Reviews

Richard Bekyi Receives High Performance Recognition

We have said time and time over that outstanding is not the same as normal—in fact they are opposites. This is actually a tautology of a sort. But often even those who think they understand end up confusing the idea. They have managed to convince themselves that different means getting out of line or perhaps start heading in the very opposite direction. You are different of course when you do that but different is not always useful. In a situation where everyone wants to live those commit suicide can also claim to be different. Those who rip off their clothes in public too are different of course but only because most of us want to keep our clothes on.

To address this conundrum we must first postulate a direction or perhaps a destination that will define progress for the larger society. When this is done, being outstanding will then mean you lead the pack in the set direction towards the destination. When you lead, you are different because the majority of people tend to hover around the middle bracket doing what it called normal, average or good enough. When they cook, you can eat it because it is ok. It has just about enough salt and pepper to give a fair taste. Those who are outstanding cook something that you can eat too, except you are left with a strong urge to indulge in infantile art of finger licking. It is just too damn good. Such persons are rare and we have found they are driven by a performance conscious mindset. Ripping off your clothes and heading in the regressive direction is the easy way out to different—way of the miscreant. Real performance takes more.

Mr. Richard Bekyi, a recipient of the SPID-UP® Performance Recognition Awards is one of such personalities who give you that strong urge to lick your fingers. He does this through graphic designing and printing. Richard’s customers are not ordinary folks either. They have a consuming appetite for outstanding. If you are normal you will have a tough time understanding this man. As one customer told us;
“I thought this guy was weird… I was sure he did not understand what we wanted and he won’t even compromise. He is very stubborn about quality and you cannot persuade him to do simple things. In the end I realized I really did not understand where he was coming from. You really have to stop thinking and let him lead the way because he wants to take you to new level”

Mr. Bekyi and his team at Iseeworks Limited craft some life-transforming designs and they are not going to sit around and let some printer make a mess of it. He controls the process from start to finish making sure their customer get exactly what he promised them if not more. It is easy to confuse his work with something that was crafted a Hollywood design studio. But that is not all there is to this man and his team. Anyone who knows anything about the printing business will tell you that it’s major plague in not only quality of work. There is also a severe case of untimely delivery and Richard Bekyi seems to have developed an antidote for this blight.

For us at SPiD-UP® that is hope. We are capable as a people to produce high quality only if we decide to and one of our many examples is Mr. Richard Bekyi. We hope he is inspires you to be performance conscious enough to give your best. Regardless of what you do, you ought to activate the urge to indulge in the art of finger licking in your patrons. Mr. Beckyi will be speaking at the Upcoming SPiD-UP® workshop on performance where he will share some thoughts on the importance of performance. We look forward to seeing you there. #spidup 

Uncle Ebo pens an unusual blockbuster


I will tell you that uncle Ebo just crafted another blockbuster but you will think I am exaggerating again. After all, the whole world knows by now how I feel about Roverman products. I will however, attempt to discourage you from allowing that thought to get in the way of an unbiased critical analysis and sound judgement. In which case I am certain you will come to the same conclusion as I have.


First of all; no syllables, words, phrases or paragraphs can describe the experience enough. So before you read on, stop for a second and make a firm promise to yourself that you will go and see Dear God Comma—the latest play from the Roverman stables. What you will get is a potpourri comprising of vivid imagery of the age old thoughts on matters around atheism, theism and agnosticism. You might think this complex but those sentiments will disappear when you actually see the play.  Dear God Comma is a demonstration of sheer courage and bravery as it treads in waters that invoke nothing short of discomfort in today’s modernist/postmodernist atmosphere. It will take one who is firmly rooted not only in his craft, but also in his world-view and its attendant beliefs and values.

When an angel shows up in the life of a family that has an unbeliever on one end and one who is not sure on the other, there is no telling what will happen. But if you throw in a couple of ampe-playing and somersaulting witches and set it all in an American city, you have a recipe for eternal intrigue—the mark of a masterpiece made possible only through high risk. Where everyone avoids risk, a masterpiece awaits to be born.
Ghana might be deemed a Christian country by some, but we are also conscious of the growing parcels of agnosticism/atheism within the population. Political correctness has also found a place making certain conversations on the universal platform of art a difficulty. We do not all believe the same things and we are all to be considerate of others and their beliefs.

So where did the author find the courage to pen such a controversial piece of art and how did he come by good enough a razor to shear it off its baggage of controversy? The answer came during the press conference after the performance. I attempt a paraphrase;
He has no problems with others and what they believe. He however, is clear about his experiences and what he believes. No one else could have written a play like this because only he has experienced all the things that have made writing a play like this possible. He not just a playwright, he is a Christian playwright.


