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The Certainty Of Uncertainty: The Role Of Leadership

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William Easmon, People and Culture Function Director, Absa Bank Ghana
William Easmon, People and Culture Function Director, Absa Bank Ghana

The world is full of people who are very certain—in politics, in religion, in all manner of things. In addition, political, religious, and social organizations are marketing certainty as a cure to all life’s problems. This is purely because the human brain according to neuroscientist is wired for certainty. But is such certainty possible? Or even good?

The world has witnessed such uncertainty in the decades past and this seems to be the new normal – a new normal which has seen the great global recessions, the bursting of the dot com bubble, the introduction of AI, AR, Machine Learning 3D Printing and lighting speed changes across the world. A lot has been said and written about the fourth industrial revolution and its attendant disruption. Its wave upon wave of innovations. The issue is that waves are not permanent, they come, break and a new wave is formed.

Covid-19 has come to expose the uncertainties of what a few months ago we thought were certainties. Most governments, firms, businesses had made plans about either scaling up or down, moving into green fields, setting up new production lines, increasing top line and bottom-line, penetrating new markets, increasing wallet share, etc.

Whoever thought passenger planes will be grounded and international travel will virtually grind to a halt? Whoever thought one of the most critical substances in today’s world would be ethanol – ethanol not for alcoholic use but as a base for sanitizers? Whoever thought Formula One engineers will today be using their expertise to support the manufacture of ventilators? Whoever thought the definition of critical staff will change?

Let’s face facts, most organisations and firms had semblances of Business Continuity plans and invested massively into hardware and physical buildings.

In most firms, pre-mortems, I dare say considered a situation such as we have today. To the extent that nations – powerful nations – were unprepared for such an outbreak even though once upon a time there appeared a flu named after a country which is today being devastated by COVID-19.

Interestingly, most firm’s business continuity infrastructure were virtually redundant during lockdown periods – even more interesting is the fact that these firms were actually being run from employees homes – where hitherto it was forbidden to take work to. The picture of our world epitomises clearly the famous VUCA definition.

  • V = Volatility: the nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces and change catalysts.
  • U = Uncertainty: the lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events.
  • C = Complexity: the multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues, no cause-and-effect chain and confusion that surrounds organization.
  • A = Ambiguity: the haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions; cause-and-effect confusion.

In the era of “unavoidable uncertainties” what questions should you be asking yourself now – especially if you are a leader?

What kind of leadership is required in light of Covid-19?

How do you show up as a leader?

How do you maintain authenticity without losing authority?

How do you future-proof your business? “Best practice” verse “new practice”!

There’s no “playbook” for leadership when the stakes are high, and there’s certainly no playbook for what to do in the face of a 21st Century pandemic.  We are all facing threats on multiple fronts concurrently: to self, family, employees, customers, suppliers and business partners, governmental and financial systems, and potentially our social fabric.

What we need today is sober, smart, values-driven, and focused leadership.  Remember the old adage, “Crisis does not build character, it reveals it.”  The old army saying captures it succinctly – “Sweat in peace or bleed in war”

Companies are not resilient in themselves, rather it is resilient leaders who make resilient companies.  The point being that there are no resilient companies without resilient leaders.

This piece focuses on some nuggets on leadership traits in times of uncertainty

  • Courage
  • Focus
  • Leadership Agility
  • Self-Awareness
  • Humility

COURAGE – THE MOST IMPORTANT VIRTUE ALL GREAT LEADERS POSSESS

Courage is everything. Courage in the face of adversity. Courage to risk yourself and your safety. Courage to speak the truth. Courage to stand alone. Courage to try the difficult thing, even if it might not work. Courage to change your mind. Courage to defend something on principle. Courage to do what’s right. Courage to say I’m sorry when you are wrong.

Leadership is highly personal; what works for one person might not work for another.  However, an absolute truth prevails. Leadership must start from within – from within the leader’s heart – where real courage resides.  It is not simply a case of memorising a list of do’s or don’ts and applying them to a particular situation.  Courage is a necessary trait of effective leadership.  It is hard to argue that other traits such as integrity, honesty, altruism, and decisiveness are not qualities of a good leader. But leaders cannot display these traits if they didn’t have courage.

FOCUS – THE ABILITY TO STAY THE COURSE NO MATTER WHAT

With the many distractions and noises, pieces of advice – solicited and, it is critical that the leader maintains the focus on the purpose of existence of the entity. This presupposes that there is a clearly defined mission or purpose for that entity and this has been cascaded to the understanding of the vision executors – your team members. It is so easy to get distracted by what others are doing that you lose focus. I am not saying you should not keep an eye on your competitor and what is working for them, but do not get swayed by seeming success of your competitor such that you lead your entity into areas where you are not equipped to be. Even where you have to switch temporarily to ensure business survival, it is critical that you keep your eye on the bigger picture.

