Decision making is an art that can make or break a company’s success. CEOs, at the helm of their organizations, face a constant barrage of choices that can shape the future of their companies. But what sets successful CEOs apart from the rest? How do they navigate the complex landscape of decision making? In this article, we will delve into the decision-making processes of top Nigerian CEOs and extract valuable insights that can help you make better decisions in your own professional and personal life.

Data-Driven Decision Making

One of the key hallmarks of successful CEOs is their reliance on data-driven decision making. Nigerian CEOs like Jim Ovia, the founder and former CEO of Zenith Bank, have shown a strong commitment to using data and analytics to inform their choices. Ovia once said, “Data is the new oil,” emphasizing the importance of data in decision making. This approach ensures that decisions are based on concrete facts rather than gut feelings or intuition.

Tip: When faced with a decision, gather relevant data and analyze it thoroughly. Make use of analytics tools to uncover valuable insights that can guide your choices.

Risk Management

Top CEOs in Nigeria, such as Aliko Dangote, the founder of the Dangote Group, are no strangers to taking risks. However, their success lies in their ability to assess and manage those risks effectively. Dangote, often referred to as Africa’s richest man, has ventured into diverse industries, from cement to sugar, but always with a keen eye on risk management.

Tip: Before making a major decision, conduct a risk assessment. Identify potential risks, evaluate their impact, and develop strategies to mitigate them.

Stakeholder Engagement

Successful CEOs recognize the importance of involving key stakeholders in the decision-making process. This includes employees, customers, and investors. Tony Elumelu, the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), believes in the power of collaboration. He once stated, “We must work together to shape our continent’s destiny.” Involving stakeholders ensures that decisions align with the organization’s values and goals.

Tip: Seek input from relevant stakeholders when making important decisions. Their perspectives can provide valuable insights and help build consensus.

Long-Term Vision

Top CEOs in Nigeria are known for their long-term vision and strategic thinking. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, exemplifies this approach. She played a pivotal role in steering Nigeria’s economy through challenging times, thanks to her focus on long-term economic reforms.

Tip: When making decisions, consider their long-term implications. Will this choice contribute to your overarching goals and vision?


In the ever-changing business landscape, adaptability is crucial. Successful CEOs like Segun Agbaje of Guaranty Trust Bank understand the need to be flexible and open to change. They are willing to pivot when circumstances require it.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to adjust your decisions if new information or circumstances arise. Being adaptable can help you stay ahead in a rapidly evolving world.


The art of decision making is a skill that can be honed and refined over time. By drawing insights from top Nigerian CEOs like Jim Ovia, Aliko Dangote, Tony Elumelu, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Segun Agbaje, we can learn valuable lessons on data-driven decision making, risk management, stakeholder engagement, long-term vision, and adaptability.

In your own professional and personal life, remember to embrace these principles to make better decisions. Whether you’re a business leader, an aspiring entrepreneur, or simply someone seeking to improve their decision-making skills, these insights from Nigeria’s top CEOs can serve as a valuable guide on your journey to success. As the business landscape continues to evolve, the ability to make informed and effective decisions will remain a vital asset for leaders of all kinds.

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