I stood there is sheer admiration and intrigue. What will he write next… I wondered? Suddenly it came to me; when Real Madrid is four goals up in a match, Christiano Ronaldo can do literally anything he wants with the ball and the crowd will cheer. This new found freedom will allow for the high risks that makes masterpieces like this a possibility.  Here endeth my thoughts as formulated at the premier of the latest uncle Ebo play: Dear God Comma. It is showing at the national theater from the 4th of June 2016 to the end of July.

Energetic Alison is Afia

There is no doubt that uncle Ebo and his Roverman team has changed the game as far as stage plays go. They have set the standards and they are not going back. While everyone agrees that Mr. James Ebo Whyte is a great writer and certainly on his way to the tittle: the greatest playwright in the history of Ghana, not much is known about the people who bring it all to life—the actors. My focus in this article is one of such unsung heroines who played a pivotal character in the ever popular and award winning play; Women on Fire.
I bumped into Alison on our visit to the Roverman offices in Osu here in Accra. I walked past her without noticing her—there were quite a few people around and she sat at a desk doing some paperwork. Nothing about her told me she could act at all let alone play such a pivotal character such as Afia (a very present and loud character who’s role appeared to hold the whole plot together). She was arguable the single most active ingredient in the whole Women on Fire mix. When I learnt she played the character, I was curious to find out what kind of a person she was and what qualified her for such a challenging role. Interesting thing came out:

Alison is actually a trained and practicing architect from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. She is also married to an architect and have had no formal training in acting. She had however, acted in a few campus and Church productions: nothing too serious as she put it. She explained;
“this is something I love to do on the side. I am passionate about acting and would probably not have been able to choose if I had pursued a career in acting. In the meantime I go with the flow. If I get invited and the timing is right, why not”.
She is a natural. The mother of two boys and a girl is not too keen on movies she said but had played roles in one short film and a full feature film. Most of her acting has been in stage plays like Women on Fire. She has been acting from when she was a child so the stage is not a new place for her. I was curious to find out what kind of people she looks up to. On the Hollywood front Denzel Washington was top of her list but she said she loves RMD too. She also looks up to Uncle Ebo and Prophet and Mrs. Annor as role models in another sense. Her husband also inspires her with his encouragement borne out of his belief in her.

On the Afia character Alison told me;
“At the inception, there was a read through of the script. I read through while chewing on gum. I guess that’s where we started building the character. Some said Afia just happened. I had to think of a typical market woman, not too educated loud type who is in everybody’s business. She was not afraid of anyone. Some say Afia was crazy from day one”.
“I honestly do not know why I was offered the role but I love every opportunity I get to do what I love to do. So naturally I was excited. There is a bit of the character in my personality too. I felt like I was in charge in a way…playing that role. At home I am in charge as I literally run the house telling everyone what should be where”.

The extremely energetic mother of three has also featured in Apartment N1, What’s My Name, Unforgiven and Puppeteers—all Roverman productions. She says she is open to all opportunities in the future and would ultimately like to feature in a Tyler Perry production. At home, she is a mom and a wife; naturally her goal is to raise her children the best way possible and see them grow into model citizens. She is not going to stop practicing architecture either and hopes to set up her own firm.

I have met some actresses in my eventful life. I may have even dated a couple. I am yet to meet anyone with Alison’s level of energy. I could barely keep up with her. That just left me wondering about her husband. But I dared not ask. We have been spending some time at the Roverman offices and we have a few stories to share with you besides our Alison discovery. We are out there looking for ordinary people like Alison doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways. If you know any such person, tell us where they are and what they do, we will make sure they are recognized. Nominate them now into the SPiD-UP® recognition program #Spidup

James Ebo Whyte’s Fellowship


I recently wrote an article about the symbolism of the mighty tree. The expression; a mighty tree has fallen is used often when a great person is deceased. This was the very essence of that article intended to honour the late Dr. Clement Hammond-Aryee who passed away recently. For reasons I now cannot recollect, I never managed to publish that article. I am now of the view that mighty trees must be recognized before they fall. This is not often the case as many of our standing mighty trees are not being recognized.  The great thing about might trees is that they are still extremely useful, serving countless purposes even when they have fallen. If you understand the word legacy, then you know what I mean.

I had an encounter with a standing might tree recently. Our search for high performing personalities led me to the Roverman production offices for a life-changing encounter with Mr. Ebo Whyte the playwright, entrepreneur extraordinaire and motivational speaker of a special class. One can always tell when he is in the presence of a mighty tree. The canopy of it’s leaves is a place of rest and comfort. You experience that phenomenon instantly when you are near uncle Ebo. Perhaps that is why he is called Uncle by everyone—he has the father to all kind of presence.

