The CEO life always looks too serious, always working and someone who doesn’t look like they have time to have even little fun. Many also always look unfriendly unless you are part of the top management. Well, this is the stereotypical expectation of a CEO especially in the African society. To have an executive who looks cool, friendly and easy to engage with regardless their background and yours is not as easy to find. However, Bob Collymore, the CEO of Safaricom, has an edge which people can easily relate to and has often shown that the ‘CEO’ has been toned down and has easier become a ‘when I grow up’ thought for many people.
What does being cool mean?
This means being calm even in adversity, reserved, calculated and always seeming to be in the know and in control of what they are running. Being cool also means walking like a person on a mission, speaking respectfully to everyone and anyone, always carrying a hint of a smile which makes one appear approachable, being a good listener and at the same time having a little air of mystery. And of all the while successfully running a company as big as Safaricom for example.
In a CEO setting, being humble regardless of your background, dressing neatly and been in charge of the situation while standing up straight and saying only what is necessary may seem easy to achieve and yet not everyone can hack it.
Bob Collymore has shown these and more characteristics of being a cool CEO. He has dampened the ideology that been a CEO in the Kenyan setting is not someone with a big Pot belly and arrogance. Through his years as the CEO, we have seen a cool side of him which we rarely get to see among top management profiles.
Many people don’t understand the concept of jazz music. A majority do not even see why anyone would stress their ears listening to such music. However, Bob Collymore made us realize how unique, stylish and contemporary jazz is. This is through the Jazz Festival that continues to attract bigger and bigger crowds each year.
Remember that time when Bob broke the internet when he appeared at Kencom bus station as a bus conductor? Not only did he usher passengers in with so much ease but also paid their fare. This shows his willingness to work with people and caring about others. He is always concerned about how Safaricom will benefit everyone, from the low-income earners to the top level earners.
Bob Collymore is not one to be left out of fun challenges. He did the Ice Bucket challenge and danced to the tune of Can’t Stop the feeling by Justin Timberlake. Not many top management individuals would even think to showcase their dancing styles in public, but he seems not to mind. And not forgetting the mannequin challenge to name a few.
He is also one person who is not afraid to photobomb pictures even of well-known people. He’s being caught at an Airtel stand and instead put up a cheeky smile. And who can forget Jimmy Gait’s Furi Furi Dance song.
He is also an empathetic person. The power of empathy is the current that is able to connect the company’s needs with a customer’s wants. It is also the ability to help others in time of need such as the Kenyans for Kenya initiative, Bring Zack Back and Road safety awareness among others. Empathy is the engine that powers all the best in us, it is what civilizes us, it is what connects us and makes us cool people.