ska redefined 2016

April 10, 2016 Leave a comment

In my special way of marking The SKA Legacy this year, I decided to review the profile of the company. I hope my dad is proud and smiling down from heaven. Continue to rest in perfect peace. As I started, two or three years ago, I continued with an air of professionalism and simplicity.

The SKA GroupOVER AND BEYOND™

Profile

The SKA Group goes over expectations and beyond. It is constantly raising the bar for excellence in innovation and service. Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, The SKA Group Incorporated is a leading, privately-owned, multinational, diversified business conglomerate. It owns and oversees the operations of several companies with interests spanning various industries all over the world. Through the dedication of its employees worldwide, The SKA Group remains one of the most admired, dynamic and profitable companies in the world.

History

The SKA Group began as Pearl Kreations on Monday, January 28th, 2008 in Hamilton, Ontario, while Sylvester Kay-Adade was a freshman at McMaster University. Circa September 2009, the vision for The SKA Group was conceived and implemented. By September 21st, 2010, it was officially registered in Canada under the laws of the Province of Ontario. As Pearl Kreations became more successful, its profits provided the necessary capital for the exploration of new industries. The result gave rise to real estate firm, Ransrive Realtors in November, 2009; and clothing company, Suave Clothing in February, 2010. These were preceded by the acquisition of accounting firm, SKA Ventures in June, 2009; and followed by the development of innovations firm, Sylver Productions in August, 2010. Presently, The SKA Group owns Café Euphorie, Herança Financial, Pearl Kreations, Prestige Academy, Ransrive Realtors, Suave Clothing, Sylver Productions, and Vecasyer Hotels & Towers, as well as controlling interests in RCubed-Merit LLP and Spinners Incorporated.

Mission

The SKA Group will relentlessly provide superior quality products and deliver exceptional service, while thriving to be the best and exceed expectations in all its business and social endeavors.

Vision

The SKA Group aims to be recognized as the global brand with a drive for innovation and heart after perfection.

Values

Integrity
We believe in consistency in the right values.
– Fairness: There is no discrimination; everyone is equal and every job is vital to our brilliant success.
– Hard work: Excellent results are not manufactured, but accomplished through hard work. We understand that and are very familiar with it.
– Lawfulness: All our actions and activities are in total obedience, and in complete accordance with the law.
– Quality: All our products and services are always held to the highest standards.
Leadership
We believe in leadership by example.
– Accountability: We account and take responsibility for our actions, and conduct ourselves responsibly and transparently in all situations and at all times.
– Entrepreneurship: We are creative, innovative and ready to take calculated risks.
– Perfection: We are performance-oriented and put our best into everything.
People
Like every family, we trust respect and trust each other, and that attitude flows right from the top to the branches.
The people make the company, and our people are the best employees, executives, and partners; hence, we are the best company.
Service
We make everything about our patrons because it is.
– Community: A good community produces good people. Our people are good people because they come from good communities.
In order to maintain the balance, we give back through caring for the environment, maintaining old and raising new fundamental structures, and providing basic necessities to lacking communities.
– Customers: Customer service is paramount to us because without our clients and customers, we would be non-existent. We are committed to continually provide value through our products and services.

Subsidiaries

Every business venture is held to the highest standards, operated efficiently, and pacesetters in their respective industries.

ska-in-2014
Café Euphorie is the chain of state-of-the-art cafes designed for and with the quintessential business executive in mind.
Herança Financial is the global, small business management firm which deals in the provision of top-notch financial advice and solutions for small and medium scale businesses.
Prestige Academy is the educational institution which delivers quality, unparalleled educational services. These services include entrepreneurial education, financial management education, middle school education, high school education, private tutoring, and renowned etiquette & grooming classes.
Pearl Kreations is the collectibles company which manufactures, retails and supplies superior quality pin back button-badges for a variety of corporate, personal, professional, national and international events and purposes.
Ransrive Realtors is the real estate company which provides temporary and permanent accommodation through the letting and sale of commercial and residential properties.
Suave Clothing is the unique clothing venture which retails luxury accessories from reputable brand names, manufactures and sells its own line of bespoke dress shirts, dress pants and suits, and provides wardrobe consultation services. It also produces a biannual style online publication called The Suave Series.
Sylver Productions is the innovative firm which provides unique products and services that meet untapped customer needs. It developed, manages and operates proprietary services like Citymail™, TixItUp™, Datlik™ and Wefyl™.
Vecasyer Hotels & Towers is the collection of the most stylish hotels and resorts worldwide which offer 5-star accommodation with first class professional treatment and quality services.

