Strike the anvil on enterprise radio

An Entrepreneur's Journey Mobile App

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tony Hadley....... Slim the Dancer!

Working with Tony Hadley……

Tony Hadley was a really great boss. I learnt so much from him. He once asked me to submit a report on the cement industry, I put the report together using all the excel skills I knew and was feeling good with myself, he just looked at it and said to me, Sade presentation is everything. He showed me a similar report from someone at J.P Morgan and said if I gave you this report and your report, which one would you pick first? he didn't need to say anymore, I got the message.

For the first time in my work career, I was in a position where I had an Ariel view of a company’s operations, right from the top. We were seated on the 9th floor, same floor as Aliko Dangote (Not like that added anything to my pocket, but I just couldn’t resist throwing that in, *shinning teeth*).For those of you who think being filthy rich means you get to put your feet up, think again, the man Aliko is one of the most hardworking men I ever met. He was always in the office, even when he travelled out of town he came straight to the office from the airport. His case was tending towards an excessive obsession though, I wouldn’t want to live like he does, but I respect him. It is not by chewing gum that you build an empire like that, no matter how flawed.

I attended high level meetings regularly, as the secretary of course! Mofolusade the sece (you have to say this with a yoruba accent to get the joke). Tony had a big vision for cement and it was clearly documented in black and white. You should see the way he documented stuff, concise and clear. We had steering committees as well as weekly and monthly Executive meetings at the head office and all the different plants. He built a team of the best professionals ever; Mr. Adeleke taught me a more professional and audit compliant way of writing minutes, he was one very thorough man. Utibe! My girl Utibe, how can I not mention her; we were called Tony’s angels.  We came in at a level higher than many people who had been there for years, so we were labeled and hated by some right from the word go. Tony tried to carry all stakeholders along and most people came on board, most people except Mr. E*! He saw Tony as a rival, an enemy. He declined to attend every single meeting Tony called, creating a parallel and opposite team in his own domain.

It was madness! One time, he slammed the phone on Utibe. Utibe managed Tony’s calendar and had to send out reminders to cement executives for meetings. She called Mr E* and he screamed “who are you to call me directly, I don’t report to your boss, don’t you ever call me again!” See as our mouth wan drop. She told Tony and he just smiled and said, E's probably stressed out, I should go see him.This was high level politics playing out, right before my eyes. Where was Ochora, she took us in “Managing Corporate Power and Politics” at LBS. Then, it was just theory to us, now I was witnessing it live. Dangote group is such a big company with so many power players, fighting for Aliko’s attention. It was just crazy. Call it the game of thrones.  We would get approvals for something in camp Tony and it would get intercepted from Camp Edwin. This went on and on, till Tony couldn’t take anymore. Really, how does one progress that way, especially when you are as straight forward and professional as Tony.

Tony opted out! There was some drama and I missed it because I closed at 5, but Utibe gave me the low down when I got in the next day. Tony’s angels and the professionals he had invited to join his team were left hanging. It would only be a matter of time before the sharks got us. Yawa!..... To be contd

I have a few pictures from the good dangote days here.

But here's one I like;

*Names changed

Life Skills Learnt

  • Organizational skills – Tony had his weekly, monthly and yearly plans laid out for Cement. 
  • Time management - Tony was a sucker for schedules and timing
  • High level documentation and planning – I need to fish out all those Tony’s documents again, they would be useful for me now.
  • Presentation - Power point is such a powerful tool, a lot of us under utilize it.
  • People management – If you didn’t have the right people skills in dangote, you were dead dead. How do you get people to cooperate with you, give you reports as at when due and so on without this?
  • Meeting management - Our meetings were sharp and to the point, we sent out agendas a week before and stuck to the agendas as much as possible (there was always that one person who would go off on a tangent, lol)
  • How can I not add POLITICS and POWER play!!!

2013……..13 June 2013

Sometime last year, I volunteered to start taking reading classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the first school hour. I rotate the classes from reception through grade 6. At first it was just something to fill up my calendar so depression didn’t find room, but now I look forward to it and make out time as often as I can.I have been doing this for over 6 months now. Children are simply amazing. I learn a lot from spending time with them. It has also helped me understand my son a bit more because I see what other kids do and this tells me he's not doing anything strange for his age group.

After my reading session today, I visited a young big dreamer (I mean that in a good way) and my heart was filled with joy. Anybody who can dare to dream in Nigeria should be respected. He runs a dance studio called the bodylanguage studio in Illupeju. Chibuzor Ikonta, simply knowm as Slim, is an epitome of passion. This guy loves to dance and he can, not only can he dance but he is also a really good teacher. He’s not so much into the regular hip hop and co type dance routines but rather he's into Salsa, Cha cha, other latin and some inidan traditional dances. But just as I read somewhere, you need way more than talent to run a successful business. He needs a business development manager asap , so he can focus on his creative side. If you are young and you think you have skills, send me a mail, but let me tell you upfront, it’s a commission based salary, so you really have to want to do this.

We were working on developing gift vouchers for dance classes. I have always though it a unique gift idea. A voucher for paid dance classes for a week, a month and so on. We talked about that and other things. Mainly the usual stuff entrepreneurs talk about when they meet, challenges with funding, with finding the right kind of staff, with time management (so much to do, so little time) ecetera. He’s had to deal with so much at his young age, yet he’s sticking with his dream and vision. I so wish Slim all the best. That’s a link to his facebook page below, if you’re interested.

After spending some time with Slim, I stopped by at the hub and put in two hours of good time, drawing up plans and following up on emails.

On accounting, I uploaded my diamond bank statements to Xero and while doing reconciliation I think I noticed a posting error. I know I withdrew 180,000 for sure and what I could see on the statement was 18,000. I hope I am mistaken and probably have things mixed up, because if this is not the case what hope is there for me in that bank?! Sheesh.

I am still waiting patiently for the first person that would ask for gift advice on @asktrezorlandia. I will so celebrate ehn!! You will think there is something else there. 

Entrepreneur Tips

  • Apply yourself to things that add value to you and the society as a whole. Start with your sphere of influence. Entrepreneurs should be change agents.
  • When you can, spend time with other entrepreneurs, listen to their story and share yours.  For me, it is a source of encouragement and inspiration, I think you might find it to be too.
  • Find synergies where possible between your business and others, this gives you leverage.