The roots of a mighty  tree go deeper than most of its neighbors— Uncle Ebo is a trained statistician, self-taught chartered accountant and marketing professional, whose career in management cuts across the Publishing, Financial, Pharmaceutical and Automobile industries. His wealth of knowledge and depth of experience is of great benefit to anyone who encounters him. When the roots are deep enough, they find sources for abundant minerals which manifest in the quantity and quality of the fruits. If you have seen an uncle Ebo play then you have an idea of what I am talking about.
The branches provide a place for the nesting of all kinds of creatures. Mighty trees are not made overnight. Og Mandino puts it in an interesting way in the book; The world’s greatest sales man;
 “To create the Olive, king of all tress, a hundred years is required. An onion plant is old in nine weeks”,
Uncle Ebo is not an overnight mighty tree and his depth and wealth of experience is demonstrated even in the simplest conversations. The impact of a mighty tree on its environment is very far-reaching beyond its majestic presence and this can easily be said of Uncle Ebo. He writes award-winning plays, produces and stages them. He writes for the monthly Roverman report. He writes and presents his daily food for thought on Joy FM’s super morning show and runs the whole Roverman operation all to the highest standard.  He has helped in the team building efforts and rebranding processes for many companies and is known to have helped and mentored numerous people in all walks of life through his hard hitting, inspirational and realistic presentations. He has successfully written and directed over 20 plays which have become reference points in many lives. I will not even begin to attempt a measure of the impact of the very personality and work of Uncle Ebo as it is not possible.

In the hour or so I spent with him, I got to meet some of his team members— very exciting people with high work ethics. I learnt about his abhorrence for corner-cutting while still managing to maintain a fun filled exciting climate. The whole atmosphere radiates with high performance. I asked questions about the production process and was baffled at how much work is injected into it. Uncle Ebo is uncompromising when it comes to quality and it reflects even on his choice of people. He wants to give the best possible and going the extra mile does not appear to cost him much in emotional labor. This will explains why his plays have revived what was almost a dead genre of our arts. He does not strike me as the type who is trying to be different—he is just doing his best and you are different when you are the best because everyone else is in the average bracket.

In the short while I was a there, I learnt a lot that will influence the way I do things. Sometimes you think you know what you are about until you meet some who actually knows. Uncle Ebo has a keen interest in what people think about his work; that’s the mark of a good entrepreneur who has a burning need to make sure that his patrons are happy. Personally my expectation was literally shattered when I went to see his play; Women on fire. If I could summarize his driving philosophy in one sentence, it will be;

think more about the world you live in and the contribution you make to it”.

He clearly does this and as the saying goes, as a man thinketh, so he is. We presented him with the SPiD-UP Performance Recognition Fellowship Status (The highest category in the program) for his work. All around you there are people doing ordinary things in an ordinary way. Writing and producing a play was ordinary until Uncle Ebo wrote his first. 

 

Edward Effah leads Fidelity to 79% Profit increase


In March 2001, Edward Effah was selected as one of the best twenty young leaders in Ghana for the inaugural class of the Ghana chapter of the Africa Leadership Initiative. Since then his name has never left the top performers list. Fidelity Bank under his leadership has recorded some phenomenal successes over the years and shows promise of continuous growth. In the industry, the bank has won several awards including the prestigious Best Bank- Customer Care for the Ghana Banking Awards under his leadership. He is by all standards a high performing individual.
In 2014, the nation was faced with an economic downturn that presented a turbulent period to the financial sector. In spite of this challenge Fidelity Bank recorded an appreciable performance under the leadership of Mr. Edward Effah in 2014 when profits increased by about 79% from the previous year’s GH¢63 million to GH¢112.5 million in 2014.
At the bank’s annual general meeting, Mr. Effeh said; “In the year under review, operating income was GH¢326 million, representing a growth of 67 percent over last year’s figure of GH¢195 million. Growth in operating income was as a result of a 59 percent growth in the net interest income from GH¢117 million in 2013 to GH¢186 million in 2014. Growth in fees and commission on the other hand increased but was below expectation due to the shortage in foreign currency and decreased international trade activities in the year”. He said that effective cost savings, notwithstanding the higher inflationary environment, supported the profit performance, saying “operating expense for the year came to GH¢183 million, 57 percent above that of the previous year.”
According to a news item published on the company’s website; assets of the group soared significantly by 85 per cent from GH¢1.69 billion in 2013 to GH¢3.14 billion in 2014. The bank’s profit after tax increased by about 90 per cent from GH¢43.86 million in 2013 to GH¢83.38 million at the end of last year, buoyed by about a 71 per cent growth in operating income from GH¢197.1 million in 2013 to GH¢336.7 million in 2014.