The SKA Group also has partial ownership of:
RCubed-Merit LLP – the outfitting firm which highlights and optimizes the potential for various living spaces by redefining the outlook of the rooms, offices, homes and work spaces through the reorganization and restructuring of their overall presentation. The SKA Group has fifty-one percent (51%) ownership.
Spinners Incorporated – the agency which provides expert advertising services and solutions to its clients. It also uses its ace designing skills and creative wordplay to make befitting logos, catchy names and impressive slogans for its clients’ businesses, events and products. The SKA Group has seventy-five (75%) ownership.

All subsidiaries operate independently, but are monitored and regulated from its headquarters, SKA Tower, under the management of the President of the conglomerate.

readiness

March 22, 2016 Leave a comment

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things” – Peter F. Drucker. It is important to understand that a position of leadership is one of service and not solely of control. As a leader, you have to cultivate the ability to influence your subordinates positively.

leadership

In a company, the supervisors are one of the most important figures, as they directly interact with the employees. As a supervisor, you should promote employee engagement. If employees aren’t engaged or motivated, there is a problem. The nature of the job/ position is similar to that of a coach and a judge. They have to practice firmness and fairness. In order to do this job effectively, they are required possess these traits: intelligent, good role models, have desire and drive, honest, intelligent/knowledgeable, respectful and self-confident. Most supervisors have some or all these traits, however, sometimes their personalities come into play, making them either people-centered or task-centered.

People-centered supervisors emphasize interpersonal relationships, while task-centered supervisors emphasize technicalities. Being either has its benefits, but also has its shortcomings. For example, people-centered supervisors tend to be caring and lenient, but sometimes get too involved in the subordinates’ affairs. Task-centered supervisors are mostly focused and result-driven, but tend to be demanding.

Due to individual differences, it is sometimes counterproductive to focus on interpersonal relationships, whereas less work gets done; or to focus on tasks, whereas there is no team spirit or quality work being done. The best way to handle to handle employees effectively is to find a grey area – blending task orientation with people orientation to find a middle ground. This middle ground is called situational leadership.

Situational leadership emphasizes adjusting the leader’s communication style to the readiness (or maturity) of his/her subordinates. Readiness is the extent to which a subordinate demonstrates the ability and willingness to perform a task. Ability in this context refers to the knowledge and experience of the employee. Willingness in this context refers to the confidence and commitment of the employee. However, please note that readiness is task-specific, not global. Positive performance in a specific task does not translate to positive results in all tasks.

There are four (4) levels of readiness which suggest the appropriate level of supervision a subordinate will require. Readiness 1 or R1 connotes unable and unwilling; that is, the subordinate lacks knowledge and confidence to execute a task. Readiness 2 or R2 connotes unable and willing; that is, the subordinate lacks knowledge, but has the confidence/ is committed to executing a task. Readiness 3 or R3 connotes able and unwilling; that is the subordinate has knowledge/experience, but lacks the confidence to execute the task. Readiness 4 or R4 connotes able and willing; that is the subordinate is experienced and confidence enough to execute a task.

As earlier stated, by following the different levels of readiness, a supervisor will understand the subordinates and provide the necessary guidance to make that employee effective. A R1 subordinate requires supervision 1 or S1 which is the telling/teaching stage. A R2 subordinate requires supervision 2 or S2 which is the selling/encouraging stage. A R3 subordinate requires supervision 3 or S3 which is the participating/co-dependent stage. This is means they require occasional supervision. A R4 subordinate requires supervision 4 or S4 which is the delegating/dependent stage. Subordinates in this stage require little or no supervision in order to execute tasks.

