Pharm. Sesan Kareem is the personal assistant to the president of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). He is also the founder of Mareek Image Concepts, a company dedicated to helping individuals and organisations reach their full potentials through training and consultancy programmes. In this interview with Pharmanews, Kareem speaks on the philosophy behind Mareek and how training can help leaders in the pharma industry to solve problems of the pharma sector. Excerpts:
Aside from your job as the PA to the PSN President, you also have an organisation named Mareek that is actively involved in training for companies and promotion of personal development for individuals. Tell us about this organisation and the philosophy behind it.
In 2013, Mareek Image Concepts was incorporated by the Corporate Affairs Commission as a publishing and training firm. It was birthed with the philosophy of helping individuals and organisations to learn, grow, develop and become better. We deeply believe that regardless of how successful an individual or an organisation is, there is always a room for improvement, as long as the individual or organisation is open to new possibilities and understands that the best is yet to come.
Our mission is to help our clients achieve their full potentials and make a difference in our world as they continue to achieve their bottom-line in terms of productivity, profitability, turnover, customer loyalty, as well as employee engagement. Our core values include service, sincerity, simplicity, ingenuity, constant learning, continuous development and team work.
In the past, we’ve worked with Industrial Training Fund to train organisations like MTN Nigeria, First City Monument Bank and LASTMA. We’ve also worked with Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development; Ogun State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; RCCG branches; NASFAT Headquarters and branches; New Heights Pharmaceuticals Limited; Paxo Pharmaceuticals Limited; Drugstoc Limited, among other top organisations, to add value to their already successful businesses.
We believe in not just satisfying our clients, but surpassing their expectations. Our track records clearly reveal that we’ve achieved 100 per cent customer satisfaction which has resulted in repeated engagements between us and most of our clients. We will continue to refine our training and consulting programmes for organisations to serve their needs and get them better results within a short term.
We do trainings on organisation growth because we believe that if an organisation is not growing then it is dying. An organisation is never static. Our organisational growth training includes training on personal development, organisation transformation, sales, communication, critical thinking, productivity and job satisfaction, wellness and healthy living, as well as leadership.
At Mareek, we also have a not-for-profit aspect of the organisation called Motivating the Nigerian Youth. And I’m so proud of my team for having trained over 3,000 young Nigerians in secondary schools and higher institutions for free. Our board of advisors comprises eminent Nigerians of integrity who are guiding us with their decades of experiences as entrepreneurs, professionals, business leaders, and impact makers.
Let me also use this opportunity to say a very big thank you to all our clients for believing in us when many people were sceptical about our ability to add real value to their organisations. You know, there are people who assume that for someone or an organisation to be able to add value to them, they must have decades of experience. However, we’ve shown that experience is good but using other people’s experiences is better; and above all, the universal principles of business or life success are available for those who are hungry to acquire them despite their age or stage in life.
Sincerely, I am so honoured to lead such a formidable organisation that will definitely grow in leaps and bounds. Presently, we are striving; soon, we will be thriving.
How can training help leaders in the pharmaceutical industry solve the problems besetting the industry?
According to my teacher and father of modern management, Peter Drucker, business is basically two things: marketing and innovation. All other aspects of business, like operations, accounting, legal, are important but the two backbones of any successful business are marketing and innovation. Business involves two major things: increasing sales and reducing expenses and it is only marketing and innovation that contribute directly to these two.
Training can help pharma sector develop human resources capabilities that possess the right knowledge, skills and attitude to create innovative solutions to various challenges facing the pharma sector of the Nigerian economy and also be able to market these innovations and the existing potentials of the Nigerian pharma sector to the world.
Honestly, the Nigerian pharma sector has a lot of potentials in contributing to the GDP of the economy and providing thousands of employments for our teeming youth, but until and unless we develop the right human capital endowments that will cause disruptive transformation in the sector, we may continue to operate below our full potential as a sector of the economy.
As an advocate of training, what are its inherent benefits for business leaders, especially in this period that the Nigerian economy is going through tough times?
Whenever I have the privilege of discussing with entrepreneurs or business leaders I always remind them that the greatest asset in their organisation is the people – not the infrastructure, technology, products or services. The quality of human capital endowment in an organisation determines the rise or fall of that organisation. So, smart companies always hire smart people, train them (and keep training them to become better on a daily basis), create the enabling environment for them to thrive and motivate their workforce appropriately.
Therefore, constant training is a must for any serious organisation. When personnel become better, more efficient and effective, they do their jobs better, more efficiently and effectively. When people become better thinkers, leaders and managers of men and resources, it automatically affects the bottom-line of the organisation in the short, medium and most, importantly, in the long term. That is why most successful companies put priority on on-the-job training and regular off-the-job training.
Honestly, the importance of training to catapult businesses and organisations to the next level can never be overemphasised. However, there is training and there is effective training. Business leaders must make sure that they only engage their workforce in effective and result-oriented training.
Many organisations are now into training, but what should organisations who need trainers consider first before selecting who trains them?
The first thing organisations should consider is, how can this particular training help my organisation to achieve our vision and mission in a better, faster and grander way, compared to where we are and what we are currently doing?
The essence of training is to create a new culture in an organisation by working with the business leaders of that organisation to set organisation goals in order to create lasting change or transformation. I believe that an effective training must be simple yet challenging, practical, yet result-oriented, educating yet entertaining, serious yet engaging. An effective training must be assessed immediately after the training and periodically afterwards.
However, to create a new culture of performance and productivity an organisation needs to build training as an integral part of their organisation culture. I know some indigenous Nigerian companies that have achieved enviable heights because of their commitment to on-the-job training and off-the-job training.
In a nutshell, all organisations should look for action-learning and result-oriented training firms to engage to train them.