5 Secrets To Double Your Team’s Intelligence

Multiplier leaders behave similarly in 5 ways: they act as talent magnets, liberators, challengers, debate makers and investors. 

  1. Talent Magnets don’t have a shortage of talent, quite the opposite – people line up to work for them.  They have an innate ability to identify what Wiseman calls the “native genius” in each member of their team, naming the talent and then putting it to work for them.  They are not constrained by traditional job descriptions, but rather seek to apply the talent of their team to the job at hand.  
  2. Liberators free people up to do their best thinking.  Instead of providing all the answers, liberators have learned the art of asking the question, facilitating conversations that encourage people to find their own answers.  Multiplying leaders encourage people to think for themselves instead; those employees quite literally report that they become smarter.
  3. Challengers are up for precisely that – a challenge.  The have the ability to stretch people beyond their current capability, thrusting people out of their comfort zones in such a way that the “stretch is met”. As people step into their new zone, they discover a level of capability that they never knew existed.
  4. Debate Makers create the ultimate democracy, convinced that the best answers will come from the group. Instead of setting teams up to fail and fight, Multipliers who facilitate debate give their teams time to research their position, clearly define the parameters and goals, and then “pit their wits against each other” to unleash the potential of what lies in the realm of possibility.
  5. Investors answer the biggest question of all: how do we get people in the business to be accountable for the outcome?  Investors know that real ownership and accountability only comes when the individual or team have made the decision themselves, what Wiseman terms “giving them 51% of the vote”.  A courageous act?  Maybe, but one that will forever change the landscape of your business.

Do you want to access double your team’s intelligence? Click HERE for more information or contact us at to book a needs assessment.


5 Top Tips for Vacation Communication

Your next vacation doesn’t have to cause a wave.

We weren’t meant to spend the summer cooped up inside an office. In fact, many companies are now advocating for a balanced lifestyle and are encouraging their staff to take advantage of available vacation days.

But with great vacations comes great responsibility. And just as you would prepare for a meeting, you should also prepare for your absences. Far too often a vacation can interrupt an important project, deal or client relationship and derail the progress of your team. However, this process can also flow smoothly if you take the right steps.  It all depends on how effectively you communicate with your colleagues, your clients and yourself.


Heres are our 5 Best Tips for vacation communication:

 Give notice about your vacation well in advance

Whether you’ve booked your vacation a year or a month in advance, your team deserves a fair warning about your travels. Consider the amount of stress and inconvenience you may impose on your colleagues with a last-minute announcement about your two-week trip to Iceland, a week before you board the plane. Everyone needs time to prepare – yourself included. After all, these are the colleagues who will absorb your workload while you’re away.

We recommend giving everyone at least one month notice if possible, especially if you have a larger role within your organization. Set reminders in the weeks and days leading up to your departure so there are no surprises to a forgetful or busy employee. Don’t catch anyone off guard; open dialogue is a must.

Delegate jobs and tasks in your absence

Leave no stone unturned. Over-prepare for every possible situation, task or crisis. Pull colleagues aside and ask them to take over specific responsibilities and be sure to train them thoroughly on the work you are leaving them with.  Is someone stepping into your client meetings? Brief them on specific client needs and details. Will someone take over a special project for you? Give them a detailed list of what needs to be completed.

Prepare a relief document outlining where specific files are located, who to talk to about certain projects or what to do in the event of an emergency. You don’t want to be bombarded with panicked emails while you lay on the beach. It’s better to be safe than sorry and leave your projects in capable hands.

Set up clear out-of-office voicemail greetings and automatic email replies

Your team may know your whereabouts, but your clients or contacts likely will not. We highly recommended reaching out to important contacts and alerting them of your vacation.

Construct a clear and impactful voicemail greeting and include the dates of your vacation and return. Leave an alternate contact that can address your client’s enquires and take care of any pressing matters before you leave. There is nothing more annoying on the client’s side than receiving a vacation notification in the middle of an important project without notice.

