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Elizabeth Okonji

Empowering Through Innovation: Elizabeth Okonji’s Approach to Business Growth

Driven by ambition, fledgling businesses pulsate with an infectious energy. Working long and hard, they overcome challenges with innovation to fuel their growth. This relentless pursuit of success fosters an environment where collaboration thrives and boundaries are pushed, paving the way for future industry leaders. However, the often-repeated mantra ‘Our People are our greatest asset’ fails to resonate in many of these companies, remaining a mere slogan without tangible meaning. That’s where Elizabeth Okonji steps in.

As the Founder & Curator-in-Chief of TGL Labs, Elizabeth is on a mission to breathe life into these words, helping businesses unlock their true growth potential. With a keen understanding of the challenges faced by organizations in nurturing their workforce, Elizabeth and her team at TGL Labs offer solutions designed to be simple, practical and devoid of unnecessary complexity.

Here, every entity and individual is on a unique journey, Elizabeth’s approach is to support them in thriving, growing and leading. Whether it’s aligning company objectives with employee development or fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation, she believes in creating tailored strategies that resonate with each organization’s specific needs.

Through her passion for empowering businesses and individuals alike, Elizabeth embodies the spirit of progress and transformation in the ever-evolving landscape of organizational development. With TGL Labs as her platform, she continues to make meaningful strides towards realizing her vision of a world where every company’s greatest asset truly thrives.

The Power of Positivity

Presently an expert in organizational dynamics, Elizabeth recalls her childhood curiosity about employee happiness and performance in service roles. She reminisces, “The best service seemed to come from employees with positive  attitudes.” With nearly two decades of experience, she emphasizes the crucial role of organizational culture in fostering positivity and competence among employees.

Your company’s goals are more likely to be achieved through employees who feel positively about them, and who are empowered to perform,” Elizabeth asserts. She advocates for a holistic development approach, emphasizing creating ecosystems where learning and growth are encouraged. “Rewarding personal improvement measured through performance outputs motivates employees to seek learning opportunities,” she adds.

Central to Elizabeth’s philosophy is nurturing employee well-being. She recommends cultivating a work environment that values mental health, supports work-life integration through flexible policies, and respects personal boundaries. “Employee well-being directly contributes to organizational success,” she emphasizes.

The key to achieving this is fostering a culture of open communication, feedback and idea sharing. Elizabeth highlights the importance of creating a sense of belonging among employees. “When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to contribute positively to the organization,” she states.

Elizabeth’s insights offer a roadmap for organizations seeking to enhance employee satisfaction and performance. By prioritizing employee well-being, fostering a culture of continuous learning and promoting open communication, companies can create environments where both employees and organizations thrive.

Empowering Dreams

Elizabeth is the visionary behind TGL Labs and she shares her childhood aspiration, “My childhood aspiration was to eradicate poverty and empower individuals to lead meaningful lives and contribute to economic growth.” With a reputation for unconventional HR approaches, she developed competencies that transcended organizational boundaries.

In my HR career, I developed a reputation for unconventional, holistic and experimental approaches,” Elizabeth reflects. Her journey led to a desire to impact multiple companies simultaneously, prompting the creation of TGL Labs.

TGL Labs serves as a platform to empower individuals, foster economic growth and cultivate competent leaders. Elizabeth’s vision is to equip people with the tools they need to thrive in the modern economy. Through innovative solutions and a holistic approach to talent development, TGL Labs aims to unlock the full potential of individuals and businesses alike. Elizabeth’s passion for empowering others drives the mission of TGL Labs to build a brighter, more prosperous future for all.

Core Values

Elizabeth reflects on her leadership journey, emphasizing the enduring importance of core values. “My core values and guiding principles of empathy, candor and building others have not changed,” she asserts.

As a leader, Elizabeth prioritizes empathy recognizing its role in fostering a supportive environment for her team. “Empathy helps me stay grounded and supportive of colleagues at different stages of learning,” she explains. Tailoring her management style to individual needs, she ensures her team members feel supported and valued.

Ownership, accountability and personal development are integral to Elizabeth’s leadership philosophy. She encourages her team to embrace new challenges and learn from mistakes. “I believe in clarifying objectives and goals and allowing team members to work out their best way to deliver,” she states.

Maintaining a balance between setting direction and empowering her team, Elizabeth fosters an environment where innovation and growth thrive. By guiding while allowing autonomy, she empowers her team to excel. Elizabeth’s leadership style exemplifies the importance of empathy, empowerment and trust in achieving collective success. Through her approach, she drives results and nurtures a culture of growth and collaboration within her team.

Rising to the Challenge

In our early stages of development, it feels like baby steps so far,” Elizabeth acknowledges. Defining a clear vision, mission and strategy has been crucial. Attaining crisp vision and mission clarity, and defining a befitting strategy required a lot of external help. She emphasizes the importance of their hardworking team of advisors.

The first major challenge was getting partners to understand and join our mission, and then getting talent for the core team,” Elizabeth explains. Leveraging early partners’ support, they enlisted other partners and outsourced the required expertise while maintaining a lean team.

Establishing credibility and visibility in a competitive environment posed another hurdle. “There is the natural new business challenge of establishing credibility and visibility,” Elizabeth acknowledges. Their approach involves networking, thought leadership initiatives and active participation in industry discussions.

Despite the challenges, Elizabeth remains optimistic about the company’s trajectory. Each step, though small represents progress towards their overarching goals. With a clear vision, strategic partnerships and proactive engagement, they navigate the early stages of development with confidence and determination.

