12 BUSINESS A.M. FEBRUARY, MONDAY 12 - SUNDAY 18, 2018 EXECUTIVE KNOWLEDGE SERIES ...Lead them well p. 11 design, selection and development, adequate tools to serve customers, rewards and recognition, communication, and workplace design. Job Design: Commitment only begins when team members understand what they give and what they get, so clarifying expectations was a top priority. We reviewed every role to ensure that job descriptions, objectives and performance measurement criteria were clear. An important and often overlooked element of job descriptions is a definition of the member’s responsibility, latitude and authority with regard to serving customers. This was critical to reducing intergroup conflict based on unclear boundaries between different functions (pre-sales, sales, sales ops, legal and customer success). Partnering with our human resources team, we reviewed our compensation plan designs to ensure they were clearly defined and market competitive. I set the expectation that leaders confirm members’ understanding of their job descriptions and reinforce boundaries during regularly scheduled monthly coaching meetings. Selection and Development: I invested at least one-third of my time finding and nurturing talent and expected my fellow-leaders to do the same. Our selection process focused on talent, attitude and fit. After completing departmental interviews, candidates participated in realistic job previews and met with front-line team members to ensure there was clarity with respect to our cultural norms, standards and job expectations. Before extending any hiring offer, I personally interviewed every candidate as a last check to confirm fit that we’d followed all of our hiring best practices. To some, this step might seem excessive, but hiring is the most important decision we make and organizations do well what leaders check. Leader selection is the most consequential aspect of selection and development. Accordingly, it was my highest priority. I am proud of the leadership team we built. Our front-line leaders were passionate about teaching and mentoring, and coached team members for success in their current role with an eye toward preparing them to succeed in their careers. As referenced earlier, one of the most important tools that we relied on to support team members was the monthly development meeting. Leaders invested heavily in preparing for, delivering and documenting these discussions with team members. As a result, all involved shared a common understanding of progress against objectives and next steps to drive individual success and that of the team. Tools to Serve Customers: Research shows that the ability to deliver results to customers is critical to job satisfaction among front line team members. We employed lean and business transformation strategies in our pursuit of continuous improvement of systems and processes to serve external and internal customers. As a result, we deployed a customer-success technology stack that made it easier for team members to better serve more customers. Rewards & Recognition: Effective rewards and recognition are valuable to team members and consistent with organizational goals. We actively sought out opportunities to celebrate our colleagues when they exceeded customer expectations with formal and informal rewards. We had all of the normal “employeeof-the-month” type recognition programs. We also made a big deal about positive customer feedback, especially when it came through on net promoter score customer surveys. Rewards do not need to be expensive. They must be authentic. We often used hand-written notes containing a simple and specific, expression of appreciation. For example: “Dear Maggie, I heard from Jeff about the training program that you built that helped our customer share the value of our toolset across their organization. Thanks for being a role model for our team! Best, John Communication: An entire category of technologies support communication and collaboration in the modern office, and we used most of them. While the technologies were helpful, especially in situations when team members worked remotely or different offices, they do not replace traditional communication tools. We trended key performance metrics on bulletin boards and updated our staff about company developments during regular team and interdepartmental meetings. The informal conversations that happen as team members encounter one another are just as important as the formal ones. “Open-door policies” in and of themselves don’t stimulate the open, honest, transparent and broad communication that most executives agree is essential to productivity and satisfaction. Sysomos offices had open floor plans and an open-door policy, but team members seemed uncomfortable speaking with managers. The responsibility to reach out lies with leaders. When I arrived at an office, I would walk around, smile and greet team members by name