Moses Nalocca is CEO and founder of Upper Echelon Coaching Academy & Worldwide Experts and is a thought leader on the topic of leadership. In this interview, they share insights with The Industry Leaders about how to navigate uncertainty as a business leader.
Could you please share a bit about yourself, your background, and the journey that has led you to become an entrepreneur? What makes your perspective unique on the subject of leadership and navigating uncertainty?
Thanks for having me here, my name is Moses Nalocca, born in Uganda, lived in Italy most of my life and now based in London. From an early age I always refused the ordinary standard life, I hated mediocrity and always strived for MORE. I realised that I could tap into my full potential by getting into business. Was it easy? Absolutely no. It is a constant never ending, evolving journey. I believe leadership is seeing things as they are and not worse than they are; this is the difference between ordinary people and leaders. While others see the problems and tend to make things worse a leader sees it as it is, assesses it, then finally deals with it with such a level of certainty that the team believes in you and follows you.
You and your business have presumably faced some interesting challenges and changes over the years. Can you describe a key moment when you felt uncertainty was at its peak?
A key, pivotal moment was when my event business was hit by Covid. I had just finished a tour in Bulgaria and had to train a company with 4000 employees - obviously this did not happen. I had zero online presence, we had to cancel all my trainings and engagements in Portugal, Australia, USA, just to mention a few. As a leader I had to decide whether to panic or move on regardless. After a couple of weeks of assessment, I came up with some online programs, downgraded from Chelsea where I was living and painted the team, and actually hired two more members. This was a moment of total uncertainty and this is when I learnt a lot on resilience: I had to bring certainty in a situation of uncertainty. One of the things that helped was me spending 30 mins a week coaching each single member in my team 1-1. Now I was not alone in this, my team had the right support to take care of our few clients and this gave me the space to continue creating and operating on the business, rather than in the business. As a result of this, we generated over £300k in less than 7 months, working mainly with 20 clients during the first lockdown.
From your experience, what are the core principles or values that guide a leader during uncertain times?
Faith: Seeing things that are not as though they are in that present moment. This is an unshakeable level of confidence.
Integrity: the market and the clients will always reward you for who you are and what you stand for, shortcuts of any kind my lead you in the wrong direction.
Appreciation: when you are able to trade expectations for appreciation you find that at the end of the day you may not be where you wanted to be, but you are 2mm away from where you used to be. So be grateful for every single client, every single member in your team. During Covid we spent more time nursing and supporting our clients than anything else. First of all, faith helped me to build an unshakeable level of confidence in me, my team and my clients to a point that I think that Covid was almost a blessing for my career and business. Integrity allowed us to be open and vulnerable, clients could relate with us because we were all on the same journey with the same difficulties, which means no filters; we are all in this together. Appreciation made us realise that it is important to stay in the game. As Darwin said it is not the strongest species that survive, but the one that is able to adapt.
How do you cultivate a culture of resilience and adaptability within your team? Can you share a practical example where this culture made a significant difference?
I cultivate a culture of resilience and adaptability within my team by training and coaching them, what do I mean by this? I mean providing them with a safe space where they can express themselves, share their fears and concerns and receive the correct support. This also allows them to contribute and really add value.
Many aspiring leaders struggle with the fear of failure, especially when the path ahead is unclear. What strategies or mental frameworks have you developed to overcome this fear and embrace uncertainty as an opportunity?
When I failed in my previous businesses I always thought it was the end of the world. I learnt that I need to focus only on what I was able to control. So, the framework that I use is basically this: Awareness: You must have the courage to see the situation instead of hiding your head in the sand and pretending everything is ok. You need to be able to step into a zone of clarity. Accept: Have the courage to admit that something is wrong or needs to change. Most leaders skip this part but it is essential. If not, you will continue to repeat the same mistakes. Action: Now that you have had awareness accepted it you can take massive action that will bring results. When taking action sometimes it may not produce the fruits you planned, do not change the outcome; change the approach. Assess: What do I mean by this? Measure. If you do not monitor and measure you can’t manage.
In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes leaders make during uncertain times? Can you offer a real-life example where recognizing and avoiding such a mistake led to success?
The most common mistake leaders make is to think they can solve the problem in the old way. What do I mean by this? You must evolve, upgrade yourself and your approach. I failed several businesses and I always thought I was smart ; that I could do it alone. A real life example is about me. I thought I knew everything, but I was not progressing and I kept repeating the same mistakes - because of my ego I never asked for help. As a leader you should ask for help not because you are weak, but because you are strong and want to go further and faster.
Looking towards the future, how do you plan to continue evolving your leadership style to meet new uncertainties and challenges? What advice would you give to others looking to do the same?
Find a mentor. As you evolve you need new levels of insight. I coach in mindset and sales. Currently I’m working with a client who after our first session increased her sales by 140%.
You've clearly demonstrated a willingness to learn and grow through experience. Are there any books, mentors, or resources that have particularly influenced your leadership style? How would you recommend others to approach their leadership development journey?
Again, find a coach and a mentor that can keep you accountable. A coach allows you to have different perspectives and see the blank spots that alone are impossible to see. Having help allows you to condense 20/30/40 years of experience in a short time frame, don’t try to discover the hot water.