Leaving Lafarge was not easy: Nyika

The executive made a shock exit from the company in 2021 after 18 months at the helm.

FORMER Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe (now Khaya Cement) chief executive Precious Nyika says the transition from leaving the company and her position to starting her own thing was not a walk in the park.

The executive made a shock exit from the company in 2021 after 18 months at the helm.

She overcame the pain of leaving the job she loved to become a force to reckon with in the entrepreneurship world after starting a management consultancy company, Winfield Strategy and Innovation.

In an interview on Trevor Ncube’s weekly podcast, In Conversation with Trevor, Nyika said she managed to recover from the pain after realising that her family was more important than losing her job.

“At the time that I left Lafarge, I loved that job, and I thought I had arrived, thinking, what could be better than this? So, coming down from there was painful. I remember I used to cry everyday. I would just sit and cry,” she said. 

“My husband suggested we go on a break and we went to Nyanga with the family and we spent about a week there. I remember when we were in Nyanga I told my husband that I had not cried in four days and that was it. I think the recognition of what was more important to me made me stop crying.

“I worked with Lafarge for 10 years and leaving the company and the job as CEO for me was not easy. When people see how I have taken off as an entrepreneur, they think it was easy and not emotionally tormenting.”

She added: “It was not an easy season for me. I tried to make that season as short as possible in the grand scheme of things. There are three things that I learnt from that season which are mindset, support system and the other is preparation. 

“On mindset, the biggest thing that defeats us in a moment like that is what we believe about ourselves and what we believe will happen after this.”Nyika said the Young Presidents’ Organisation helped her to discover her passion, thereby starting the Winfield Strategy and Innovation company. 

“When I left Lafarge, I was part of the Young Presidents’ Organisation where business leaders support each other and it was created on the recognition that it is very lonely at the top, especially in moments like these. 

“The Young Presidents’ Organisation called me saying that they wanted to help me with a way forward and find what I could do and they conducted an emergency forum,” she said.“They suggested that if I could put the same passion and energy into something of my own, I would create the most amazing business. I was on a break for a month in September and on October 1, 2021, I started Winfield Strategy and Innovation.”

Nyika said the company is focused on helping business leaders to come up with strategic and innovative solutions for their companies.She said the company also had a business school where business leaders inspired other business leaders, a move that complements business management education.

“Winfield is a management consultancy company and we do strategy work for businesses. We support our clients in strategy designs, formulation and communication strategy. We also do work around business research that feeds into strategy. We help businesses to see where the problem is and come up with innovative solutions,” she said.

“We also do leadership development work. We have Winfield Business School which offers short courses. Our niche is offering short and practical courses that are facilitated by our business leaders and not by academics. 

“We are not even trying to replicate what academic institutions are doing but rather we are trying to complement it. Ours is business leaders inspiring other business leaders. We do courses that close the competency gap that we are seeing in businesses today.” 

She said that people who are promoted to managerial positions without proper guidance usually fail at the job, adding that exposure was one of the solutions to building better and stronger companies.

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