• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Winning in 2024: A year of recovery

Winning in 2024: A year of recovery

Esteemed patriots and citizens of the world,

I write with a tremendous sense of responsibility considering the scale of existential challenges that leaders glocally (globally and locally) face in these disruptive times characterised by slow growth, failing business models, cyber threats and high inflation. Leveraging insights gleaned from diverse contexts and thousands of interactions with decision-makers globally as the founder of

TEXEM, UK, I present some actionable solutions for success in 2024.

In the crucible of economic challenges, Nigerian CEOs stand at the helm, poised for transformative leadership. Embrace resilience, chart strategic courses, and foster innovation to navigate the complex landscape. In 2024, let governance be your compass, steering toward ethical excellence. Forge strategic alliances, empower teams, and lead with unwavering vision to endure and thrive in adversity. This is your call to pioneer change, where leadership, strategy, innovation, and governance converge for a prosperous year ahead.

Navigating challenging economic times demands resilient leadership. Here’s a strategic blueprint for success in 2024:

Embrace innovation: “Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship.” – Joseph Schumpeter. Opportunity Identification, Problem-Solving Capability, Market Relevance and Strategic Evolution are many benefits of innovation in these uncertain times. Nigerian leaders could learn from developing countries like India, where technology leaders have transformed the landscape despite challenges.

Agile leadership: “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Warren Bennis. In these times of high inflation and heightened currency risks, leaders in Nigeria can learn from the agility and resilience of leaders in Brazil, who adapt swiftly to economic shifts.

Strategic vision: “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Gary Hamel. In these times of turbulence, leadership is tested, and true leaders thrive. In challenging times, CEOs with a clear vision successfully navigate challenges and win.

In these volatile times, strategic leaders need to optimise their decision-making credentials and oversight acumen. Leaders should examine and learn from the governance models in Singapore, emphasising and inspiring core competence that stimulates better accountability, effective resource allocation and efficient execution.

Diversification and uncontested market strategy.

In today’s intricate landscape, leaders must diversify, expanding operations into new markets, products, or services. For instance, leveraging the Africa Free Trade Continental Agreement’s potential. In contrast, the Blue Ocean Strategy creates uncontested market space; Nintendo’s Wii, with motion-sensing tech, tapped into a new gaming audience. Singapore, too, adopted a Blue Ocean-like strategy, becoming a global hub through a conducive business environment and innovation. Diversification lessons emerge from Mexico’s economy, offering resilience in uncertain times. Leaders should grasp both strategies, understanding that diversification mitigates risks, while a Blue Ocean approach seeks untapped market opportunities for sustainable growth.

Stakeholder collaboration: “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is a success.” – Henry Ford.

The capability to build strong relationships with diverse stakeholders is a resource that is unique and difficult to imitate. Nigerian leaders can observe how leaders such as Jeff Bezos (Amazon) thrived. Bezos transformed Amazon into a global e-commerce giant through collaboration with sellers, partners, and investors. Amazon’s success is deeply rooted in its ability to create a vast ecosystem of stakeholders.

Talent development: “In the end, strategy is about the organisation’s survival.” – Henry Mintzberg. A learning organisation or country will always turn challenges into vitamins. They would avoid complacency, denial and confusion and always aspire to renewal. To build a learning culture, leaders can glean valuable insights from how Malaysia focuses on talent development to ensure organisational resilience. Nigeria could develop its citizens’ competence in programming, entrepreneurship, customer service, arts, fashion, and entertainment and export this to the rest of the world.

Digital transformation: Data analytics empowers leaders with insights for informed decisions. Amid turbulence, organisations can use data to grasp customer behaviour, market trends, and internal operations, enhancing strategic choices. Nationally, a digitally transformed economy drives innovation and attracts investments, critical for Nigeria’s growth. Embracing technology to ease business, the government can spur job creation, boosting competitiveness. Rwanda’s digital transformation commitment provides a model for Nigeria’s economic resilience.

Public-private partnerships: Entrepreneurs, inspired by change, turn it into opportunity, as noted by Peter Drucker. Nigeria, following this ethos, should adopt an intrapreneurial mindset, fostering public-private partnerships for inclusive, sustainable development. Drawing insights from Kenya’s successful models, such as the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR and affordable housing initiatives, Nigeria can bridge infrastructure gaps. Public-Private Partnerships, as in Kenya, enable efficient resource utilisation, addressing demands for quality housing and enhancing economic development through collaborative expertise and shared goals.

Ethical leadership: “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower. Consider New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s emphasis on ethical leadership during the COVID-19 crisis. She utilised clear communication, people-centric decision-making, empathy and compassion, prioritising public health and economic support with fairness.

Social responsibility: “Leadership is not just about giving energy…it’s unleashing other people’s energy.” – Paul Polman. Social Accountability could help build public trust and legitimacy, foster national cohesion and drive inclusive growth. Nigerian leaders can glean many lessons from the success of socially responsible companies globally, positively impacting society and their bottom line.

Adaptive governance models: “Governance is not just about the organisation’s legal compliance. It is also about creating a culture that allows good things to happen.” – Sir Adrian Cadbury. In these challenging times, an adaptive governance model is crucial for winning. Adaptive governance models offer flexibility to respond quickly to changing circumstances. Adapting policies and strategies in real-time is vital for effective decision-making in difficult times. Nigerian leaders can learn from Indonesia’s adaptive governance models that foster innovation and responsiveness.

Strategic communication: “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucker. Nigerian leaders can learn from and avoid the errors made by the Turkish government, which failed in strategic communication during the recent earthquake.

Investment in education: “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela. Nigeria needs to take a cue from the leader of Singapore, prioritising education as an investment in long-term economic resilience. Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore) is a good case in point. As Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew recognised the importance of education in the nation’s development. He invested heavily in building a robust educational system, fostering a meritocratic society. Singapore’s education policies contributed significantly to its economic success, making it a global hub for innovation and talent.

My humble submission is that if leaders like Lee Kuan Yew and Jeff Bezos can do it, so can Nigerian leaders. 2024 and beyond is the time to make deliberate choices, take strategic actions, and position themselves optimally to win in 2024, a year of recovery and immense promise.

Dr Abubakre is the Founder of TEXEM, UK (www.texem.co.uk) and a Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Business School