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Great Africans Transforming Africa

  Dec 9, 2011

By Esther Kanyi

There are three key attributes that always arise when one mentions Strathmore Business School. From a recent market analysis carried by the business school, three key attributes were common, excellence, trailblazing and ethics. Strathmore Business School has been at the forefront for training leaders and executives in Africa and one of their key promises is ‘True transformation through virtues’. I have had the privileged to analyze some of the client’s feedback; there is a common phrase that always appears – ‘I was transformed’. From these findings therefore I would qualify ‘transformation’ as the fourth common attribute of the business school.

As a constant reminder to those who graduate from the business school the theme of the SBS Alumni is ‘Great Africans Transforming Africa’. This theme is an aide memoire to all leaders; CEOs, business owners, women in leadership among other executives who have undergone SBS training and foreseen the future of the African continent. We should not only be termed as leaders but we should be referred to as great leaders who can bring transformational change and development in this continent.

Africa the New Frontier of the 21st Century Need Tranformational Leaders

Globalization is changing the opportunities for development in Africa by facilitating opening of markets and business ideas across the globe. The main key features make Africa a hub for various development initiatives including opportunities of vast business ideas in areas of ICT, health, agriculture, untapped markets and the shift of international architecture governing trade that seems to be more directed to African growth. With all these openings we have to act as Great Africans with a vision of taking Africa to great heights. This calls for effective and excellent leadership skills (Transformational leadership skills).

Transforming is the act of changing or converting something, when it comes to leadership, changing or converting something to benefit others is an art in itself and it requires extraordinary acts. Thus transformational leadership can be defined as the act of getting extraordinary things done; often in extraordinary times. Positive extraordinary actions between leaders and followers make it possible for constructive change.

As we develop Africa, our focus should be to advocate for massive positive change in our institutions and businesses, this too requires us as leaders to examine our personal values every now and then to enable us evaluate our capabilities and directions. Transformational leaderships set the pace for change by pushing leaders to model the way by affirming values through actions, adhering to their guidelines principles and working effectively with their followers by taking note of the feedbacks and by creating opportunities to discuss values.

Transformational leaders always search for opportunities to change status quo by encouraging extraordinary ideas; being innovative. This is what Africa needs the most. Development ideas should come from Africa and not elsewhere. In already existing organisations and institutions, innovations can be encouraged by leaders who support and value new ideas from their subordinates. Use of personal encouragement and motivation from leaders to their followers is also crucial to creating a close relationship between workers and developing positive possibilities.

Transformational leaders always work towards inspiring shared vision with others, this can be achieved through making their visions actions and seeing existing possibilities for the future and enlisting others to create a shared vision. Envisioning the future involves relating the values of an organisation or a business with the environment such as expanding the markets regionally, creating a competitive edge and generating world class services/ products that can compete globally. Enlisting others to create a shared vision is empowering the people we work with and authorize them to be in sync with the same ideas in addition to collaborating with others who share the same objectives. Shared vision of fighting the vices that are dragging the continent downwards such as corruption, poor leadership and lack of work ethics is our responsibility as leaders who want to transform Africa.

As a continent we need to grow our human capital to be competitive and value oriented, we need to believe we can by working together and having the same vision that is, taking Africa higher. Developing Africa requires excellence, ethical working conditions, togetherness, innovation, values and dedicated leaders who are ready to sacrifice and transform, Strathmore business school trains you to be all a transformational leader should be.

A well equipped African leader therefore qualifies to be; A Great African who has the capabilities to transform.

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