Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lessons From the World Cup 2010: An interview

In  this interview with Heideli Loubser, Mario and Desmond Denton reflect on the  2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the lessons to be  drawn from it.  Heideli: Mario, being involved with  HR and people and change management for over twenty years, what would  you define as the core value that led to the success of this World Cup?

Mario: Beyond a doubt, teamwork.  Ryunsuke Satora states this beautifully by saying that “Individually,  we are one drop. Together we are an ocean.” Winning the rights to  host the World Cup was only the beginning. For us to be able to succeed  we had to work together.  The people of South Africa were the “true  stars” of the World Cup, after they united to prove that South Africa  was capable of hosting a world-class event.  Soccer is a team sport. A star individual  can be a great benefit, but without a team…his/ her efforts will have  little effect. Superstars or not, we all have a role to play. Team spirit  beats individualism. "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence  wins championships," said Michael Jordan. It is fascinating to  see how people can sit around and expect others to take action.

Nelson Mandela

he American leadership guru John Maxwell notes that a leader must win people’s hearts to win their heads, because people will only follow a person they feel they can trust. Nelson Mandela demonstrated an exceptional capacity to do this. In declaring him the South African of the decade, the Financial Mail said he has “the gift of being able to make other people feel better about themselves. That is such a big part of his true greatness; occasional ordinary human failings of judgement but never of principle.

"According to Maccauvlei Training Magazine, he would get up at four o’clock in the morning and exercise until six o’clock before the day’s work. In the evening there would be study schedules from five until seven o’clock.

Nelson Mandela on anger: “Anger is a temporary feeling – you soon forget it, particularly if you are involved in positive activities and attitudes. It is not easy to remain bitter if one is busy with constructive things.”…

Persuading with love or bullying with force?

A toddler throwing a tantrum to get his mother to buy him a toy...a teenager trying to borrow her father’s car for a night out...a father trying to persuade his son to make good of manipulation or persuasion? Consider carefully!

What is your motive when you are trying to persuade someone? Do you use manipulation and guilt to get what you want, or do you use reason and compassion as well as discretion to persuade someone? Do you ever tweak the  truth a little bit to convince your audience? Do you appeal to the conscience by using the truth as it is?  Many people do business by twisting the truth just a little bit, and we are all tempted to do it to get our way sometimes. But in the end, it does not get us anywhere.

Humans... not Machines

Each of us has unique gifts, abilities, personalities, and strengths. The key to successful achievement in life is learning to recognize your limitations and abilities—knowing what you can and cannot do.
How well do you know yourself—your character strengths and weaknesses, your skills and talents?
Do you have realistic expectations of yourself?
How do you go about goal-setting?
These are questions that each individual must consider for himself or herself from time to time.
How do our limitations liberate us?
Limitations remind us that we are human and not machines; they remind us that we need the support of other people to reach our dreams in life.

Do you have an enduring heart?

How committed are you to family? Staying committed to others during difficult times shows character—it shows that you have an enduring heart. It is a rare find. A family is meant to stick together, not to be stuck with each other.

Character- Based Leadership in the spotlight. An interview with Dr Mario Denton

In an interview with Heideli Loubser, Dr Mario Denton reflects on Character-based leadership challenges. He also offers some practical thoughts and best practices towards sustainable implementation of character-based training in the workplace.

Loubser: In a recent interview in the McKinsey Quarterly, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe illustrated the need for character training when he said the following:“We are struggling ourselves, as a new democracy in South Africa, to restore values … Values are never a given. They have got to be developed, worked upon, and consolidated on an ongoing basis. Because if at any given time we as a society or as sections of society become complacent about them, we run the risk of losing them…. We are therefore duty bound to try at all times to bring to the fore the values that bring us together as fellow South Africans, as human beings, united in our diversity.” Given the statement of Deputy Minister Kgalema Motlanthe, what does it mean to you?

The Nega-virus in the Marketplace?

Have you ever thought about assessing the Nega-virus in your organization? Nega-viruses permeate organizations daily and can cause lowered morale, disillusionment and poor productivity. The combination of these variables will eventually destroy an organization's ability to survive in a highly competitive environment. Unfortunately, organizations too easily allow these viruses to fluctuate.
Organizations need to measure their frustration with management, the personal regard between management and staff, the feelings about future prospects, the organizational vision, the negativity of co-workers, the consistency of management, flexibility in the workplace, interpersonal relationships and encouragement, their recognition and reward systems as well as inspiration and rejection levels on a regular basis.

The three major causes of organizational negativity are:


  • Mismanaged change
  • Inappropriate norms
  • Problems related to levels of trust

Managerial Derailment

It is ironic that the very strengths that get managers "fast tracked" early on in their career, can sometimes also bring about their downfall. These high potential managers are developed at an extremely fast pace and are expected to rise to the top of the organization. Their focus is mainly on the operational side and they invest all their energy in the organization, at the expense of paying attention to their own growth and development.
The problem arises when, despite their potential, they are not able to keep up with ever-changing needs. As a result, perhaps ten years or more down the line, they may suddenly find themselves "derailed". Perhaps this is because they don't have the required managerial profile, or have simply reached a point where they no longer have the interest or energy to cope with changing demands.
The concept of "derailment" is real.

Is Management Losing Its Touch? By Dr Mario Denton

The current work culture is one of "work harder, work faster and produce the results" which could translate into extremely long working hours and a tremendous amount of self-sacrifice from the majority if work becomes the ruling (but no longer enjoyable) passion of some people.
To compound matters, managers are experiencing the new work arena as different and threatening. The old way of doing things is no longer viable. Managers are pressured to match internationally recognized trends in production, people management and technology.

The major factors negatively influencing the lifestyle of managers are: