Sola Oyegbade – Head, Training Academy of First City Monument Bank Limited, opens up to us on his strategies for balancing work and life in order to live a deeply satisfying life both personally and professionally.
Tell us a little about yourself and why you choose a career in Training and Capacity Building?
Let me first commend you for this great initiative which I strongly believe is making positive impact in our society. Thank you also for having me as the first male personality to share my experience on this blog.
My name is Sola Oyegbade. I am a Learning & Development practitioner with over 20 years working experience in the Financial Services Industry. I started my career as an Information & Business Library Consultant to 5 leading Nigerian Banks and 2 Discount Houses and was later retained as a full staff by one of the Banks as its Chief Learning Resource Officer. From there, I have moved from Research and Planning in Strategic Management to Performance and Competency Management in Human Resources. I have been in the Learning & Development space for about 9 years now. So, talking about why a career in T & CB, I can’t say I had it figured out from the start. No. According to Steven Covey, he said “You don’t invent your mission, you detect it”. I have been largely influenced and motivated by my love for learning personally. I love reading, I love meeting people, I love making positive deposits into people’s lives and to a large extent that has become a lifestyle for me. Therefore, my work now has become an aspect of the expression of my mission here. I am enjoying every bit of it and by that, my purpose is being fulfilled.
What is your typical day like?
I’m a highly regimented person when it comes to work-life balance. When I want to work I know that this is work. When it is time for me to relax and recreate, I also know. I’m highly intentional, deliberate and purposeful in my approach. One thing that’s always shaped the way I start out my day is the fact that I detest traffic, and living in Lagos, you know what that means. How can you then live above the challenges that traffic poses?
It will shock you to know that I get to work as early as 5:30am simply because I don’t want to get into traffic – I consider traffic to be counter-productive. On a good day, I would have put in a minimum of two hours of work before the next person comes in. With that, I’ve already decided how my day will go before distractions sets in. This is because sometimes, there are certain things that are outside of your control. I believe that there are three levels of control – things you have direct control over; things you have indirect control over and things you have no control over.
So I always stay within my circle of influence to ensure that I control those things I have direct control over and give allowance for those ones that are outside of my control.
Within those two hours, I would have done most of the things I consider valuable and important for that day. I focus on four major aspects of my life: Spiritual, Physical, Mental and Relationships. I also try as much as possible to leave the office early, say about 5pm so as to again avoid getting into traffic. On the average, I’m home between sixty to seventy minutes.
What is your secret to balancing work and family? Is there a balance?
There is need for balance. Even if there is no balance you must create it because if you don’t, you will lose control of everything. What do I mean by that? In life generally, we have several roles and responsibilities, obligations and commitments. We have relationships that must be maintained and you can’t afford to be a one-way traffic person. For me, I know that I must work. My work days are between Mondays to Fridays but I must find creative ways to attend to other non-work responsibilities that are very critical and sensitive to my vision as a person.
Talking about my secret – The secret of whatever I’ve achieved so far is my faith in God, my trust in God, my absolute confidence in the fact that I’m not here on my own – I believe that my work is an expression of my purpose.
I align my life with fundamental principles of faith, love, work, learning and intentional living to make sure that I’m able to achieve my set goals PER TIME. That is my secret for success and balance.
The other avenue for the expression of my purpose is my relationship with people and contributions to the society. I have them at the back of my mind on a daily basis such that when I realize I’m focusing too much on work, I quickly caution myself and ensure I’m not neglecting these other areas. For example, I create time out to relax with my colleagues outside of work. We’ve gone to the cinema together, our recent time-out was for skating at the Ikeja Mall. YES! We work together and we also play together (laugh) – That is balance.
I am also a Volunteer Facilitator supporting the implementation of the Ready.Set.Work. An initiative of Lagos State Government birthed with the purpose of equipping final year students of tertiary institutions in the State for immediate entry into the workforce as employees and as employers of labour. I facilitate in different knowledge areas which include but not limited to Effective Communication, Business Writing, Customer Service, Leadership, Goal Setting and Business Pitching.
