7 Questions with Wole Ogundare
Name: Wole Ogundare
Current title: CEO
Current organisation: Carthena Advisory
I'm a financial and management consultant focused on business building across Sub Saharan Africa.
1. What have you found most challenging as a board member of a large enterprise?
One mostly. Debates around key strategic issues may take up more time than necessary. The varied and valid experiences within these boards must be taken into account in each case.
2. How did you become a board member of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
60% of my career was spent in management advisory roles across various sectors, some African countries and in the UK, USA and Turkey.
Some of my clients reached out to me when I started my management advisory firm to take up a board role. I started with one and currently sit on two boards. It's a lot of work but also worth it.
I'm an individual that thrives on growth-related challenges across organisations and the thought process of solving these challenges remains an inspiration.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I operate with a calendar so planning and structuring is a big part of how I operate. A typical day is a routine that starts at 6:30am (I always try to get a minimum of 7 hours sleep).
I have a 10 year old son who needs to attend his daily online learning sessions, so we typically spend about 20 mins going back and forth on his activities for the day, once I'm up.
All work-related activities start by 8am and tail off around 7pm - made up of a few physical meetings. Working from home takes up to 70% of my time since the pandemic but because Nigeria isn't currently in a lockdown, a few physical meetings sneak in there.
7pm upwards is family time watching whatever appeal to my wife (except soccer weekends) or there's a book I'm buried in.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
The ability to be constantly mindful and just being present. There's also the need to show empathy when dealing with all sorts of issues.
5. What are some of the keys to doing governance well in a large enterprise?
I've learned that having very structured board sub-committees helps with governance. They will typically discuss details that are then reviewed at the larger board level.
The ability to ensure that all governance-related practices are strictly adhered to is usually a plus.
6. How do you differentiate between the role of board member and the roles of CEO or executive team member of a large enterprise?
I've always envisaged the role of a board member as advisory and compliance related. Like an additional brain for the CEO to tap into and like a compliance instrument to guide the CEO along an agreed strategic path - No deviation from this agreed path will be tolerated without the rigours of justification.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a board member of a large enterprise so far?
This definitely has to be during the onset of this pandemic. As an individual that thrives on growth-related initiatives, I was challenged because I had to fly blind with other board members. We all couldn't correctly predict anything and had to resort to weekly discussion sessions - what to do and how to do it.
This was very strange because we'd typically meet every qtr, but now all of a sudden, we all had the time to meet on a weekly basis, virtually. This has shown that we all, as humans, have far more time to get things done than we realise.
There are so many distractions that take away significant portions of our time. This realisation has given 'quality time management' a new definition for me.