Safari Books Limited, a publishing firm based in Ibadan, Nigeria, shall in January 2021, release the Strategic Turnaround: Story of a Government Agency, an exposé on leadership and management, authored by Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside.
Peterside served as the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency, NIMASA, from 2016 to 2020.
Safari Books says the 300-page book, described as “a straightforward narrative of events, and turnaround initiatives embarked upon in the Agency in the four years of Peterside’s management that changed NIMASA from a laggard institution to one of the most respected and admired government agencies in Nigeria”, shall be in hardcover, paperback, digital and audio editions.
The book critically explores leadership and management principles, both theoretically and practically, in a public sector setting, which anyone serious about improving performance in governance must pay attention to. More than a story of successes and failures, the book highlights critical lessons for those desirous of renewing, repositioning or reforming public sector organisations.
The 13-chapter book expounds on strategic turnaround and performance optimisation in public sector settings. Readers will gain unusual insight into how government and regulatory agencies work and the complexities of achieving an extraordinary result in the face of the challenge of bureaucracy and multiple stakeholders with varied interests.
Strategic Turnaround: Story of a Government Agency is equally a detailed piece about excellent goal-setting in parastatals and agencies and how to achieve the set goals. Every chapter gives the reader ideas on how to move from goals to results.
The book will not only heighten readers’ curiosity from the first page, but will also leave them with lessons that will make them think differently at the end of every chapter.
Copies of the book will be sold on African Books Collective website, Amazon marketplace and in reputable bookshops nationwide. A six-city leadership coaching and speaking programme around the country in June 2021 will follow the release of the book.
So, in this interview with Bekee Anyalewechi, Peterside speaks more on the reasons for the book and what public agencies stand to gain through the ideas he has canvassed in it. He argues that failure can become a propeller to amazing, positive outcomes even in public institutions.
What motivated you to write the book?
There are five main reasons why I decided to write this book.
The first was that I wanted those who are serving in public office or who may be appointed in future to serve, to learn from our failures and successes. The reason is that failure teaches a lot of lessons and can strengthen anyone to achieve amazing results.
The second was that we wanted to shore up the confidence of those in public office to believe in possibilities no matter the odds. NIMASA at the time we were appointed was almost an institution that was a liability but today it is the toast of the nation.
Thirdly, we wanted to document our experience for posterity.
Fourthly, we chose to put together a reference material or a workbook sort of so all those who want to embark on organizational renewal can see a model that worked to pick vital lessons from our experience.
Finally, we applied principles of transformational leadership in a public sector organization and scholars of leadership will have lessons to learn from the way we applied the principles.
What is so unique about this book that it is already garnering much public interest even before its launch?
Strategic Turnaround brings insight in form of a story to show that the British model of public service system without adaptation to our local setting will have difficulty delivering the results we expect. Our cultural context and environment are unique. So when we import leadership and management principles we should adapt it to our situation. We magnified what Peter Drucker (an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation) said that you don’t manage what you don’t measure.
Our emphasis in the NIMASA journey was get to the root of the problem, and to achieve that, we called that diagnosis be conducted, then set goals to achieve desired results.
The second was performance measurement at every unit of the organization and at the organization wide-level. We used a lot of stories or narratives to show the importance of quantitative and qualitative measurement of outcome.
Finally we used a good number of African folklore to show that a lot of leadership and management principles were embedded in our African stories.
You have proposed a 6-city tour in June 2020 to further convince Nigerians on the contents of the book. Why wait until June for the tour which would be about 6 months its post-launch?
My publishers (Safari Books) and handlers consulted and came up with the June 2021 date though I have already scheduled speaking engagements outside Nigeria in January, March and April 2021. There were other factors that were put into consideration before arriving at June 2021. It is not going to be the usual book reading tour but leadership coaching clinics based on principles embedded in the book.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Literally it took me the last eight months. I had always had the idea but I paid serious attention to it after I left office and I was able to sit back and reflect on my time at the Agency.