From the Boardroom
Major business events are often characterised by the populist narrative. But one thing is certain, our contribution as actors and the perception of success will be shaped by the opinions of others. Employee opinion will no doubt play a part.
The African region is nuanced and complex. In this report, the current state of affairs described by the Nigerian business community closely mirrors that of the global stage. If not in whole, certainly in part. Remote working, accelerated technology adoption, product and service innovation, office space optimisation, reduction in business travel and localisation of supply chains are all glocal themes. As an opening gambit, the subtle shift to ‘stakeholder value’ may explain the hesitance to pursue mass lay-offs. Despite this departure from the social norm, 97% of employees are still reporting job-related stress and many are working 40% harder since the lockdown.
Although nobody can be certain, the Nigerian economic landscape is predicted to normalise in the next 12-18 months. In the past three global recessions, across sectors, top-quartile performers with stockpiles of cash, have seen an increase in share price, often as much as 6%. Those in the bottom quartile fell by 44%. The reality for many is that business recovery will take years, if at all.
In the search for a second curve of business growth, many will be forced into premature risk-taking. Transforming business models, re-thinking talent management and staff welfare, shifting corporate culture, increasing technology spend, optimising costs and reallocating spend from nonvalue add areas to new spaces of innovation and exploration. Progressive executives will reflect upon deep-rooted belief systems and pontificate on leadership philosophies of resilience and optimism. Beyond the comfort of analysis and conjecture, it is important that we ‘get to doing’. The dirty little secret of futurism is that you don’t always have to be right, but you must constantly evolve and move forward, while being prepared to fail and pivot. The sooner one can learn to effectively navigate within the uncertainty, the increased likelihood of emerging stronger. In boardroom’s up and down the country, nothing should remain the same or off the table.