The President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has given insights into the drive behind the success of his businesses.
Dangote disclosed this in an interview for the 2017 KPMG CEO Outlook.
For the third year in a row, KPMG has surveyed CEOs from leading corporations around the world to assess their perception of the global economy, their top concerns and their expectations for the near future. Dangote was one of the CEOs that were specially profiled in the global report.
The Dangote Group, one of the leading diversified business conglomerates in Africa, generates revenues in excess of US$3 billion and employs more than 26,000 people, with business interests as diverse as cement, sugar, pasta, natural gas, and telecommunications.
The companyâ€™s various businesses are growing at paces that would make most CEOs envious.
But Dangote said the group was focused on aggressive growth.
â€œI think really, the future is looking very, very bright,â€ he told KPMG in the 2017 CEO Outlook.
When it comes to entering a new geography or a new business line, Dangote said he has a very specific point of view.
Rather than entering a new market via acquisition, he said the company is always focused on building a business from scratch and then â€œstart competing with a lot of existing players.â€
According to the Africaâ€™s richest man, that is an approach that continues to generate wins for his organisations.
â€œAreas where some of our competitors have been, for 50 years before us, weâ€™ve gone there, weâ€™ve struggled with them, weâ€™ve taken more market share â€¦ with no advertisements, nothing,â€ he added.
Another key element behind the groupâ€™s impressive growth is its relentless focus on quality.
â€œWhat weâ€™re doing is making sure the quality is unquestionable,â€ he said, adding that when â€œyouâ€™re providing the highest quality product in the market, youâ€™re able to attach a very good price to that product.â€
For instance, he explained that when the company entered the cement business, he realised the burning question was whether theyâ€™d be able to produce cement that rivalled the quality of the established and only other cement producer operating in Nigeria at that time.
He said: â€œWe concentrated on quality. We knew customers would not trust our brand because theyâ€™d been used to one brand for over 50 years. Thatâ€™s how we came out to have the best quality ever.â€
Dangote is also a big believer in leading by example. He rises before 5:30 a.m. every day and after prayers and running 10 kilometres, he is at the office by 8:30 a.m. putting in 18-hour days on a regular basis.
â€œI donâ€™t really take my job as something I have to do, it is my hobby.
â€œTwenty-four hours in a day really is not enough,â€ he added.
On the topic of leadership, for any company to be successful, Dangote said: â€œThe main objective for any CEO is to make sure thereâ€™s ownership. Some of our competitors are not doing well because thereâ€™s nothing like ownership in their businesses.
â€œWhat we try to train our people on is that they must be committed and they must have ownership of the business. Donâ€™t take it as something that youâ€™re doing just to earn a salary. I think that kind of outlook can bring a major change in any business that you operate.â€