Dr. Oke


1. Mr. Peter Reily, the notable organizational productivity consultant and the author of “In the Garden of Hearts” noted in his book as follows: “Regardless of what title you hold or role you play in your organization, there is something in you that knows that no matter what good ideas or strategies the experts generate . . . those ideas go nowhere without leadership.”

2. Mr. Reily then further shared from his rich career experience as follows: “Over my career I have facilitated the development of some excellent strategic plans. A few were successfully implemented; most were not. The plans did not succeed or fail based on the strength of the ideas and strategies that were contained within them. No, the key element in whether they succeeded. ornot, was directly related to the effectiveness of the leaders who were charged with making them reality.”

3. Indeed, experience teaches that leadership is not only about our ideas, our strategies, and our vision. While these elements reflect the mind of a leader, it is not the essence of leadership itself. Also, it is not about our title or our authority or having a great personality, or being a moving speaker; although people sometimes mistake these elements for leadership.

4. On the substance of the matter, the great philosophical thinker, Aristotle spoke of ‘ethos’ as a type of leadership in which a leader influences others to change their values and thus their performance. ‘Ethos’ is not what a person says or promises, but it is their way of being in the world, their presence and comportment that affects how others follow them and whether they are open to their ideas.

5. In essence, Aristotle is exhorting us that the leadership that matters is the leadership that results in productivity and positive change. On this note, I am delighted to welcome all participants to this training. The topic of this training contemplates the very sort of leadership that Aristotle contemplated, i.e., transformational leadership. in other words, this training will examine how the right leadership ethos can transform work habits in the Lagos State Public Service, stimulate sustainable innovation and promote productivity.

6. I am also delighted to welcome the facilitators of this seminar, Messrs. Valueline Educational Services. The profile of the firm and the facilitators readily gives confidence that the subject of this seminar will get a rich and robust treatment and the in-depth analysis it deserves. In this assurance, I look forward to all participants leaving this seminar with improved appreciation of the importance of disciplined and informed leadership ethos and transformational work ethics for personal, organisational, and societal productivity.

7. In addition to welcoming you to this seminar, I am also delighted to deliver the Keynote Address on a subject that is one of the most consequential topics for the workplace today. The topic brings to mind the concept of productivity and the factors that influence it. Among others, this seminar will consider how one’s work ethics can beneficially or adversely affect one’s productivity as an individual or as a member of a team.

8. In this Keynote Address, I will be addressing the universe of factors that generally affect productivity in the workplace today. This, I do, in the hope that my contributions will assist you in making the changes that are expected at the end of this seminar.

9. These changes are important because individual productivity is irrevocably tied to organisational productivity. It is in the realization of this truth that His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambodeapproved the holding of this seminar. The approval of this training should therefore signify to all and sundry that His Excellency, the Governor is passionately devoted to transforming the Lagos State Public Service into the most modern, most responsive, most skilled and most knowledge-exposed in Nigeria and Africa. Without a doubt, all participants here today and, in fact, all civil servants owe the Governor a debt of gratitude for his personal commitment to the development of the skills and increase of the knowledge of every officer in the public service.

10. It is my fervent hope that you all will join and support the efforts to ensure that every officer in the Lagos State Public Service adopts the positive attitude and beneficial work ethics that are arerequired to achieve the corporate objective of moving Lagos State forward.

11. I do not intend to delve into the granular details of this training. Instead, I will focus on attempting to solidify in us the foundational rationale for stimulating productivity by prioritizing innovation, attitudinal changes and transformation leadership. John Rompton argued that, because “there are only so many hours in the day…making the most of your time is critical.” In saying this, he was, in fact, echoing ancient wisdom commonly regarded as axiomatic and yet routinely ignored notwithstanding that classic and long-gone thinkers and philosophers have espoused them. One of such business titan who echoed the wisdom of the ancient thinkers and philosophers wasMr. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computers, who, in his famous speech to the Yale University Convocation, emphasised that everybody’s time is limited.

12. Summarising Mr. Jobs’ views, George Ambler wrote as follows: “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it…”​

13. Thus, what the ancient wisdom is telling us is this: the most important reason why you should take the issue of productivity seriously is because ourtime is limited and each of us ought to make his/her time count for something worthwhile.

14. Of course, productivity is also important in many more ways. Andy Core, an author and speaker on Work-Life Balance, Wellbeing, and Peak Human Performance, wrote an article where he explored how productivity impacts an organisation and its major stakeholders. He posited that the organisation’s customers are the first to benefit from a productive workforce.

