Obi is CEO of Core Leaders International and an author.
He is also a transformational speaker with an obsession for helping leaders grow in the area of personal mastery.
All information and links were correct at the date of original publication on
14 Dec 2012
Who is Obi and what does he do?
I help organisations maximise their performance and effectiveness by designing and delivering leadership, management, and staff training programmes, coaching and influencing senior managers, ensuring performance management activities are effective in increasing engagement and driving performance, and aligning talent development and succession planning activities to the business strategy and vision.
Also, through a variety of events and resources, including my recent book The Magic of Monday: A Fable about the Winning Formula for Career Success, my company Motivatem arms young people and young professionals with essential strategies, ideas, and behaviours that help them maximise their personal and professional success.
The Magic of Monday was released in November 2012 and incorporates insights and advice from more than 75 business leaders, entrepreneurs, senior executives, and high-performing managers from across the UK.
At the heart of Motivatem is a passion for bringing out the best in people and in organisations.
People have so much potential and I see organisations as an amazing platform for unleashing the combined potential and efforts of individuals.
What was the catalyst that made you decide to go into business?
I started off my career as a graduate engineer, but very quickly realised that I had a greater passion for what made people and organisations tick than for what made “things” tick.
So, the catalyst for going into business was simple – a desire to maximise my contribution to the world and play to my strengths.
I knew that going into business would give me a broader range of skills and give me the opportunity to work at a more strategic level within organisations.
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What was holding you back from being an entrepreneur at the time?
I needed to be clear that it was the right path for me. I know you can never be 100% certain about these things.
In the end, after working in a consultancy for two years, I made the courageous step of going it alone and the rest, as they say, is history.
I must say, I’m not particularly precious about being an entrepreneur, but I am precious about doing work I love.
If the right opportunity came my way, I would gladly do what I do within an organisation in a permanent capacity. Of course, that would make me an intrapreneur!
What was the best business advice you were given?
For me, the best business advice actually came from John Eldredge’s book ‘Wild at Heart’.
He quoted Howard Thurman;
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
That’s why I do what I do today, it makes me come alive!
What is the most exciting thing happening in your sector right now?
With the financial squeeze and drive for higher levels of efficiency, the landscape is changing across the business world – private and public sector alike – presenting a greater need for organisations to integrate business, HR, and talent strategies to create value through their people.
This is a great time for Organisational Effectiveness professionals like me to make a real difference within organisations.
What are your customers demanding more from you at the moment?
My customers are demanding a greater return on investment for training programmes and real evidence of the impact of organisational interventions.
This is actually a positive situation, because it means I get higher levels of engagement from senior executives along the way and that is essential for the success of organisational development activities.
What is your take on personal business failures?
I can’t help but quote Woody Allen;
“If you are not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative”
It’s taken me a while, but I’ve come to realise that failure isn’t something that defines me. It’s simply an event, albeit a painful one, that offers me an opportunity to learn.
I now see failure as a necessary and inevitable part of the success journey. That said there’s a biblical proverb;
"Many advisors make victory sure.”
Getting input from experienced people around you will do a lot to accelerate your learning and success.
What is the difference that is making the difference for success in business at the moment?
Without a doubt, I would describe it in one word – relationships!
Another way of putting it is collaborations or partnerships.
The stronger your relationships, partnerships, and collaborations the greater your resilience.
Who are you following on Twitter and why?
I’m following a number of people and organisations.
For example, I follow a number of youth-focused organisations like The Young Foundation, which helps me keep my finger on the pulse in terms of developing young talent.
I’m also following organisations like Gallup Europe. I love their research based studies in the area of organisational effectiveness and employee engagement.
What book would you recommend for entrepreneurs?
That’s a tough one, but if I have to choose one it’s “Beyond Entrepreneurship”.
What is your favourite quote and how are you applying this in your business?
It’s the Howard Thurman quote that I mentioned above, because it helps me maintain the integrity of what I’m about.
What next for your business?
Following the recent release of The Magic of Monday, I am planning to do more speaking on some of my favourite topics, including motivation, entrepreneurship, career success, and intergenerational synergy.
I’ve got a few other things up my sleeve, but you can follow me on Twitter @MotivateM to find out more.