Name: Kehinde Ayobade
Title: Founder/CEO/Software Developer
Organisation: KS DIGITAL INNOVATIONS
I am a versatile Civil/Structural Engineer skilled in BIM, Structural Engineering, and Software Development. I am also the founder of KS Digital Innovations, a startup software development company hailing from Nigeria, Committed to mentoring youths globally, I aim to reshape the AEC industry through innovative technologies. My dedication lies in solving global challenges and making a positive impact. As a leader, I strive to be a guiding light to my generation.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Kehinde's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
My main challenge is effectively conveying my passion and vision to others, particularly in finding individuals who truly embrace and align with it. Identifying like-minded individuals willing to contribute to turning the vision into reality is key, as many may not initially see its potential. The goal is to form a dedicated team actively working towards realizing the vision and understanding its significant impact.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I began my journey into leadership after university, fueled by a passion for engineering and technology. I noticed a gap: most technological advancements in my industry came from North Africans and Whites. In Nigeria, we're predominantly consumers, not producers. This prompted me to advocate for developing homegrown technologies. I started by honing my skills in programming and leadership, aiming to set an example. My first product, KennySTRUCT, designed to assist structural engineers, made it to the Autodesk App Store—an achievement that resonated in Nigeria and beyond. Now, others see the possibility of creating and exporting tech products. I've set the pace and believe in the potential for homegrown innovations to impact the world.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I structure my day meticulously, starting at 5 am with prayer and Bible study. By 7 am, I dedicate 8 hours to engineering work, meeting deadlines and managing construction documents. Following this, I allocate 2 hours to my startup, engaging with my team, obtaining feedback, and coding. I spend another hour on self-improvement, reading a book or assessing my progress. After a short rest, I resume my day, ensuring 8 hours for engineering tasks, attending to startup needs, and dedicating time to leisure, skill development, and learning. I typically wrap up my day around 11 pm, occasionally midnight.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
A recent leadership lesson I've learned is the importance of delegation. Recognizing that I couldn't handle every aspect of my vision alone, I started to delegate tasks. Whether it's managing social media, creating content, or developing plugins, I realized the significance of sharing responsibilities. I reached out to supportive colleagues who share my vision, asking for their assistance. Delegating has made me more productive and prevented burnout from trying to do everything myself. It's a valuable lesson in effective leadership.
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 profoundly impacted my leadership is "The 360 Degree Leader" by John Maxwell, along with "Leadership 101" and "The 48 Laws of Power." These books emphasized the importance of leaders acquiring the knowledge necessary for their vision. They taught me that as a leader, I must continually build my knowledge base to effectively guide others. The concept of not giving what you don't have resonated from "360 Degree Leader." It highlighted the need for leaders to cultivate skills aligning with their vision. These books shaped my leadership skills, emphasizing traits like humility, effective communication, and the importance of mentoring others. Overall, they have been instrumental in my leadership journey.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
The advice I would give to any young leader is to pursue your vision irrespective of the odds. Even if it seems like the environment is against you or you lack the required resources, start the journey of making your vision a reality. Nature has a way of rewarding your investments, whether it's the knowledge you gain or the effort you put in. Start out, utilize what you have, and gradually build the necessary knowledge and resources. Focus on possibilities, opportunities, and take advantage of them. Don't be deterred by challenges; instead, start with determination, and your vision will come to fruition.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Absolutely, one story that resonates deeply with my leadership journey takes me back to a challenging period in my life. At a point where I found myself selling items on the streets just to meet my basic needs, I remained steadfast in my vision for personal growth. Despite
the tough circumstances, I dedicated every available moment to learning something new, often in public places due to lack of resources.
I remember sitting in public spaces with my laptop, eagerly absorbing knowledge whenever I could access electricity. I made it a point to document and publish every piece of work I did online, particularly on platforms like LinkedIn. This was my way of showcasing my skills and making my work visible to others, even though I lacked a support system.
The turning point came when I received an unexpected call from someone in Lagos, Nigeria, a commercial hub. They had come across my work online and sought my expertise to train their team on a specific software tool. This opportunity marked a significant shift from hustling on the streets to becoming a valuable resource in the professional sphere.
This experience taught me a crucial lesson in leadership – even in challenging times, maintain a clear vision and consistently showcase your skills. By persistently sharing your journey and capabilities, you position yourself for opportunities that can propel you to new heights of leadership. It emphasizes the importance of resilience, dedication, and the power of showcasing one's skills, even in adverse situations.