#AfterOfficeHours: James Mworia on company culture and investing in Africa
Organization culture is a much-discussed topic and has emerged as a pivotal frame of reference for every leader and organization.
According to James Mworia, Group CEO Centum Investments, business leaders should ensure that they have processes and systems in place that support their strategy and company culture to achieve success.
Mworia spoke at our monthly event, After Office Hours Session that seeks to create a platform where business leaders come together share and gain insights from other like-minded leaders.
Mworia added that business leaders should also follow through and monitor the key metrics across the businesses. It is imperative for projects managers to understand their internal organizational culture and that of their customer in order to be successful.
It is imperative for projects managers to understand their internal organizational culture and that of their customer in order to be successful. It is imperative for business leaders to understand their internal organizational culture and that of their customer in order to be successful.
During the same session, Mworia also touched on why they had chosen to invest in Africa and what growth he had seen in the continent. He said that investing in Africa is a success highly driven by the type of partnerships and quality of local partners.
“You will almost do well in any sector in Africa reason being the level of competition is much lower than in the rest of the world and current penetration of goods and services is low. The differentiator is around the execution and so the quality of your local investment partner and management team on the ground is perhaps what makes or breaks an investment,” he added.
Mworia is celebrated as one of the youngest senior executives in a Kenyan listed company having started his journey as an intern to a C-level. He shared his journey that dates to 2001 at the age of 23.
Although at the time he spent more time in the filing room, where he was tasked with filing the company’s documents, his greatest ambition was to one day become CEO. Seven years later he became the CEO of the same company.
Six years after his appointment as the CEO to the largest publicly traded private capital firm in East Africa restructured the company into a powerful investor in the East African economy. He grew the company’s asset base exponentially, from KSh6bn ($69m) to close to KSh30bn.
Today the company has grown its investments in a variety of sectors, such as energy, real estate, financial services and fast – moving consumer goods.
When asked what drove his success as a leader then, he attributed his leadership skills up the corporate ladder to humility and a great desire for personal growth. His curiosity and a desire to become better is what led him to taking up an internship position at Centum despite being overqualified.
“Being stuck in a comfort zone is what hinders people from achieving more,” he said.
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