Disruption Amplified - Reset. Rewire. Reimagine Everything.
Abdullah Verachia has written a punchy and timely commentary on issues that are of strategic importance in our time and has provided many good ideas about how to deal with them. He has used his extensive experience as a consultant and academic, as well as his significant international exposure and local business experience, to bring together a thoughtful and incisive account of our times. We can all see that COVID-19 has shaken and stirred our systems, institutions, infrastructure and deeply challenged leadership in every sector of society. This is certainly true of managers, entrepreneurs, government officials, political leaders – but also for society as a whole.
There is much to do to fathom out the full nature and implications of these changes. No doubt many aspects of life will return to a semblance of their past. However, there are also many aspects, as is indicated in this book, that will not. Our wisdom is to discern the difference between the two and to think through carefully what initiatives and creative steps need to be taken to change the world for the better. We live in an exciting digital age and a disturbing level of inequality in the world. These gaps must be closed in an era that would like to call itself civilised and humane.
In South Africa, in particular, the virus and its impact has shown us the deep structural challenges that we face. Our State is hard-pressed to deal with them and the economy is severely challenged by them. Many would argue that a great deal of these issues were visible, but not dealt with, prior to COVID-19. Others would say we are not being very effective in dealing with them. Individuals who are leaders make choices in a time of uncertainty.
The book provides ample ideas, best practices and frameworks for thinking about your role as a leader. I have often argued that all leaders who consider themselves strategic, ie impactful, would need both a map and a mirror.
Both are critically important at this juncture. The map is for the deep self-reflection of understanding your motives and mission, your skills as a leader and manager, and also your drive and energy and commitment to taking on the many challenges, as well as the many opportunities that inevitably arise. The map is to figure your longer-term direction of travel and to ensure that you are able to configure around you a set of relationships, flows of information and action that will improve your own and others’ leadership and decision making. We cannot be stuck in an environment where our memories are stronger than our vision; but our vision better be rooted in the discernible realities that now confront us.
The business community in South Africa has a great deal to contribute as it takes a proactive role in managing internally, managing markets and its broader environment – and most of all, adopting the philosophy that South Africa belongs to all who live in it; and that as businesses we need to play a more strategic and constructive role in our political economy and society. After all, any economic system has to have a societal license to operate and that is no less so in South Africa. I encourage you to take on board many of the ideas in this book and think deeply about what difference you might make to deal with this changed and intensely complex and fast-changing time.
Foreword by GIBS Founding Dean, Professor Nick Binedell
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