Dr. Vincent Ogutu’s Vision for African Organizational Excellence

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In a keynote address that echoed  through the halls of the 6th Edition of the Made in Africa Leadership Conference on June 13, 2024, Dr. Vincent Ogutu, the Vice Chancellor of Strathmore University, captivated the audience with his profound insights on cultural transformation within African organizations.

Against the backdrop of the conference’s theme, ‘Making Africa Work for Africans: Bold Action for Bold Results,’ Dr. Ogutu unveiled a blueprint for revolutionizing corporate culture, igniting a spark of inspiration and a call to action for leaders across the continent. His message was clear: for strategies to truly take root and thrive, they must be underpinned by a robust and aligned organizational culture.

“As they say, culture eats strategy for breakfast,” quipped Dr. Ogutu. Dr. Ogutu emphasized that cultural change within organizations, though challenging, begins with a comprehensive culture audit. Using Strathmore University as an example, he explained how the institution strives to impact people through its environment. By fostering an environment where values, beliefs, and practices align with the organizational vision, leaders can ensure that strategies not only take root but also flourish.

“As a leader of an organization, you need to exemplify the beliefs and values of the organization to convert people into integral parts of that culture. To change culture, beliefs, and values, you must preach about it relentlessly, exemplify it, and praise it when practiced,” attested Dr. Ogutu. He expressed confidence that by embodying the organization’s values, they become ingrained as virtues and habits, eventually becoming effortless.

Where does culture come from?

Dr. Ogutu believes that culture is diverse and multifaceted, meaning different things to different people. While some may equate it with personality, he views it more as character. 

“Culture is what you have built, and it has taken a lot of work and time to forge. For many organisations, if not all, values are the building blocks of culture. A value is a belief that is so deep that it influences the way you think, feel, and act,” he explained, adding that culture stems from belief and dictates behavior regardless of external observation. He further emphasized that Africa’s unique context influences its collective beliefs and practices. Dr. Ogutu encouraged leaders to discover their own uniqueness and calling, embracing and breathing life into their cultural fabric. This, he argued, makes strategic endeavors not only resilient but also impactful.

In his address, Dr. Vincent Ogutu laid out a compelling case for cultural transformation as the bedrock of organizational success. By aligning values and practices with organizational vision, African leaders can foster environments where bold strategies are not just planned but realized, driving a new era of excellence across the continent.

Article written by: Stephen Wakhu

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