Connecting the dots… Tazame 3.0 – Partner’s Address by Niyi Yusuf

I have been reflecting recently on adversity. For many people, adversity is a negative phenomenon that must be avoided at all costs. Adversity symbolizes misfortunes, difficulties, and hardships and a new reality to life, whether for individuals, businesses, or nations. For a few, adversity is just a temporary setback to overcome. This group sees adversity as a fuel that provides the opportunity to reassess focus, revitalize commitment to what is most important and apply the sacrifice to drive intended outcomes. A quote by Dr. Robert D. Wald, a medical practitioner captures the importance of adversity “We grow through adversity. We need not seek it out. We can all look back at moments when our lives were in utter chaos, desolation, and despair. Growth comes when we respond to adversity by stretching just an edge beyond our talent and experience”.


The world has been reeling under the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic over the last nine months. As of October 4, 2020, the world has seen 35million cases and 1.03million deaths. COVID-19 has resulted in over 1, 100 deaths in Nigeria, though it is believed that the numbers are underreported. These deaths have been people’s fathers, mothers, children, and relatives; loved ones whose deaths leave a sad reminder to their family members that COVID-19 is real.


Many businesses have shut down (some for good); some have furloughed employees and slashed salaries while the remaining employees continue to experience increased anxiety on the impact that the still rising infections (in many parts of the world) could have on their jobs. Business communities are re-imagining their operations with many struggling to define how to operate, especially how to balance staying in business while protecting themselves and their stakeholders. Several businesses (including Verraki) have continued working from home, while those that have resumed have implemented COVID-19 policies with rules on employees on public transport and flexi-hours, instituted frequent deep-cleaning, and reorganized physical office layouts.


While some companies have responded tactically during this pandemic, this must be supplemented with a strategic business focus on improving resilience in operations, absorbing uncertainty, increasing agility, and incorporating lessons into the operating model quickly.


Due to a mixture of resilience, digitized operations, and preparedness, many companies have had unexpected growth especially because of the pandemic, including Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Tencent, and Zoom in industries as varied as Communications services, IT, Consumer discretionary, and healthcare. These companies identified the opportunities COVID-19 provided to their businesses and took full advantage.


At Verraki, we have been a clear voice in encouraging and reminding business stakeholders on the need for resilience, consistency and adherence to strong business fundamentals as essential elements of their survival toolkit. While it may be tempting for businesses to want to focus more inwards at times like this, it is actually critical that they continually look for new ways to add value to their businesses and customers, to continue to mine for new opportunities, to watch their costs and to remain agile and adaptable in the face of COVID-19 induced constraints.


As a firm, we have taken a dose of our medicine for resilience. We have redoubled efforts to compete for new jobs and indeed added an impressive number of new clients this quarter and have grown our pipeline of new opportunities while also making investments, like the setup of a BPMS Lab, to improve our capabilities. We have commenced the execution of new projects with our new and existing clients. We have started offering more digital transformation offerings and helped our clients navigate a COVID-19 business world. Within this period, we have finalized for launch, two new ventures: SuperTV Network Limited which seeks to disrupt the video streaming and entertainment sector with its patented technology, and Ecoron, a pioneer provider of specialized industrial and hazardous waste management solutions. We have also grown our numbers by adding new staff to support our increasing projects.


The last quarter of 2020 starts on a celebratory note with Nigeria’s 60th Independence anniversary on October 1st. We join everyone to celebrate our country at this important juncture in our evolution as a people. As Nigeria starts a new decade, we believe that the beginning of this new dispensation will provide us freedom from our historical struggles and provide us the opportunity to connect the dots on our way to realizing our immense potential. We are mindful that what may have worked to this point will not be what is most required to take us to where we need to go, but we also refuse to be held hostage by the vagaries of the past.


We implore you to continue to not only be resilient and protect yourselves, employees and businesses but also identify opportunities for growth. This tide too will pass, but leaders must make investments now to ensure their organizations are positioned for the day after.


Please look out for our carefully curated tips on building resilience in both digital channels and national papers.


Till the next edition, please stay strong, positive and healthy!