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Managers urged to embrace professionalism




Business managers have been charged to imbibe competence, discipline and integrity as qualities required of a sound profession. As leaders, managers must come to their brief with some dose of emotional intelligence, and a compelling cocktail of character, charisma, conviction and courage.

Besides, according to managers, professional is one possessed of considerable intellectual skill and knowledge in a defined discipline, acquired by lengthy training and education, and subject to the authority of a definitive body that sets and maintains standards of qualification and entry. They attests to the competence of the individual practitioner, and prescribes the code of ethics for all members.

Speaking at the Awards, Fellows and Spouses’ day luncheon, organised by the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), the guest speaker, Professor Benjamin Osisioma, said all recognised professions have developed codes of professional ethics. The basic purpose of these codes is to provide members of the profession with guidelines for conducting themselves in a manner consistent with the responsibilities of the profession.

He described a professional manager as an expert and specialist in his chosen area of competence, and carries the unique responsibility to serve the public’s best interest, even at the sacrifice of personal advantage. This is because the public has little technical knowledge in the professions, yet fair and competent performance by professionals is vital to the public’s health, safety or wellbeing.

Osisioma explained that the present age heralds global imperatives, which required managers to think critically and make judgments, assess the credibility, accuracy and value of information, analyse and evaluate it, make reasoned decisions and take purposeful action.

“They should be able to solve complex, multi-disciplinary, open-ended problems, think creatively – challenge the status quo, think outside the box, and question the herd. They must develop the ability to recognise and act on opportunities, ever willing to embrace risk and responsibility in the pursuit of profitable outcomes. They need to learn to communicate and collaborate with groups and teams, skilled at interacting competently and respectfully with others, demonstrate new specialised skills, and make innovative and creative use of knowledge, information and opportunities to create new products, services and processes.

“Today, the rules of the game have changed: organisational structure must reflect an external focus, flexible interaction, interdependency, and a bottom-up approach. Globalisation and the arrival of the information economy have rapidly demolished all the old precepts. Management of global companies must now innovate simultaneously and speed information through horizontal, global-spanning networks. Old rigid hierarchies are out, and flat, speedy, virtual organisations are in. To boost global competitiveness, firms must now custom-design their organisations based on their industry, their own corporate legacy, and their key global customers.

In a paper titled, Re-Branding the Nigerian Professional Manager: From Good to Great, Osisioma said re-branding arises where a company, product or service sees a need to re-position, in an attempt to shed a negative image, move the brand up-market, or communicate a new message. According to him, often times, firms re-brand in response to external and/or internal issues.

“The critical challenge is how to stay current in changing times, or set themselves ahead of the competition. In a highly dynamic world with ever-changing themes and by-lines, re-branding could become a signal to reinvent, recreate, rebirth or redefine a firm’s core values and unique selling point.

“Professional re-branding is an acknowledgement that the times have changed, and the choice before the professional is clear: ‘we must either bend or break’. The first and primary challenge is how to arouse within the professional, the passion and determination to be a transition person.

“Thus, a brand report card must deliver in some key areas: delivery of real benefit to customers, remaining relevant on the leading edge, satisfying customers’ perception of value, properly positioned to occupy niches in minds of customers, and consistently striking a balance between continuity and change.”

Earlier in his remarks, President, and Chairman of Council, NIM, Professor Munzali Jibril, implored the recipients of the awards not to be contended with just adding the designation, but to see it as a call to higher responsibility and service to the institute, management profession and the nation.

“Each of the awardees is required to devote more of your time, talent treasure and thinking to the service of the institute and mankind. I enjoin you to place at the disposal of the Institute, your competencies and specialisation especially through the Academy of Corporate Management,” he stated.

He described the luncheon as an important event in the yearly calendar of the institute, where eligible members are conferred the highest professional membership grade, which also affords old Fellows the opportunity to meet and celebrate with new fellows into the folds.

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