15. According to him, “Productivity in the workplace will often translate into acceptable service and interaction. This total client experience is the key to satisfying key stakeholders, and almost all highly productive organisations use this to gain customer loyalty. When a customer is loyal to your business, they will share their experience with others, which is a marketing advantage coming out of high levels of productivity.”

16. In our own case, our customer is the general public. That is, the good people of Lagos State. When each officer of the Lagos State Civil Service is productive, the members of the public interfacing with the Civil Service will obtain such huge benefits and satisfaction that will positively rub off on the reputation and morale of the Public Service as a whole.

17. The organisation itself is second in line to benefit from increased productivity, according to Andy core. He wrote that, “the employees themselves are an investment, and like any investment, they should yield a healthy or worthwhile return to the organisation. Therefore, when employees are highly productive, the organisation achieves its goals of investing in them in the first place. Productivity also helps to motivate the workplace culture and boost morale thus producing an even better organisational environment.

18. In the third place, employees themselves will benefit from increased productivity in the organisation. More often than not, when an organisation is highly productive, it eventually becomes successful, and because of this, incentives are bound to be made available to the employees. These may include pay raises, bonuses, and so on. This will also motivate employees. Indeed, productivity in the workplace is an important aspect of every organisation and when all stakeholders understand this concept, success is just around the corner.

19. In light of the above, it is therefore important for each person to consider how to make each moment count in their own interest and in the interest of the organisations they serve. On this matterof increasing productivity, John Rompton said, “There are two ways toincrease your output–either put in more hours or work smarter. I don’t know about you, but I prefer the latter.”

20. Working smarter has now been established as better than working harder. Also, behavioural scientists have found that while being more productive at work is not rocket science, it does require being more deliberate about how one manages one’s time. I will now take you through the seemingly obvious but very important strategies formulated by John Rompton for increasing productivity in the workplace every day.

21. The first strategy is to track and limit how much time you are spending on tasks. You may think that you are pretty good at gauging how much time you are spending on various tasks. However, some research suggests only around 17 percent of people are able to accurately estimate the passage of time.

22. The second admonition is to take regular breaks. This may soundcounterintuitive, but taking scheduled breaks can actually help improve concentration. Some research has shown that taking short breaks during long tasks helps you to maintain a constant level of performance; while working at a task without breaks leads to a steady decline in performance.

23. The third strategy is to set self-imposed deadlines. While we usually think ofstress as a bad thing, a manageable level of self-imposed stress can actually be helpful in terms of giving us focus and helping us to meet our goals. For open-ended tasks or projects, try giving yourself a deadline, and then stick to it. You may be surprised to discover just how focused and productive you can be when you are watching the clock.

24. Another useful strategy is to follow the “two-minute rule.” Entrepreneur Steve Olenski recommends implementing the “two-minute rule” to make the most of small windows of time that you have at work. The idea is this: If you see a task or action that you know can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately. According to Olenski, completing the task right away actually takes less time than having to get back to it later. Implementing this has made him one of the most influential content strategists online.

25. Another suggested strategy is to quit multitasking. While we tend to think of the ability to multitask as an important skill for increasing efficiency, the opposite may in fact be true. Psychologists have found attempting to do several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity. Instead, make a habit of committing to a single task before moving on to your next project.

26. As a matter of fact, your productivity will be well-served if you give up on the illusion of perfection. It is common for many people to insist on attempting to perfect a task–the reality however is that nothing is ever perfect. Rather than wasting time chasing after this illusion, bang out your task to the best of your ability and move on. It is better to complete the task and move it off your plate. If need be, you can always come back and adjust or improve it later.

27. Of course, my address is only a synopsis of the roadmap to improved productivity. This training will offer a robust and in-depth look into the roadmap encompassing transformationleadership, work ethic changes and innovation. It is my fervent hope that you will take the best advantage of this seminar and firmly resolve to be even more productive than ever before.

28. Finally, and as a teaser, I wish to leave you with John Rampton’s profound question: “Every minute of your life is gold. Are you treating it that way?” Take note of this. Reflect on this. Let your life be guided by this.

29. Thank you for your kind attention.

Dr. Akintola, Benson Oke, FCGP., FNIM, FCArb.
Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko l’o je wa l’ogun.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

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