The eighth CEO’s forum organised by Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability and Professionalism (LEAP) Africa engaged chief executive officers and entrepreneurs on the impact of corporate culture as a tool that supports organisation in achieving its long-term goals.
The CEO’s forum and book launch held in Lagos, had the theme: Make or Break Your Company’s Future: Corporate Culture. Stressing the significant influence of leadership on culture, the forum exposed entrepreneurs to the dynamics of leadership and how a company’s values are shaped by its founders or its management team.
The forum also availed top CEOs and entrepreneurs a platform to discuss corporate culture from different perspectives including strategy, human resource (HR) management, leadership and business growth.
Yemisi Ayeni, LEAP’s board chair, and managing director, Shell Nigeria Pension Fund, in her opening remark, said “the LEAP’s Business Leadership Programme has inspired, empowered and equipped about 4,500 entrepreneurs with the skills and tools for building sustainable businesses.” She saw the forum as a platform that would help influence the outlook of smaller businesses and assist in solving similar challenges faced by CEOs across sectors in Nigeria.
Innocent Chukwuma of Ford Foundation in his speech lamented poor attitude of most companies towards its corporate culture in a bid to maintain its bottom line, expand its scope and provide the necessary infrastructure for the smooth running of business.
He advised companies to institute an effective system that would aid stimulate corporate culture in line with company’s strategy.
Speaking at the forum, Kofo Akinkugbe, managing director, Secure ID, in her paper titled: Aligning Strategy and Culture, also lamented the lack of corporate culture in most companies.
According to her, a company’s corporate culture should always be aligned to its strategy, as well as designed strategy, and an ill corporate culture will lead to doom. “A company’s culture should always evolve as its strategy evolves,” she said.
Joe Hudson, managing director, Lafarge Cement WAPCO plc, stressed that “a company’s leadership remains key to maintaining a sustainable culture,” highlighting rules, regulations and standards as important agents in driving positive corporate culture in any organisation.
Continuing, he said that “while the human resource has a vital role to play in developing a positive corporate culture, it does not limit to the human resource department as every unit in any organisation has a role to play in building a sustainable corporate culture.”
Alberta Ocran, chairman, Legacy and Legacy, Accra, Ghana, in his paper titled: The Role of Leadership in Defining and Preserving Culture, urged leaderships to create a timeless impact at any time they were at the helm of affairs.
He also stressed the need for entrepreneurs to deliberately cultivate a strong culture within their organisations that could be sustained for generations.
“Corporate culture is a critical element of corporate strategy,” said Sam Ohuabunwa, founder, Neimeth Pharmaceuticals. In his view, strategy should be implemented consistently, and management should also align staff to its new strategy.