Building My Enterprise through Effective Leadership

Building My Enterprise through Effective Leadership: Reflections on the just concluded 2015 Annual Conference of ICLD in Lagos, Nigeria.

Leaders are born, leaders are also made. ICLD is a step in the right direction. The just concluded conference on October 3rd, 2015 was an experience that participants will
never forget in a hurry. The event took place at Hotel Ibis Royale by Ajao Estate Lagos. The theme of the conference was ‘Building My Enterprise through Effective Leadership’
Ideas, they say rules the world. It was a celebration of ideas and entrepreneurial excellence as youths and aspiring entrepreneurs, Business executives, civic leaders, top government functionaries, security personnel gathered at the 2015 International Centre for leadership development annual conference held in Lagos over the weekend.
I have attended so many conferences in my life, but this conference was particularly unique; it was unique because of the quality of ideas discussed, it was unique because of the type of personality and team that are spearheading ICLD.
I am so proud of her executive Director / Founder; Felix Iziomoh, an author of two great books, a revolutionary thinker, social entrepreneur/ solution economist, public speaker, and leadership consultant.

His leadership skills were honed at International Institute for Global Leadership, USA. He is the first graduate of the institution, and of course her current President.

International Centre for leadership development Nigeria is a Non-Governmental organization aimed at equipping and grooming young individuals towards the pathway of maximizing or better still unlocking their potentials.

Its mission is to provide them with leadership training, entrepreneurial skills, new media technology, allowing them to realize their full potential and become effective citizens in their communities.

The event kicked off by 10:15am with a welcome speech by its director; Felix Iziomoh, followed by a keynote speech / opening Remarks delivered by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Mr Hakeem Muri-Okunola, ably represented by Mr. Saka from the same ministry.

The first session was a power-packed lecture delivered by Dr. Mfon Archibong. Dr Mfon is the President / CEO of Grace Restoration International (GRI). A global human development organization. He is the Head of Africa, world Leadership Day (WLD), working to strengthen youth leadership around the globe. It was a pleasure listening to his pragmatic ideas, and philosophically-seductive entrepreneurial ideas.

He kicked it off with the first lecture on ‘leadership & Innovation’. He started by quoting Albert Einstein ‘we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them’
He opined that creative thinking has become a core leadership competency. Complex challenges facing the society can be solved through creative thinking. You should think out of the box, before the box gets you in.

When you don’t engage yourself to creative thinking, you become a barrier to your innovation. It takes the following; vision, ingenuity, brainstorming, team work, motivation, creativity, incentive, inspiration, development, planning and lots more.

You can’t do it by yourself, businesses collapse because those involved in it don’t collaborate. No man is an island says a creative thinker.

The second Lecture dwelt on ‘Youth, Leadership & Community Development’ by Dr Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba; a success-driven visionary, educator par excellence, peace activist, community builder, conflict resolution analyst with many years of research conducting mediation, training and facilitation around the African continent.

Dr Emmanuel is the convener / director of the Annual International Conference on Youth & Interfaith dialogue in Nigeria, which hosts over 350 participants from over 10 countries annually. He also serves as a resource person, trainer and facilitator at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations-Education First Summer School, in Tarrytown, New York, USA where he leads special sessions on interfaith dialogue models and discussion circles.

He is a man loaded with noble thoughts on contemporary leadership issues. He started by looking at man as responsible for his myriads of problems. Many years ago, philosophers were keen at studying the problems of man such as the problem of evil, death, and so on. But today, they are no longer talking about that, they are more concerned in studying man as his own problem.

One of the powerful quotes he made was drawn from Bishop TD Jakes, who said ‘God did not bury you...He planted you’. God wants you to grow amazingly.

The raw materials for community development are the capacity and ability of the individuals. Don’t limit yourself in the context of what you don’t have. Those things do not define you.
Some people can be highly literate, but not educated. You don’t learn education in the classroom. If the idea of ‘change’ does not involve growth then, we are just wasting our time.

Young people have the capacity to relate, network, collaborate more easily than the adults. What is lacking in most of our youths today is the ‘creative element’.

Third lecture was delivered by Mr. Roy Okhidievbie; the topic was ‘ Using Security to Secure our Future’  He is a pleasant, unassuming, and a good builder, member of security professional bodies with more than 25 years military, graduate and professional experience.

He dwelt extensively on the critical issues in Nigeria such as ethno-religious conflicts, political based violence, systemic & political corruption, pervasive material inequalities & unfairness, unemployment, high level of poverty, human trafficking, weak security system, sectarian strife, the porous borders, terrorism, Boko Haram insurgency, poor infrastructural development and many more.

He proffered so many solutions and concluded his speech with one of President Obama’s highly celebrated quote on Africa: ‘Africa doesn’t need strong men, it needs strong institutions’

The fourth  lecture was on ‘Entrepreneurship Mindset’ by Dr Mfon Archibong. In this session, he dissected the concept of entrepreneurship. He said that Businesses fail because of the following reasons:
·         Poor planning

·         Follow-follow (because Peter made it selling recharge cards, is no guarantee that Paul will also make it selling the same commodity), don’t get into a business solely because another man is doing same.
·         Multiple taxations from the government agencies and so on.

However, he encouraged entrepreneurs to embrace the three phases of innovation namely:
·         Conception
·         Implementation, and
·         Marketing

You cannot be successful as a business person unless you are disciplined. Character is power says Booker T Washington. Leadership denotes taking action, and getting results. Leaders must be charismatic, inspirational, and being able to develop, connect and impact.

Finally, he also delivered the fifth lecture entitled ‘The laws of Leadership & Accountability’. In his view, he maintained that accountable people creates, seek and receives feedbacks.

If you are part of the solution, you are part of the problem, if you are not part of the problem; you are not part of the solution. Great leaders are men of vision and mission. He challenged every participant to be people who make things happen.

At the end of the lecture, I felt reinvigorated, relived, and inspired. It was really a great day. I will also not forget another interesting part. Immediately he ended his last lecture, he started to ask questions about the issues he discussed.

To my greatest amazement, I attempted all his questions, and he rewarded me with an exciting book ‘Strengths Finder’ by Tom Rath, New York Times Bestselling author of ‘Wellbeing’. Another participant also made great attempts at his questions, and was rewarded with one of his classical works.

This conference worth more than a $10, 000000 gift to me; my effort here is just to share few things I learnt from the conference with my amazing readers.

Other highlights of the events featured award presentations to the two speakers; Dr Mfon and Dr Ivorgba, plus other award presentations to Afere Lawrence of the Springboard farms, Akure, Chris Ibe and a host of others.

Below are some of the pictures at the event: