Well, we have completed 1/12th of 2017 and my sense is business has not really started for the year yet. Most people seem to be wondering what 2017 will be like, and what curve balls we will be dealt with, especially after the shock- ing start to 2016. For me 2016 was a troubling year as I could see people and their businesses struggling. I was also very concerned about the political stability of South Africa. On a positive note, I believe there were several positive outcomes from 2016. This first is that I believe the political turmoil started giving us a common understanding as citizens, of what we want from our leaders and what behaviours we would like to experience from each other. People are speaking up, and this I think is excellent. On the business front, many organisations are starting to look at things afresh, working with their people to create better engaged workforces and using technology to create a better experience for their clients.


Having studied several economic and other outlook trends for South Africa (this means little though), the general belief is that it will be a quiet year with a small and gradual growth in the economy. Many believe that there is a high chance of political volatility towards the end of 2017, given the upcoming ANC conference. My view is that climate change and specifically water shortage will continue to negatively impact the consumer through increased food prices. The rand will remain weak and so the cost of oil and other imported goods will not bring any relief. Pressure on consumers unfortunately links to a number of crime-related problems in society. All of this then spins off as more as pressure on government to bring enabling change to people.

What should businesses focus on in 2017?

Considering the ever increasing pressures on the consumer and the changes in our values (behaviours we expect from each other), consumers  are looking for better value and quality, and wanting to be treated respectfully.

Companies that can provide this will do well, but this requires a substantial shift for many. I still experience too many senior leaders trying to rationalise staff disengagement, sales decline and what their roles are by using old World thinking. The leaders who are really stepping ahead today, tend to have a more humble attitude, open to views from others and use a more facilitative style at times.

To remain relevant, companies should focus on:

1. Relook at what we do and how we do it.

2. Create an aligned and engaged workforce, authoritarian leaders must change or go.

3. Leverage technology to do things better, cheaper and to empower the customer.

4. Break down hierarchy and create a business that innovates, executes and listens.

5. Become future focussed and break down limiting bureaucracy from the past.

6. Develop high performance and aligned teams at all levels.

7. Develop, enable and retain the right skills and talent.

8. Create and live a culture that treats everyone as adults (transparent, honest and respectful)

9. Implementing transparent and consistent performance management systems along with accurate company
performance data.

I think one of the bigger challenges in many businesses is learning to trust, and believing that people are capable of great things without being controlled and micromanaged. To create the shift where people lead themselves is a journey that requires a lot a change and work. South Africa’s Gallup statistic show that on average, only 9% of staff
are truly engaged. Just imagine what could be achieved if the other 91% were also engaged!
I include a short Tedtalk by Ricardo Semler called: “How to run a company with almost no rules”. For me, this is a profound talk that made me think about what I am doing and how I do it. It gave me great insights into how business and societal leaders must rethink how we must structure our educational systems and businesses into the future:


Here is a brief description of the powerful organisational culture Semler built, it has been proven to work for over three decades.


Senior leader’s roles are to ensure their companies Evolve to be sustainable into the future and hence need to build organisations that can flourish without their continual involvement.

How can Evolve Leadership Consulting help you?

From an individual consultation to large scale change, we can help you and your organisation to be a top performer.

• Individual Executing Coaching.
• Leadership Team Development.
• Customized Leadership Development.
• Large scale Culture Change and Business Realignment.
• Organisational Health Diagnostics.
• Strategy Facilitation.
• Diversity Management Workshops and Development
• Organisational Refocus and Design.
• Management Alignment Talks and Seminars.