How Do You Score out of 12?

Developing a principle-based business is easier on paper than it is in practice. Each and everyday business leaders will be challenged to push the boundaries on their principles, both personal and business. For some, this is not an issue, but for those of us who have clear and firm boundaries on how we wish to run things, it is a constant challenge.

In a recent workshop, we were challenged with 12 principles for a Godly business that seemed to fall in line with our own vision and mission statements, but when we began to scratch a little there was definitely some uncomfortable shifting in seat amongst all those present. Here they are in summary: How do you measure up to these in your business?

1.       Whatever you do in word or deed, do it for God

2.       Do all things without complaining and disputing

3.       Be humble

4.       Watch what you say

5.       Keep learning

6.       Guard your integrity

7.       Work hard

8.       Seek good counsel

9.       Honour God with your wealth

10.   Show mercy and be gracious

11.   Control your anger

12.   Don’t fear people

There were a number of additions to this list once we began to discuss our own lives and businesses, but these are a good start to help define an initial culture of authentic business practices.

By |2018-08-14T12:02:38+02:00August 14th, 2018|Leadership|0 Comments

Recruiting the right people for the right job

Getting the right person with the right skill, enthusiasm, expertise and confidence for the post within your business is as rare as winning the Lotto. Or is it?

What can be done to better recruit the right staff members within your business? There are a number of key strategies that can be followed to help eliminate the errors of recruitment that will help get closer to the right person.

The number one error we see in small business is what I call ‘Sympathy employment’. This happens when we are requested or even forced into employing someone from our own family, church or friend circle just because of their relationship with you. This request often comes from your mother or someone else you find it hard to say No to. You employ this person and from day one they become a slacker and high maintenance. These people are hard to train, discipline or get rid of. If you have in the past or are planning to employ someone like this: DO NOT.

Another issue we see in small businesses is that staff are either recruited far too early for the post or too late. Both these result in a huge trough of productivity for the new staff member who is either board or over-worked. Staff should be employed at the right time, just as the workload is increasing allowing just enough time for Induction, training and orientation into the business. Timing is everything

Developing a solid business case and job description for new posts is key. Too often we think we know what we need and then once we are stuck with a staff member, we try to bend our business around their skills and needs. This compromise will always begin to derail your business and your long term strategies.

Getting professional help is a must for more skilled posts. I know that recruitment agencies are expensive and they don’t seem to ‘earn’ their money, but their experience and insight into the process of recruitment will be invaluable in the long term. Get help from the right people.

Do not recruit off GumTree or CraigList or any other free web based advertising platform. You will get all the people you do not want or need. We put up an advert for an admin post earlier this year and got over 300 applications. Most of them with spelling errors and completely inadequate skill sets.

Then once you have employed someone you need to put them on an induction programme: more on this in the next post.

By |2017-03-06T13:58:52+02:00March 6th, 2017|Business Resources, Leadership|0 Comments

How Should Leaders Reflect?

cakeThis weekend was my birthday, not anything special, but a birthday nonetheless. Each year at this time a few things happen that have been designed to allow me to reflect and pause a while in response to the year that has gone by:

I get an email from the FutureMe app. This email is from myself, written a year ago to my future self, now, the present day self. I have been doing this for 8 years now and each year it is a difficult email to read. I am never easy on myself and set huge expectations for my personal self, relationship and business goals. The email normally outlines the expectations and dreams I had for the year as well as giving hope and encouragement. But listening to yourself from a year ago is a strange and unnerving experience.

I then get to write another email, this time to the future self 12 months from now. How difficult it is to predict the future and hope for certain achievements and goals. We do not know where we will be unless we set our sites on the future and aim high. But this year seems just that little harder than before. There is so many uncertainty issues that hold the cards to my future, personally, in relationships and in business. I am also very focused on some health issues. So what does one say to the future?

I also get to celebrate this day with friends and family in the now. Time spent chatting, celebrating and living in the moment. The best time we have as we cannot begin to change the past or predict the future, we can only enjoy the moment we are in now.

