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As we embark on 2018, Jakkie Olivier, CEO of the RMI, remarks that the new year could be a year of opportunities if businesses look in the right places
After a well-deserved break at the end of a tumultuous 2017, and a fresh start in 2018, you may well be faced with challenges borrowed from last year, but you will also come across fresh opportunities that will undoubtedly motivate you to attain success. And if these opportunities do not present themselves, what is stopping you from creating your own?
Unfortunately, South Africa has been inundated with media reports about corrupt and untrustworthy leaders and the economic adversity it has created – which makes it very easy to become pessimistic about the future, but pessimism has never been a promoter of success. Wouldn’t it be a much healthier state of affairs if each of us tried our best during 2018 to develop the leadership skills that we know will benefit not only our teams and businesses, but also our communities and, ultimately, our country? The great Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, believed that you don’t need a position to be a leader, so a specific job title is not necessary in order to develop those leadership qualities that we believe our country’s leaders should have.
Henry Ford may have been a complicated man, but he had perseverance, and understood that relating to his employees and customers was a major driving force behind success. He valued his employees and revolutionised the automotive industry when he not only introduced the moving assembly line, but also increased workers’ wages and introduced work shifts in order to retain and motivate his employees. These specific actions may not be what your work force needs, but he listened to his people and tried to accommodate them wherever it was possible. This resulted in happy employees, which gave rise to happy customers.
Ford also believed that a successful leader is continuously engaged in assessing business triumphs and failures, developing plans for improvement, and implementing these plans. This cycle should not only apply to your business, but also to yourself. Do you need to improve your communication skills? Do you need to delegate more to your employees or team members and trust that they will do the task properly?
Having high expectations of your employees is one thing, but do you have the same high expectations from yourself? True leaders expect more from themselves than any member of their teams, and they lead by example. They don’t threaten in order to get results, they inspire.
When faced with the daily struggles of successfully running your business or team, improving your leadership skills may seem a tall order. Not every effort will be a success, but a mistake may just be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement.
Throughout the successes and mistakes that 2018 may bring, you can rest assured that the RMI will always be there to advise and assist you and your business. We remain a strong, united organisation, working alongside our members for the benefit of our members’ businesses and communities.
Henry Ford definitely hit the nail on the head when he said: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”