Name: Isaac Gnamba
Organisation: La Poste Côte d’Ivoire
A graduate of MDE Business School and ENAP du Quebec, Isaac GNAMBA-YAO has been Managing Director of Poste de Côte d'Ivoire since 2016; he is a pure product of the digital economy ecosystem, both in Côte d'Ivoire, Africa and the Middle East, where he has respectively served in the fields of sales, marketing and strategy conquering new markets.
Having worked for a number of telecoms, internet, payment services and eGov entities & Startups, he is now one of the rising stars in the digital economy, regularly invited as an international expert and/or speaker.
The postal sector, currently undergoing profound change, is at a crossroads, multiplying stratagems and large-scale actions to define a new economic model for its revival, in a world dominated by digital technology and logistics; it is within this dynamic that he has the "Heavy responsibility" of successfully restructuring and revitalising La Poste Côte d'Ivoire.
At the last Universal Postal Union (UPU) Congress, held in Abidjan in August 2021, the highest authorities of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire appointed him to represent his country, which holds the four-year Presidency of the Council of Administration of the UPU's 192 member countries. He will have to lead the implementation of the world postal strategy: digitisation of postal services and development of eCommerce.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Isaac's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
As a leader, I have found that the most challenging aspect is to keep everyone motivated and focused on the same goal. Especially when you arrive very young in a position of responsibility, and you have to manage people who are older and more senior than you. It’s important to ensure that everyone is aligned with the company’s vision and mission, and that they understand how their work contributes to the bigger picture.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I became a leader through hard work and dedication. I started out as a trainee and worked my way up, taking on new challenges and responsibilities. I was always ready to learn and progress, and I think that's what made me stand out. I also think that the untimely death of my mother (just as I got my first job) gave me a fighting spirit.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I structure my work days by prioritizing my tasks and focusing on the most important ones first. I use to call it « Ma To Do List ». I try to get up early so that I have time to get news from my radio and meditate before starting work. Throughout the day, I take breaks to recharge and refocus, and I try to end my work day at a reasonable time so that I can spend time with my family. Even if it is very difficult in practice (my wife will laugh out loud if she reads this part of the text).
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
A recent leadership lesson that I’ve learned is that : « Feedback is a gift »; this is the importance of listening to feedback from your team members. It’s easy to get caught up in your own ideas and opinions, but it’s important to remember that everyone has something valuable to contribute.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
One book that has had a profound impact on my leadership is “Awaken the giant within ” by Anthony Robbin’s. Let's put it this way, "Awaken the Giant Within" is a practical guide to helping people reach their full potential and live happier, more fulfilling lives. I think this is the road to take for the future leader. This book taught me the importance of being proactive, setting goals, and prioritizing my time. It also helped me develop better communication skills and build stronger relationships with my team members.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
If I could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, it would be to be « Focus » and never stop learning. The world is constantly changing, and it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. Read books, attend conferences, take courses - whatever it takes to keep growing and improving.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
One meaningful story that comes to mind from my time as a leader is when we launched a new product that was initially met with resistance from our customers. Instead of giving up, we listened to their feedback and made some changes based on their suggestions. The product ended up being a huge success, and it taught me the importance of perseverance and adaptability.