Some interesting leadership themes here that I will allow you to unpack and marinate in your own time as I do. I can only trust that the future will be and that the present is and all that I do will be sufficient for both.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:07+02:00May 16th, 2016|Business Resources, Leadership|0 Comments

21 Irrefutable laws of leadership

No blog series on Leadership will ever be complete without an extract from one of John Maxwell’s books. We have most of them in our library and refer to them all the time for our own work and to clients.

Leadership is leadership, no matter where you go or what you do. The true principles of leadership remain the same, irrespective of time, culture or even new technology.

John MaxwellIn his book, The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership, John C. Maxwell explains that real leadership principles stand the test of time – they are irrefutable. These principles can be explained by 21 laws. “Each law is like a tool, ready to be picked up and used to help you,” says Maxwell. “Learn them all, and people will gladly follow you.”

The law of the lid

Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. No matter how smart or talented you are, without leadership you can only go so far. “The higher you want to climb, the more you need leadership. The greater the impact you want to make, the greater your influence needs to be.”

The law of influence

According to Maxwell, leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less. If you cannot influence others, they will not follow you. True leadership comes only from influence, which cannot be mandated. It must be earned.

The law of progress

Leadership develops daily, not in a day. “Becoming a leader is a lot like investing successfully in the stock market. If your hope is to make a fortune in a day, you are not going to be successful.” You do not become a leader overnight. It takes time to hone your skills.

The law of navigation

Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. In order to be a successful leader, you need to develop a leadership strategy that will take you to your destination, with the buy-in from those who follow.

The law of E.F. Hutton

E.F. Hutton is a financial services company with the motto, “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen.” To find the real leader in an organisation, just look at who the employees listen to. “People listen not necessarily because of the truth being communicated in the message, but because of their respect for the speaker.”

The law of solid ground

Trust is the foundation of leadership. “To build trust, a leader must exemplify competence, connection, and character.” Trust makes leadership possible. Without it, no one will follow.

The law of respect

People do not follow others by accident. They follow individuals who they respect, and not necessarily the person with the title. “The greatest test of respect comes when a leader creates a major change in an organisation.”

The law of intuition

The great sports coaches refer to intuition as being in the zone. “Leaders see everything with a leadership bias, and as a result, they instinctively, almost automatically, know what to do.” This read-and-react instinct is present in all great leaders.

The law of magnetism

Effective leaders are always on the lookout for good people. According to this law, you attract people into your life who have similar leadership ability as you do. “If you think the people you attract could be better, then it is time for you to improve youself.”

The law of connection

Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. You cannot move people to action unless you first move them with emotion. The heart comes before the head. “The stronger the relationship and connection between individuals, the more likely the follower will want to help the leader.”

The law of the inner circle

A leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him or her. “When you have the right staff, potential skyrockets. Hire the best staff you can find, develop them as much as you can, and hand off everything you possibly can to them.”

The law of empowerment

Only secure leaders give power to others. Theodore Roosevelt said it best, “The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”

The law of reproduction

It takes a leader to raise a leader. “An environment where leadership is valued and taught becomes an asset to a leadership mentor. If a company has strong leaders – and they are reproducing themselves – then the leadership just keeps getting better and better.

The law of buy-in

People first by into the leader, then the vision. “People do not at first follow worthy causes. They follow worthy leaders who promote worthwhile causes.” Nelson Mandela had the buy-in of the people because he was a worthy leader with a worthwhile cause. To get the buy-in from people, you need to have both a worthy leader and a worthy cause.

The law of victory

Leaders find a way to win for their team. “When the pressure is on, great leaders are at their best. Whatever is inside them comes to the surface.” A good leader will find out what needs to be done in order to win, and then do it, no matter what.

The law of the big mo

Momentum is a leader’s best friend. Every sailor knows that you cannot steer a ship that is not moving. Similarly, strong leaders understand that to change direction, you first have to create forward progress. “With enough momentum nearly any kind of change is possible.”

