The founder and CEO of the London-based These Executive Minds Ltd (TEXEM), a service-based social enterprise focusing on executive education, Dr. Alim Abubakre, spoke on the strategic leadership issues confronting Nigerian executives as well as the company’s forthcoming programme on Strategic Leadership for Superior Performance in Turbulent Times. Excerpts:
What are some of the strategic Leadership issues facing Nigeria?
A strategic leadership issue facing Nigerian executives is poor vision, sometimes when leaders have visions those visions are unrealistic. Another is indecision and limited capacity to make good decisions. Sometimes when decisions are made they are usually devoid of fundamentals but informed by sentiments. Also, lack of self-awareness and poor communication skills is a strategic leadership deficit that many Nigerian executives face. Another is poor succession planning and lack of continuity. If strategic leadership issues are addressed, the country has huge potential to add immense value and move beyond jobless growth to inclusive growth that creates real value and provide quality jobs for its citizenry.
Tell us about Texem
TEXEM (These Executive Minds) is a service based social enterprise focusing on executive education. By partnering with major global enterprises and top universities, TEXEM has developed a series of educational programmes that address the challenges facing business and government today, in terms of African organisations.
Tell us about your forthcoming programme
Our forthcoming programme is in partnership with Alliance Manchester Business School who are the largest business school in the UK and are also the most global having centres on five continents. This programme is on Strategic Leadership for Superior Performance in Turbulent Times, between 31st of May to 3rd of June.
This inspiring upcoming executive education programme, will help executives to develop the competencies that they require to effectively address the challenges of leading in a complex and fast changing landscape. These skill-sets include knowledge needed to manage risks for better results, ability to develop winning strategies in turbulent times and enhanced capacity to provide authentic leadership in critical times.
How does this programme help executives to achieve Strategic Leadership?
Strategic Leadership in Turbulent Times at Alliance Manchester Business School would help executives to address contemporary issues that organisations face by addressing themes on: embracing ambiguous situations, better decision-making in ambiguous and uncertain times and moving beyond survival: Leading at a time of dwindling oil revenues. Others are strategy alignment and implementation, building and sustaining relationships in crises and beyond and positioning the business for growth and accountability.
Who are ideal participants for this programme?
The participants would be senior executives from a range of diverse organisations They may include legislators, chairs of board, CEOs, government ministers, commissioners, permanent secretaries, directors, entrepreneurs, partners and senior partners in consulting firms, lawyers, general managers and editors.
What kind of companies? size, sector would attend this programme.
They may include large multinationals , small and medium sized companies; local government, state and federal government parastatals – financial services, real estate, telecommunications, government and non-governmental organisations. This is because the solutions to the strategic challenges that organisations face may not only be found from learning from their peers within the same sector or type of organisation. For example, the oil and gas industry may be able to learn about cost efficiency from the airline industry in the USA.
What do you think should be the preoccupations about the present day senior executives? Is it about domestic growth? International expansion? Is it about innovation? Is it about trading with Asia?
It should be about Strategic leadership. This would entail innovating in the board room in challenging times- it should be about better board decision in turbulent times, better strategic oversight in difficult times, better risk oversight in uncertain times and effective compliance and more ethical considerations in difficult times.
What are the big changes that will happen in 5-7 years that executives should worry about? (Threats and/or opportunities)
Challenges-The fragile external business environment partly due to Nigeria’s over-reliance on oil and the consequence of the unpredictable price of oil since this may affect government revenue. Also, in Africa, government is the largest customer for most organisations and when Government has dwindling revenue this affects all stakeholders within the economy. Another is high political and regulatory risk plus high cost of doing business.
The opportunity is the windfall that could come from developing other sectors of the economy such as agriculture and mining as well as its value chain plus investing in infrastructure e.g. roads, railway networks and refineries.
What are the current issues that senior executives have to deal with that are preventing them from focusing on preparing for those 5-7 years changes?
The fragile external business environment, partly due to over-reliance on oil and the consequence of the unpredictable price of oil; high political and regulatory risk, high cost of doing business.
How would you define success of this programme?
This programme would be successful as we believe that it reflects what is relevant to the external environment, offers an opportunity for participants to explore peer to peer learning and enhance their social capital. Also, we believe that this course will enable executives to maximise their full potential for strategic leadership, which is the key to Nigeria realising its great prospect as a top twenty global economy in the next few years. By equipping these senior managers with the tools they require to shape strategy and improve organisational performance, everyone wins.
Furthermore, we always have satisfied customers as exemplified by 60-70per cent of our delegates being repeat participants.
Based on what did you choose those topics? In other words why do you think those topics are important for your clients?
After speaking extensively with our clients and other influential stakeholders we believe that these programmes reflect what senior executives experience and the skill gaps that they need to push the boundaries and create sustainable success for their organisations in these challenging times.
More generally what are the objectives of the programme?
The aims of the course are to introduce participants to the importance of good leadership in strategic management and achieving superior performance from modern organisations when facing turbulent times. Alliance Manchester Business School and TEXEM has considerable expertise and depth in its faculty who deliver inspirational insights into managing change and achieving success. The objectives include to add value to the delegates, enhance the organisation’s performance and have impact. The objectives include introduction of participants to methodology for problem analysis that enables decision makers to feel more certain about their options. Another is to offer participants some insights into leadership in organisations facing turbulence and uncertainty where new solutions are needed to the problems being faced. Furthermore, upon completion of the programme delegates would be able to investigate ways in which thinking more strategically can assist in formulating better strategic plans for the future. Finally, delegates would be exposed to some key aspects of change management that enable leaders to better handle change while recognising the importance of continued accountability to key stakeholders.
What will make executives sign on this programme?
The relevance of this programme to contextual realities that senior executives’ face and the steeper learning curve that participants would have upon completion. Also, the programme would help challenge assumptions, offer actionable solutions and promises to offer multiple return of investments for executives and their organisations.
Also, because Alliance Manchester Business School is one of the world’s top business school with triple accreditation by AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB, delegates would also have the privilege of being an alumnus of Manchester such as Sola David Borha and Omobola Johnson. It was the top institution for research according to the Economist in 2014. Alliance Manchester Business School is UK’s largest Business School and is still growing with the £15 million endowment gifted by Lord Alliance, hence its new name Alliance Manchester Business School.