BY OJIE ‘King’ IMOLOAME
Right. So, it has been almost four months since I moved back to Lagos from England. Immediately, I signed myself up for the compulsory years worth of service in my country, which I am currently undergoing. The service is basically a medium by which the country’s young adults get to know their country by involuntarily serving it. They send you to another state, one that you are not used to or do not originate from and you are meant to work and presumably live there for a year, where during this time, you meet other people from different parts of the country and are forced to interact and discover new cultures etc.
Believe me, I was very reluctant to do the service. I could never imagine wearing that awful uniform ever! However, I would say that it has been an eye opener for me in so many ways. I have been exposed to people, areas and things that ordinarily, I will never have been.
One key thing I have learnt so far during this service year that I feel can be useful for business is that people skills go a very long way. I could easily say that I was foreign trained; therefore, I am better than anyone who is locally trained. However, unlike England, information here is not easily accessible online, via email or even on a bulletin board. It is gotten directly from people’s mouths and that alone. So, putting my nose in the air and thinking I am better than anyone because I schooled in England did me a great disservice as information I would have usually gotten for free, I naively paid for. Instead of instigating a conversation with a simple ‘Hello’ or ‘Good afternoon’ and all my questions would have been answered. Funny right? But you will be shocked with the amount of stuff a random stranger can tell you from just a simple conversation. Or from just taking an interest in what he or she is doing and taking it up from there. You will be amazed with what you will find out.
So, lesson learned here, again from a negative experience, which I believe is very useful for business as businesses act on information is, simply have good people skills and do not underestimate the person next to you. They may be the answer to all your problems. Mine was right in front of me and all I said to him was “Are You Bini?”