A Nigerian in pursuit of the Good Society in his homeland
What has been your most notable rebel accomplishment or experience?
Having been told “no” by my boss, I managed to find out from Corporate HQ “who cared” about the issue I was pursuing and “who knows” all the possibilities and options. I linked up with them through people who believed in me and I got the budget I wanted, and executive sponsorship I needed to pull my scheme off. Grudgingly, when I got an award for the effort (all expenses paid ski trip for me and my spouse for one week in Verbier, Switzerland) my boss asked me to “integrate” him into the plan, which I did. However, I had to watch my back every day for the next few years till I left the company. He wasn’t a happy trouper at all!
When did you first realize that you are a rebel?
From the day I took my first job in 1987 and found too many ridiculous things in the workplace and couldn’t stop questioning and trying to change stuff. In fact, I was propelled so hard internally that I was like a moth to the flame …. I couldn’t help being different or standing out.
What advice do you wish someone had given you earlier in your career?
The fact that all change is political. I did not really start pulling off huge change schemes until I became at peace with the fact I would not always be liked and would not always please everyone. I realised only later that corporate politics is about realising there would always be opposition to one’s ideas and politics is the art of finding ways around, over or through the obstacles whilst minimising the effects of the fallout to one’s career. It takes great personal mastery. You need to know yourself very transparently and know other actors very well to do this over and over again sustainably. I wish someone had warned methat it is emotionally and mentally draining whether you engage or not.
What is your favorite rebel characteristic?
Seeing what no one else sees out of what seems like a random collection of facts, and seeing patterns.
What’s your favorite question?
What one clue tells you you’re effecting positive change?
The debate thickens between those for and those against. I then try to read the energies and reexamine my motives to be sure I am feeling the situation aright …. Never mind the facts … They are never sufficient to indicate success.
What do you think it’s most important for people to understand about rebels?
They can be managed but it takes strong, self-assured, open minded managers to do so. Those “managers” must mentor rather than manage them, facilitate more than control etc.
What’s your one word piece of advice for rebels?
What’s your one word piece of advice for non-rebels?
Where do you think rebels are most needed today?
Financial services, healthcare & education.
Who is your favorite rebel from the past 100 years?
What’s the one thing you should never say to a rebel?