The law of priorities

“Examine the life of any great leader, and you will see him putting priorities into action,” says Maxwell. Activity does not necessarily equal accomplishment. A good leader knows which activity is a priority. A great leader satisfies a number of priorities with a single activity.

The law of sacrifice

“A leader must give up to go up.” Sacrifice is an ongoing process in leadership. The nature of the sacrifice will be different for every person, such as a pay-cut or less free time. FW de Klerk worked to dismantle apartheid and the cost was his career itself.

The law of timing

“When to lead is as important as what to do and where to go.” When the right leader and the right timing come together, incredible things happen. For example, Winston Churchill only became prime minister of England when he was in his sixties, but showed great leadership during the Second World War.

The law of explosive growth

To add growth, lead the followers. But to multiply growth, lead the leaders. Leaders are harder to hold on to because they are energetic and entrepreneurial, and they tend to want their own way. “Leaders who develop leaders experience an incredible multiplication effect in their organisations that can be achieved in no other way.”

The law of legacy

A leader’s lasting value is measured by the legacy left behind. This is the most important law of leadership, yet few leaders get it right. “A legacy is created only when a person puts the organisation into the position to do great things without him or herself.”

By |2016-11-01T10:20:07+02:00May 11th, 2016|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship, Leadership|0 Comments

Value Based Leadership – do you value it?

What is Valuing?

The Process of Valuing is how we interact with others based on what we value most and our values. Let me unpack that a bit;

We have a core of what we value most. This is what we will protect at all cost and have subscribed our belief, behaviour and actions on. How we view ourselves and invest in our body, mind, soul and heart is based on our core. These bloom in our lives as values or rules of engagement. These rules are our lenses to the world. We see ourselves based on these values and constantly justify our lives through these lenses. Our Core based values are also how we see others and ultimately judge them.

For example, if a person has a core of financial wealth. They will have a very structured life around money and finances. Everything they do can always be traced back to how they perceive money. Their dress code, possessions, faith, personal image and relationships are wealth focused. When they introduce themselves they will use their financial standing in life to justify their position in a crowd or to make a point in a conversation. Their values will also be financially motivated with the protection of wealth as their main agenda in life. All their actions will be geared to either accumulation of retention of money. This also flows to how they perceive and judge others. They will, on meeting a person, be able to place them in an order or category based on financial standing. Putting down those who are deemed ‘poor’ or unfit for company. They may tolerate them for the purpose of gaining something but will rarely offer advice or riches to them as it will be deemed an unwise investment with little or no return.

Value Based Leadership

Value based leadership come into play as leaders, based on their core and values attempt to led others with often different cores and values down a road that they are sure is fitting for all. Leaders see the word and outcomes of projects as validated and just from their perspective. The difficulty comes in the way others may see the same outcomes and not buy into the project at all. This is often the first issue that comes to light as a leader. We need to begin to see life through the lenses of the people we work with and lead. This will assist in determining their motivation for doing what they do and make it hugely easier to get others down a road towards a goal.

Unlike the Russian dairy farmer who out performed all other dairies in the area by motivating her cows each day with a motivational talk of “Good morning cows, today you do one of two things, either more milk or more beef, you decide”, we cannot lead people like that. The day of autocratic, do as I say, is over and will often repel people rather than motivate them.

Transactional Analysis plays a huge role in leadership and calls for the adult-to-adult conversation at all times. As soon as we find ourselves falling into the Parent-to-child conversation we move back into our own values and judgement leading to fear based leadership. Our aim as a leader is to treat others as adults at all times understanding their motivation for doing what they do or have done and modified that through their belief system not trying to force them through yours.

Humans are the only creatures who are able to process our actions through what we call the Gap theory.  All other creatures work on an action – reaction life style. What the physic world call the ‘fight or flight’ reaction, for any action there is a reaction. This can be seen in emotionally immature people as they react to even the smallest action to themselves based on their core with very little thought to the desired outcome. This knee jerk reaction is almost always harmful to the relationship and could be regretted later.