For example, there are alcoholic beverage manufactures today who have switched into the manufacturing of sanitisers, there are garment factories which have switched into the manufacturing of PPEs.

LEADERSHIP AGILITY – MAKING SMART AND EFFECTIVE DECISIONS IN A RAPIDLY CHANGING WORLD

It’s being able to anticipate the best way to go forward; knowing the best ways to inspire your team; turning thoughts and ideas into actions; and evaluating results for successes and failures.

This means taking a proactive approach to business decisions, rather than a reactive one. Change is the one constant thing in life. Agile leaders not only embrace change, but actively look for areas where change is likely to occur. Like it or not, market conditions, competitors and technological advances force change upon us daily and we must be agile enough to adapt to the change

Agile leaders are able to generate confidence among their employees. When employees are trusting, engaged and confident in the leadership of an organisation, the entire team works in a more synergistic, collaborative fashion.

SELF AWARENESS – THE CORE COMPONENT OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

By knowing your values, personality, needs, habits and emotions, and how they affect your actions and the actions of others, you’ll be better able to manage your stress, make better decisions and ultimately lead others to do the same.

Self-awareness is empowering because it arms you with knowledge and enables you to make better choices.

Research actually shows a positive correlation between self-awareness and companies’ bottom line. In a study of the stock performance of 486 publicly traded companies in 2018, Korn/Ferry International found that companies with strong financial performance tend to have employees with higher levels of self-awareness than poorly performing companies.

HUMILITY – IT HELPS YOU BRING YOUR TEAM ALONG

It is critical at this point to bring your team along with you as we navigate these uncertain times. Many leaders tend to confuse hubris with leadership potential, yet arrogance and overconfidence are inversely related to leadership talent — the ability to build and maintain high-performing teams, and to inspire followers to set aside their selfish agendas in order to work for the common interest of the group.

In our ever-changing times, leaders need to be agile and responsive while thinking ahead. At the same time, they need to recognize that the furious pace of change is causing their employees to feel overwhelmed, stressed and burned out. A humble leader might be just what the doctor prescribes for the burnout, exhaustion and unease that characterizes many workplaces today.

Humble leaders do not profess to know it all, do not micromanage and are open to diverse points of view. That makes them perfect for leading successful, productive and happy teams that provide the emotional security employees need. The humble leader fosters trust, something that is increasingly absent from corporations today. Instead of having to navigate corporate politics, a humble leader enables an environment where employees feel that their feedback is welcomed and encouraged.

CONCLUSION

Going through hard times is never fun, but if you instill a sense of community within your team, then you will likely have stronger relationships and deeper trust once this crisis is over. Remember that we will eventually emerge from this. What you do now will build trust with your people, or ruin any trust they have in you. People will always remember how you made them feel.

It won’t be easy—it never is—but that’s the point. That’s what it takes to be a great leader. Prepare for the worst but expect the best.

(An extract from Absa Business Connect series designed to help you find a way to get things done) Writer – Mr. William Easmon, People and Culture Function Director, Absa Bank Ghana

 

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Jameson Widens The Circle With Jameson Connects GH 2023: A Celebration of Freedom and Creativity

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Jameson Connects Gh is back and this year’s edition promises to be better elevated and more connected. (more…)

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Guest Blog: Is religion becoming Ghana’s new parliament?

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When religion begins to influence policies that affect every single person, then there is a problem. Religious beliefs are private and personal, but laws are not,” says Alex Kofi Donkor. (more…)

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MTN Ghana Reviews Tariffs Upward

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NOEL KOJO GANSON CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER MTN

Scancom PLC (MTN Ghana) has announced an upward review of the tariffs of its products and services effective February 07, 2023.

The review is as result of two changes. Firstly, the implementation of the 2.5% statutory adjustment of VAT from 12.5% to 15% across all services. This will impact both Prepaid and Post-paid customers. Secondly, MTN Ghana is proceeding with a 15% average upward review of its mobile data tariffs which was originally announced in November 2022 and was subsequently put on hold. The increase in mobile data tariffs will impact both Pay Monthly and Pay-As-You-Go users. The review in mobile data bundle offers cover products available on the short codes 138 & 170, as well as on purchases through Electronic Voucher Distribution (EVD), MTN Pulse, and Data Zone except for XtraTime.  The data tariff increases do not apply to Fiber Broadband and Fixed Wireless Access (4G Router / Turbonet) customers.

With this review, voice users will receive less airtime due to the VAT implementation, and mobile data customers will receive less data bundle allocations for the same price purchased before the tariff increase was made.

The Chief Commercial Officer for MTN, Mr. Noel Kojo-Ganson, explained the impact by giving an example of how the new pricing will work. He said, following the review, a three cedis airtime purchase before the VAT increase, which previously gave customers 24.4 minutes will now give customers 23.9 minutes, whilst a three cedis data bundle which previously gave customers 471 MBs will now give customers 401 MBs.