Whatever type of supervisor you are or the mix of subordinates you have, credibility and trust are necessary in order to exercise leadership. It is key for your success that your subordinates believe in the ability, character and integrity of their leader.

evaluation

February 7, 2016 1 comment

Employee evaluation is one of the most crucial periods in an organization. Quite possibly, as a supervisor, you may have noticed that most employees are not too excited about reviews. This is mostly because of evaluations usually connote a conflict of perception of results and/or negative criticism. For this reason, when performing evaluations, it is important to communicate the reason(s) for the evaluation to your subordinates. Some basic reasons are development/training, feedback, motivation, and recognition.

evaluationIdeally, evaluations is one of those situations where supervisors should be a coach and judge simultaneously – a coach in the sense of being firm and looking forward to an improvement in the performance of the employees, and a judge by being fair, considering even performance in past sessions. Sadly, it is not the case in a lot of organizations, and that’s unfortunate. An evaluation is not an excuse to berate or embarrass an employee. It is to help employees improve their performance and enhance the overall productivity of the organization. To this end, there are three (3) widely recognized performance standards of evaluation – Absolute, Relative and 360◦. The absolute standard involves evaluation based on the periodic (monthly, quarterly, annually) review of an employee’s performance. The relative standard involves evaluation each time an employee has faulted or is commended. The 360◦ evaluation involves evaluation based on reviews from an employee’s clients/customers, peers and supervisors. In my opinion, the 360◦ evolution is the most effective, but also the most tasking to coordinate.

Whichever standard you decide to use for the performance evaluation of your subordinates, here are some pointers:

  1. The evaluation is a legal document and hence be conducted in a private formal or semi-formal setting between only the supervisors and the employee being reviewed.
  2. The information in the evaluation should not surprise the employee. This is why prompt feedback is essential. A wrong doing must be addressed within a reasonable time-frame after committed not saved until performance reviews.
  3. The performance should be held periodically – monthly, quarterly or annually. An effective way is to hold it on the eve/day of the anniversary of employment. This way, it is more of a process than an event, and an employee’s growth or lack thereof can be easily noted.

As earlier stated, evaluations are to review performance, and hence, must be objective. Hence, I’d like to warn against three (3) common errors supervisors tend to make while making performance evaluations:

  1. The halo error: This is overvaluing and/or undervaluing subordinates’ performances based on their personality. Every personality has its strengths and weaknesses. Assertive people aren’t necessarily more productive than quiet people.
  2. The recency error: This is overvaluing and/or undervaluing subordinates’ performances based on their recent activities. This is why it is important to file every commendation/warning involving the employee.
  3. The similarity error: This is overvaluing and/or undervaluing subordinates’ performances based on familiarity/state of the relationship with the supervisor. A review is to objective – a tool to build, not a weapon to destroy. There should be not favoritism in the workplace either, well, at least not when objectivity is required.

Finally, this goes without saying, but employees are individuals and should be reviewed based on their merits or lack thereof, not who/what they are. Please do not ever make concessions or deductions on the basis of age, color, disability, gender or tribe of an employee.

balance

January 18, 2016 Leave a comment

With the help of technology, nowadays it is difficult to separate between personal life and work life.

work life balanceTrying to find a balance between work expectations and life expectations makes a lot of employees stressed. Optimal stress brings out the best performance, but high stress, as well as low stress, is bad for health and overall well being of an individual. Common stressors, irrespective of industries include ailments, bad supervisors, family issues, financial issues, personal distress, personal injuries, task deadlines, and technological malfunctions. The long-term affects of stress can either be psychological and physiological. Psychological consequences of stress include anger, depression, irritability, psychotic breaks, and resentment. Physiological consequences include burnouts, heart complications, high blood pressure, and ulcers. Both may have adverse effects of the quality of life of employees.

As a business owner/supervisor, it is your responsibility to help stressed workers find middle ground in which they can perform optimally. Some ways to help employees deal with long-term stress is through peer counseling or hiring psychologists in additional to the on-site/close proximity medical team(s), encouraging exercise through use of available company facilities/fitness programs, and the implementation of mandatory sick days or stress leaves (with or without pay) depending on the stressor.

