Peace Hyde is a native of London who quit her high-paying career in education and left her home to move to her ancestors’ homeland, Ghana.
The editor of a motivational blog, A Piece of Peace, she is also the West Africa correspondent for Forbes Africa, Forbes Woman Africa and the face of the new flagship Forbes Africa TV show, “My Worst Day with Peace Hyde,” which reportedly has a combined viewership of 80 million households across sub-Saharan Africa.
Here, she shares what keeps her inspired, offers insight on her loyal tribe of Faithbuilders and Youngpreneurs and how to grow from failure.
What inspires you to go to work every day?
I believe we are all on a journey to discover our fullest potential. That journey can take us on so many different paths. That means where you start is not necessarily where you end up and I am a testament to that fact. Today I absolutely love what I do. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to interact with so many people from different walks of life and all with so many rich experiences that you can learn from. When I look back at my career from being a teacher in London to now a media personality, a correspondent for Forbes Africa and a founder of education not-for-profit Aim Higher Africa, I am humbled by the journey and that in itself inspires me every day. I had no Idea I would be doing the things I am doing today and to be able to use some of the platforms I have to make an impact in the lives of thousands of youths across the continent keeps me focused every day.
How did you determine your career path?
I started my career as a science teacher in the United Kingdom specializing in physics, chemistry and biology. That role grew to become more of a senior management role where I was responsible for the development of systems, community cohesion partnerships and trans cultural programs. All through that career, I had a burning desire to pursue my childhood dream of the creative arts. Three years ago that dream caused me to leave everything I knew back in the UK and relocate to Africa and the rest is history. Sometimes we get fixated on the best career path and what we believe we are supposed to do. We set targets that are out of our control saying by this age I need to be a CMO, or I need to do this and that. But I believe the only plan you can make is a consistent and persistent attempt to identify your passion and work hard to achieve it. Once you do that, a world of opportunities open up to you that you never imagined. Find your passion, pursue it and make each day a goal to achieve your fullest potential no matter what that may be.
Describe the skills that will be essential to future business leader and innovators.
I believe every leader needs to have a vision and the ability to bring people together to achieve that vision is essential in creating a successful business. For every person in a leadership position, the challenge is consistently making sure your team is aligned with the original vision of the organization. One of the key skill sets that will be needed for future business leaders and innovators is the ability to build the right mindset in your team. Mindset encapsulates the overall goals and aspirations of the organization and the skill to help your team to think differently about the work they do, how they approach the issues of customer service or even product design will be necessary for growth. In that regard, I believe the mindset approach will foster a design led work environment that helps future organizations become more human centric in their approach to creating solutions that help their target audience.
Define innovation methods you apply to your business and life.
In my work with Aim Higher Africa, we began life in a simple way. How do we get our street kids to think in a different way about their future? From that question we have evolved as an organization and introduced a number of innovative methods to achieve that goal. The first thing we did was to create the MRDT approach. MRDT stands for mindset reorientation and design thinking. The approach uses diagnostic tools to help identify the key needs of our Youngpreneurs and then we implement a design-centric approach to help them fulfill those needs. We have found the results to be very encouraging. MRDT is a continuous improvement methodology similar to Kaizen. However, where we truly innovate is how we take a problem solving approach to issues that affect businesses locally. Our Youngpreneurs as we call them, who comprise of young entrepreneurs mostly at the startup stage, learn how to observe, ideate, create and prototype new solutions putting empathy at the heart of their solutions.
Describe goal setting methods you use and how you evaluate your success.
I have a different approach to this. Goals are great and they are a way of setting yourself different milestones and almost tracking how well you are doing. I however think sometimes they can become quite cumbersome. Of course we have all heard about the rhetoric about SMART goals but for me I think having a well designed action plan is much more important. What I mean by a well-designed action plan is a set of small goals that eventually transform your habit and your behavior. The difference between this and a goal is, a goal might simply be to get $100,000 in revenue by the end of year one. That does not necessarily take into account what actions you will take to get to that goal or how that goal will affect the way your organization approaches its customers. A well-designed action plan says I want to improve customer satisfaction and ensure we deliver on our expectations to each and every customer each day, which in turn should lead to an increase in revenue in the next six months. This process helps you to adopt life-changing habits that affect your organization’s DNA, which eventually leads to a competitive advantage for your organization.
Describe why lifelong learning is important to you.
I believe we are all born to be great. That journey to discover our fullest potential and what we are meant to do whiles we are here has so many different components to it. We are constantly challenging things we know and how we perceive things around us. Lifelong learning is important because our experiences are constantly evolving. The principles I learned from an early age in my career have been consistently modified and improved along the way such that, when new situations arise, I am able to optimize my processes and adapt. That for me sums up lifelong learning. Having a firm grasp on your experiences and being open to adopt new methodologies that challenge you as well as improve the good things you do. It is important to constantly pursue your fullest potential and that process will lead you to discover so many new lessons along the way to help you in your growth process.
