‘Try the power of positive thinking’
● The perpetual negativity about SA among business leaders is a stumbling block to growth and investment, says Adrian Gore, winner of the Sunday Times Top 100 Lifetime Achievement Award.
In his speech at the awards on Thursday night, the Discovery CEO said eliminating this negativity would help to reverse the downward economic spiral and boost employment levels.
Gore credited the South African market for Discovery’s corporate success.
“The issue is the power of our country, the power of patriotism. I really believe and know that my success is because of the country, not despite it. That is very
important. A lot of people are in a negative narrative all the time and think they would be great and do it anywhere; I could not have,” said Gore.
“The problem is that we believe inherently that our environment is getting worse. The terrible thing is that we are confident about our incorrectness and we are certain things are getting worse when in actual fact they are not.
“GDP is bigger than it was at the start of democracy and the middle class is bigger and more black,” he said.
“We hold on to the view that things are in decline and that is a terrible thing because it incites a problem-centric leadership style.”
The sentiment was echoed by Capitec Bank CEO Gerrie Fourie.
“I am extremely positive [about] SA,” he said.
“I believe there is a great future. If I look at what’s happened this year, the first few months we were all positive and then suddenly we go negative and the last couple of weeks we are positive again.
“Let’s spend all our energy on positivity, leave the negative things out,” said Fourie.
“We must work with government to unlock the full potential of 59-million people in SA. That’s our responsibility as leaders.”
Capitec, founded in March 2001, was named the 2018 Sunday Times Top Company for its share performance on the JSE over the past five years.
The guest speaker at the event, Israeli entrepreneur Uri Levine, who co-founded the navigation app Waze, emphasised the need for resilience among start-ups.
“If you are afraid of failing, in reality you have already failed … this is what we need to teach the next generation. We need to teach them to fail and when they fail and get up, they will actually be more empowered to make another try to do something else.”
No-one received the Business Leader of the Year Award this year, because, Sunday Times editor Bongani Siqoko said, there were few stand-out nominees.
“This was due largely to a chaotic year for many corporates and poor economic and market conditions,” he said.
“We look forward to awarding it again in 2019 as SA business recovers from what has been a tough 2018.”
Those who attended the event in Parktown, Johannesburg, included former FirstRand head Laurie Dippenaar, former finance minister Trevor Manuel, Absa CEO Maria Ramos, former Nedbank chair Reuel Khoza and media owner Given Mkhari.
● ➽ See Business Times & Top 100 Pullout
Discovery CEO Adrian Gore
Sunday Times editor Bongani Siqoko with Capitec Bank CEO Gerrie Fourie.