More importantly, if you’re providing an alternate contact in your out-of-office messages, be sure to get their permission in advance. This will prevent awkward encounters and ensure your co-worker is well aware that they may be called upon.

If you do email while on vacation, be sure to keep all communication brief and to the point

No one enjoys writing long emails on their smartphone. Similarly, reading run-on emails sent from a mobile device can be a frustrating experience. Despite our best intentions, they’re often full of auto-corrected typos and have than less than ideal formatting.

When responding to an email on vacation (although we advise against it whenever possible), keep all written communication short and concise. Think about your greater message, structure it into a few key points and relay that message back to your team. Point forms are ideal, and always be sure to summarize your argument at the end of the email to reinforce the message. This prevents follow-up questions so you can get back to relaxing.

Don’t skip a beat! Have a plan to slide right back into work

Returning to the office after a vacation can often be a job within itself. You arrive back to a pile of email threads, missed calls, memos, status updates, potential issues, pressing questions and a staff who expect you to jump right back in where you left off.

Plan ahead for all your post-vacation tasks and execute them the moment you walk into the office. We suggest arranging a catch-up meeting with a few members of your team to discuss what occurred. Organize your email inbox and tackle the most pressing issues first. Keep an open and honest dialogue with your team so you can go over all details and progress on projects or tasks that you missed.

The better you communicate the more effective and productive your team becomes!


A vacation is meant to help balance your life with the ever-demanding responsibilities of your career. Your health and well-being is important. Don’t be afraid to unplug and wind down – just make sure you use our advice on vacation communication.

Six Keys to Leading Successfully During Transition

By Professor Dave Ulrich, Ross School of Business

The last few months have seen noteworthy CEO appointments in South Africa and the rest of the world.  At home, MTN announced in June that Rob Shuter will replace Sifiso Dabengwa as chief executive in 2017, and in September it was announced that Sisa Ntshona will take over the reins at South African Tourism.  Internationally, Vicki Hollub became the first woman to lead US independent oil giant Occidental Petroleum, a Fortune 500 company, and Edward Bastian stepped into the corner office at Delta Airlines.

Changing a company’s top leadership can raise a lot of questions about its immediate and long-term future, and may even have a material effect on the company’s value and stock pricing. Many, both inside and outside the company, look to the CEO to set the tone in the immediate aftermath of any major change. Here are a few things that any CEO leading a company through a transition should keep in mind:

  1. Be aware of how the departures look to outsiders: Any leader is made stronger by the leaders he or she creates. Leaders should multiply others and make them better, and talk about “we” more than “I.” When an entire team leaves, it may send a signal to investors and others watching that a leader is not empowering his or her leadership team.
  2. Remind people watching, of your track record of leading people to success: An effective leader delivers results and takes personal responsibility for doing so. In high tech firms, there is often “patient” capital that will provide market value far beyond earnings—as seen in companies like Uber and Amazon—but executives need a track record of building market presence and share in clear and measurable ways. At a time when doubt runs high, a CEO should reassure those watching that he or she has a strong action plan and vision.
  3. Position the departures as an opportunity for growth: An effective leader has insight into industry trends and how to position his or her company to win. In fast-moving social media industries, it is critical to continually reinvest and create a future. For example, Google may not succeed in balloons or driverless cars, but its leaders are constantly positioning themselves to be the innovators and leaders of the future. There’s opportunity for the CEO and other company spokespeople to message the departures as a chance to propel the company forward.
  4. Hire the right talent to replace the people who have left: Good leaders surround themselves with better people. The most confident leaders are able to hire and develop very competent teams; the least confident leaders often try to make themselves look better by bringing in people who are not as effective. Whether someone has left or was asked to leave doesn’t matter, as long as the CEO takes this opportunity to replace them with someone even more closely aligned with the company’s goals. This will help propel the company forward.
  5. Stay true to the company’s mission: Effective leaders should turn customer brand promises into leadership actions in order to build trust. Walmart’s leadership team is dedicated to delivering low cost; Disney leaders are dedicated to guest experience. Twitter’s challenge is to create a clear external brand promise to customers and then use that as criteria for its leadership team.
  6. Above all, put the company and its success first: Effective leaders build cultures and HR systems that institutionalize the leadership. When the company becomes more important than the leader, it is more likely to navigate, and even thrive, through a transition.

