MMI Leadership Summit, South Africa

October 26, 2017 at Pretoria, South Africa

“The best way to predict the future is to create it” said Abraham Lincoln.

The best opportunities for business – to find new growth, to engage customers more deeply, to stand out from the crowd, to improve their profitability – is by seizing the opportunities of changing markets. The best way to seize these changes is by innovating – not just innovating the product, or even the business itself – but by innovating the market.

In the old world we accepted markets as a given – the status quo – and competed within it, with slightly different products and services, or most usually by competing on price. Most new products were quickly imitated, leading to declining margins and commoditisation. Most companies now receognise that this is not a route to long-term success in a rapidly changing world.

Fast-changing markets demand fast-changing businesses.

Leadership … Be the change

Leaders amplify potential by enabling teams to achieve more. They do this through a more collaborative and coaching approach, rather than top-down management.

Their starting point however, is the future. Leaders are the drivers of vision and change, but also enablers of innovation and growth. They create an inspiring vision of the future, make sense of change, build a sense of possibility. They make new connections, bringing together diverse talent, activities and partners. As Ghandi said, the challenge is to “be the change” – to change yourself, and to be the starting point for others.

Leadership comes in my different styles. Inspiring, empowering, quiet, humble. One thing for certain is that it has to be real, to be authentic, and that means finding the right style for you, as well as your people. Elon Musk leads through vision, but mostly by getting stuff done. Jack Ma leads through provocation and challenge, and with cult following. Mark Parker leads with collaborative innovation, one of the team who stepped up. Mark Zuckerberg leads by doing stuff. Every leader leads a little differently, and leadership itself can be found at every level of the organization.

The 21st century business leader is different. Whilst past leaders won through hierarchy and power, the world has changed. Technology enables new ways of working, organization structures have inverted, and organisations win through collaboration inside and out. The old model was about 2C – command and control. The new model is about 4C – catalyst, coach, connector and communicator.

Keynote: Leading with Impact

Change … We live in a time of incredible opportunity.

  • We will see more change in next 10 years than last 250 years
  • In every sector, change is fast disruption, challenge and possibility
  • What can we learn? Alibaba to Amazon, GE to GoogleX, SpaceX to Xiaomi
  • How do you make sense of this world? How do you innovate? How do you win?
  • Success today is not just about stady state, its about speed, agility and exponential
  • For MMI, the opportunity is huge, but its about delivery, from potential into profit

Leadership … Leaders amplify potential … heads up and heads down

  • The mindset shift – “fixed mindset” to “growth mindset” – head up or head down
  • Real leaders – Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, Indra Nooyi, Elon Musk – What’s their secret?
  • The 4Cs of Leadership – catalyst, communicator, connector and coach
  • How does this work in a merged business like MMI? – insights from Axa and Aviva
  • Smarter choices, sense and respond, give and take, deliver today and tomorrow
  • So what does MMI 2.0 mean for you? What does it demand of its leaders?

Courage … We are all in the future business … time to find your greatness.

  • We can talk at length about it, but its about you – “be the change you want to see”
  • Leadership Compass – What will you change? Retain? Improve? Accept?
  • Difference is our strength, harness the best of our past, create the future together
  • Consider your “ikigai” (personal drive) and “ubunto” (what we can do together)
  • We are all in the future business – it will take grit, passion, vision and courage
  • Time to find your greatness … What’s the brave thing you will do differently?

Download a summary of my keynote:

About MMI … Enhancing your financial wellness

MMI is one of South Africa’s largest financial service groups. It was born from the merger of two highly regarded and well established South African nancial services organisations – Metropolitan Holdings and Momentum Group – in December 2010. The merger established the third largest life insurer in South Africa, a position which has been further strengthened by the addition of Guardrisk and the elevation of the Multiply programme to become the primary client engagement platform for MMI.

MMI’s financial solutions are embraced by millions of people across our core market in Africa and increasingly the rest of the world. They provide long and short-term insurance, asset management services, savings and investment, healthcare administra on, health risk management, employee benefits and rewards programme.

MMI’s products and services are guided by the organisation’s higher purpose – to enhance the lifetime Financial Wellness of people, communities and businesses.