The Gap theory when learnt and applied allows us to, just for a fraction of a second, press the pause on life between action and reaction to ask and answer the following questions;

  • What is this happening?
  • Who is involved?
  • Why are they doing this?
  • What reaction do they want?
  • What reaction do I initially want?
  • What would be the best-desired outcome?
  • What reaction would determine this desired outcome?
  • Will it be beneficial to all?

OK, let’s do it…

This once learnt and practised, can assist in making better leaders and certainly improve relationship all around.

All these are ways that we value others. In a form of hierarchy of process it works like this:

  • We have a core that is precious and important to us.
  • We set up rules to protect this core, our values
  • We treat and invest in ourselves based on these values
  • We include, treat and protect our families based on our core based values.
  • We see and judge others based on our value tinted lenses
  • We expect others to behave and react like we do
  • We see business opportunities based on serving and enhancing our core
  • As we mature emotionally as leaders we understand the gap between our lenses and those of others in our family, business and daily life.
  • We are able to shift our motivations and leadership style to suit those we lead and interact with.
  • We are able to determine the desired reaction not based on our core but the greater good and change our behaviour accordingly.


We are complex beings with many different functions purposes and outworkings. We are able to determine our core belief and values and live according to what we decide. We need to understand others and how they see life in order to interact and lead them from point A to point B. We cannot expect to treat everyone else like we treat ourselves; we may not be right all the time and need to learn from others and how they see life.

Leadership is not a science but an art. The art of human relationships is always dynamic, impossible to master and never ending. Being a leader of men is a huge responsibility and needs to be faced daily with humility and openness to change and new ideas. Adapting to new circumstances, systems and patterns of behaviour, but without ever sacrificing your core, your values and yourself, is what makes a true leader great.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:07+02:00May 10th, 2016|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship, Leadership|0 Comments

Words to NOT use in Meetings

We all sit in meetings discussing topics of different interests and so often it is hard to keep awake and focused on what is actually going on. A lot of times I start watching others in the room and reading their body language as they struggle with the same issues. This can be a fun exercise, but remember to keep one eye and ear on what is happening so you don’t lose contact and be unable to answer a question that may come your way.

But my pet hate are those little phrases that come up all the time from people who think they are smarter just because they have found a way to work them into a question or sentence they spent hours constructing. Here are some of them. Which are yours?

  • At the end of the day
  • Back to the drawing board
  • Hit the ground running
  • Get the ball rolling
  • Low-hanging fruit
  • Throw under the bus
  • Think outside the box
  • Let’s touch base
  • Get my manager’s blessing
  • It’s on my radar
  • Ping me
  • I don’t have the bandwidth
  • No brainer
  • Par for the course
  • Bang for your buck
  • Synergy
  • Move the goal post
  • Apples to apples
  • Win-win
  • Circle back around
  • All hands on deck
  • Take this offline
  • Drill-down
  • Elephant in the room
  • On my plate


By |2015-05-21T15:48:01+02:00May 21st, 2015|Entrepreneurship, Leadership|1 Comment

Elgin Free Range Chicken

Jeanne Groenewald started her business on her farm, because she wanted to eat good tasting chicken. Her friends also wanted some, so she grew more chickens. Today Elgin Free Range Chickens process over 80 000 chickens a week having grown her back yard venture into a world class business. Recognized by the Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille as her choice of Entrepreneur of the Year 2014, Jeanne has displayed the true spirit of a community based entrepreneurial business.

We tracked her down from her busy schedule to come chat to us about how it all began and what her success factors are in developing a successful business.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:29+02:00January 6th, 2015|Entrepreneurship, Leadership|0 Comments

A Zanzibar Entrepreneur.

On our recent trip to Zanzibar we were met at the airport with a sign waving driver. He introduced himself as Abdul. Full name Abdul-Rahman Kesi Ali. Husband of two wives, father of 4 children, his youngest only a week old.

Abdul entertained and educated us about his country on the way to our resort and on many other tours we took during our stay. Abdul loves his country but has realized that the false promises of government and friends are as temporary as the high tide on the coast.

