Defining Transformation

Defining transformation

In our country the term transformation is used daily in rich abandon. So much so that it often becomes counterproductive and contentious. Yet the reality is that the country desperately needs a transformation mind-set! Each of us needs to define our personal commitment to the term transformation in the context of our country.

What is transformation?

Synonyms for transformation are:

Alteration, change, conversion, revolution, make-over, and revelation.  These synonyms are helpful in forming a believable understanding of the term. However, ‘transformation’ has taken on unique dimensions in the South African context and we need to look for common ground in our own daily usage of the term.

Key elements of the kind of transformation needed in our country:

  • A national imperative

Transformation may be described as the overall imperative of the country to transform at all possible levels in order to be able to overcome our personal and social challenges and reach our potential as a competitive country on the international scene.

The alternative to a transformation mind-set is to allow the country to slip further into various forms of chaos as a result of escalating crime, unemployment, social unrest, a fat cat syndrome, broken families, moral decline, drug dependence, an entitlement culture, rampant corruption and unfulfilled expectations. Available statistics confirming these social sicknesses are alarming, to say the least.

  1. Transformation is the substance of the NDP. The National Development Plan is a great document. It is dangerously fallible if we as a country do not transform our present state of mind towards universal values, accountability and the needs of others. A great many people and organisations have been passionately engaged in striving towards a transformation culture in our country but we need more, much more.
  2. Transformation starts with me.

Transformation is bringing out the best in changing the hearts and minds of people, firstly self and then others around us. The prevailing fashion is often to accuse others in our past and present for the lack of transformation when our own mind-set is often settled into an entitlement rather than a transformation mode.

  • Good will

Transformation is driven by good will to benefit those around us. Good will driven transformation is in distinct contrast to a self-indulgent and fat cat driven mind-set. Actions that tend to erode good will are enemies of the transformation mind-set. Breaking down respect for the dignity, potential and contribution of others tend to destroy good will.

  1. Blinkered tunnel visions

Transformation has many enemies that tend to destroy the transformation spirit and mind-set. One of those enemies is the many forms of blinkered tunnel visions that pervade our society. Many of them are centred on legitimate social needs and challenges yet they become blinkered tunnel visions by virtue of their lack of charity and respect for all in our society in line with the spirit of our constitution. Blinkered tunnel visions tend to have an underlying malice motivation towards all that do not agree with them. People with good intentions are often surprised to find out that they are guilty of blinkered tunnel visions that impede good will and real behavioural change in self and others.

  • 1st Profession seamless leadership

A leadership mind-set that is seamless and passionate about moving negative attitudes and situations in a positive direction is the back bone of real change and movement. Transformation is the result of seamless leadership as a first profession in our society. Without that kind of leadership it is not possible to transform hearts and minds. Seamless leadership is the art of making the impossible possible and follows the heritage of a Nelson Mandela and many others. By its very nature, a seamless leadership attitude tends to have a big picture and values driven mentality. Our society needs to invest much more in creating and building a common seamless leadership mind-set across all sectors of our economy. This is the kind of leadership that moved our country from a potentially disastrous situation to what the world recognises as one of the great negotiated social transformations in history.

  • Transformation is sustainable

If not sustainable then our actions do not qualify as being transformational. Transformation is built around transformational entrepreneurship and structures embracing the best leadership that the country (and the world) can offer.

What is your understanding of transformation?

Do you recognize some areas in yourself or your team that need improvement? Email Adriaan on for more on creating “Leadership Fit” leaders that generate successful movement (performance) inside your organisation.




Louis has been fanatically endeavoring to uncover universal leadership principles and models for longer than most of us have been alive. He is an author, leadership expert, father, grandfather, and the Co-Founder of Leadership Platform.

Call: +27 (0)12 653 3022

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Leadership Platform is a specialist leadership development consultancy, focusing on creating measurable impact to the bottom line through the enhancement of leadership understanding and engagement.


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