Seven business tips for a successful 2015

Delivered by DHL

With offices slowly filling up after the festive break, How we made it in Africa decided to offer inspiration for the year ahead by asking a selection of DHL Express country managers to share their business advice for 2015.

Don’t raise problems without offering solutions, says Alan Cassels, country manager of DHL Kenya

Don’t raise problems without offering solutions, says Alan Cassels, country manager of DHL Kenya

1. Focus on what you can control

“Focus your energy on what’s in your circle of influence. Everything outside that circle is a waste of time. That doesn’t only apply in a business environment, but your personal life as well.” – Dominique Lalous, country manager, DHL Mozambique

2. Think about the solution, not only the problem

“Don’t raise problems without offering constructive suggestions. We all meet problems every day, but it is important we think about how we can overcome them. Part of this is taking ownership: if a fluorescent bulb is flashing, fix it or get it fixed. If there is rubbish on the ground, pick it up, or get someone to do so. If a customer needs talking to, talk to them now. Don’t delay.” – Alan Cassels, country manager, DHL Kenya

3. Lead by example

“My management style is simple: leadership by example. I’m more of a coach than the old-fashioned factory boss. I drive with the couriers and visit clients with the sales staff because I have to be at the forefront with the customers and get to know their needs. I was trained in an American setting where managers and staff do everything together to the extent that an observer may not know who is who. There are no power barriers.” – Sarah Kayongo, country manager, DHL Malawi.

4. Adapt to the local culture

“When I took over as country manager in The Gambia (Zocli is originally from Benin) back in August 2012, I was told by one of The Gambia’s senior officials, a very popular lady, that the best way to do business is to socialise with people, be visible and quickly adopt the local culture. Her main advice was that I should also wear traditional clothing on Fridays as most Gambians do. By doing so, the locals would quickly adopt me as one of them, which plays a significant role in succeeding in business in The Gambia. It turned out she was right.” – Claude Edgard Zocli, country manager, DHL The Gambia.

5. Swiftly respond to new trends

“The best advice I’ve received is that business is dynamic and subject to trends. And as a good business leader I should anticipate these trends. Success depends on the speed at which we respond to trends.” – Rahman Bholah, country manager, DHL Mauritius

6. Don’t disrespect staff in pursuit of financial performance

“Good financial results are important for all companies. However, we manage and work with people in order to deliver these results, so never compromise when it comes to respecting your staff, otherwise the results will not be achieved.” – Nawa Yeo, country manager, DHL Burkina Faso

7. Trust your instinct

“Trust your feelings and GO!” – Egidio Monteiro, country manager, DHL Angola