As an employee, the key to a balanced life is quantity at work, quality at home. What that simply means is

In situations where the supervisor is the stressor, frequent supervisory reviews should be done where subordinates anonymously rate the performance of their supervisors. This will help the supervisor improve. When your subordinates are happy and leading balanced lives, they are more engaged and productive. Happy employees, Happy business!

imovie 2016

December 25, 2015 Leave a comment

I’m so excited for next year! There are literally tons of awesome movies coming out, but that means a lot of work at Pearl Kreations. We decided to continue with the collection strategy for the most anticipated movies for 2016. Everything set and there are twenty buttons! We’ve decided to group them into four collections:

Angry Birds Stars Collection

Posters - Angry Birds Stars CollectionIt features the faces of the three (3) stars of The Angry Birds Movie: Red, Chuck, and Bomb

DC UniVerse 2016 Collection

Posters - DC 2016 CollectionIt features five (5) emblems/logos from the two (2) blockbusters from DC Comics/Warner Bros for 2016: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Superman/Batman Merge (from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), and Suicide Squad (from Suicide Squad)

Fantasy 2016 Collection

Posters - Fantasy 2016 CollectionIt features four (4) emblems/logos from the three (3) blockbusters for 2016 originating from popular video games and novels: Alliance Crest and StormWind Crest (from WarCraft), Assassin Insigna (from Assassin’s Creed), and Ghost Busters (from Ghostbusters)

Marvel UniVerse 2016 Collection

Posters - Marvel 2016 CollectionIt features eight (8) emblems/logos from the five (5) blockbusters from Marvel for 2016: Captain America, Iron Man Mark V Arch Reactor, War Machine Arch Reactor, and Black Panther (from Captain America: Civil War), XMen (from X-Men: Apocalypse), Deadpool (from Deadpool), Eye of Agamotto (from Doctor Strange), and Spider Man (from Captain America: Civil War/Sinister Six).

Once again, we will be having “The May Special” – a one-time special offer for the month of May, but unlike last year where it ran from May 1st to May 10th, the collections will be sold at discounted prices online all through the month of May. The buttons will be available for purchase via our online gallery, Konga.com Store and SMEArena.com Store.

Get set to button up in 2016!😀

Merry Christmas!

discipline

November 24, 2015 5 comments

Just as employees whom perform their duties appropriately should be encouraged by rewarding them with praise, employees whom perform negative actions should be discouraged by rewarding them with a penalty/punishment. It is however important to note that the purpose of discipline is for correction and learning. Being a supervisor, like a coordinator, manager, or team lead, is not a license to be a bully. Explaining faults in a respectful manner helps employees understand the problem and reduces the likelihood of a repeated offence. This is the reason why it is necessary to educate subordinates, especially new employees/members of your group/team, on all company policies inside and outside of the workplace; emphasis on the importance of total compliance and the consequences of noncompliance.

discipline

For example, harassment is a major concern in companies with a diverse workforce. It ranges from bullying to sexual; sexual harassment being the most prevalent. Female subordinates are usually the victims of sexual harassment, not just from their peers, but from authority figures, and that’s unfortunate. Unreciprocated advances, bothersome behavior, and failed/forceful romance are the most common types of sexual harassment. In Nigeria, I’ve noticed that a lot of young women do not even realize that being hit on, “accidentally” fondled, or groped by a colleague at work is unacceptable, and what is even more alarming is that a lot of companies, via complacent supervisors, treat sexual harassment complaints as a nonissue. This is too bad, as I don’t know if this attitude stems from the archaic culture of treating women as second class citizens with no rights, or just plain insensitivity. I try to educate employers that this should be a huge concern. It is important for productivity that female workers feel safe. As a supervisor, it is your responsibility to be sensitive enough to handle such issues delicately, discretely, swiftly, and by the book. If male employees are not reprimanded for sexual harassment, this unprofessional behavior will continue, and possibly escalate into violent advances.