Apart from that, I also create time for my family – I spend time alone with my wife and also with my children.
What is/are your favorite tool(s) for managing time?
I don’t teach Time Management, rather Time Accounting, Directing Energy and Task Prioritization.
If the goal of Time Management is Effectiveness and Results then I use a tool called “Urgency Quadrant”. It will help you organize your tasks into four major areas – Urgent/Important; Important/Not Urgent; Urgent/Not Important and Not Urgent/Not Important.
Share an experience that helped you become a better parent and/or better at your job.
I’d rather say what has helped me to become a power parent. Power parent stems from the word ‘Power Parenting’ whereby you have to be actively involved in building and shaping the life of your children. So for me, it starts with being intentional – always defining your goals and determining what’s important to you.
I became a better parent or power parent when I started listening to the teachings of my mentor, Olakunle Soriyan. He is the founder of “Power Parenting Seminar and Workshop Series”. His thought-provoking teachings have taught me that parenting is just an eighteen-year program. Anything you have not inculcated in your children after eighteen years will be damage control.
Now being a better person at work, I must say that I developed a good attitude to work very early in life.
I take pride in being able to create or co-create value, first and foremost for people then expect corresponding reward from it.
It might interest you to note that throughout my university days, I engaged in different ventures, small businesses in order to see myself through school. This orientation prepared me to be an independent person when it comes to work. If you give me a task, you do not have to sit on my neck or micro manage me to get results. I believe that any task I commit to, I must put my mind to it and exercise what I call “Presence of Mind“.
What has been your biggest challenge and/or greatest reward in the struggle for work-life balance?
I would say my greatest challenge is being able to integrate my non-work (family) roles into my work roles – I recall a point in time when I needed to be in my children’s school appreciation day. At the same time, I couldn’t get any approval to leave my office on time. For some reason, I was waiting for the approval to come and when I didn’t get it, I had to weigh my options. My responsibility as a father can never be delegated, but the task in the office can be delegated. So I asked myself, ‘what are my critical deliverable?’ Even though I could not reach my boss to get her approval, I delegated the task to my colleague and attended the appreciation day. Guess what? I was very happy that I did because my son was actually given an award on that particular day. That is my greatest reward and a wonderful moment I needed to capture.
What is one thing you wish you knew before you got married and raised a family?
One thing I wish I knew before I got married is how expectations can be at variance. I realized there were gaps in terms of our expectations as far as romance and finance were concerned. We had to adjust our expectations along the line; worked on our differences without compromising other beautiful things we had going well.
As per raising children, I wish I knew the difference between discipline, punishment and correction. This is because we grew up with punishment rather than correction. And we grew up under a stiff and strong disciplined environment. I’d always thought that’s the way I’m going to raise my children. Alas, I realized that it’s not the best template for parenting. I realized that we need to do a lot more of communication – to engage, correct, manage and help them to grow up to become balanced adults. For instance, I know better that there is no such thing as a stubborn child, only ignorant parents.
What is your favorite thing to do with your family on weekends?
Spending time together – I do take them out to the cinemas, gym or to the pool. We do cinemas more often though. My time with them is also the period I use to share life values such as respect, care and love for others while I watch them do different things (chores, studies, play, etc).
What is your favorite “ME” moment?
This is actually in the early hours of the day, during my alone moments in the office. It’s always a refreshing moment because this is when I am able to reflect on my life, my work, my family, my other relationships and commitments. I am able to do some soul searching, read, meditate, plan, set goals and generate ideas on how to improve and advance my life generally. A practice I have adopted for years and to a large extent, it has helped me in managing and leading others for better results.
If you could give other working dads one piece of advice what would it be?
Be present. Be available. Let them see that you’re doing your best. Show them that you love them. Let them find a friend and a confidant in you and let them find a God fearing person in you.
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