Insights

Leadership development: why West Africa needs the skills to fulfil its potential

Leadership development: why West Africa needs the skills to fulfil its potential

Make no mistake, companies in West Africa are increasingly going to need access to proven and reliable leadership development tools, and for a variety of reasons. The main, overarching one is to ensure that all those bright, young, hungry firms that are currently emerging in the region will be sustainable in the long run – capable not only of lasting well into the future as individual entities, but of working together to safeguard a prosperous future for West Africa’s economy as a whole.

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Women and leadership: why you can’t afford to ignore their value

Women and leadership: why you can’t afford to ignore their value

In one of the more painful and embarrassing outbreaks of foot-in-mouth disease we’ve seen in recent months, Saatchi and Saatchi executive chairman Kevin Roberts recently declared that everything was hunky dory, A-okay, couldn’t be better, not a problem in the field of women in leadership. In a headline-grabbing interview, Business Insider put it to Roberts that a massive gender debate still rages at the heart of his industry, the advertising world.

“Not in my view,” he said, noting: “Edward De Bono once told me there is no point in being brilliant at the wrong thing – the debate is all over.” Delving further into his bizarre stance, Roberts argued: “If you think about those Darwinian urges of wealth, power and fame, they are not terribly effective in today’s world for a millennial because they want connectivity and collaboration. They feel like they can get that without managing and leading.” Roberts added that the aspiration of millennial women “is not a vertical ambition – it’s this intrinsic, circular ambition to be happy … I’m just not worried about it.”

So – that’s it then: there’s nothing more to be said on the subject of women in leadership. It’s a closed book. Finis. Everything is rosy – sorted. Well, not quite

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Vision to value: how to make a brand or product ‘sticky’

Vision to value: how to make a brand or product ‘sticky’

Having a vision is all well and good, but unless you can utilise your people to enact it effectively, it may run aground

We’ve been hearing a lot from the business media lately about visions – grand, broad-stroked sketches of what a company could be, what it could be doing or how it could perform in ‘X’ number of years’ time. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has outlined a masterplan for how his firm could become almost like a combination of a domestic lifestyle brand and a provider of municipal logistics and amenities – setting his sights on solar roofing for homes and angling for his electric-car technology to power haulage vehicles and buses.

Meanwhile, former golf pro Greg Norman has gone even further. By which I mean much, much further – chatting to CNN about how he has devised a 200-year vision for his real estate, sportswear and beverages company Great White Shark Enterprises. That’s right: Norman has carved out a picture of what his firm should look like, and what it should be doing, at a time long after he and his current management team would have shuffled off their mortal coils. Well, unless they know something about the advancement of medical science that we don’t.

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Leadership: how to surmount a blur of challenges like a hero

Leadership: how to surmount a blur of challenges like a hero

It has, by any standards, been a bad month for Sir Philip Green. In a withering report from the Work and Pensions Select Committee, published on 25 July, the retail king was scorned as a boss who had found himself at the mercy of fast-moving events, with thousands of staff at the BHS chain that he owned until March last year ultimately paying the price. Green’s impulsive decision to sell the loss-making business back then for the princely sum of £1 raised eyebrows at the time. But following the chain’s implosion this year, the Committee did some forensic digging, and came to some grim conclusions.

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The Leader: things to consider when switching captains

The Leader: things to consider when switching captains

The Brexit vote flipped the gambling table high in the air on 23 June, and we’re still waiting to see where many of the chips will fall. Our hunger for direction and leadership has been answered with the rapid formation of a new UK government, and the introduction of a new leader – prime minister Theresa May – but in the short time between the referendum and her coronation, we had what felt like a roll-call of high-profile, public figures saying that they weren’t right for the job.

First, and most significantly, it was David Cameron, who – having invested such a large, personal, leadership stake in the Remain campaign – was forced to concede that he shouldn’t be the captain to steer Britain on the next phase of its voyage as a major economy.

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