Explaining the reason for the upward review of the Data Bundle prices, Mr. Noel Kojo-Ganson said the review was necessitated by the recent economic shifts leading to increasing cost of operations largely due to continuous increase in inflation. “These economic shifts have impacted us directly and for us to ensure we have the right balance for sustaining growth and investments into the network, we have had to consider price increases in various segments of our business.”

Mr. Kojo-Ganson added, “MTN recognises that we are in very tough times and would like to assure our customers that we will continue to offer them the convenience and flexibility in the purchase of data bundles at their desired price points via the MTN Flexi and Non-Expiry Bundles. Also, customers will continue to enjoy the 50% bonus incentive on mobile data purchases via MyMTN App & MoMo (valid for 7 days) for 4G customers”.

MTN remains committed to investing USD1 Billion by 2025 to continue its network expansion and improve the network experience for customers. In line with our Ambition 2025 strategy, our purpose is to lead digital solutions for Africa’s progress.

For more information on the revised prices for the data bundle offers, visit www.mtn.com.gh.

 

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Lamar Berko, jeweller to Floyd Mayweather, Wizkid, Beenie Man, Andy Cole and more VIP clients

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Floyd Mayweather, Joey Essex and Stefflon Don may not be three celebrities you would expect have much in common, but they’re just some of the big names whe jeweller Lamar Berko counts as his VIP clients.

With his company LB Jewellers, Lamar is dominating the celebrity jewellery scene,counting a slew of stars as fans as he’s able to tailor to their individual style and needs.

The industry is a competitive one, with thousands of young jewellers doing all they can to become a well-known and respected name amongst a sea of rivals.

Yet at the age of 29, Lamar has managed to become one of the best known jewellers in the UK due to his work with high profile clients and his quality pieces.

Born from humble roots in South West London, Lamar used his interest in the business world and constant innovation to make a name for himself, starting out by buying and selling top-quality watches before branching out into a range of jewellery.

He credits his perseverance and self belief with making a success of LB Jewellers, saying: ‘With the right mindset you can accomplish anything.

‘You can’t win today’s game off yesterday’s points. Always strive to do better than your last result and stay relevant. The world is forever evolving!’ – Lamar Berko

Using this plan he saw the importance of celebrity partnerships in the social media era, working with a number of top social and sports personalities who quickly became his beloved customers.

Among his VIP clients are the likes of Russ Millions, 6 Kenza, Wizkid, Beenie Man, DJ Spinall, Eva Apio and Danny Rose. Yet Lamar ensures all of his clients get the VIP treatment, equally valuing every customer and ensuring they will be satisfied with his high-quality products.

Among his VIP clients are the likes of Russ Millions, 6 Kenza, Wizkid, Beenie Man, DJ Spinall, Eva Apio and Andy Cole.

Yet Lamar ensures all of his clients get the VIP treatment, equally valuing every customer and ensuring they will be satisfied with his high-quality products.

Lamar encourages others to learn from every challenge and turn it into an opportunity, pushing his followers to keep pursuing their dreams even if the start seems tough.

He uses his experience to help others and often mentors young entrepreneurs to help them succeed.

Through LB Jewellers, he has helped create jobs in Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa and encouraged other aspiring businesspeople to keep at it.

Lamar’s mission is to help more promising young businesspeople break into the industry and uses his platform to help others overcome adversity.

Having experienced success with his own business, Lamar wants to help others achieve their goal and has set his sights on the youth market to expand his business.

Culled from DailyMail

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ARTSPLIT Introduces MUSICSPLIT, Announces Auction of Upcoming Extended Play by Top Nigerian Music Artiste, King Perryy

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ARTSPLIT, the pioneering alternative investment platform has launched MusicSplit, its latest offering that allows for investment in music projects. Its maiden online auction features Continental Playlist of top Nigerian Music Star, King Perryy and kicks off on the app from 24 January to 10 February 2023.

MusicSplit allows music lovers own fractions of any trending Afrobeat music and earn monthly royalties to their ARTSPLIT wallet. Users on ARTSPLIT now have access to previously unavailable royalty assets when you buy splits and invest in your favorite Artistes’ upcoming projects. It’s a win for all; your favourites gets the required funding to create great music for your enjoyment and you earn passive income and high-yielding returns from the projects streaming revenues.

