John Peters: Nigerian Executives Need Strategic Leadership to Thrive in Uncertain Glocal Business Landscape


John Peters, former Chair of the Association of MBAs (an organisation that accredits Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and IMD), is a top leadership speaker and survivor par excellence. He will be among the three faculty members delivering the TEXEM programme, ‘Strategic Leadership Unleashed: Thriving In An Uncertain GLOCAL World’, scheduled for May 26 and 30 in Manchester. Other faculty members include Prof Rodria Laline (the inventor of the IP being used on all ATMs globally, former SVP for Oracle in Asia Pacific and Harvard, INSEAD and IMD professor), and Prof Paul Griffith (the world’s first professor of Management to lead a team to launch a rocket into space). In this interview, Peters shares insights on how leaders can win in these turbulent times.

As part of TEXEM’s ‘Strategic Leadership Unleashed: Thriving In An Uncertain Glocal World’, you will be one of the three faculty. How does understanding the importance of strategy in today’s business landscape contribute to effective leadership?

Understanding the importance of Strategic Leadership enables leaders to adopt a holistic approach to decision-making, balancing short-term objectives with long-term considerations, creating value for all stakeholders, and ensuring the resilience and longevity of their organisations.

Can you explain how pressure can be utilised as a catalyst for innovation in problem-solving within an organisation?

Pressure can be a powerful catalyst for innovation in problem-solving within an organisation by fostering urgency, resourcefulness, adaptive thinking, risk-taking, collaboration, learning, adaptation, and motivation among individuals and teams. When harnessed effectively, pressure can fuel creativity and drive positive change, leading to breakthrough solutions that propel the organisation forward.

What strategies can leaders employ to recognise crisis as an opportunity for transformation and organisational excellence?

Leaders can employ several strategies to recognise a crisis as an opportunity for transformation and organisational excellence.

Embrace a growth mindset: by reframing challenges as opportunities, leaders can inspire a culture of resilience and creativity within the organisation.

Stay agile and adaptive: by staying nimble and open to new possibilities, leaders can identify opportunities for transformation and guide the organisation towards excellence.

Encourage innovation: By fostering a culture of innovation, leaders can harness the collective intelligence of their workforce to overcome challenges and seize opportunities.

Focus on purpose and values: by anchoring decision-making and actions in core principles, leaders can ensure alignment and coherence across the organisation, guiding efforts towards transformative outcomes that uphold the organisation’s mission and vision.

Communicate transparently: transparent communication fosters trust, builds resilience, and encourages collective problem-solving, laying the foundation for organisational excellence.

Empower and support employees: By investing in employee well-being and development, leaders can foster a motivated and resilient workforce capable of driving transformation.

Learn from adversity: by embracing a mindset of continuous learning and improvement, leaders can leverage crises as catalysts for organisational excellence.

Lead by example: By embodying the values and behaviours they wish to see in others, leaders can inspire confidence, foster trust, and galvanise collective action towards transformative outcomes. By attending the forthcoming TEXEM programme you will be able to glean fresh insights into how to win in these volatile times.

How does fostering a culture of innovation contribute to Strategic Leadership, especially during turbulent times?

Fostering a culture of innovation is strategic for driving sustainable success, particularly in turbulent glocal economic landscapes. By encouraging creativity, adaptability, customer-centricity, and sustainability, organisations can better navigate challenges more effectively, differentiate themselves in the market, and create value for all stakeholders over the long term.

Why is ‘Strategic Leadership Unleashed: Thriving in An Uncertain Glocal World’ important for Nigerian Leaders in these turbulent times?

In these turbulent times, Nigerian leaders face a confluence of global and local challenges, necessitating a paradigm shift in leadership. ‘Strategic Leadership Unleashed: Thriving in An Uncertain Glocal World’ equips leaders with the agility and foresight to navigate complexity.

Through this framework, leaders can anticipate market shifts, harness global opportunities, and address local nuances adeptly. For instance, adept strategic leaders can leverage cross-cultural insights to expand operations internationally while remaining rooted in local values, thus fostering sustainable growth. A prime example of a company embodying these principles is Dangote Group, which, under the strategic leadership of Aliko Dangote, has successfully expanded its footprint globally while maintaining its Nigerian roots. These topics and more will be covered during the forthcoming TEXEM programme, which will be held in Manchester between May 26-30, 2024.

Could you discuss the role of organisational culture in gaining a competitive advantage amidst uncertainty and change?

Organisational culture plays a vital role in gaining a competitive advantage amidst uncertainty and change by influencing adaptability, innovation, resilience, customer-centricity, collaboration, leadership, and vision. Organisations with a culture of innovation are better positioned to drive continuous improvement and stay ahead of competitors in dynamic markets. An organisation with a culture of resilience can weather storms, bounce back from failures, and emerge stronger from challenges, gaining a competitive advantage over less resilient competitors. By aligning their culture with the needs and preferences of their target audience, organisations can gain a competitive advantage by delivering superior value and experiences that resonate with customers.

By fostering a culture that embraces these values and behaviours, organisations can navigate challenges more effectively, differentiate themselves from competitors, and position themselves for long-term success in dynamic environments. Finally, it is all about leadership. With a culture of trust, transparency, and accountability, leaders can gain the confidence of employees and other stakeholders, driving organisational success and gaining a competitive advantage in turbulent times.

What are some effective strategies for navigating uncertainty and developing a sustainable growth blueprint for an organisation?

Navigating uncertainty and developing a sustainable growth blueprint for an organisation requires a combination of strategic foresight, flexibility, and resilience. Here are some effective strategies to achieve this. They include scenario planning, agile strategy development, a focus on core competencies, diversification, and risk management. Others are investment in innovation and R&D, partnerships and collaborations, customer-centricity, continuous learning, and adaptation.