Mr. Effah attributes the Bank’s performance to improved internal processes substantially, enhanced delivery of service to customers and increased footprint in the Ghanaian banking landscape. He said the bank brought on board IBM, a leading IT company to provide the latest technology platform to serve its customers, invested in a state-of-the-art contact center to serve customers as well as the acquired ProCredit Savings and Loans Limited to ensure expansion of its activities. These factors are largely responsible for the growth. Mr. Edward Effah noted that the integration has been very smooth and that Fidelity currently has the best combination of Human Resources in the sector.


Board Chairman of the Bank, Dr. William Panford Bray, touching on the acquisition of ProCredit noted that the acquisition of ProCredit had helped the bank to increase its footprint across the country with an extended network of 80 branches and 110 ATMs. With the integration of processes and credit methodology well integrated, The bank can now boast of customer base increase from 485,000 to 621,829 helping to improve deposit base by 31 per cent to GH¢1.8 billion.

High performance in the financial sector enables high performance in all other sectors of an economy. With the likes of Edward Effah at the helm of affairs, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Africa as the Cheetahs, slowly move to the front-line. Mr. Effah is a classic example of high performance; a person who’s very presence in any group forces change in the upward direction.  Team SPiD-UP is working hard to find out what his driving philosophy is and when this is done, we hope to bring you an inspiring article that will encourage you towards being the best you can be. In the meantime, keep brightening your corner. #SPiD-UP

Preview: Role Model Africa Corporate Dialogue III



I saw this poster and it was easy to recognize the source. Samuel Agyeman-Prempeh! Invents!! Role Model Africa!! I took a closer look and what I saw drew a wide grin upon seeing two names headlining the poster. Michael Okyere Darko – OBRAFUOR and the ever enigmatic Bernard Avle.

(Food: paused, Standing fan:switched to maximum speed, Sleeves:Folded up, DVD: slotted in ‘Pae mu ka’ CD. Songs played in background)

About five years ago, on one quiet breezy afternoon, and in the company of three friends, I found myself in a certain house somewhere in Accra. Our hosts were setting up the compound to host a group of Believers to a bread-breaking time as Christ himself has ordained. As we waited for the action to begin, I saw this beautiful little girl, running around, playing and smiling. While my friends and i played with her, my host told me that the little girl is Obrafuor’s seed. Wow. 


Until then, I had not met the ‘Executioner’ in person though I have always admired his literary, oratory, musical and lyrical powers. He is in my candid view the Okomfo Anokye of Ghana Rap. Surprisingly, My host said Obrafuor was indoors.

“Obrafuor? Here?”

“Yes”

I did not believe my host for all the banku in the world. It did not strike him to challenge me to a bet; I’d have lost.


Nothing, Hell nothing showed that legendary Obrafuor could be in one of the rooms of that humble building yet it was true. We urged our host to let us see him. He agreed.
After few minutes, Obrafuor came out, smiling, saw his little girl and patted her before coming to greet each one of us who were then seated. My heart raced. We stood up too. I was dumbstruck as I peered into his face hoping to see the content of his mind through his head. I wanted to know how he does it. Ok, hold on right there. Something happened which fortified my respect for the General.

“Obrafuor, can you give us a free style?” I asked.

“Bro, my style is not free” he answered with a lovely smile of a father to a son.

My goodness! what a sharp mind in every sense of the word. We took photographs (not selfies. selfies were unimaginable then). He thanked us for our time and without fanfare went back into his room. That day, my love for his works and for the beauty of poetry in/and music was strengthened.

And for those ruling the airwaves now with their music; Sarkodie, Manifest, El and Co, who also are putting Ghana on the world map and generating millions in revenue, they have this man, Michael Okyere-Darko to thank profusely for setting alight their paths.

Bernard Avle? The first time I saw him, He was Master of Ceremony at a Fidelity/Graphic Business Meeting at Alisa Hotel. The second time, he was Master of Ceremony at the 2016 National Convocation of Springboard and after the event was hounded by ambitious youth who wanted all styles and degrees of Selfies. From a corner, I watched him, his fluidity and humanness. Twice, Yes, twice, but I follow his weekday acts on Citifm via my twitter handle @sharkmellon1

This is the third edition of Role Model Africa Corporate Dialogue. What do I expect to gain from the conference? To hear Obrafuor and Bernard say things I don’t already know, to challenge me to success and to blow my mind. What about you?
Samuel and the Invents Team. You are biiiiiiiggggggg men (In Bernard Avle’s voice). See you there people! 22nd May, 2016. 3pm, African Reagent Hotel.  

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