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In Winning With People, Akinloye, Owolabi interrogate performance culture


It is people that make it possible for organisations to be profitable not the process. It is people that interact with customers not spreadsheets.”

This quote sums up the main purpose of the book, Winning with People, authored by human resource practitioners, Oladapo Akinloye and Gbemifa Owolabi.

The 122-page book is a box office management approach to delivering excellent performance in the workplace. It also presents a systemic method for individuals and organisations that desire to drive performance to the zenith.


The book, which centres on success for employers and employees, projects continuous learning and performance culture, among others, as imperative in achieving success, as it not only enables employees to navigate through challenges and adapt easily but also helps them keep their focus on organisation’s goal.

Speaking with The Guardian during the virtual unveiling of the book in Lagos, Akinloye explains it is not just a traditional management book where you can find definitions of some of the concept, but a solution centred work where people can locate the formula for winning.

According to him, “the thought behind the book, as the title entails, is about winning. Every organisation, businessman and entrepreneur wants to win and what is the formula for winning? That is what we are trying to locate and find out and talk about in this particular book. This book is an accumulation of our experiences over the years put together. Put them together, it spans over 40 years of experience in managing a business, people and helping them to succeed and we felt that we cannot just continue to carry this knowledge on our own without sharing with an unlimited number of people.

“The book, from end to end, speaks across the entire spectrum of managing people successfully. One key area most organisations struggle with is performance management. This book touches deeply on this. How can performance be entrenched within the organisation and how can every organisation build a performance management culture that everybody in it understands what he or she needs to do, how to do it and how it adds value to the business. It also talks about the tenets that will help you to succeed irrespective of where you see yourself,” Akinloye says.


He continues: “The other area is about the learning culture it is not until we come to the classroom that learning will hold. That is one of the mistakes people make, people think learning only occurs when they go to a training school. We talk about the 70, 20, and 10 principles. 70 per cent of learning happens on the job, in the workplace, it is what you are doing every day, it is called action learning; 20 per cent is mentoring and coaching, while 10 per cent happens in the classroom.”

For his co-author, Owolabi, the book is all about ‘people management’ and extraordinary performance, adding that any organisation that gets the people part of the equation right, every other element will fall in place.

“It is a very interesting book, I remember when Dapo came to me and wanted me to put some of my thoughts in a book. I told him I am not a writer, but eventually, he was available to convince me to look through my career and be able to articulate some of the practices and ideas I have used throughout my career, especially when it comes to building a high performing organisation.


“There is no organisation, whether for profit or not, that does want to be a high performing one. If you really want to have a high performing organisation, it is not the only machine that will do it, you will also have to do it through people. Whether you go through processor systems, it still has to go through people.

He adds: “So, how do you get those people to the stage they will put discretionary effort to work to the point that they do things that ordinarily, they would not want to do? When you start taking people to higher level and they start taking more than they are actually required to do, it leads the company to being a high performing organisation. If you are winning through people, even when things are bad you can still get people involved. It is your people that will deliver your objectives. So, we did not define theories; we just put those things we have practiced over time to build high performing organisations.”

Concluding, Owolabi says, “for you to be successful, probably, it even starts the way you bring in people to the organisation. This is because, if you bring in a wrong person that does not fit into the job or does not have the right skills to your organisation, that is where the problem starts. You need to spend some time employing the right people, someone that is going to fit into your structure and values.”


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