“A good leader must accept responsibilities for the benefit of others”

Dr Maxwell Ubah, a graduate of medicine from College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Akoka is also a certified leadership, strategy and peak performance consultant. He holds the prestigious Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy from London Business School. In this interview with Francis Adejoro, he spoke on the opportunities in Nigeria economy and the qualities a good business leader should have among others.


What was growing up like for you?

Challenging but eventful. Even though things were not easy for me (I grew up in Olodi-Apapa), my dad instilled into me the concepts of self-esteem (you are not defined by what you have), hard work and discipline. I also had a wonderful teacher, Mr Alexander Adelusi, who brought the best out of me academically as I represented Lagos State in a National Quiz.

What Attracted You to Leadership Coaching?

I have always held leadership positions while growing up, but the defining moment happened while I was studying medicine at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos. I had professors who were leading authorities in their respective fields,but some of them couldnot lead effectively when entrusted with leadership positions as Head of Department, Dean or Provost of the College. It was that curiosity that led me into leadership coaching, to discover the principles of leadership effectiveness and help individuals and organisations to become better.

Who Can Benefit From Your Leadership Coaching?

Leadership is for everyone, irrespective of title or position. However, if you are in charge of a group of people, and you want them to be more effective and deliver the required result, then leadership coaching is for you.

What Is Your Definition Of Leadership?

A leader is that individual that accepts responsibilities for others for their benefit. This definition has nothing to do with titles, positions or where one sits in an organisation; it has to do with the sense of responsibility you exemplify and the value you add to the people or organisationyouare involved with. To help your team or organisation to become better, to contribute your quota to the notch of performance is at the heart of leadership, without which you are not a leader irrespective of your title or position in the organisation.

What Are The Qualities Business Owners Need To Have Or Possess To Succeed In Business?

As a business owner, you must understand the business you are into, understand your customers’ needs better than your competitors, develop products with a unique viable proposition to meet the needs of your customers, market and sell your products at a price that is greater than the opportunity cost of capital, motivate your entire workforce to deliver on your business goals, manage your cash flow and expenses appropriately, and also manage your tax obligations. These are the fundamental factors that keep sustaining business owners.

What Tip Do You Have For Businesses Inthe Year 2020

The one question that should be top-of-the-mind for business owners should be: what is good about the situation?Or how can we turn the challenges in the economy into a business opportunity? We all agree that today’s business climate and economic conditions are tough. But if you ask yourself what is good about the situation, how can I turn a tough economy around for my good, then you will discover the opportunities inherent in the tough economic situation.

Recently I saw a Burger King advert in Mexico. Burger king Mexico developed an app where you can order their products when you are stuck in traffic, and the food will be delivered to you while still in traffic. As a result of this innovation, their sales increased by close to 80% in one month. You can then ask the same question here, and it will open opportunities for you to be innovative. Rather than seeing problems and complaining about them, you now begin to see opportunities and solutions that you can bring money for your business. What is good about the current economic challenges is a fundamental question every business owner needs to ask in 2020.

The President Of Rwanda Recently Advised President Buhari To Focus Less On Corruption To Grow The Economy. What Is Your Opinion?

I have said that before that Nigeria biggest problem is not corruption; it is poor accountability!There is corruption in China, UK, US and everywhere in the world, but our biggest problem is lack of accountability. Has the economy improved since we started fighting corruption? The answer is No; if we continue on this journey without any vision of growing the economy, Nigeria will become worse. The concern should be: how do we create wealth?How do we attract foreign direct investment? How do we ensure that businesses do not collapse? How do we ensure that when people come out of school, they are gainfully employed?These should be the focus of the president. The fight against corruption is only pushing people out of jobs. The fight against corruption has not improved the living standards of the average man.

What Differentiate Your Services From Others?

I deliver bespoke learning and consulting interventions that guarantee dramatic increases in business results. I have over 20years of leadership experience. I have a degree in leadership and strategy from London Business School. I have written and published one of the best leadership books in sub-Saharan Africa, titled The Alphabet of Leadership: The A-Z of Improving Your Leadership Effectiveness. I have facilitated programmes in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia, Liberia and Dubai for many reputable organisations.

What Are You Doing To Stay Ahead?

In this year alone, I have ordered over 30 books from Amazon. I am developing myself to stay ahead, putting myself on the cutting edge of the latest trends in leadership development.

What Are Those Things That Makes You Happy?

Putting a smile on the faces of others is one of the things that make me incredibly happy. The drive to learn more is another thing that makes me happy.

Will You Consider Politics In The Future?

I will not put up myself to contest any elective position, but I will play an active role in shaping future generations of leaders in the area of my consultancy services.

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