Some Nigerian companies collapse due to poor strategies — TEXEM founder

Dr Alim Abubakre, a British – Nigerian and founder of United Kingdom firm, TEXEM UK, has attributed the collapse of critical Nigerian organisations like NEPA, NITEL, Nigeria Airways, and Dunlop to poor management strategies.
Abubakre made the assertion while reviewing a book, “Open Strategy Mastering Disruption Outside The C-Suite”, by Christian Stadler, Julia Hautz, Kurt Matzler, and Stephan Friedrich von den Eichen; on TEXEM’s website.
The business expert said that the world is experiencing a turbulent time, but the zillion dollar question is how do leaders turn these challenges into vitamins and win despite these disruptive realities.
Abubakre said it was germane to share actionable insights to help leaders thrive, despite the disruptive and volatile operating context.
According to him, he is qualified to signpost leaders to a collection of valuable insights for success.
Abubakre said this was due to his experience of engaging with over 4,000 African and UK leaders and hundreds of organisations through TEXEM, a company he founded 12 years ago.
“From Volkswagen to Dunlop, Nigerian Airways to NITEL and NEPA, one could contend that what they all have in common aside from extinction are poor strategies and many failed change initiatives.
“Hence, it is essential to celebrate an instance of a book that inspires leaders to optimise their core competence and capability to win via successfully harnessing an open strategy.
“Arguably, many businesses and public sector organisations struggle with strategy often because they do not get the nitty-gritty of the art of developing/implementing a good strategy.
“While most of them understand the importance of having strategies, there’s a need to have a clear strategic direction that guides the process,” the book reviewer explained.
Abubakre said that many organisations had strategies, but the process of making them work was not an easy task.
He said that understanding what a strategy is, developing it, and implementing it, differentiate those who succeed from those who fail.
Abubakre added that unfortunately, only a few succeeded, as research has shown that between 50 per cent to 90 per cent of strategies fail.
He said that as a leader, having the right resources that provide guidelines on strategy is one way to boost performance.
“However, while there are many books labelled as the best strategy books out there, not all of them give the right tips on developing and implementing strategies.
“As such, it is always advisable for leaders and everyone else who wants to master strategy to make the right pick.
“One of the books that is already gaining tremendous popularity in the business world is Open Strategy: Mastering Disruption from Outside the C-Suite, authored by Christian Stadler, Julia Hautz, Kurt Matzler, and Stephan Friedrich von den Eichen (MIT Press, 2021).
“In this book, four renowned professors share their experience on the art of tapping into the power of people both when developing and implementing a company’s strategy.
“Their idea for writing the book is to guide leaders on developing the right strategies informed by diverse perspectives.
“They argue that strategy development is not a one-off exercise but rather a process that takes time.
“Most importantly, it should incorporate the ideas of all stakeholders, including employees and the top management of the company.
“In the words of these great scholars, strategy development ‘should generate ideas, openly and effectively as opposed to the traditional closed approach that most organisations use’,” Abubakre said.
He said that the process of strategy development should consider the ideas of most, if not everyone, within the organisation.
Abubakre said the book encourages the transition from closed-door strategy development to an open and well laid out approach.
He said the idea was that in the traditional approach, leaders or executives would often find it a little bit difficult to come up with imaginative ideas alone.
“So, it becomes pretty easy to probe and get the right ideas with an open strategy. How’s that possible?
“Well, in an open strategy, every stakeholder, especially the frontline employees, are given a chance to share their ideas.
“In so doing, it becomes easy to develop the right and more actionable strategies that can propel the organisation to higher levels of success,” Abubakre said.
He also compared the book to other seminal books, such as Mintzberg’s ‘Concept of Emerging Strategy’.
“They both argue that, in reality, the strategy actually achieved by organisations consists of traditionally planned corporate strategy.
“Also, it consists of strategy that occurred due to the actions of early-career staff lower down the organisation.
“In this way, small adaptions to day-to-day organisational practice could result in more significant strategic change,” Abubakre said.
He said the book is also different from Freeman’s “Stakeholder Theory” or Porter’s “Five Forces” because it incorporates critical leadership concepts around self-awareness, vulnerability, groupthink, and a growth mindset.
“However, the authors of Open Strategy warn that leaders and anyone else who adopts their approach should not confuse the open strategy with a free-for-all strategy.
“They argue that while the process needs to be open, there are limits as to when, how and to what extent should the process be open.
“For example, the book encourages the use of smaller representative groups. It makes it easier to engage, participate fully and come up with the right ideas. But that’s not all.
“Another precaution that the highly experienced and successful authors share is that readers should not confuse openness with sharing information that ought to be confidential.
“The point here is that while transparency in the process is very vital, an organisation’s confidential process should not be compromised.
“Overall, the book introduces an insightful and authentic approach to developing strategies,” Abubakre said.
He said it also clearly articulated how to make the best choices, take the right actions and position the organisation for success.
Abubakre said it would teach strategic leaders how to avoid confusion, complacency, denial and be in a continual state of renewal.
He said that, notably, the Open Strategy book should inspire all leaders and aspiring trailblazers in their quest to achieve sustainable progress in nation-building.


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