I’m very passionate about South Africa, yet I am possessed by an equal measure of concern!
What the hell is going on? Tshwane is burning because supposedly citizens are unhappy with the Mayoral candidate nominated by ANC leadership. Reaction defaults immediately to destructive violence instead of utilizing internal processes or even marching peacefully.
What kind of dangerous political culture have we entrenched in our beautiful country? Where will this end if not curbed right now? What will happen should the ANC lose an important metro? Heaven forbid if the ANC loses power all together. And many think the DA or EFF is the solution? Think again (read this article about the best solution).
On a micro everyday scale, myself and other friends have been assisting a black SME owner to get ahead in life – yes Mr Julius Malema – using white capital to bring about transformation. Instead of embracing the opportunity he has been defrauding us for at least a year now. We sat him down and gave him the opportunity to come clean. But no, instead we needed to drag it out of him, share what information we had before he would confess, time and time again.
I receive exorbitant accounts for water and lights that are impossible for an ordinary residential home, but fighting it is like talking to a wall. We just don’t seem to have any recourse.
Every single day I deal with businesses and people who commit to certain deliverables, actions; but it simply doesn’t happen week in and week out. It is as though we have inculcated a culture of empty promises. Statements like: “I will get back to you by the end of the day” or “I will call you back in five” or “Give me a week and I will sort this out” yet never happen, seem to be common practice, an acceptable norm. When one dares confront a person about their commitment a simple “Sorry man, I got busy and forgot to get back to you” is sufficient in today’s world. Perhaps we accept it because it is so common and we do understand that life is hectic, that we too get snowed under by everyday pressures and stresses. But then again we live in times when we can send very quick messages to explain that we will not be able to make the agreed upon commitment. So why don’t we?
Something very wrong is starting to take root – or has taken root – in our country and if we don’t put a stop to it or reverse it somehow, what will happen? Where will this spiral end if we cannot even deliver on small commitments to one another? Will we somehow adhere to big commitments when we don’t even do it with the basics? Thankfully larger commitments are kept together by legal contracts. But I believe if a relationship has to be held together with a legal arrangement then it starts on a negative footing and is a relationship one should be cautious of.
Some of the best business relationships I have had existed or still exist without formal contracts. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But it’s true. Don’t get me wrong, a contract may be necessary, but if the feeling is that the contract is the cement in the relationship and not mutual aspirations and values, one is on dangerous ground. In fact, one starts a relationship that is destined for failure.
I am deeply concerned about our country! Many believe our challenge is an economic one: “Grow the economy; create jobs and all will be well”. While this sounds like the right thing to say, it is a “chicken or egg” scenario. Truth is we won’t buck the global economic trend as a nation and create jobs without high levels of unity, trust, a sound moral compass and ultimately authentic leadership! We desperately need leadership that we trust; whose motives and intentions we trust implicitly! Then, upon this foundation we need leadership that can be tough and courageously turn this negative moral, economic, political and social momentum around. We need leadership that can bring hope back and transform this hope into exponential positive change.
Yes, you and I need to be this kind of leader where we stand. But, over and above doing what you and I can, we desperately need this leadership culture at the top.
South Africa – when all is said and done – what we need is a miracle! And just perhaps, because we need a miracle, over and above doing all we ourselves possibly can, we need the humility to unitedly call upon divine assistance. I don’t see any other way. The task is just too big on our own.
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Adriaan Groenewald is a leadership expert and commentator. Do you recognize some areas in yourself or your team that need improvement? Email Adriaan on firstname.lastname@example.org for more on creating “Leadership Fit” leaders that generate successful movement (performance) inside your organisation. Follow him on Twitter: @AdriaanG_LP or @LeadershipPform.