That being said, there should be a scale to the severity of punishments in relation to the frequency and gravity of the offences. For minor offences, such as absenteeism/lateness, missed deadlines, insubordination, misuse of office equipment, and abuse of privileges, it is advisable to apply progressive discipline – a process of building up to cause. It starts with a verbal warning, and with the repeat of an offence, it escalates to a written warning, suspension (with/without pay), and finally, termination. For more severe offences such as harassment, inappropriate/crude behavior, and violence, the company must have policies. Policies usually highlight the process of handling such situations. However, in my experience, there are two successful forms of employee discipline:

1) Progressive: This is the most widely used form of employee discipline. It is a gradual process of discipline that escalates as the faults increase or graduate. For minor offenses, it progresses from verbal warning – written warning – suspension (with/without pay) – termination. For more serious offenses, it may go from written warning – suspension (without pay) – termination. It is successful because it motivates subordinates to becoming effective employees of their organizations. The only problem with the progressive discipline model is that it may not actually correct the wrong. It works like negative reinforcement – the action is only discontinued in order to avoid punishment.

2) Positive: This is a new, lenient trend in organisations. It progresses from verbal warning – written warning – suspension (with pay). It aims to impact learning rather than to punish. It is successful because it assists employees in becoming more effective by discouraging bad behavior, as opposed to punishment. The only problem with the positive discipline model is its controversial nature – its leniency; the fact that penalized subordinates still get paid, even though they’re on suspension.

Please note that every form of warning must be documented, and a copy put into the subordinates’ files; this is particularly useful during performance evaluations. Anyway, since prevention is better than cure, it is advisable to transfer dating/married/estranged couples to different departments to avoid conflict; provide support and time for improvement for under-performing employees; and organize mandatory seminars, departmental workshops, and leisure outings. This will help promote harmony and mutual respect. When all else fails, use discernment in applying warnings, suspensions and terminations (with built cause). Supervisors have to decide what will work best for the benefit of their teams/subordinates and company.

motivation

October 12, 2015 4 comments

Disengaged employees come to work, but are absent, inactive, and unproductive. They annoy customers, and provide inadequate service to clients. Whether you’re the Chief Executive of a multinational corporation, or small business owner, disengaged employees can be a nightmare. I learnt some time ago that a good leader is someone who can make people do things because they want to; in other words, good leaders keep their subordinates motivated. Motivation is the willingness to do something, and is conditioned by the ability to satisfy some need for the individual performing the action. This doesn’t sound complicated, right? But because need is a psychological or physiological deficiency that makes outcomes attractive, motivating employees to perform tasks can be challenging.

motivation

In the past, it was believed that by simply offering employees a raise, overtime pay, or more free time was enough to keep them motivated. This is not the case anymore. Nowadays, individuals are becoming increasingly personalized; what motivates one employee may not necessarily motivate another. In order to understand just how different people can be, leaders/supervisors need to become sensitive to this change, and understand why it is necessary to understand the individual differences of your subordinates.

If I had to pick, I would say, the prevalent cause of disengagement in present times is locus of control. It is the degree to which a person believes he/she controls his/her destiny. Some employees find it hard to be motivated if they feel they are being controlled. This kind of people require some degree of respect. For example, if such an employee could be included in some decision-making (especially in those that directly affect them), it would motivate him/her. When employees have the full context about a decision and the options considered, they are more likely to support it regardless of whether they agree with it or not. Since the objective of decision-making is to get the best possible result, or sometimes, the satisficing one, it may be a good idea to involve the people it will be affecting, in order to achieve maximum cooperation. One of the best ways to involve subordinates in decision-making is through forums or group decision-making. It provides more information and more alternatives/solutions. However, this may not work for all leaders, depending on personalities, time-constraints, and number of employees. Nevertheless, if you request input from your subordinates, be sure to consider their opinions in making a successful decision, so as not to lose credibility and respect.

Other common factors that affect employee behavior and motivation are: Self-Esteem – degree to which a person likes or dislikes him/herself, and Risk Propensity – degree to which people are willing to take chances. Employees with low esteem need appreciation and encouragement in order to feel motivated, and those who habitually avoid risk, only require recognition in order to feel motivated. Apart from appreciation, encouragement, recognition, and respect, other ways to motivate disengaged employees is through rewards (in cash or kind), making debates transparent, and personal interviews – asking one-on-one what changes would improve their performance.

Remember, there is no “one size fits all” approach in motivation. You have to know your employees and make improvements as you go on; better to be proactive than reactive. Motivating employees can be a daunting task, but being the boss isn’t an easy job.

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