(…continued from last post)
Relationships need to be nurtured
Weaker institutions and legal systems make personal relationships more important when doing business in emerging markets such as Africa. Belo-Osagie says these relationships need to be nurtured.
“You may not want to go [to] the CEO’s daughter’s naming ceremony. You may not want to go [to] his daughter’s wedding, but I’ll strongly advise you to go, in your own interest. These relationships are fundamental and they do not stop at five o’clock in the afternoon… they go round the clock,” he explains.
Using the documentary film on the life of former US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Belo-Osagie compares the uncertainty of business with warfare.
“When you go into war, it is like walking into fog, you cannot see very clearly precisely what there is on the other side. I love that analogy because I think that one of the key factors for success in business is you must have that mental attitude to walk boldly through the fog of uncertainty that is an inevitable part of business,” he says.
“There are some individuals who cannot make a decision until every fact is in, who cannot live with uncertainty. By the time every single fact is in, you are inevitably too late for the opportunity.”
Don’t sacrifice your personal life for business success
Belo-Osagie urged the audience not to neglect their personal lives in the pursuit of business success.
“Your relationship with another human being, whether that be a wife or a partner or with your parents or with your family, is very important. I know many businessmen that are on the pages of newspapers and on the front pages of magazines, who return to their lives and their houses, who are deeply unhappy. In your desire to be great successes, I want to urge you not to lose yourself. It is far easier to change a job, to change an industry and to improve a business, than it is to change an unhappy life.”