Tag Archives: leaders

‘MUST HAVES’ FOR BOSSES REVEALS NEED FOR LOCAL STUDY

 

purpose-driven-leadership[1]

REAL Communication Consulting’s Desiray Viney ran a workshop entitled, ‘Must Haves’ for The New Age Executive at Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business this week.

Attended by managers and directors of business, industry and NGOs, it produced much discussion around the qualities, attributes, skills and actions of an effective manager or leader in this volatile, uncertain and fast-paced world.

Participants were asked to work through a given list of twelve (from leading writers) and to select and rank their own Six ‘Must Haves’ for Executives list. It culminated in this list:

  1. Have the courage and skills needed to lead an organisation in today’s environment – To build the confidence of your people to achieve the impossible: constant improvement, growth against a backdrop of extraordinary challenges and growing stakeholder expectations.
  2. Know that all people in your organisation are important – make the effort to be in their presence. Don’t be too far removed from those who matter most – within boundaries. People at the “bottom” are more informed and empowered than ever. Respect them. While they need your wisdom and direction, you should draw on their input in your decision-making.
  3. Ask the difficult questions and have the tough conversations on all levels of the organisation. Know the facts crucial to making wise decisions, and make a conscious decision that knowing the truth, being respected and doing what is right is most important, more so than being liked or avoiding conflict.
  4. Communicate purposefully! Don’t allow an information vacuum. Give feedback. Muzzle your voice, listen to what others think, and schedule face-to-face interactions.
  5. Know that values drive people’s behaviour, strive to create a values driven organisation. Remain true to your own values, which should match those of your organisation. Enable people to strive for excellence, and celebrate when they achieve. Have fun too.
  6. Have a Plan, acknowledging the speed of socio-political and economic change and how these interact and impact your business. The rate of change is very fast and it’s becoming more difficult to predict these forces in society, but you still need to strive to understand them.

Taki Anastasis, Sunshine Bakery’s chief executive, distinguished between the leader and the manager roles and explained how sometimes there’s a gap in their understanding of certain issues and how they communicate their understanding of values and instructions etc.

Kai Steinfeld, MD of Pfisterer, maintained that “In a global production-based company, having a vision and planning is essential.”Innovative leadership

This workshop raised a number of issues in Business. Clearly, every business is unique and requires leadership appropriate to its operational environment. It also highlighted the need for more research on how local company bosses communicate and implement their vision, values and strategies. Information collected would provide the appropriate data and findings to advance leadership in South Africa.

 

 

Things SA voters should know before April 2014 elections

I have recently done some informal research to explore attitudes about registering to vote. I questioned about 40 people locally (70% black, male and female, between 21 and 44 years of age, urban and peri-urban, education ranging from Grade 7 to a degree). I was staggered at the lack of knowledge around democracy and elections.

An educated electorate is essential in a democracy so, as the election draws nearer, it is imperative that the influencers in SA inform voters, especially the new voters and those who have been voting without understanding, about the most important issues around making a choice. It’s not where you make your cross. It’s why you make it there. Voter education would contribute to voters’ asking more questions before they make their marks.

So, this is an appeal to communicators, media presenters, advocacy groups, journalists, politicians, educators, parents, commentators and community leaders to use their influence and platforms to inform and educate voters about issues regarding elections. Let’s call it Election Education 101 whereby voters receive information that will guide them towards active participation in the election and hence the public sphere.

Let’s start a list of facts that every voter should know and share with others. Here’s mine:

1. Democracy and state funds
2. It’s your vote – every 5 years
3. Voter’s role and responsibility in an election
4. Dump the ‘race’ vote.

1. Democracy and state funds. Ensure that, before the election, people in this country know what democracy means. Explain the difference between state and government. It is amazing how little voters really know. From questioning people, I found that not one separated government and ANC. The governing party is not the state. State funds are not governing party funds. State funds means just that: the money belongs to the state. And the difference between parties is their attitude to and policy around state funds and the uses they put the funds to. Most people I spoke to believe that if they don’t vote for the ANC they would lose out on grants for housing, education etc. They assumed that if another party came into power, they would not have the money to do ‘the good stuff”.

