HOMELAND Smooth 98.1fm
Every Friday on SMOOTH-LIFE, i focus on the HOMELAND. Today i speak to leaders all over the nation both in the private and public sector. But most critically, I speak to owners of businesses, I speak to top management and anyone exercising any decision making authority anywhere. In short, I speak to the very soul of leadership in our dear nation as far as our socio-economic renaissance is concerned. See, the new global economic order has forced organizations all over the world to reinvent the way they think and to develop a posture of a nimble and dexterous concern. I see a time when businesses started by Nigerians will have offices in virtually every capital of the world.
Tall order, I must confess but not impossible, as the Americans, the West and the Asians have repeated such feats over and over again. I mean, just a few years ago, Google meant nothing to the world but today, it is a billion dollar company determining continuity for organizations and nations. There’s really nothing mysterious about the deepening economic advancement in the continent of Asia for example. They however seem to have learned the basics which are basically to (1) produce superior products; (2) run, control, drive, and manoeuvre winning and flourishing corporations; and (3) perfect the plans, strategies, necessary campaign, diplomacy, policies and procedures that prevails on the corporate and international playing field. The platform for such “life-giving” and progressive corporate posture is enterprise and industry. Corporate Japan for example gathers and budgets to train talented people in the basics of management; Singapore and Malaysia fosters and develop skills in an enabling environment that allows each individual find his or her fullest creative potential. I dream of the day when the tide will turn so sharply that we become the next global economic “threat”.
Now, we are all already aware that Lee Kwan Yew successfully took Singapore from Third World to First World and the key is education and industry. Management Nigeria must get ready for competitive visionary thinking that is set to create and manage brands with global weight, universal relevance and international bearing. Volkswagen and Mercedes? That’s Germany! IBM and Coca Cola? They still mean America after over 100years! What is Japan without Sony, Toyota and Honda? The index we must make room for as an economy is the deliberate creation and management of global brands within a calculated period of culmination. See, successful global brands have become probably the most understated and unapparent resource for economic strength of developed economies. It may be interesting to note that the richest nations possess the most valuable brands and the poorest nations the opposite. The other indices are knowledge, inventions and product development. The three fortunately thrive on a robust thinking and fact-finding culture; and the more knowledge people an economy can retain who are able to create and instigate original content through Modernization, Originality and Development in digital form especially; the more profit growth can be guaranteed for the life of the economy. So, the Asians are not as homogenous as the Americans have made their African stooges to believe. The Asians have taken responsibility for their modernization, originality and development which communicates nothing but their very simple but colossal difference in business approach. We have learnt how “Japan’s samurai past” influences modern industrial practice and corporate vision and how the average Japanese is affected. The truth is: the Asians’ have only mastered their basic regional approaches to industrial management which has helped fashioned their successful brands. Schools across the globe have continued to teach students about the Japanese way…it’s called originality.
SMOOTH-LIFE today is a lesson for Nigerian and African management. Our people must begin to take responsibility for the fact that our “working heads” are a key part of our continued existence; and that knowledge and practice can give us the edge we need. There’s is no mystery to global relevance. The truth is: there are variables to manage. Thinking to sustain. Habits to work away from. Figures to project. The Asians for example have found a structural and appraisable blend of culture and excellent corporate performance. In fact, as much as 80% of their operations may be the same as what we practice here, and of course, 80% of that may be as copied from the Americans. But the issue here is how different the remaining 20% can be, and what impact this 20% may have on American, Western and even African companies; and the content of this 20% is the relevance of the Asians. The Asian Tigers do sustain practices that are worth emulating. We need a good blend of our Nigerian and African ingenuity and originality to provide management solution blue-prints that will place us on the global scene as a force, not a subservient observer. The Asians learnt principles and methods from the Americans, but now, the students are doing as much (even better in relative areas) than their teachers. Already, decisions made in Beijing are changing the fortunes of individuals, families, organizations and nations over-night, all over the world. We know that some American companies have done well in Asia—IBM Japan and Coca Cola for example have succeeded only by being more “Japanese” than their Japanese competitors on some occasions and on others by insisting on American approaches. Bottom-line is the fact that a blend of who they are and who they must be has created leadership for them amidst fierce competition. My thinking is a genuine hope that Nigerians can deliberately learn to be elastic and actually practice elasticity enough to be a bit of everything that can work wherever they can be found in addition to the Nigerian resilience and ingenuity that are still very much evident. The commitment must now be a resolve to leverage the Nigerian hopeful and never-say-die spirit to find credible ways to reshape our economy by observing, studying, scrutinizing, monitoring, examining, surveying, and probably, following the Asian examples. These are the battles we must witness—Management Nigeria is the answer as the government can only do so little. Sadly, however, and in all humility and sincerity with deep respect for the custodians of the high points of our corporate life, most of our “gurus” and experts are so haughty, conceited, self-important, puffed-up and so superior that we unconsciously promote a gap that works for over-delegation and unnecessary bureaucracy that promotes elitist indolence and stifles innovation. If our corporate executives will throw in their greatest assets, their brain and empathy, alongside their line workers, we will witness an unprecedented awakening of Nigerian Enterprise. May our leaders see. God bless Nigeria.