Superpreneurs; The Master Key To Development
In paper 4 I went into details of the 15 golden rules for Superpreneurship. And I broke down the first rule which is having the right attitude and taking Initiative. This is a friendly reminder for those of you who see yourselves as future Superpreneurs, Always take initiative. Step forward, volunteer, take the bull by the horn, trust me nobody else will and once you do, it gives you a chance to display your talents. It was worked for me time without number. If people around you are looking for a solution provider and maybe they have not even identified that they have a problem then you can be the solution provider they seek. You should step up, point out the problem, point out the solution and then volunteer to get the job done. And please for God’s sake get it done.
Nothing will destroy your credibility more than volunteering for a job and then you end up not getting it done. You would have done more harm than good in this case. Develop the winner attitude, I love the song that starts with “ I WIN WIN WIN NO MATTER WHAT ….” You must set yourself up to win, you believe you will win and you must go out there determined to win. If you can develop this attitude then you are well on your way to becoming at the top of your game whatever the game is.
GOLDEN RULE TWO
Always do more than you are paid to do
There is a big secret in business and in life and many Nigerians seem to have ignored this. I will share with you this formula, by Napoleon Hill. He says in Life we always start out doing more than we are paid to do but we always end up getting paid more, than that for which we do. And that is a fact. Do you think Michael Jordon, David Beckam, or Floyd Mayweather started out earning millions of dollars in their trade? No they did not. Every one of us starts at the bottom, we work hours training to be best, or honing in on our trade until we get it right. That preparation period can take years. For Olympic athletes this process can take four to eight years. In some cases much longer, but the truth is that during that stage where we are the apprentice we are not paid very much. We have to suck it up and still do our best work and possibly work much longer hours than ever. And if we are true to ourselves and to the work we have put so much into we will most surely reap the rewards.
When I was the Chief Strategy officer/ Head of Strategy at the Nigerian Stock Exchange I started out with a miserable salary of fifty thousand naira a month, or two hundred dollars a month. In fact that money would not carry me for up to two days and it would be finished. I would use it to buy food in the house and put fuel in my car and that was it. By the third day I was broke, and I had to dip into my savings to get by. However this poor remuneration did not stop me from giving my very very best to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and my Boss. In fact I was the first to get to work in the morning every morning I was there before 7am and I was the last to leave at night, most nights I worked till 10pm and when I was on a special project it was not uncommon to see me work till midnight. This was my routine and before lone everybody in the Stock Exchange came to hear about it. You know why? Well remember that this was a somewhat lazy institution, and many of the staff felt that since it was a self-regulator they did not need to put in any extra work. Most of the staff got to work at 9am and before 3.30pm latest by 4pm the place was empty.
I on the other hand never understood how anybody could get a day’s work done in just six, or seven or even eight hours. So I stayed late and got things done and came to work early to start all over again. I had so many projects I was handling so in fact I needed to do the extra time just to get the job done. I never complained that I did not get paid well, I never complained that I did not have a new car assigned to me even though I was coming from Merrill Lynch in the USA where I was driving a brand new BMW 325i which I had to leave back in the United States. I sucked it up and got the work done. Once it became obvious to my Director General/CEO and to the members of the Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange that I could be trusted and I could be relied upon. That was it. They gave me all kinds of tasks and assignments. If the council wanted to visit Japan, USA and South Africa to prepare a report on a modern securities exchange, they side stepped all the senior management officials and called on me to travel with them. When my Boss needed to visit with President Obasanjo to present a paper on investment strategy for Nigeria and how the Federal Government could use public policy to stimulate investment, I was the one that was called upon to go with her.
In fact the Stock Exchange started to depend on me so much that it become over whelming some times. The National Assembly needed the Nigerian Stock Exchange to prepare a position paper on Pension reform and present it to a joint committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives; I was the one that was sent to make the presentation.
The Federal Ministry of Finance needed to set up a Debt Management Office and needed a technical paper on how the Federal Government could create and sell its bonds to Nigerians and the World and relaunch a bond market. I was the one that was called upon to develop the technical paper and I was the one to deliver the paper as well in the presence of the World Bank officials, the Ministers of Finance, Economic Planning, the Governor of the Central Bank and the President’s Chief Economic Adviser. And even as I was given these extra tasks which clearly meant to me that my strategy of doing more than you are paid to do was working, I still went the extra mile again on the secondary tasks as well. If my paper was on pension reform, I went further to talk about the economic impact of being able to mobilize pensions, I provided a projection on the kind of value Nigeria will get from the funds that will be mobilized over the next twenty years and I gave a strong benefit analysis to Legislators how their communities and constituencies would equally benefit from Pension reform. This meant that the organizers would be so happy with my presentation and they will let the Nigerian Stock Exchange know how happy they were that it was I that was sent to deliver the presentation, they would call my Boss and ask her to send me again and again.
I was truly on fire, and I knew it but I did not stop. I went on pleasing and going the extra mile. And eventually I was asked to lead a new effort to build Nigeria’s first mega corporation fashioned after the Chaebols of Korea. I became Nigeria’s youngest Group Executive Director of a listed corporation in the history of the capital market in Nigeria. That is also a different story for another day.
The great thing about doing more than you are paid to do is that you are guaranteed to win. You know why? Well because most people are lazy and people will try as much as possible to do as little work as possible or as little work as they can get away with. In most cases just enough to keep their jobs, because as they say in Nigeria, “it is not my father’s work”. If on the other hand you are going the extra mile, doing much more than you are paid to do then you are bound to stand out. You will profit by contrast. Everybody will notice you. And the losers will try to get you to stop by saying things like “why are you working so hard? Trying to win an award? “ or they push you as much as possible till you give up and be like them. Don’t do it. They are only trying to ruin your life and bring you down to their level.
Stand out, be the teacher’s pet or the Boss’s pet if that is what it will take to stand out. You are building a new life that leads to Super Entrepreneurship so you must stand out any way.
In business as in life you must always go the extra mile with your customers. Commit to excellence, aim to please, and please them some more. The more you please the more you will get their business and you will be on your way to Superpreneurship. I once met a taxi driver in Lagos that would always wear a buttoned up shirt and tie. He would never be found wanting. I asked him why he said that because he works out of the airport in Lagos and all his clients are all business people.
only on a few occasions he gets the younger students but mostly it is business people coming into Lagos from different parts of the country. They need to get to a meeting fast and they need transportation, he wants his car to be their transportation not just for a ride from the airport to the hotel but for their entire stay in Lagos.
He says when they see him in a tie and he opens the door for them nine times out of ten they ask him to pick them up again tomorrow to take them to the meeting. And while he takes them to the meeting he gives them the royal service which makes them feel special and even in some cases the business partners they met at the meeting with ask for his number so they too could enjoy his service whenever they needed a taxi in Lagos.
Now that is going the extra mile and he gets almost double on an annual basis what all the other Lagos based taxi drivers get. It pays to the Boss’s pet, in this case the Boss is the client.
Entrepreneurs in the service industry providing a service for a hair, or beauty or fashion or even cleaning are best positioned to always do more than you are paid for. I wonder why more people do not do it. As for employees it is pathetic, most Nigerian employees would rather just show up, sit down for a few hours and then go home. They eventually leave their lazy jobs and start their own businesses and then expect magic to happen after they have spent ten years or more acting lazy on the jobs. Where do you expect to get the training to go the extra mile for your customers as a business owner if you did not do it for your employer?
Please always do more than you are paid to do, you will be on a path to Superpreneurship and exceptional leadership.
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