By Patrick Kagenda
AYA Group, which started 10 years ago, has become as a household name in the wheat flour business. It has diversified into bakery, biscuit manufacturing, transport, and now is involved in the hotel industry. AYA is the brain behind the famous Hilton Hotel which has become a dominant feature of the Kampala city skyline.
What is your day like?
My day starts at 6 with prayers as a religious man. Between 6:30 and 7, I drop my children to school and later proceed to my office. When I reach the office, I draft what I have to achieve in the day. I set the targets of what to achieve and then I review what was not achieved the previous day and why I did not achieve my targets.
Between 8 am and 10 am I receive reports from my general managers and discuss with them the challenges and also tip them on how to achieve the set targets. We also discuss new marketing strategies and I offer solutions where they have encountered problems.
What challenges do you face?
The biggest challenge is that, as a chief executive officer of the AYA Group, I have to have hands on management or else I will pay the biggest price of any mistake in the group. Ugandans and Africans at large need to be pushed. When you relax, they also relax. They lack self drive. It is very difficult to find completely honest and trustworthy hard working people because some have a hidden, corrupt, and heinous agenda. As the CEO I constantly check out on those with the ill-intentions. It is hard to erase off all the ill-intentioned people but I at least minimise their ill-intentions.
How are you resolving the challenges?
I deal with each category and devise appropriate action to minimise on loses that I would have incurred. At AYA we act as a family sharing all problems with the top managers up to the lowest worker and agree on the way forward. We share successes and solutions for the betterment of our company.
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What is your opinion of Ugandan workers?
There are very many good and hard working people and there are also tricky people. However Ugandan workers are fine people contrary to what people think of them.
What puts you off most?
The worst is when a person plays on my psychology yet what that person is saying is lies. That is what I hate most in my life. It is common with employees when they have failed to deliver on an assignment or when they are late on delivering. They will always find funny excuses to give and these really put me off because I am a person who believes in results.
What pleases you most?
When I am having time off and talking with my daughters. That is the most pleasing moment in my life. Being with my family rejuvenates my energy and relieves me of stress.