Much has been said by the lack of leadership from our president and within our government. There has also been encouragement of citizens to stand up and “lead SA” which has produced some real heroes. But what about our prominent business leaders? Where have they been and what has been their long term vision in leading transformation?
Our captains of industry have a broad network of people with whom they connect – the people who work for them, the communities they serve, their clients and their suppliers. They have enormous influence and if they stood forward and set an example of moral and responsible leadership, not just for their companies but for humanity, many in the network would sit up, take notice and look inwards.
What vision of a future South Africa and their place in it did businesses have 20 years ago? How aware were they of the vast inequalities inherent in the system. What is there awareness now? When they were recruiting, did they look only for a culture “fit” or did they really believe in the value of diverse thinking? Did they set out to find talent at our less resourced schools and nurture it through education and training, so that they would be our captains of industry now? Or did they just recruit already wealthy, well educated people to fill their BBBEE requirements. Did they really set out to employ people from across our diverse land and according to our demographics? Did they really encourage dialogue and understanding? If transformation was part of their long term vision, would we still have the inequality we have now? If the executive team lead the charge to be more inclusive, nurture talent and encourage diversity, leading discussions to break down the divides in our society, would we have the bigotry we see in our society today?
I am sure that there are some great leaders out there doing good things, not just for their companies, but for society at large. Where are you? Tell us your stories. It is time for you, corporate CEO’s, to step up and “Lead SA”.
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This post was written by Merridy Edgson