People need to know that whichever party is in power uses the same state funds to carry out programmes for social development etc. The ANC does not ‘own’ those state funds for grants and upliftment projects like housing, poverty alleviation and health programmes. If another party should come into power, it would hold the same purse strings, but use the funds in a different, hopefully better, way.

2. It’s your vote to use every 5 years. You don’t only have one chance to vote in your lifetime. Why vote, who to vote for? Criteria for selection – each party puts forward an argument why you should vote for it, and makes promises about what it would do to make your life better if it were the governing party. If it appeals to you, vote for that party. And remember, each election you get to decide again and even change your vote, if those promises aren’t met. Then you see if your new party upholds its promises. If it doesn’t, vote for yet another party in the following election. It’s your vote, and your right to chop and change, that keeps parties on their toes with regard to promised service delivery.

Therefore, learn to listen to party promises in the run-up to the election, and then hold the winning party accountable to fulfil its election promises. Each party’s election manifesto should outline its priorities and how its planned expenditure will deal with those priorities.

3. GET registered! Surely the people who are protesting against lack of service delivery by NOT registering, should in fact register so that they can vote for another party that would make more effort to change people’s lives? Get involved: attend meetings of different parties to hear the different points and promises, ask questions, assess each party’s argument for credibility and viability. Above all, talk, debate issues and become more critical. Don’t just follow and accept what the majority says……

Bear in mind, if one party gets over 60% of the votes it may become less accountable, less concerned about grassroots needs, thereby neglecting its promises to service those most in need. It might also make changes to established laws to suit its own agenda. So, it’s a good idea to keep some semblance of ‘balance of power’ across parties so that they can challenge each other on important public issues.

4. Don’t vote on the basis of race colour. Viktor Frankl said: “There are two races of men in this world – the ‘race’ of the decent man and the ‘race’ of the indecent man. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society. No group consists of entirely decent or indecent people. In this sense, no group is of “pure race”.
So vote for someone of the ‘decency race’.

Get voters educated now for Election 2014 !

The brittle condition of South Africa’s moral backbone

The brittle condition of South Africa’s moral backbone
I read Willem Landman’s piece entitled, “SA is already knee deep in moral bankruptcy” with great interest and sadness. However, I do believe there are enough people in South Africa today who feel as strongly as I on this matter, and if all these people could band together in the fight against a corrupt and unethical society and start building a common ethos of honesty, authenticity, regard for others, accountability and social justice, life for our children and their children has far more promise in the future. Individuals and groups should start a public discourse, form a forceful coalition that will contribute to the advancement of a more ethical South African society. In Tony Manning’s view, “If you don’t make a difference, you don’t matter” and we must make a difference to show that our beliefs matter in making society better.
Willem Landman, CEO of the Ethics Institute of South Africa (ww.ethicsa.org) offers some harsh points [extracted by me] when he claims, “The state of ethics in our country – in our politics, economy and even personal lives – is in a critical state. There is a growing gap between the normative vision of 1994 and what has happened since then. By means of our Constitution, we committed ourselves to a new value system, but in our personal and professional lives, we are increasingly moving away from those values….the basic prerequisites for an ethical journey in our personal and public lives were established, namely extraordinary people as role models and democratic institutions imbedded in a standard-setting legal structure. But it is in our public life – in our political economy – that the depth of our moral bankruptcy is reaching serious proportions. Indicative of this is the behaviour of our politicians and public officials…..They do not understand the difference between the law and ethics….. public health care and education were the most unfortunate examples of the lack of ethics…… Almost all the speakers [at a recent conference] highlighted our sad lack of ethical leadership.” We need to act on this immediately.
One of the most commonly held views today seems to be, as long as it’s legal who cares if it’s ethical. Courts are overrun with cases that should never have been addressed by the legal system at all – if only those involved had acted ethically. Our society is morally bankrupt simply because its ‘ethics’ bank account has been robbed to pay for the legal costs of the ever-increasing reliance on litigation to solve battles created by unethical businessmen, politicians and the like. We must act to change this.