He has taken his future into his own hands and has developed a multi income stream business for himself that is destined to secure a solid financial balance for him and his family.

With unemployment around 65%, secure jobs are scarce. Abdul owns his own vehicle and runs a taxi and tour guide service during the day. Both his wives work and the kids are looked after by grandparents when moms are not around.

Abdul also imports and sells second hand cars from UAE direct from Dubai. The cars come in containers via ship. This is not an uncommon form of income, but he has worked out that filling up all the space within and around each car with cement, mattresses, tiles and appliances boosts his income profit 10 fold for each import.

His youngest wife is also learning to drive and will soon be able to double up as a second tour guide to fill her spare time after work and weekends.

We chatted to Abdul about business strategy and plans for his future was came to an agreement to trade some solid business coaching for a bag of sweet mangos and a free trip to the slave caves. Not a bad trade from our part. If we only had more people like Abdul in Africa we would begin to see a lot more financial control back in the hands of the citizens and away from government and corrupt officials.

By |2014-06-11T11:20:09+02:00June 11th, 2014|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship, Leadership|0 Comments

The 5 C’s of Entrepreneurship part 4 – Cooperation

Imagine that you run an illegal business and drive an unroadworthy car and employ illegal staff. Now imagine how much energy you need to consume each day to make sure you are not caught or found out. In fact this is the normal status quo of most small business owners in South Africa. How do you feel when a police car drives up behind you, or you get a call from the SARS or Labour offices. What is your initial emotion? Fear, hesitancy or panic?

How much of your business dealings are not up to scratch when it comes to regulation compliance and legislation. I am not talking about dealing in drugs or underage girls imported from some country, but in every day stuff like tax, labour, finance, banking, fair trade, paying accounts, dealing with customers, honest marketing. To Cooperate with the governing bodies and get your business complaint has to be one of the most relaxed positions we can achieve. I just love the time of month when I pay all the accounts and look at the empty in tray, it gives me a sense of achievement and confidence. And when the phone rings, I can answer it with confidence that whoever is looking for me it is not about some bad debt or pending audit. Build your business and future with an attitude of cooperation and it will be a smoother ride.

By |2014-05-28T10:37:37+02:00May 28th, 2014|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship, Leadership|0 Comments

Can You Take Leave?

This is not a legal question or one of human resources, but aimed at you the business owner. When last did you take a considerable chunk of leave to relax and refocus and not put your cash flow of business in jeopardy?

Have a business model that allows for the owner to take time off is not something that just happens, it takes focus and effort to build a business that does not rely 100% on the owner’s time contribution or effort. Let’s unpack some of the issues that small business owners face:

1 Selling Time – The business owner sells their time as the primary source of income. This will always restrict the time the business owner can take off. Any time away from work reduces income. It is important to develop passive income streams from other staff, products or services.

2 Undocumented processes – No one else knows what to do, as all the processes reside in the head of the business owner. This results in errors of work done or just nothing been done when the owner is away. It is important to document procedures or at least train others to do certain tasks and processes up to a reliable level to ensure that the cogs of the business continue to turn whilst you are away.

3 Unreliable staff – Staff who are unable to do the job always become a liability to the business and require high maintenance from the owner or managers. Sourcing good competent staff is key to developing a business that can run without you at the helm all the time. This goes back to proper recruiting, training and management of staff at all levels.

4 Unproven business model – a business model that is not mapped out or is just made up as things go along, will always require a 100% effort to maintain any form of direction or stability. A business model with various forms of income streams, support structure, processes and reliable backups is key to growing a business to a point that when the owner is not present, things continue to function and the income continues.

Developing a sustainable model is key to not only growth but allowing you to have a holiday and still return to a functional business with cash in the bank. Our Productivity model can assist you with this is you are struggling to find focus and the idea of a holiday this year seem just a distant myth in your plans.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:35+02:00May 12th, 2014|Business Resources, EI Clients, Entrepreneurship, Leadership|0 Comments
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