• Thursday, February 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Deji Ariyo, the genius with over 30 internationally recognised qualifications

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Growing up

Growing up in a family where both parents were teachers was very interesting and adventurous. Nothing short of excellence was tolerated. I once came third in a class of 50 and my parents had to make me repeat the class. I can vividly recollect how my dad ensured I stayed up late and woke up early to study as early as primary three. By the time I got to secondary school, I needed no encouragement to study on my own. This has really had a great deal of influence on where I am today. Also, I remember I was not allowed to say “it is not possible”, my dad mandated us to always use the word “I can do it” and later find the way to get it done. I will eternally be grateful to my dad for that early push.

Managing several business transformation projects under challenging conditions and constraints

Business transformation has to do with helping organizations translate business strategies into new ways of working. A number of people do confuse project management with Business Transformation. Business Transformation has to do with helping organizations or a subset of it deliver outcomes and benefits of strategic importance. One main challenge includes how to ensure the transformational initiatives remained aligned with corporate strategy as external drivers often cause a number of changes in direction.

Providing consultancy support

Over the years, I have come to realize that a number of change initiatives fail due to many reasons. For any initiative to succeed there must be effective direction, management and delivery. Project executives and Sponsors occupy the direction level, while Programme and Project Managers occupy the management level. I have spent the last eleven years of life researching the key factors that contribute to programme and project success. I have a good understanding of what it takes to provide direction and management for the success of change initiatives and to offer support to the senior stakeholders at the Direction and Management levels (C-Suite Executives).

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Helping IT, Customer Operations, Supply Chain and Finance to scope and size their work

Change initiatives are always cross-functional in nature, cutting through the organizational functional silos. One of the keys skills that have always helped in this regard is “Facilitation Skills”. As a facilitator, I provide a method and a means to deliver answers to complex issues in an operational context without necessarily being a subject matter expert. I have come to realize that Facilitation can support organizations, enabling people to work in a collaborative, participative way to tackle key issues and make fundamental decisions. This was very helpful in engaging different organizational units in achieving common goals.

Leading a consulting team that developed a proposal for Vodafone eSupply Chain team, UK

Vodafone UK was looking for ways to reduce its spend on non-strategic items such as cars, furniture, etc. I led a team of consultants who evaluated options and possible solutions. One of our solutions offered was to set up a strategic alliance to coordinate purchasing as they seek to drive down prices in a cut-throat business climate.

Managing risks that affect the  project portfolio

Management of risk is critical to every organization’s success. Informed risk-taking helps to improve performance through the use of innovative approaches for managing business and service delivery. Managing risk as Portfolio level is an interesting concept. This involves more than aggregating individual risks from all the constituent projects that make up the portfolio. It involves having a clear guidance on the level of risk exposure that needs to be managed at the Portfolio level, how risks will be escalated from other perspectives within the business such as programme, project and operations, and lastly, how risk will be delegated from portfolio to other perspectives as well.

Personal and professional challenges

My biggest personal challenge has always been “breaking my own last record” in every area of life – spiritually, financially, etc. Professionally, I think my biggest challenge was defining which path I wanted to go after working with UAC (Mr Biggs), Gateway Bank and Chevron doing different things. It took me a lot of thinking and analysis to decide. Making that decision, provided focus and clarity helping me to be who I am today.

Life’s Philosophy

I have quite a number of life’s philosophies. Let me share some on education and work.

Education is the biggest connector between the poor and the rich. When you open the pages of books, you discover you have wings to fly. You have a supernatural intercourse and cross pollination with minds long dead, birthing innovations that can shake the world.

Work either excellent or it’s not worth doing at all. Work is not part of God’s curse. Work was established in the beginning before the curse came. Enjoy every bit of your work!

Kemi Ajumobi