. These leaders determine the destinies of millions of people.
You are also passionate about nation building, why so?
I developed passion for reading as a child. I discovered my dad’s books that were authored by some of the main actors in the first and second military coups, and the civil war. I was moved getting to know of the distrust between tribes and religions, and how those issues have trumped development. Sadly, those issues still dominate our national discourse, while more Nigerians are sliding into poverty. The level of suffering and the waste of human potential just breaks my heart. I want to do my best to change the situation, so we can lay a foundation that future generations can build on.
You have a way of interacting with the youths that makes you endearing to many of them, how are you able to do this?
It is simple. I love them. I started leading young people as an undergraduate. It’s only a nation that does not have vision that does not prioritise investment in its youth. I will continue to empower young people and to advocate for an environment that enables them to realise their potential.
People say religion is the problem of Nigeria. Is this true?
I don’t think religion itself is the problem as much as the people practicing religion. While religion has the power to shape culture, culture also has the power to shape religion. The latter is our problem in Nigeria. The countries that our major religions came from are developed or fast developing. However, we are happy to use religion to manipulate people and to make them happy in their poverty. It’s likely we’ll be surprised when we get to heaven and realise that God has nothing to do with many of our practices. We just need to love ourselves more and agree to develop our country fast. Some are doing the right thing, but we can do better.
What must Nigeria do as a nation to get things right?
My first recommendation is a national discussion to agree to build a developed economy, while allowing and leveraging our diversity. We must devolve power to the individual and to sub national governments. This should be followed by the adoption of a new constitution. We’re not likely to make progress without a national vision.
As an author, tell us about your books
Some of my books address financial success because of the high level of poverty. These include: ‘The Parable of Dollars’, ‘Start With What You Have’, ‘Real Money’ and ‘Ideas Rule the World’. Others on leadership are: ‘Dear Leader: Your Flagship Guide to Successful Leadership’ and the second one is ‘Lead’. They can be purchased from Family First Bookshop at Daystar, Oregun, Lagos and Roving Heights Bookshop. Some are also available on Amazon.
There is a bit of God in every human. Don’t treat anyone any less than you would be comfortable treating God. This is the path to excellence in leadership. Thank you for having me on this interview.