BY TERESA MULOMI
“Even if nobody else cares for the business, I was hired for the business and will do my very best for the business.” Mr. Francis Njeru, the General Manager for ChemServe Cleaning Services speaking during the forum.
Corporate Staffing Services hosted COOs and top level executives in the just concluded “Leadership Inner Circle Forum” which was geared towards facilitating peer-to-peer roundtable discussions centered around how leaders can turn-around their business.
The business environment is rapidly evolving and leaders needs to pick up the pace and keep the pace in order to not only survive but thrive.
A new leadership paradigm is necessary in order to respond to the increasingly complex and unpredictable business shifts.
The Leadership Inner Circle forum was informed by these challenges and competing interests that C-Suite Executives face. The ongoing monthly forum organized by Corporate Staffing Services aims at inspiring purpose-driven leadership and provides opportunities for high level networking, exposure, inspiration and learning.
The theme for this event was ‘Business Turn-Around” and it brought executives from different fields from real estate, construction, hygiene, IT and health sectors to share unique ideas, inspiration and approaches on how they nurture strong vibrant company cultures, navigate constant change and handle competing interests and pressures.
Navigating and communicating constant change
One of the biggest challenges COOs grapple with is navigating and adapting to the constantly evolving business environment. During the forum, leaders agreed that it is important to understand that change is a process and empower and communicate with employees every step of the way.
“Communicate everything you want to do before you do it, state how you will do it and when you will do it in order to build trust and avoid future misunderstanding.” Mr. Francis Njeru, General Manager, ChemServe Cleaning
Making progress amidst chaos
It is so easy for COOs to get distracted and be pulled in so many directions when trying to balance between the expectations of business owners and the business realities on the ground.
“When faced with a lot of internal and external demands and pressures strive to stick to the core business and be ready to make mistakes that you can learn from before you find your balance” Samuel Njau, Finance Director, MML Turner and Townsend
COOs can sometimes be completely overwhelmed by the multiplicity of problems, demands and pressures coming at them 24/7. Prioritizing the urgent from the important is imperative in order for COOs to focus on mission critical tasks.
Mr. Njeru provided a clear system on how businesses should be structured in order to enable COOs to prioritize. He urged the COOs present to focus on 5 core function of business namely: generating revenue, delivering business through superior products and services, simplifying the business through lean and efficient systems, effectively managing and supporting employees and building strong management teams to empower, motivate and direct teams.
Hiring and retaining top talent
Getting the right employees is one of the greatest difference between successful companies and struggling one. However, CEOs struggle with finding and retaining the most talented and suitable candidates.
During the forum, it was agreed that the best approach for hiring and recruiting top talent is to outsource recruitment services from a reputable HR firm like Corporate Staffing Services to ensure that the candidates hired have been properly vetted and have no alignment to the board of directors.
“Thanks to Corporate Staffing Services, we have instituted proper HR policies, the right HR structures and have the right capacity.” Mr. Njeru, General Manager, ChemServe Cleaning Services.
Attendees also agreed that in some cases, it is important to remove the bad apples in the organization who might infect the whole team with poor professional habits.
“Sometimes, in the interest of the company, tough decisions have to be made. In some cases, you will have to weed out the bad seeds that are lagging you behind and in other cases, you may have to take a bold step to and empower low-level employees who have the skill and talent but lack formal papers.” John Omwaga, Mawingu Networks Limited
Successfully Managing People
The biggest and most recurring problem highlighted during the forum was people management. Even with the right talent, it can be a challenge to keep them energized and motivated and instill a culture of excellence that aligns with people’s value and corporate goals.
Some of the people management strategies highlighted during the forum include:
- Build personal relationships with your team to identify their strengths, motivation and pain points and figure out how to empower or support them
- Execute a next-level model of excellence at every level to help move your team to higher performance
- Create the next level of leaders in your company regardless of age. Shape and empower young leaders as long as they exhibit leadership traits
- Know your team member’s strong suits in order to assign them roles that magnify their strengths.
- Communicate and support your team but keep them accountable.
- Have proper systems of reporting and accountability to ensure people are doing what they are supposed to do i.e. KPIs, daily reports, weekly meetings, and performance appraisals
- Invest in good staff and support them. Do no view them as a liability but as assets who will enrich your organization.
As the forum came to a close, the business leaders were relieved to learn that the challenges they faced were not unique to their organizations and left happy with the lessons and solutions shared by their fellow peers.
Present during the forum were Mr. Perminus Wainaina, the CEO of Corporate Staffing Services, Ms. Muthoni Ndegwa, General Manager Corporate Staffing Services, Mr. Philip Kariuki the General Manager of Morrison Engineering, Mr. John Omwaga of Mawingu Networks Limited, Mr. Frederick Kangali of City Eye Hospital, Mrs. Grace Kagiri of Realty Place Limited, Mr. Francis Njeru of ChemServe Cleaning Services Limited and Mr. Samuel Njau of MML Turner and TownSend Ltd.
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