Thursday, January 3, 2019

A lion’s playground

A lion’s playground
February 03
12:49 2018

One of my favourite cartoons till date is the Lion King. The shock on Simba’s face as his father’s hands slipped off his sent shivers down my spine; his cry, “somebody, anybody” broke my heart. But the leadership lessons of this cartoon is amazing. One of my greatest read of all time is the book, “The Angel inside” by Chris Widener, a highly philosophical book, which points to the potentials locked within. If only we can chisel, file and polish then we will release our own masterpiece like “DAVID”, a towering 17.0 ft. masterpiece created by Michelango from an enormous marble; a distinct part of the art of Florence in Italy. I also love the movie INVICTUS with a passion. 

A movie I have used to deliver contemporary business training on Leadership, Team Building and Organisational Effectiveness. I recently added another source of lesson from the article, “Paddy Adenuga’s Battle for Chevron Netherland”. A long piece I painstakingly read till my eyes rested on the final full-stop. It reminded me a little of Mario Puzo’s “God Father” and Sidney Sheldon’s “Master of the Game”.

It comes at a season when I started to question and challenge my own performance.  A season when I have realized like I told one of my senior friends that there are as many lessons to learn (if not more) from failures than success. It also comes at a time when I am prepping myself for a new business venture. Paddy’s story is truly a beautiful and magical business case study carefully woven together by fate to create a sensational thriller; well played, well written. The type of movie if ever acted, remains the exclusive preserve of cerebral professionals. A business lesson that takes few credence from the theories of business schools.

One of the things that caught me off guard was the age “29”. We were all 29 at some point (and some will soon be “29”) and such feat and corridors he dared to saunter were moons and stars away from what an average imagery of conquest looked like. An age where some boys were hardly out of their diapers and girls largely day dreamt of fairy tale wedding ceremony. What he did at this age is something most men with grey sprouting in-between will have a 2nd, 3rd and 4th thought, making no move in the end. What gave him the boldness and audacity to believe he can have it? The lessons I learnt from this story is not the loss of a golden opportunity but the games business men play, the alliances, alignment and parley required to win. Without prejudice for his privileged background, I learnt valuable business lessons from the story:

Carve out your own Identify: Your name is not all you need. It is pertinent to know that even though Paddy had the name “Adenuga” and the patriarchal insignia “The Bull” charging at everyone to make a way, he decided to follow the line of humility and hardwork. He went after his dream. He got his own insignia, “The Lion”.  He chose to roar instead of charging. And who says a bull cannot sire a lion? Well, the similarities are similar.Who are you outside your family?Who said its bad to have a name? who said you can’t make it without one?

Think big, Price it: Chevron at 29? Many won’t dare. Not because of their financial deficit, but the boldness to imagine ownership of such an empire. However, if you don’t price it, you won’t know how much it cost, and if you don’t negotiate, you won’t know how much it can be bought.

The value of excellent education: It’s obvious, that many people who rise to take top positions either by promotion, appointment, entrepreneurship have the influence of a foreign education. Yes! Most have masters from the UK or US. It is a huge shame on our education system because the prowess and knowledge exhibited by this young man is not one found in this part of the world. What a military education does is discipline and what a practice like Kung-fu does is both discipline, strong character and resilience. And the net worth of the network is largely influenced by where we have been. When would the education system of Nigeria embrace wholly new international standards?

Have a Bigger, Bolder reason beyond you: Most of us remain, small players, because we think of how to survive and take care of the family. If as a farmer, you have a larger vision of feeding Africa, you will then look for a land to cultivate Africa. To do this, you must unleash the Lion and release the Angel. The lion and Angel, are like two sides of the same raw treasure. You have many things locked inside of you. The keys to release them also resides in your hands. Unlock your potentials.

What are you teaching your children? The player had no sense of entitlement, hence he ran after his dream despite his privileged background. It is a blessing to be rich. A huge leverage for well brought up children. Expose yourchildren to the world of business, finance and investment, leadership and independence as soon as possible. And please support them….yes support them! There is nothing wrong in placing them on a privileged pedestal to get them there. I know many rich kids that are very level headed and are multiplying the wealth and I know the ne’er do-well who have enjoyed the same privilege with no requisite skills and a monstrous sense of entitlement.

The Power of Attraction, Collaboration and Aggregation: You can’t stand alone and succeed. Joint ventures (JV) has always been used in the oil industry because of the huge financial commitment and required expertise which must be aggregated across the different players. However, this is becoming quite applicable as the social media has demystified business and pronounced the power of collaborative effort

Know your Client, know your greatest Enemy: Know your business enemy means know the your real competition. When the sales of beer dropped at the advent of the telecoms industry in early 2000’s, it took time for this FMCG to realize that the disposable income that was spent at “beer parlour” has been diverted to the purchase of recharge cards. Unravel the real and right enemy, pay to have the information if you must. Understand their strategy and get insider information about what the clients want.

Expertise vs. Instinct: Some call it gut feelings others call it an inner conviction.Many times success stories take a situational life of its own dictating its paces and how’s. If you have a strong instinct about something, go for it. It’s either you win or a lose

Be Happy to Fail:Should I tell or should I not tell my friends?It’s not so much of a Nigerian thing of thinking that if you tell your friend, it may not work because of some voodoo influence. Many people also don’t tell their friends because they are afraid to face their friends if they fail. Gamble, Dangle your trust to the meanest dog. Sometimes you burn your fingers if you tell, other times it helps people hold you accountable for your dreams

Fate, Faith and Grace:Yes, opportunity is what fate brings. A privileged background will likely bring some rarity your way and breed the right network of friends. The ability to pray or commune with a higher being is faith – yes he did mention the fact that he prayed at the chapel. But of course the grace is what we have no control over. The bible in 1ST Corinthians 3 vs.6 says, “I have planted, Apollo watered; but God gave the increase”. No matter, how smart, intelligent and connected we are, if we have done everything humanly required, we need to ask for his grace for results.

Remember, when you chase the sun, you will catch the clouds, when you long for the moonlight, stories are heralded. Never seek perfection, simply stay genuine.

DayoOladele-Ilori is a management consultant, an entrepreneur, an author, a wife andmother. She isthe HR Advisory at House of Procurement. She is also the convener of WELEAD


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