Democracy is a great model – but should be practised with proper care. Ironically, it was the iconic UK politician Winston Churchill who once said that the best argument against a democracy is a five minute discussion with the average voter. The wisdom of crowds unfortunately falters when confronted with complex problems. A referendum is a dangerously crude – even reckless – mechanism to deal with a multifaceted issue such as EU membership.
Create a workplace (and supportive culture) in which it is possible for individuals to isolate themselves when they have to attend to attention-hungry tasks.
You have reached a crucial intersection in your road as entrepreneur. It is a juncture that presents you with two options: To give your creation wings and let it become bigger than you – or to keep it to a size that makes it possible for you to run it hands-on.
Persistence is a mark of character. But there is a thin line between productive perseverance and flogging a dead horse.
Tenacity tends to become hurtful when it is based on an artificial quest. If your pursuit is an imitation of someone else’s journey, you may end up slaving away without making reliable progress.
Not at all.
If we wait for the world to be without problems before we attend to our own serenity, we will never afford ourselves the opportunity. In fact, a happier you is an asset to the world. Your own peacefulness will leave seeds of optimism in its wake and your own contentment will spare the world from another pair of grasping hands.
Integrity is doing what is right, consistently so, without anyone instructing you to do so. It is a pattern of decision-making anchored by fundamental truths. It is a unique practice of maturity.
We build integrity by deliberately honing a conscience that is stronger than our primitive urge to be selfish and also overrides our innate impulse to earn social validation. It deepens its roots every time you choose modesty over vanity – in every act when you remove yourself from ‘the centre of the universe’. To attend to your character in this way takes commitment.
Extract from a talk by Louis Fourie
I am a proud South African. I love my country. No ifs or buts.
South Africa was only good to me. She was kind to my family. Her opportunities afforded me success in business, wonderful lessons, diverse friendships and unique experiences. I have travelled far and wide, and always longed to come back to the land of my soul, never pondered any alternative.
No, it is actually a virtue to afford yourself the sanctity of privacy.
Your most important insights emerge when you grant yourself reflective space. Your best work awaits you in private silence. Your biggest discoveries emerge after extended periods of uninterrupted concentration and fermentation. Your sense of calmness is rooted in your ability to socially detach on a regular basis.
We do – especially if the founders are still in charge.
Over the years, we have identified a combination of five common reasons for this life-cycle impasse:
The first, is that founders normally start a business with the benefit of the customer in mind. Quality of product and level of service are everything to them. This customer-sympathetic culture is vital in the early phase of the business, but many founders never evolve beyond this ‘hands-on, personal service, new-product design’ ethos. This implies that the people who are supposed to build an operationally efficient business and streamline business practices, stay involved in product issues and client relations.
Communication between two people can be such a rich experience. But an enriching conversation is an art – and hinges on the ability of both participants to give and receive. It is a rhythm of sharing a view without overwhelming someone with your opinion, of listening intently, and being sincerely inquisitive.