1. You need innovation, anticipation and resilience
Innovation is all about looking ahead, but you also need to push your brain into the negative to prepare for anything. You must learn to anticipate what could go wrong and prepare for it. A certain amount of stress and having your back against a wall drives you. We need more of that if we want to achieve greatness, not less. Resilience is the mindset that can turn a negative into a positive. That’s been a huge life lesson for me. My number one mantra is to always look for a way to turn a negative situation into a positive. That’s where our biggest opportunities lie. — Jerome
2. Top leadership teams are balanced
Lisa is a top strategist, Garon is a production and logistics guru, Jerome is a quintessential entrepreneur, and their fourth shareholder and partner, Artwell Nwaila is a top-level creative. In OLC’s start-up days Jerome did everything, but while you can build a successful start-up like that, growth requires a balance of skills and expertise. You can’t build a high-impact business if you’re doing everything.
3. Be a caring organisation
Although we’ve always had a high-performing culture and can have tough conversations around delivery, we also genuinely care about our team. We make sure we’re perceptive and pay attention to everyone’s personal lives as well. You can’t expect your team to care about clients if you don’t care about them. — Lisa
4. Cross-border growth should be done strategically
Over the last year OLC has penetrated markets in Nigeria, Angola, Zambia, Cameroon, Mozambique, Namibia and Botswana. We identified our key growth areas, potential partners on the ground and which clients to farm in those areas before we made a move. Now we’re focused on getting all the great campaigns we are running to the rest of the continent through one point of contact project manager. There’s local follow-through, and our clients know that we have one view over everything. Quality and consistency are key. We can activate in five different African markets, but everything is coming from a central point. — Garon
5. Be quick and agile, but comprehensive as well
There’s no more space for companies that are small. If you want to make an impact in your market you need to be able to give a 360-degree offering to clients. This doesn’t mean you should lose focus. Stick to your space, but cover everything within that space. You also need to be able to make quick decisions that teams can immediately action. Whatsapp has been a game-changer for us. We don’t wait for diaries to clear to hold long meetings — if someone has an idea it’s sent out, opinions are offered, decisions are made and we hit the ground running.
“You can’t take it for granted that what you have today will be there tomorrow. We’re always identifying new assets, where we can leverage our current offerings into new territories or verticals and where we can add value.”