I believe that the greatest business leaders are not just those who make great profits and established a great business, making a name for themselves and often setting the pace in their sector. These are all results of a very successful business or organisation. However, I believe that the greatest business leaders are those who have left a legacy for others to follow.
Many aspects of a business that appear ordinary in today’s business world were, in fact, the result of genius thinking by pioneering business executives. These are people who charted new courses in the operations of certain aspects of business. These people have by their ingenuity and determination to find a better way of accomplishing common goals, gone beyond the ordinary work of their business or companies; THESE MEN AND WOMEN HAVE BY THEIR ACTIONS CHANGED HOW BUSINESS THINGS ARE DONE. A good example is the story of C.W Post which Mayo and Nohria tell In their book, IN THEIR TIME. “ The almost ubiquitous practice of product sampling today was sparked by the imagination and persistence of this man, C.W Post. In trying to build a market for his caffeine-free coffee substitute, Postum, he brewed the caramel-flavored concoction and offered free samples to customers of local general stores throughout the upper Midwest.” (Mayo et al, 2005).
In spite of the steep competition, Post broke through the competition by connecting directly with the end user, and this through a practice completely unheard-of at the turn of the twentieth century.
This man didn’t only achieve business success and market breakthrough, but he set the stage for a brand new business practice in the retail sector, one that has evolved over the past century.
My question to you is, Apart from the fact that you made a lot of money and ran a successful business, WHAT LEGACY WILL YOU BE LEAVING BEHIND?
If you take the time to study the last 2 century you will see the undeniable impact of business executives in the course of world affairs.
Let me end this article with a quote from Carl C. Conway, chairman of Continental Can Company;
It is American businessmen and the businesses they conduct which are performing and will increasingly perform miracles of prodigious production in our nation’s emergency…We have the opportunity, the responsibility, yes, the sacred duty of proving for all time that under the American system of free enterprise, American businessmen, doing things the American way, can accomplish more than any other system on earth.
The Nigerian business community has seen such disruptors of the mundane who broke through the traditions and acceptable norms to set the pace through their business idea. For instance, Tara Fela-Durotoye of House of Tara started her business in a very young industry and brought a different angle to it with a product and service business that was before unheard of in Africa.
Today her business has not only employed but empowered thousands of young people to own and run their own beauty business across Africa.
Another great example, Mo Abudu, once described by Forbes as ‘Africa’s Most Successful Woman”, began her career as a recruitment consultant, until she moved in to become a force in the media industry. Starting out as an award winning talk show host, Mo Abudu has gone on to launch – Ebony Live TV, ‘Africa’s first Global Black Multi-Broadcast Entertainment Network’. Through her network, she is positively influencing the world’s perception of Africa by showcasing the best of who we are and what we can do to the world.