By implementing these strategies, organisations can confidently navigate uncertainty and develop a sustainable growth blueprint that positions them for success in dynamic and unpredictable environments.

Can you provide insights on how real organisations thrived amidst crises and how those lessons can be applied to other contexts?

Nigerian organisations have faced various crises and challenges over the years, and many have demonstrated resilience, innovation, and adaptability in navigating these turbulent times. Here are some insights from Nigerian organisations and how their experiences can offer lessons applicable to other contexts.

Dangote Group: One key strategy that has contributed to its resilience is diversification. The lesson here is the importance of diversification in building resilience and sustaining growth, particularly in volatile environments.

Another is Guaranty Trust Bank:  GTBank has leveraged technology to expand its reach and offer customers innovative financial products and services. The lesson here is the importance of embracing digital transformation and innovation to adapt to changing market conditions and meet customers’ evolving needs.

Lagos government: The Lagos State government has implemented various initiatives to address challenges such as traffic congestion, infrastructure deficits, and environmental degradation. The lesson here is the importance of proactive governance, strategic planning, and public-private partnerships in addressing complex challenges and driving sustainable development.

Overall, many Nigerian organisations have demonstrated resilience, innovation, and adaptability in navigating crises, uncertainties and challenges. The key lessons from their experiences include the importance of diversification, digital transformation, innovation, collaboration, and proactive governance in building resilience and sustaining growth in uncertain environments. These lessons can be applied to other contexts, particularly in emerging markets and developing economies facing similar challenges. The forthcoming TEXEM programme will inspire fresh insights into how to turn the glocal hurricane into tailwinds.

Can you provide insights into how Nigerian organisations thrived amidst crises and how those lessons can be applied to other contexts?

Nigerian organisations have faced various crises and challenges, including economic downturns, political instability, security concerns, and infrastructure limitations. Despite these obstacles, many Nigerian organisations have demonstrated resilience, adaptability, and innovation to thrive amidst crises. Here are some insights from Nigerian organisations and how those lessons can be applied to other contexts:

Resilience in adversity: Nigerian organisations have developed a strong sense of resilience stemming from navigating a volatile and unpredictable business environment. They have learned to adapt quickly to changing circumstances, finding creative solutions to overcome challenges and continue operating effectively despite constraints.

Innovation in resource constraints: Nigerian organisations have a history of innovating in resource-constrained environments. These innovations often involve leveraging technology, embracing frugal innovation principles, and fostering a culture of creativity and problem-solving. The ability to innovate in resource-constrained environments is a valuable lesson for organisations worldwide, demonstrating the importance of creativity, adaptability, and resourcefulness in driving sustainable growth.

Entrepreneurial spirit: Nigeria has a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem characterised by a diverse range of startups and SMEs operating across various sectors. These entrepreneurs demonstrate a strong entrepreneurial spirit, characterised by a willingness to take risks, experiment with new ideas, and persevere in the face of adversity. This entrepreneurial mindset fuels innovation, drives economic growth, and creates opportunities for job creation and wealth generation.

Community engagement and collaboration: Nigerian organisations often prioritise community engagement and collaboration as part of their business strategies. By engaging with stakeholders and fostering collaboration, organisations can build trust, enhance their reputation, and create shared value for all parties involved. This highlights the importance of stakeholder management, corporate social responsibility, and sustainable business practices in driving long-term success.

Adaptation to market dynamics: Nigerian organisations have learned to adapt quickly to changing market dynamics, whether due to economic fluctuations, regulatory changes, or shifts in consumer behaviour. This provides a valuable lesson for organisations in any context, emphasising the importance of agility, flexibility, and strategic foresight in navigating uncertainty and driving sustainable growth.

Given the myriad challenges Nigerian organisations are facing, why should executives attend this forthcoming TEXEM programme?

Attending the executive development programme on ‘Strategic Leadership Unleashed: Thriving In An Uncertain Glocal World’ will equip Nigerian executives with the knowledge, skills, and strategies needed to address the myriad challenges facing their organisations effectively.   The interactive programme will include navigating uncertainty, driving innovation, enhancing resilience, optimising resources, stakeholder engagement, and leadership development. Executives can lead their organisations to thrive in Nigeria’s dynamic and competitive business landscape by investing in their professional development. Furthermore, through this programme, participants will build enduring relationships that will support them in their professional and personal quest to optimise their impact.

How do you foresee participants implementing the techniques learned in your sessions to improve their organisational dynamics, especially in an uncertain glocal world?

The fundamental idea here is to look at new ideas, understand them, learn how to practice and master them and leave the workshop with the belief that the ideas are worth putting into practice and the determination to do the work to master them so that the ideas can be brought to bear on the leadership practice of each individual attendee. I am aware of the time and the emotional energy required to do this. Only the determined will succeed. Given that this programme will be leveraging TEXEM’s tested and proven methodology that has helped thousands of leaders to win by making learning engaging, stimulating, impactful, and beneficial, you can trust this programme will be very actionable for all participants.

Furthermore, the TEXEM methodology inspires among participants the determination required to build a better self, team, and organisation and then to try to build a better Nigeria. Thus, participants will be driven to continue to make the necessary efforts until they have mastered the tools and techniques to which they are introduced. When they are capable of being inspirers of implementers, they will then meet with success in the field, which will encourage them to persevere with applying theory to practice until they have developed an improved leadership practice for themselves. For more information about the forthcoming TEXEM programme, please email or visit

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