Read Also: ARTSPLIT launches platform in Ghana with auction and exhibition by artists Ablade Glover, Kofi Agorsor and Isshaq Ismail

In a statement, ARTSPLIT’s executive director for technology and communications, Onyinye Anyaegbu, said. “Our goal has always been to provide a platform that democratises access to investment in African art and artistes through co-ownership and technology while elevating their global standing. Too often, ideas are not appropriately valued, such as music. With MusicSplit, creators can offer a percentage of their upcoming projects for users to invest in and directly fund it. Users on the ARTSPLIT app benefit from access to a high-yielding asset class while artists benefit from debt-free funding while maintaining artistic freedom. As a result, we have moved closer to our goal of providing alternative investments opportunities for everyone.”

King Perryy stands out as one of the country’s most distinctive and ambitious young acts. The creator of what he calls the “Continental Sound,” the former seminary student and would-be Catholic priest fuses the melodies and rhythms of today’s Afrobeats with pan-African influences and reggae/dancehall to create deeply resonant songs that transcend cultures and borders. With a run of successful singles (“Man on Duty,” “Work ‘N’ Grind”) to his credit and over 70 million streams on digital platforms, he released his debut album, Citizen of the World, in 2021.

This Auction comes shortly after a tripartite agreement between ARTSPLIT and music service companies M.A.D Solutions and ENGAGE to enable fans invest in the success of their favourite musicians.

MUSICSPLIT involves taking the estimated value of a music project (Eps, LPs, and Albums) and dividing it into 100,000 units (or Splits) to allow users and music lovers to finance it and profit from their investments. By presenting MUSICSPLIT, ARTSPLIT intends to further elevate African music worldwide while ensuring artistes freedom with alternative investment options.

To find out more about MusicSplit on ARTSPLIT, please visit www.artsplit.com/MusicSplit or contact info@artsplit.com

You can also reach the ARTSPLIT team on call or WhatsApp at +234(0)9088962169 or follow @artsplitofficial on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to keep up to date. Also follow King Perryy @kingperryy on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

The ARTSPLIT app can be downloaded on App Store and Google Play Store. Start investing today in Afrobeat for great returns.

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How to Leverage Employee Experience to Drive Customer Experience Outcomes?

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Employee experience is a key factor in determining customer experience outcomes. For companies to achieve optimal customer experience, they need to invest in their employees first. This can be done through employee motivation management or even an entire employee engagement software and other initiatives that create a positive work environment for employees. In this article, we will discuss how to leverage employee experience to drive customer experience outcomes. 

Happy Employees Create Happy Customers

The idea behind this phrase is that employees who are satisfied at work are more likely to provide better customer service. When employees are happy, they are more motivated, productive, and engaged, which creates a better customer experience. When customers have a positive experience, they are more likely to return, and this, in turn, leads to increased customer loyalty and revenue. In short, when employees are happy, they tend to create an environment that encourages customers to come back and make repeat purchases. 

 

Employee experience is about creating a positive work environment for employees. Companies should invest in creating a workplace culture that is engaging, supportive, and rewarding. This can be done by creating a clear job structure and career progression, offering competitive salaries and benefits, and providing training and development opportunities. Companies should also provide their employees with the necessary tools, resources, and support to be successful. 

5 Ways to Improve Customer Experience through Employee Experience 

  1. Encourage a Positive Workplace Culture: Creating a positive work environment is key to providing employees with a great experience. This can include fostering an atmosphere of respect, open communication, and mutual trust. Employees who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to go the extra mile for customers. 

 

  1. Offer Career Development Opportunities: Investing in employees’ career growth, such as through training and development programmes, can give them the skills and confidence to better serve customers. 

 

  1. Reward Employees for Good Performance: Rewarding employees for a job well done can help to create a culture of recognition and appreciation. This can help to boost morale and motivate employees to maintain high standards of customer service. 

 

  1. Support Employees’ Health and Well-being: Creating a healthy and safe work environment, providing access to mental health resources and offering flexible working arrangements can help to improve employee well-being. This can lead to a more engaged and productive workforce. 

 

  1. Listen to Employees’ Feedback: Gathering employee feedback is essential for understanding their needs and the issues they are facing. Listening to employees’ ideas and suggestions can help to identify areas where customer experience can be improved.

How Can Employee Motivation Management Help?

Employee motivation management is an essential component of employee experience. It involves creating an environment that encourages employees to work hard and achieve their goals. This can be done through incentives, recognition, and other employee engagement initiatives. Companies should also ensure that their rewards and recognition programmes are tailored to the needs of their employees. 

 

Nowadays, leading companies use employee engagement software to measure and track employee motivation. Such software can provide valuable insights into how employees are feeling at different stages of their employee lifecycle and what they need to be successful. Companies should use this data to create meaningful employee engagement initiatives that can help to boost employee motivation, performance, and a customer-oriented mindset.

Conclusion 

Employee experience is key when you want to see positive customer experience outcomes. Companies should invest in employee motivation management and ideally use advanced employee engagement software to create a positive work environment for their employees and measure their engagement. This can help drive improvement in customer experience by increasing employee motivation and performance.

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