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CEO Life Hacks from Jason Kazilimani, CEO and Senior Partner of KPMG Zambia

 

CEO Night, Zambia Q2
In the second quarter of every year, we run a series of ‘CEO Nights’ where we asked the current CEOs/Chairs of the top 100 companies in each country to spend time with the community of 'next-in-line CEOs' that make up The Africa List to unpack what the jump from C-suite to CEO really looks like, and how best to prepare for it. We only run 'CEO Night' once a year so to make the interactions with the CEOs in attendance as structured and useful as possible, we also put some of our guest CEO/Chairs in the hot seat and groups of members took turns grilling them on their 'CEO Life Hacks' in productivity, leadership and management strategies and their personal journey.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

“I thought it would be keeping clients happy, or making sure there is enough money in the bank for salaries, but the hardest part is managing the people. Attracting the right ones, motivating them, retaining the good ones, and making sure they are being developed so that they stay for the long term.”

How do you push yourself not to settle for mediocrity?

I tell myself that if anyone is going to listen to me, or buy our services, and even pay a premium for them, we have to make sure we’re doing our best to be better than our competitors. We put a lot of focus on training and quality. The alternative is disastrous - if they stop trusting your quality they’ll go elsewhere.”

How do you encourage new ideas?

“I don’t like titles in my company. I think hierarchy is stifling and I like everyone to be able to talk. I encourage everyone to come to me with ideas, as long as they know that my next two questions are ‘why’ and ‘how’?”

How do you network?

“I’m actually very introverted - I’m usually the quietest guy in the room. But I force myself out to events like these, because outside of your friends and family you need a useful network of business acquaintances. If you’ve read John C Maxwell’s book ‘Talent is Never Enough’, he talks about the things that affect your talent, and relationships are one of those things. Your network is not neutral. Hanging out with the wrong people actually diminishes your talent, but spending time with the right people enhances your talent.”

Your network is not neutral. Hanging out with the wrong people diminishes your talent, but spending time with the right people enhances it.”