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July 2016

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Editor’s letter

Great leaders = a vision for success

We all have had the opportunity to meet and/or be inspired by great leaders. And you’ll agree that not two of them are alike: they have different personalities and life stories. Some can be very charismatic, some modest. They will have grown up in different environments – be it poverty, middle class or wealth. Not all will have natural leadership abilities – most probably would have had to develop it.

But according to John Ryan (president of the Centre for Creative Leadership) all the great leaders that inspire us to share three critically important skills: they were driven by an inspiring vision of success, they excelled at communication, and they exercised superior judgement.

And to be a leader in the current economic climate in South Africa, the chances are that you will excel if you can master those very same skills.

Leadership success always starts with a vision. Steve Jobs (who wasn’t a natural leader) dreamed of user-friendly computers and software that would allow people to be creative and would push the boundaries of what was considered the norm. Nelson Mandela (an amazing natural leader) dreamed of a free and democratic South Africa.

As you know, those ideals initially attracted a fair share of criticism. But they were not merely silly ideas or daydreams – they were passions that were enough to capture the minds of a few at first and ultimately the imagination of millions.

Such a powerful vision will enable you, the visionary, to focus on what works for you and for your organisation for a long time. So Ryan suggests that you stop and take a look at your vision for success. What is it? Do you have one? Often in the haste to do things we forget the reason why we do it.

Obviously, your vision doesn’t need to as impressive as Mandela’s, and it probably shouldn’t be. The size of your vision doesn’t matter – as long as it’s important to you and excites you.

When you have a vision like that, don’t keep it to yourself – this is where the second skill, communication, plays an important role. And to have the discipline and time to share a strategy with your team is only half the fight – you need to communicate effectively by being the Chief Listening Officer.

The third key element is to exercise superior judgement. In the end, your judgement calls – which are a core part of your character –  will become your legacy.

In our cover story, Brooks Mparutsa shares his vision of becoming a business leader, which he had at the tender age of 16. Everything he has done since was aimed at realising that vision.

We also announce the finalists in our Top 35-under-35 competition. They all share the amazing trait of being visionaries and are working towards achieving the goals they have set for themselves. This year the scoring was so close that it was impossible to select only 35 finalists – so we have 36.

I hope these stories will inspire you to start thinking about your own vision for success …
Gerinda Jooste
Editor

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