Leadership transitions happen, especially when a company is entering a new strategic phase, and the current executive team isn’t the right one to get the company to where it needs to be. But all too often, the transition itself focuses too much on the individual people involved and not enough on the requirements and unique needs of the company. By keeping the focus where it always belongs—on how these developments can serve the greater business goals—a CEO can lead his or her company to an even stronger position.

Dave Ulrich is the Rensis Likert Professor of Business at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and author of Leadership Capital Index. Ulrich is ranked as the #1 management guru by Business Week, has been profiled by Fast Company as one of the world’s top 10 creative people in business, and listed as a Top 5 Coach in Forbes.  Ulrich was in South Africa last week leading an ongoing series of events on Human Capital, hosted by Business Results Group and the Gordon Institute of Business Science.

Neuroscience for Leadership – Top Tips

Neuroscience is at the forefront of innovation in leadership. Dr Tara Swart, the  only  leadership  coach  with  a  PhD  in  neuroscience  and  a successful career as medical doctor, offers her top tips for doing more with less, for longer, without burning out!

1.  Simplicity:  We have a limited bucket of cognitive resources, so reducing choices can play an important role in how we decide to spend our cognitive resources. Don’t waste big brain power on small unimportant decisions.

2.  Hydration and oxygenation: We need to drink half a litre of water daily for every 15kg of our body mass – so get drinking! Getting oxygen into our bodies and brains also boosts our ability to think, so take 10 deep breathes before an important meeting – or get exercising.

3.  Nutrition: With our brain using 20-30% of what we eat, be sure to give it the food it needs. Brain-friendly foods include: salmon, avocado, eggs, nuts, olives, dried fruit, and vegetables. As Dr Swart says “I choose what I eat so that I make better decisions”.

4.  Sleep: We all need 7-9 hours a night… at least! The research is staggering around the neural deficits experienced when we sleep for less than this.

5.  Mindfulness: 12 minutes of mindfulness a day is all it takes to improve your resilience and cortisol levels. In a world of overload, are you strong enough to put your smart phone down and DO NOTHING, if it means you’ll live a longer and healthier life?

Dr Tara Swarts unique background and depth of experience creates an uncompromising and holistic approach to performance optimisation, which has been incredibly successful with banks, hedge funds and chief executives, as well as business schools.
Email or CLICK HERE to find out more about her Workshop Facilitation, Executive Coaching, Keynotes or Taras Leading Sustainable Performance program

CEO Advice – Jannie Mouton – “It’s What You Focus On”

We hear often that the business environment in South Africa is prohibitively challenging. Undoubtedly much more needs to be done to unburden businesses, particularly small businesses, from the bureaucratic red tape. However a less competitive environment is a huge advantage. Jannie Mouton, founder of PSG…

Yes, we have unbelievable challenges, but as I often tell people, we started a bank called Capitec in South Africa and it’s an unbelievable success. We don’t have a chance at starting something like that in America or Europe. It’s already been done there.

Mouton feels there are opportunities everywhere. “For me the [RSA] environment throws up obvious opportunities in education, banking, the food sector, and now electricity.”  

Rather than seeing problems, how about we see opportunities. In fact, make a mental note of whatever you complain about next. Could that be an opportunity? If it’s not yours, it’s certainly someone else’s.  

Moutons advice “Formulate your plan, refer back often, adapt as things change and EXECUTE!”

Johannes “Jannie” Mouton, a qualified chartered accountant, is the founder and chairman of PSG Financial Services (now serving as a non-executive director). He is a renowned South African businessman with over 35 years experience in financial management and investment banking.

