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Leadership and Change

Being the Full Text of my Speech at Ilorin Business and Leadership Conference 2016 organised by Tabitha Vocapreneur Institute

Good morning Ladies and gentlemen
I am honored to be on this platform today and my sincere appreciation goes to the Tabitha Vocapreneur Institute crew and to my friend, Lanre who extended the warm invite to me.
It is time to critically understand the relationship between leadership and change. When you saw change on my slide, you might be wondering, what change is he talking about? Okay, just chill!
APC! –Call
Change!!!- Response

In February of 2015, Nigeria’s election went down the annals of global history as one of the most credible African election as it was free and fair. It was a given both nationally and internationally that the electioneering process was not exactly riddled with irregularities.

However, for me, I still don’t agree entirely with that fact as it still baffles me how some leaders still emerged in the supposed credible elections.

President Jonathan demonstrated the spirit of sportsmanship by stepping down without allowing mayhem to come up. In the spirit of exercising your franchise, you voted out the long standing 16-year-in-power party, the People Democratic Party and there you enthroned the one who promised you change, the All progressive Congress and alas, you have the change already.

Well, one year is past and everyone is complaining but come to think of it, have we not been given the promised change?
State don’t pay salaries as previously obtainable yet their principal officers are never owed their emoluments
A basket of tomato now goes for 45, 000 naira
Our fuel of 85 naira/litre now goes for 145 naira per litre
FIRS and CBN recruits secretly and gives the masses Npower to grapple with 30, 000 naira
Please add to the list…

Well, this is not what I am here for…
Sound Sultan propounded one kind of change in his song.
Sing along if you know the song, “One day bush meat go catch the hunter” X 3ce
That is a rather interesting kind of change, it is not natural, it is highly spiritual and that was on a lighter note.
Well, that is still not what I am here for…
Research has it that only 6 businesses started by Nigerians in the last 50 years still exist and that is breath-taking.

We mustn’t forget that every business experience decline and this is life threatening, and there is the prediction that a business is likely to die before it is 5 years and for a business to be sustained on the long run, it has to learn to cope with change and that’s the sort of thing I am talking about.

Please understand this;
Change is constant (from the beginning of time)
God changed soil to man
He changed the single Adam to being married
He change destroying man using water to a promised hell fire (it’s all in the holy book)
You were created good and somehow you found out you became bad along the line.

Leadership is also constant
From the beginning of time, we have had leaders, with God leading the whole lot.
Adam led the pack at some point, companies have heads and on and on and on.

You must therefore not leave change to chance but you must take charge of change. Don’t join the band wagon to say, “what will be, will be”, make efforts to make things happen because if it is to be, it is up to you. Go ahead and manage the change in your business.

Take a cue from the monkey’s stereotype:
The way to catch a monkey is to use a box with a small opening at the top big enough for the money to slide its hands inside. Inside the box are nuts to lure the monkey, the monkey will grab the nuts with its hand and form a fist, when the monkey tries to get its hands out, the opening will be too small for the fist to come out. The monkey has a choice to either let go of the nuts in order to escape or to hang on to the nuts and get captured, the monkey in this case would rather hold on to the nuts and risk being caught and it is the same for most of us, we have the habit of holding on to old things and ideas cos of fear of uncertainties and fear of the future and so we refuse to change.

Because of the highly competitive nature of the business world, change must naturally occur in a growing organization (Case Study of Comparing Cocacola & Pepsi, Microsoft, Nokia and Google, Facebook and Twitter)
If you resist change, you are ready to go out of business because if you don’t meet your customer’s demand for excellent service, you will lose to your competition.

The 4 stages of changes in organization growth are:
1. Formative Period: Starting phase, characterised by experimentation, innovation and creativity.
2. Rapid Growth period: Organization get well coordinated and directed, vision well defined.
3. Mature period: Strong growth levels, further changes occurs to maintain market and attain equity.
4. Declining period: Downsizing, re-organization and success requires starting the four periods over.
Team members usually like to avoid change but your role as a leader in the organization’s change engineering process is to emphasise action to make the change quick and smooth.

In the process of change, team members experience
i. Denial-Cannot see the changes
ii. Anger-Asks why they are putting them through the change
iii. Bargaining- Work out solution and keep everyone happy
iv. Depression-Reality of changing or death
v. Acceptance of change process
There is something we refer to as Kaizen in the business world, it is a Japanese term that means continual improvement and this is accompanied by a high level of change. Competitors get ahead of you when you stand still.

As leaders, it is important to build the change, make it interesting to be part of it, give your team members the authority to act on it and make them feel needed.

As I close, please bear to heart that, like Fredrick Huges, “you cannot make people like change but you can make them feel less threatened by it”

Thank you for having me.

Femi Royal

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