Powerful Leadership Nuggets from Adedotun Sulaiman, Board Chair of Parthian Partners

Leadership is a journey marked by both triumphs and challenges, and the lessons we glean along the way are often more valuable than the destination itself.  Adedotun Sulaiman, the Board Chairman of Parthian Partners took the virtual stage at the CFA Society’s 7th Quarterly Leadership Series to share his wealth of experience and wisdom with us.

As we dive into these insights, you’ll discover that leadership isn’t just about titles and positions; it’s about purpose, character, and the relentless pursuit of a better tomorrow. Whether you’re an aspiring leader or a seasoned professional, the wisdom shared here is universally applicable, providing guidance for anyone on their own leadership journey. So, let’s explore 9 powerful leadership lessons we took out from him at the session.

  1. Use Purpose as a North Star

“My philosophy basically is that we’re here for a purpose. Everybody’s here for a purpose. So, you’ve got to know who you are. Find your purpose and stick to it. Be the best you can be at doing it and do it for a very long time.”

He passionately conveys the importance of leaders having a clear purpose that guides their actions and decisions. In a world where it’s easy to become distracted by the noise of daily life, having a mission serves as a North Star, providing direction and focus.

Leaders who are driven by a mission are not just working for personal gain but for a greater cause. They understand their strengths and endowments and use them to uplift others and contribute to society. This sense of purpose not only inspires them but also motivates their teams and colleagues to work toward a common goal.

A mission-driven leader is not swayed by short-term gains or immediate gratification. Instead, they are committed to the long-term vision, knowing that meaningful change takes time.

  1. Nurture Potentials

Identifying individuals with ambition, integrity, problem-solving skills, and leadership potential is crucial for building high-performing teams.

Talent identification goes beyond simply acknowledging skills and abilities; it involves providing opportunities for growth and development. Leaders should empower their team members to reach their full potential, offering guidance and mentorship along the way.

By fostering a culture that values talent identification and growth, leaders not only benefit their organizations but also contribute to the professional growth and fulfillment of those they lead. This approach creates a positive feedback loop of excellence within the team and the broader organization.

  1. Have A Long-Term Perspective

“Life is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to get anything done. You need to take a long-term view of everything.”

Success, he highlighted, is not an instantaneous achievement but the result of sustained effort over time. Leaders must adopt a long-term perspective, understanding that meaningful change and accomplishments require endurance and resilience.

In a world that often celebrates quick wins and instant gratification, his lesson serves as a reminder that enduring success is built on a solid foundation. Leaders should not be discouraged by temporary setbacks or be impatient for immediate results. Instead, they should embrace each challenge as an opportunity for growth and learning.

“Slow down, take your time. Allow the seasoning to set in. There’s no need to rush to be an MD at 30 or retire at 40. Do not skip the process.”


  1. Failures Are Not Setbacks

“Not everything works out the first time the way you want it. The best response is to persevere. Learn from your failures. A dark period is an opportunity for continuous learning.”

Mr. Sulaiman highlights the importance of learning from failure. Failure is an inevitable part of any leadership journey and should not be feared or shunned. Instead, it should be embraced as a valuable source of lessons and growth.

He acknowledged that not everything in his career went smoothly, and he experienced failures and setbacks along the way. However, he viewed these failures as opportunities for learning and improvement. Failure is a natural part of life and leadership. It’s something that everyone encounters at some point, and it should not be viewed as a sign of inadequacy or defeat.

Seek Mentorship and Guidance

“It’s very, very important that you have a mentor… someone who takes an interest in your development.”

Mr. Sulaiman underscores the profound impact of mentorship and the importance of seeking guidance in one’s leadership journey. He shared how his own mentors played a pivotal role in shaping his career and personal development.

Mentorship offers a unique opportunity for individuals to learn from those who have walked the path before them. Mr. Sulaiman’s emphasis on the value of mentors highlighted the significance of having experienced guides to provide insights, wisdom, and support. For young professionals, mentorship can be a powerful catalyst for growth, offering a safe space to seek advice, ask questions, and gain perspectives that may not be readily accessible.

Seeking out mentors and role models can also help individuals expand their horizons and challenge their own assumptions. It encourages continuous learning and personal development. Mr. Sulaiman’s own journey is a testament to the transformative power of mentorship, serving as an inspiration for others to actively seek guidance and learning opportunities throughout their careers.

Have A Laser Focus and Work Hard

In the pursuit of leadership excellence, Mr. Sulaiman emphasises the indispensable role of focus and hard work. Success, he points out, is rarely achieved without dedicated effort and a laser-focused approach to one’s goals.

Leaders must maintain unwavering focus on their objectives, allowing them to overcome distractions and navigate challenges with determination. Mr. Sulaiman’s advice highlights the need for leaders to prioritize their tasks, set clear objectives, and stay committed to their mission, even when faced with adversity. Hard work is also a cornerstone of leadership success. He reminded us that there are no shortcuts to meaningful achievements. Leaders must be willing to put in the time and effort required to excel in their roles and make a positive impact on their organizations and communities.

Integrity is The Foundation of Trust

“Of course, integrity is absolutely important. Say what you mean, stand by the truth, and not be afraid to tell the truth.”

Perhaps one of the most fundamental lessons shared during the CFA Leadership Series event was the paramount importance of integrity in leadership. Mr. Sulaiman emphasizes that leaders should operate with the highest levels of honesty, trustworthiness, and ethical conduct.

Integrity is the foundation upon which trust is built. Leaders who consistently demonstrate integrity earn the respect and confidence of their teams, colleagues, and stakeholders. This trust forms the bedrock of effective leadership, enabling leaders to navigate challenges, foster collaboration, and inspire others to follow their lead.

Leaders should never compromise on their values, even in the face of difficult decisions. Upholding integrity ensures that leaders are guided by a strong moral compass, allowing them to make choices that align with their mission and principles.

Prioritise Impact Over Money

Leadership is about making a meaningful and lasting impact on society. Leaders who prioritize their mission are driven by a sense of purpose that transcends monetary rewards. They seek to address societal challenges, drive positive change, and contribute to the greater good. This mission-driven approach not only inspires them but also motivates their teams and stakeholders, fostering a shared commitment to a common cause.

Furthermore, leaders who prioritize impact over money are often better equipped to weather financial setbacks and economic fluctuations. Their unwavering dedication to their mission keeps them focused on the long-term vision, enabling them to persevere and adapt in the face of adversity.

Pay It Forward

Successful leaders have an obligation to mentor, guide, and support others on their leadership journeys. This sense of responsibility extends beyond personal achievements and encompasses empowering the next generation of leaders.

Find out about what we are doing at Parthian to empower the next generation of leaders.

Leaders who have benefited from mentorship and support are encouraged to reciprocate by mentoring and helping others. This not only strengthens the leadership ecosystem but also contributes to the growth and development of the wider community.

Paying it forward in leadership is a manifestation of a leader’s commitment to creating a positive and sustainable impact. It reflects a belief in the collective power of leadership to effect change and uplift individuals and organizations.

Or watch the full session below.
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