What are the three most important factors of being a successful woman.
I believe the definition of a successful woman is consistently changing. Women are now empowered to achieve amazing feats beyond what society would have expected us to do a couple of years ago. However, there are still several challenges that women continue to face in the world of work and business. I believe the first factor for any successful woman is the right mindset.
I am a product of a changed mindset. I have spent most of my adult life limiting my growth because of fear and a lack of confidence in pursuing my purpose. That fear keeps you trapped in a mental prison, which I believe most people find themselves in. For some that prison can be depression, anxiety, weight issues or even simply relationship problems. You need to break free from that mental prison and the only way to do that is to adopt the right mindset. Sometimes having the right mindset or being strong-minded may create a perception that successful women are rude but on the contrary, this displays confidence. When you have the right mindset you are empowered and subsequently empower other women to also be great and achieve their full potential.
The Second Factor is Faith. Every time you try to achieve something new, you will always hear a million reasons why that idea is not going to work and lets face it, some of those reasons sound pretty convincing. Faith is the ability to believe in yourself and your abilities when you have no real tangible reason to. It is trusting in a higher purpose and understanding that so long as you work hard and never give up, your story will be nothing like the rest. Finally I think you need to have a purpose. What cause are you passionate about that will keep you up all night. Looking for the hole in the market is a strategic move in every entrepreneur’s plan. Find the needs in your business ventures and pursue those causes with passion.
Technology plays what role in your daily life?
I am a faith driven person. I have a community of supporters I call Faithbuilders who I draw inspiration from on a daily basis. These are people who encourage and support each other with motivational messages and push each other to keep striving for more. Technology is at the heart of everything I do. I think social media has created a medium to reach your audience base in an intimate way. I connect daily with my Faithbuilders using technology and that is also at the heart of what we do as a youth focused organization with Aim Higher Africa. Reaching our Youngpreneurs is a key element of our approach because the more people we reach, the more impact we are able to make.
What social media or digital tool has made the biggest difference in your life and why?
For now I would say apps like Instagram has really created an engaging way to connect with your community. I started posting inspirational messages and things that encouraged me to keep me motivated in times of difficulty. I had no idea what impact that would make but over time, those posts have garnered such a great response with people now reaching out for advice and words of encouragement whenever they go through challenging times. To be able to help someone cope just that bit better because of you sharing experience with them is amazing. It helps to know that you are not going through things on your own and that someone out there has also been there. That makes such a big difference.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I believe we all destined to be great and as such we are all unique in our own way. I believe I am made exactly how God intended and I would not necessarily change anything about myself.
Who or what motivates you and why?
Two years ago I met a street seller in Accra. She was running frantically to sell calling credit to a driver who was driving away because the traffic was moving. She just managed to get the driver and close that $1 sale and that was what she would use to feed herself and her child for the day. Today she has a shop selling fruits and vegetables and other household goods whiles employing five people. That is what inspires me. People who have decided to change their circumstances by simply believing they could. You have no idea of how powerful your mindset is and those who embrace that power are those I draw inspiration from.
What are the do’s and don’ts for young women in business?
Firstly, be innovative. The best companies are usually the most innovative in terms of products and services and to succeed, your business idea has to certainly be as innovative as possible.
Secondly, do not underestimate the value of data. Gather as much information about your chosen market as possible and make sure the data supports your business plan. Keep empathy at the heart of everything you do in order to ensure your products are meeting a real need.
Finally, always be open to advice. It is impossible for you and your team to know everything so it is important to seek expert advice from people outside your organization who will have a different take on your business.
Never rely on one product and one market. It is important to diversify to protect your company against unforeseen circumstances.
Never forget to keep an eye on the numbers. Running out of cash is the fastest way to stop a growing business in its tracks. Always employ sound financial management principles in business to ensure you avoid this trap.
Never Ignore change. New technology means that the business environment is constantly changing and businesses need to be nimble and flexible enough to keep up with that change. Always adapt to survive.
How do you successfully grow from business failure?
No great journey is void of challenges. In business similar to life, you will fail several times and that is a fact. However, the way we deal with failures in business will determine just how far we get. The most important thing to acknowledge is that failure teaches you a lot. It helps you to understand your business better because we learn more from failing than from succeeding. Embrace that learning experience and make sure you grow from it.
Secondly, dust yourself off and try again. Failing at anything will put a dent in your confidence, which can make you give up on your journey. The speed at which you recover from that setback is very important. Unfortunately, your failure does not mean others are not still pushing forward and if we stay down for too long, that great opportunity will pass you by. Sometimes failing is just an opportunity to adjust our methods and start again.