and, depending on their schedule, take a few moments to connect. I’m convinced that these small investments in personal communication were important to our subsequent success. Workplace Design: Considerations of workplace design influence satisfaction and productivity. During my tenure at Sysomos, I oversaw the office relocation and expansion projects in Toronto, San Francisco and in the Silicon Valley. Input from our team was integral to our facilities planning process, which balanced factors of accessibility to transportation networks, ergonomic workspace design, lighting, acoustics and meeting space with timing and cost. In Toronto and San Francisco, many of our team members relied on public transportation, walked or rode bicycles to work. Access to major highways and parking were important to our tech teams in the Silicon Valley. Creating a Healthy Leadership Climate We spared no effort in attending to our leadership climate that reinforced Sysomos’s values. Every team member, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation was welcomed and appreciated. Kindness, courtesy, respect, dignity and fairness set the tone for the way we treated one another. We valued clear thinking, problem solving and initiative. Our plan to establish and sustain a healthy leadership climate had four parts: leadership philosophy, emphasis on courtesy, expectations for role models and engagement surveys: Leadership Philosophy: I first learned about the concept of a leadership philosophy as a young Army officer more than 25 years ago. My leadership philosophy is a one-page declaration of my view of the purpose of our team, what teams should expect from me, and my expectations of leaders and team members. Leaders reporting to me developed their own leadership philosophies, which they shared with every team member. By living up to our own words and accepted standards of fairness we earned credibility and trust from the team. Common Courtesy: As George Bernard Shaw wrote in his play Pygmalion, “The great secret … is not having bad manners or good or any particular sort of manners, but having the same manners for all human souls.” Classic books by Dale Carnegie and Gallup offer time-tested advice that every leader should know about the importance of common courtesy and interpersonal skills. These gestures cost nothing but consideration. Leadership is a contact sport. Our leaders were present in the moment and never missed an opportunity to smile, say hello, shake hands and express courtesy, respect and appreciation for team members. We expected team members to do the same. “Rather than squander management capacity on wrongheaded initiatives, leaders should work to earn the loyalty and respect of their teams through time-tested principles.” Great Role Models: Strong, positive role models are essential to establishing a healthy leadership environment. I was fortunate to find a great collaborator in our customersuccess department head, who appreciated the importance of strong role models. We held ourselves to high standards of conduct and we worked to model our team values. As the business grew and we came under pressure to quickly expand the leadership team, we refused to compromise on quality. Peer leaders played an integral role helping to onboard new team members. By observing and emulating role models, team members learned to act in ways consistent with our values and become successful. Leadership Climate Survey: We set up an anonymous online climate survey and discovered it was an invaluable tool in our quest because it helped leaders and team members reach a common understanding of our engagement levels. We shared the summarized results, participation statistics, comments and responses to every question. Teams composed of front-line staff and leaders built initiatives around the lowest scoring survey questions. Conclusion Some might argue that there was nothing ground-breaking about our approach to leadership, nor was there anything special about the way we approached our millennial team. As a matter of fact, our approach was surprisingly conventional. What my colleagues and I learned is that the common stereotypes about millennial employees are wrong. Rather than squander management capacity on wrongheaded initiatives, leaders should work to earn the loyalty and respect of their teams through time-tested principles. As Lazlo Bock, former senior vice president of people operations at Google, has noted, “Every single human wants the same thing in the workplace – we want to be treated with respect, we want to have a sense of meaning and agency and impact, and we want our boss to just leave us alone so we can get our work done.” In our case, the results spoke for themselves. For 36 months, not a single member of our customersuccess team resigned. In fact, we were able to promote about 25% of our staff into other teams where they became top performers. Our customers raved about our