Consistency is an important key to success. If there is one thing I know for sure about Chude Jideonwo is that he has been unwavering in his craft and in its expression. As many of you know, Chude is a lawyer, an author, as well as a teacher and an award-winning journalist. He has a Master’s Degree in Media and Communication from the Pan-African University and is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School and the Strathmore Business School, Kenya. He is also a Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum, and sits on the boards of the Oando Foundation and Micosoft4Afrika.
More about Chude
Recently, Chude was named by Forbes as one of Africa’s 30 best entrepreneurs under 30. As Co-founder and Managing Partner of RED – which owns the continent’s largest portfolio of youth media brands- Chude has found a way to marry his passion for Nigeria and media.
RED has successfully managed campaign communication for two consecutive Nigerian Presidents. Through Statecraft Inc, its governance communication company, he led on the communication for the Muhammadu Buhari campaign in 2015- and we are all very aware of the results.
In 2014, Chude was announced winner of the CNBC All Africa Young Business Leader of the Year. While in 2015, RED was shortlisted for the African Business of the Year prize alongside Dangote Group and Chandaria Industries
In our exclusive MCM feature, Chude shares with us his biggest success so far and it may not be what you think
IBG: Why do you do what you do?
CJ: Because it’s so important. This is a generation that faces significant challenges – depression and a crippling lack of opportunities. As societies seek to rebuild or regenerate, the most important commodity young Africans will need is inspiration and practical empowerment on how to take change of themselves, their communities and their nations. To run a business that helps drive that imperative is a joy. It’s a joy to be able to do what you think is the most important challenge and to make a living while at it.
IBG: What motivates you?
CJ: Joy. Taking joy in what I do, in how I do it and in who I did it with (team) and for (audiences).
IBG: How do you define success?
CJ: I think of success like that balance you get when riding a bicycle for instance. When everything is at a safe, upward equilibrium. Work, family, purpose, relationships/community, health, spirit. When you find a place where all of these merge and keep you safe, that is success.
IBG: What keeps you grounded?
CJ: The fact that the earth is not in any human being’s control. We do the best we can and must, but none of us can truly dictate its affairs. The president who steals her people blind can’t buy the cure for cancer. A good man who suffered to help his children doesn’t have any certainty about good karma. You are almost at it were at the mercy of the universe. If you are Christian like I am, then of God. That’s enough to keep you humbled, and in perspective.
IBG: What has been your biggest entrepreneurial challenge and how have you surmounted it?
CJ: Building a team that works for our mission. I know people say money and all that and expansion etc. But I always say people go into business for many existential reasons – I am in business because I want to and like to build teams. Building a cohesive, coherent team is top of my agenda always and the art of doing that is never easy, but it’s fulfilling when you get it right. I surmount it by being confident in my voice and mission. That what we are doing is both important and unique, that it takes a certain kind of person to do it, and it is important but to take the time to find those people and then to gently lead those who don’t fit that mission out of the way, for their own good and for yours. In between will be some of the most dramatic HR and Talent policies you will find in Nigeria today that help retain, guide, grow and radically improve the talent we find and keep.
IBG: What has been your biggest success?
CJ: Building my team, really. It has been a hard long road and I have learnt plenty of lessons along the way. Building a team I could trust with my life has to be the biggest success. In terms of something more ‘tangible’, we were very proud to lead the communication for the (now President) Buhari campaign last year of course, a fitting way to mark our 10th anniversary as a brand, and 5th as a business.
IBG: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
CJ: I have always said there is only one way to make a decision in business: the golden rule is common sense. You must ask yourself, what works best for you and for your business in this situation, at this time and for the future. Not what your elders said, not what a Washington Post article says, not what a TED video said. After all said and done, all counsel considered, what Jim Collins called empirical creativity is the cruz of it. What is the common sense decision to make here and now, for this and for the future? You make that call.