Where have the Leaders gone?


Leaderex 2016 held in Johannesburg last month posed an important question some of South Africa’s top CEOs, heads of business school and executive teams; “Where have all the leaders gone?”

The question provided a great transition into discussions about the state of leadership in South Africa, and the world in general, and laid the foundation for a host of sparkling debates and frank discussions on leadership. It would seem, from popular consensus, that the demise of leadership in South Africa, whilst a real challenge, may have been somewhat exaggerated.  

A Local View

Prof. Nicola Kleyn, Dean of GIBS echoed the feelings of many at Leaderex – “leadership starts with self”. She highlighted that our own day-to-day lives often demand that we play multiple leadership roles. This message supports conventional wisdom, that no matter who we are, or what status we hold, we all have a leadership role to play. “We have passed the point where we can simply look on and shake our heads. We all need to stand up and be counted” said Kleyn.

But how do we get this right? How do we turn around the confusion to create clarity around leadership? According to Dave Duarte, founder of digital marketing company Treeshake, it’s all about direction. The void is simply because “many leaders are more worried about holding an office than about creating direction”. Duarte’s view was backed by Jonathan Foster-Pedley from Henley Business School who stated that “The point of leadership is to provide people with purpose and meaning, and a sense of integrity and value. A good leader will make you and me give every last thing we have in the service of something we would die for.”

Yes We Can

So the question is, are we even remotely capable?  “Yes!” That was the clear message from the University of Stellenbosch’s Piet Naudé.  “We do have leaders capable of providing direction”. But as events unfold in pre-election United States and post-Brexit United Kingdom, it would seem that we are simply part of a bigger challenge.  “The world is currently battling the wrong kind of leadership. Leaders who use populist language and draw people back into their nationalistic and ethnic self-enclosed lives, whilst [what we need is] more openness and cooperation in a global world,” he said. Leadership is a responsibility, and just like businesses have a responsibility to its own employees, customers and stakeholders, so too is there a responsibility toward playing a moral and socially conscious role in providing direction for people.  When there is political uncertainty, business plays an even more critical role in guiding the performance and morals of the people it chooses to serve and employ.  Yet, to fulfil this role, we all need to be open to learning, change, and trying different approaches to achieve results.

A Lifelong Lesson

There are thousands of books, podcasts, and training courses on the topic of leadership, so many that it becomes hard to know which one to read, believe, implement. But can the skill of leadership really be learned or is this something we’re born with?  For the most part, our leadership lives start out with mimicry. For many of us, leadership skills are acquired from our earliest role models, and we quickly play back the tapes once given to us by parents, guardians, managers, community leaders and professors. So it’s not really what we’re born with but rather how we’re raised as leaders.  A leadership development challenge is figuring out how to break the patterns of the past and provide leaders with a new set of skills, tools and techniques for leading effectively in the workplace. Yet the study of leadership is no more an intervention than winning an election is an overnight game. Leadership is a lifelong study. And it would seem that the earlier in life you start, the better.

Leadership is the pursuit of greatness, achieved through others – a task that mankind may never be able to definitively tick. There is no silver bullet for leadership, but the positive and conscious application of a leadership philosophy can cause an attitude shift that helps you discover some great ammunition for leading along the way.

Whichever leadership philosophy you choose to follow, be mindful that it is just for now. The lessons we need to learn as leaders will continue to evolve, and change, over time. Perhaps our original question is rhetorical.  It’s not “where have all the leaders gone?” but more a statement of fact, that “leadership is forever a work in progress” and we should all be striving to build our own leadership capacity.

The great minds that coalesced at Leaderex offered us some starting points. Ponder these daily, for some time, and see what unfolds on your journey:  Listen. Have strong values. Inspire others. Know your purpose. Be a role model. Strive to achieve the impossible. Be Visionary. Be bold. Be transparent. And, be kind.  We are all living examples of leadership, and we all have the power to make a positive and meaningful difference.