customer service to account reps and on net promoter score surveys. Productivity soared as team members found ways to offer better service at lower costs. Just as important were the intangible benefits. The positive energy Unfortunately, today’s millennials often join organizations only to find themselves diminished, maligned and marginalized by the very leaders and tenured colleagues who should be mentoring them and enthusiasm that grew within the teams made everyone better. People smiled, said hello on the elevator and as they passed in the hall. They took pride in their work, and you could hear it in their voices when they went the extra mile to help customers. It became competitive to land a role with the client-experience team, which became recognized as the “cool” place to work. The best internal candidates lined up to apply for open positions and some even took pay cuts so they could work in our department. Our best team members referred their friends. As our alumni infiltrated other teams, interdepartmental cooperation improved. Team members liked coming to work and often spent time together outside of work. Casual hallway conversations turned into ad hoc brainstorming sessions to solve problems. With commitment and followthrough, there is nothing to stop any firm from realizing similar results not just with millennial employees but also with everyone else. It was my privilege to play a part in this story. The main credit for the success of our team @Sysomos lies with the superb members and frontline leaders. This article is republished courtesy of Knowledge@Wharton. Copyright Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
BUSINESS A.M. FEBRUARY, MONDAY 12 - SUNDAY 18, 2018 FINANCE & INVESTMENT 13 Equities market loses 3.4% w-o-w on the back of sell-offs across sectors L-R: Remi Babalola, former minister of state for finance; Lateef Feyisitan of Alternative Capital Partners, and Obinna Ekwonwa, chief executive officer, Weco Systems International Limited, at the 15th CVL Leadership Symposium in Lagos Bank ratings volatility likely to subside in 2018 as positive outlook outweighs negative - Fitch Steve Omanufeme Fitch Ratings has said the share of bank ratings with stable outlooks is at its highest level in recent years, suggesting that bank ratings will be less volatile in 2018. It said the pace of rating changes slowed significantly in 2H17, and the numbers of upgrades and downgrades were almost equal. This is evident in its recent ratings of Nigerian banks as it affirmed First City Monument Bank Limited’s (FCMB) Long- Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘B-’ with a stable outlook This is ditto for Union, Wema and Sterling banks, which had stable outlooks. However FBN Holdings Plc. (FBNH) and First Bank of Nigeria Ltd (FBN) had negative outlooks. It affirmed First Bank’s Viability Ratings (VR) at ‘b-’ and the Support Ratings at ‘5’. The Long-Term National Ratings have been affirmed at ‘BB+(nga)’. Though negative outlooks still marginally outweighed positive outlooks at end-2017, it said the balance shifted as the share of positive outlooks almost doubled over the course of the year., adding that it was mainly due to revisions in Europe. The foremost rating agency noted the share of negative outlooks declined slightly, as outlooks tended to be stable following rating downgrades. “Outlooks are on balance positive in Europe but negative in the Middle East, Africa and emerging markets in the Americas. “We changed 65 bank Issuer Default Ratings in 2H17, down from a record high of 92 in 1H17. Downgrades were almost matched by upgrades - the first time since 1H14 that downgrades have not been significantly ahead,” it said. Regional rating trends were seen diverged, with developed markets showing a more positive dynamic than emerging markets and that upgrades were concentrated in Europe, where the economic recovery is improving banks’ operating environments, while most downgrades were in emerging markets, mainly in the Middle East, Africa and the Americas, mostly driven by sovereign downgrades. “Almost half of all bank-rating changes in 2H17 were driven by sovereign rating actions, which triggered 23 downgrades and six upgrades. Most of the sovereign-driven rating actions reflected revisions of our views on sovereign ability to provide support, notably in Qatar (nine downgrades),” it stressed. Business a.m THE BEARISH TREND that began in the previous week was sustained this week as the benchmark index further slid 3.4 percent week on week (W-o-W) to settle at 43,127.92 points while YTD return moderated to 12.8 percent. Accordingly, market capitalisation lost N541.9 billion in value to settle at N15.4 trillion. Sell-offs were recorded across small to large cap stocks with losses in DANGCEM, FBNH and GUARANTY as the major drags to performance. However, activity level was mixed as average volume rose 35.4 percent to 885.1 million units while