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Marathon Group year-end message | December 2019

"The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails." John Maxwell My first-born finished school this year and is heading to university in 2020. Thirty-three years ago, I was in the same boat. I will never forget my first Statistics class, when the professor told the story of two mice who arrived at the campus. Shortly after their arrival, both fell into a bucket of milk. The one mouse gave up and drowned. The other one decided to keep on kicking and after “three years” the milk turned into butter and he climbed out. The mice fable is a story of hope, resilience and courage and it helped me to be steadfast in my true north and what I wanted to achieve in life. I am sure all of you have similar stories of inspiration that have shaped your lives. South Africa has so many “wicked” problems, and the mice fable is so relevant to our context. The depth and width of state capture have stunned every South African and we all feel the impact physically, emotionally and financially. However big our problems, I am still inspired by the courage, ingenuity and kindness of so many of my fellow countrymen and -women who continue to make a positive difference to our rainbow nation. The South African Rugby World Cup campaign was a momentous feel-good moment and many leadership teachings were on display, i.e. clever strategy, clear goals, candour in communication with stakeholders, disciplined execution, humble leadership and a deep sense of purpose to bring hope to a nation that is in dire need of unity and pride. Although winning the Rugby World Cup was a tremendous achievement, what was even more inspiring is how our team’s diversity became a symbol of national strength and pride. Over the past year I heard this powerful quote that is so relevant to our nation’s context: ‘Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being invited to dance.” Why did our World Cup campaign connect with so many hearts? The culture of the team embraced diversity, everyone on and off the field felt included and for a few weeks we could dance together in true Lion King spirit – Hakuna Matata – no worries!  Let’s think further together and keep on building a South Africa where everyone feels respected, valued and included. Our diversity is our strength and should not divide us; it is something special that many nations can only dream of. We are stronger together and in unity is power! To our loyal clients and friends To each and every loyal client and friend, thank you for supporting our business over the past year. You are the sole reason for our existence and without you, we wouldn’t have a business. Thank you for allowing us to live our grander vision of making a meaningful difference to life, business and society. Steady progress at Marathon 2019 has been a year of steady progress at [...]

Marathon Jaareindbrief | Desember 2018

When the winds of change blow, some build walls, whilst others build windmills. ‘n Chinese spreekwoord Elke dag ontwrig nuwe besigheidsmodelle die bestaandes. Ontwrigtende veranderinge is nou die nuwe normaal. Binne 'n sake-konteks is dit goeie nuus, want dit skep meer waarde vir klante.  In die politiek is onlangse ontwrigtende veranderinge verdelend – van Brexit tot Trump tot Zuma. Die vraag is, hoe lei ons in 'n verdelende en verdeelde wêreld waar die retoriek van nasionalisme, stamgebondenheid, faksievorming en eiebelang meer mure as maatskaplike gebondenheid/sosiale kohesie bou? Deel jy die siening dat die oplossing daarin lê om anders te dink oor verandering en vooruitgang? Ek was onlangs bevoorreg om 'n bestuurs- en leierskapsprogram saam met 38 afgevaardigdes van 17 lande by te woon. Drie indrukke het my bygebly:

Where the Mind is Without Fear | The meaning behind the words

The poem is written by Rabindranath Tagore, 1913 Nobel prize winner for literature. It represents Tagore’s vision of a new and awakened India. The poem is written in the form of a prayer to God, the Almighty for true freedom for his country. Tagore reveals his own concept of freedom throughout the poem. When you read it, please do so from an outside in perspective. Visualise your own country as you step back and reflect.

Marathon Year-End Message | December 2018

Every day, new business models disrupt established ones. Disruptive change is now the new normal. Within a business context this is good news as it creates more value for customers.  In politics, however, recent disruptive changes have been divisive - from Brexit to Trump to Zuma. The question is how do we lead in a divisive and divided world where the rhetoric of nationalism, tribalism, factionalism and self-interest are building more walls instead of more social cohesion? Do you share the belief that the solution lies in thinking differently about change and progress? I recently had the privilege of attending a management and leadership programme with 38 delegates from 17 countries. Three things stuck with me:

Marathon Year-End Message | November 2017

A roller coaster year… Since 1994 the South African nation has achieved so much in some areas, but so little in others. We have much to be proud of, but our country still needs a great deal of hard work and learning. The past year was a “tipping point” for many South Africans - they realised South Africa will never be the same again. In our 2016 year-end message we wrote about the so-called “land between”, a desert experience and a time of hardship that challenges us at various levels. While uncomfortable, the “land between” can also be fertile ground for reflection, personal growth and for developing new perspectives, beliefs and habits. 2017 has certainly been a year of reflection, more so than 2016. We need a grander vision for our country, we need a different mindset to address the legacies of the past and build a united future. So, what can leaders do?

Marathon Jaareindbrief | November 2017

‘n Mallemeule-jaar… Sedert 1994 het Suid-Afrika se mense só baie op sommige terreine bereik, maar só min op ander.  Daar is baie waarop ons kan trots wees, maar ons land kort nog baie harde werk en daar is nog lesse te leer.  Die afgelope jaar was ‘n kantelpunt vir baie Suid-Afrikaners – hulle het besef Suid-Afrika sal nooit weer dieselfde wees nie. In ons jaareinde-boodskap vir 2016 het ons geskryf oor die sogenaamde “niemandsland”, ‘n woestyn-ervaring en ‘n tyd van swaarkry wat ons op verskillende maniere toets.  Dit is ongemaklik, maar die “niemandsland” is ook vrugbare teelaarde vir oorpeinsing, persoonlike groei en om nuwe perspektiewe, oortuigings en gewoontes te kweek. 2017 was beslis ‘n jaar van oorpeinsing, meer so as 2016. Ons het ‘n omvangryker visie vir ons land en ‘n ander kopruimte nodig om die nalatenskap van die verlede aan te pak en ‘n verenigde toekoms te bou. Dus, wat kan leiers doen?

Blog 6 | The Marathon Way | Strategic Foundation | April 2017

The wise man will always build his house on a rock… so that it can weather the storms of life! It is no different in business. Only when a business has a solid strategic foundation, will it be able to compete and achieve its goals in a sustainable way. So what are the key components that support the core foundation of a business?

Marathon Year-End Message | November 2016

The land between... A few years ago at the Global Leadership Summit in Chicago, a speaker spoke powerfully about the “land between”. The Bible describes how Moses led the Israelites from Egypt, a place of slavery and pain, through the Sinai desert to the land of promise, Canaan, the land of milk and honey. The Israelites spent 40 years in the desert. During this time they experienced severe hardship and were often in a troubled, even rebellious state of mind. They complained about their daily food, whined about their circumstances and longed for the fleshpots of Egypt. Their ungratefulness led to a negative mindset and many of them never saw the promised land, a better future.