The Imperative of DEIB

Elizabeth emphasizes the importance of fostering a culture of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB). “The logic of having a culture that promotes DEIB is to be intentional about leveraging the vast array of skills and experiences available across all people categories,” she explains.

Better DEIB practices are essential for organizations to break away from exclusionary practices. “The call for better DEIB practices is to encourage organizations to see people as people, treat them fairly, be empathetic, and unbiased,” Elizabeth asserts. Neglecting these principles contributes to the polarization seen in the world today.

Creating an environment where individuals from diverse backgrounds feel valued and included is a core commitment for Elizabeth. “I consider it a core commitment to create an environment where individuals from different backgrounds are hired, feel included, heard, fairly treated, and know that they are essential to the collective success,” she emphasizes.

By prioritizing DEIB, organizations can harness the full potential of their diverse talent pool and foster an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive. Elizabeth’s advocacy underscores the importance of recognizing and embracing diversity as a cornerstone of organizational success.

Adapting to Talent Mobility

Elizabeth highlights the evolving realm of talent acquisition and management. “Employers need to deploy more forward-thinking strategies,” she observes, as candidates gain more control over the recruitment process. Factors like ghosting and salary negotiations reflect a shift in power dynamics. In today’s world, traditional notions of long-term employment are fading. Reduced employee loyalty and increased talent mobility necessitate a shift towards creative benefits, and not just monetary compensation.

To attract and retain top talent, organizations must recalibrate their talent management strategies. “We must therefore recalibrate our talent management strategies and not rely on pay only,” Elizabeth advises. Companies with high candidate attraction and employee retention focus on a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP) emphasizing brand, culture and development opportunities.

Furthermore, businesses must anticipate the impact of talent mobility on continuity. “Forestalling the impact of talent mobility on business continuity requires agile talent management strategies,” Elizabeth emphasizes. Succession planning and innovative knowledge management practices are vital for ensuring seamless transitions and sustained performance.

Success Through Knowledge

Elizabeth is constantly seeking opportunities to learn and share knowledge. “I actively participate and contribute to multiple developmental endeavors,” she affirms, citing involvement in conferences, trainings, webinars, and professional panels. Her memberships in HR networks provide valuable insights, trends and accountability.

Translating this wealth of knowledge into actionable strategies for clients requires careful consideration and critical thinking. “Operationalizing the learning from all these sources requires critical thinking and contextualization,” Elizabeth explains. Each company’s unique needs and circumstances necessitate a tailored approach including balancing relevance, practicality and ethical considerations.

Elizabeth’s commitment to continuous learning and thoughtful implementation underscores her dedication to delivering effective solutions for her clients. By leveraging her extensive network and expertise, she ensures that her strategies are informed by best practices and tailored to meet the specific needs of each organization.

From Silos to Synergy

In my work in HR, I’ve found that people work better together when they have a clear, shared purpose,” Elizabeth reflects. At a previous company, she faced challenges with an individualistic culture that enabled silos and resulted in turf wars. “We needed to transform this into a team-focused culture to improve business performance,” she recalls.

To foster collaboration, Elizabeth introduced a performance requirement for employees to support projects outside their functional area. With cross-departmental collaboration encouraged, silos dissolved and teamwork flourished. “Every single employee sought, negotiated and participated in the delivery of projects outside their departments,” Elizabeth explains.

The experiment taught Elizabeth valuable lessons about the importance of communication, empathy and psychological safety in fostering collaboration. “Apart from a shared goal, communication, empathy, and psychological safety foster collaboration and teamwork,” she emphasizes. Utilizing digital tools for communication, recognition and project management further enhances collaboration, especially in remote or hybrid work models.

Innovating for Impact

I look forward to a TGL Labs with scaled operations and passionate people at its helm, recording 10X growth in our success metrics,” Elizabeth envisions. Over the next four years, the focus will be on refining strategies, expanding the portfolio and executing with vigor.

The future of TGL Labs extends beyond problem-solving to instigating growth, developing leadership and unlocking potential. “Our future involves solving problems and also instigating growth, developing leadership and unlocking potential,” Elizabeth emphasizes.

With a clear vision and ambitious goals, TGL Labs is poised for significant growth and impact in the years to come. Elizabeth’s dedication to driving success underscores the company’s commitment to excellence and innovation.

Building Legacies

My biggest motivation is to impact lives with all I am learning and building,” Elizabeth shares. She aspires to inspire those who have doubted themselves to rise and pursue success. “I hope to help many more HR people get bolder in creating simple solutions for their organizations,” Elizabeth asserts. Her goal is to encourage HR professionals to prioritize people and drive lasting results through innovative approaches.

Elizabeth dreams of leaving a legacy rooted in disrupting barriers, fostering meaningful change and empowering fearless leaders with noble ambitions. Her vision encompasses inspiring a generation of leaders unafraid to pursue their goals boldly. Through her dedication and passion, Elizabeth aims to make a profound and lasting impact on individuals and organizations alike.

Step into Your Power

Here’s my message to aspiring women leaders – start from where you are,” Elizabeth advises. She emphasizes the importance of taking action despite doubts and insecurities, as waiting for the perfect moment may never come. “Doubt never matters if you never act and if you do act, doubt really never matters,” she encourages.

Elizabeth reminds aspiring leaders that while they can’t control others’ biases, they can control their own. She encourages women to pave the way for future generations by leaving the door open and the lights on for those who come after them.

With these words of wisdom, Elizabeth inspires women to embrace their potential, overcome doubts and lead with confidence. Her message resonates with aspiring leaders, reminding them that every step forward is a step toward progress and empowerment.

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