Interview with Sigi Osagie
How do you prepare for speaking engagements?
It varies, depending on the client, the audience and the message. But I always discuss with the client beforehand what the objectives of the speech are – what they want the audience to get out of the experience. That typically forms a cornerstone of my preparation – ensuring that audiences gain real value, knowledge and inspiration.
What type of audiences benefit most from your keynotes?
I think those who really want more out of life, who refuse to compromise and want to learn more about reaching for the best within themselves – people I often think of as ‘mountain climbers’; because life really is a series of mountains, whether it’s in our private lives or at work dealing with procurement and supply chain issues or broader organisational challenges.
Some people wake up in the morning, look up to the top of the mountain, ponder for a bit and then say “Tomorrow…”. Others wake up and try to avoid gazing at the mountaintop – they prefer to pretend the mountain isn’t there. Mountain climbers relish the challenge of pushing themselves beyond what seems possible, knowing that as difficult as the climb may be, it also helps them build muscle.
Why do you think your unique personal story inspires audiences?
Well, I suspect it’s because people who truly want to get more from life are drawn to inspirational stories of such experiences. Deep down inside, many of us would like to do more and be more in our lives. But most people don’t, for a variety of reasons. That still doesn’t stop us being interested in and inspired by legends and real-life stories of triumph over adversity.
Do you have some tips on gaining organizational effectiveness and career growth?
In summary, the foundations of organisational effectiveness are setting sensible, clear goals; building robust ‘people capability’; adopting performance and reward structures that drive appropriate attitudes and behaviours; nurturing a progressive culture; and ensuring effective leadership – leadership is the glue that holds it all together.
For career growth and success, I advice people that personal effectiveness is a fundamental requirement. It’s also important to have clear career goals, and make career choices based on passion – find the thing that gets your juices flowing, then “work” won’t really be work anymore. Importantly, it’s always worth remembering that we are all the CEOs of our individual careers – ‘Me plc.’
In your keynote speeches on Africa, which personal ties do you emphasize?
Perhaps the most poignant point on this for me is recognising how lucky I am to be here now, doing what I’m doing. But I left millions of people behind in Africa and more have been born since then, most of whom have to endure a life of poverty, through no fault of theirs.
Africa’s problems all boil down to ineffective leadership – a minority of irresponsible kleptomaniacs continue to create woe for the majority. It’s another example of the critical importance of ‘leadership’ and its impacts; it’s not just about organisations or departments, but it applies to nation-states as well.