average value fell 13.8 percent to N4.9 billion. The top traded stocks by volume were STERLING (1.8bn), S K Y E (282.m) and LASACO (266.9m) while STERLING (N3.9bn), ZENITH (N2.2bn) and GUAR- ANTY (N1.7bn) were the top traded stocks by value. The NSEASI started the week on a negative note and this was sustained till the end of the week. On Monday, the ASI shed 45bps on account of losses in market bellwethers - DANGCEM, UBA and FBNH - and further weakened 87bps on Tuesday following sell-offs in banking stocks, especially ZE- NITH, FBNH and GUARANTY. On Wednesday, the benchmark index shaved 77bps on the back of profit taking in DANGCEM, NIGERIAN BREWERIES and STANBIC while price depreciation in Consumer and Banking sector counters dragged the ASI 49bps lower on Thursday. The market closed the week in the red, falling 34bps on Friday; hence a decline of 3.4 percent was recorded W-o-W. Performance across sectors was bearish as all indices closed in the red. The industrial goods index led laggards, down 3.5 percent on account of losses in CCNN (-6.9%) and DANGCEM (-4.1%). Following closely was the banking index, which shed 3.4 percent due to sell pressure on SKYE (-25.2%) and WEMA (-14.0%). Similarly, the consumer goods index fell 2.6 percent on account of profit taking in NESTLE (-5.9%) and NIGERI- AN BREWERIES (-5.3%), while the oil & gas and insurance indices were dragged 1.3 percent and 0.7 percent lower by price depreciation in MOBIL (-7.6%) and WAPIC (-14.7%) respectively. Investor sentiment as measured by market breadth (advance/decline ratio), weakened significantly to 0.3x from 1.2x recorded the previous week as 22 stocks advanced relative to 63 stocks that declined. The best performing stocks for the week were LINKASSURE (+25.0%), CAVERTON (+21.0) and PRESTIGE (+16.7%) while HMARKINS (-27.1%) SKYE (-25.2%) and UNIC (-21.7%) led decliners. Although the market closed the week negative, the analysts say, “we expect to see a rebound as a result of bargain hunting by investors as well as positive expectations for the full year earnings season.” Naira stable across windows despite drop in oil prices Remilekun Davies & Ademola Badmus Nigeria’s foreign exchange market, which plays host to various kinds of players, each contributing to the challenge in the multiplicity of rates and the ever-widening gulf between the official and the unofficial rates, produced a relatively stable naira at the official and parallel windows last week, business a.m. currency monitoring across markets shows. In line with historical trend, at the start of the week, the CBN injected US$100.0 million via the wholesale SMIS intervention window into the system in order to maintain stability across all segments of the foreign exchange market. Accordingly marginal movements were recorded at various segments of the market during the week despite drop in oil prices. FX rate at the interbank market weakened N1.47 during the week from N332.90/ US$1.00 last week to settle at N334.37/US$1.00 on Friday. Similarly, the CBN’s FX rate opened the week at N305.80/ US$1.00, depreciated 5 kobo to N305.85/US$1.00 by midweek and traded flat till the end of the week. However, at the I & E FX window, the naira traded at N360.36/US$1.00 at the start of the week, which was a 14 kobo depreciation from the previous Friday’s close of N360.12/US$1.00. This rate was sustained till Wednesday but reversed on Thursday with the naira appreciating by 27 kobo to N360.09/ US$1.00. This rate was maintained on Friday, presenting a three kobo appreciation week on week. At the parallel market, an unauthorized window, but plays a prominent role in access to forex, there were some variations in the price at which the naira exchange for the dollar. In all, the naira traded flat at N363.00/US$1.00 all through the week across various areas in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, visited by business a.m. reporters who monitored the market Activity level in the I &E window weakened relative to the previous Thursday as total volume of transactions fell 32.4 percent week on week to US$716.6 million from US$1.1 billion recorded the prior week. At the FMDQ OTC futures market, the total value of open contracts of the naira settled OTC futures closed the week at US$3,320.75 million (08/02/2018), US$34.0 million higher than US$3,286.86 million in the prior week. The APR 2018 instrument was the most subscribed with a total value of US$657.9 million while the JAN 2019 contract was the least subscribed with total value of US$10.0 million. Analysts say despite decline in crude oil prices during the week, they maintain a positive outlook on the CBN’s ability to sustain its intervention in order to maintain stability in the FX market. “Furthermore, we anticipate a Eurobond issuance in the first quarter of the year and we believe this could further buoy the size of Nigeria’s external reserves in the near term,” said analysts at Afrinvest.