Leading from the Front

Leading from the Front

A Generational Leadership Shift

PPS – Izak Smit

Another fascinating trip to Johannesburg led me to PPS, a wealth management business with a difference. Their prospective customers have to have a university degree to become ‘members’. This has given them 220,000 members and it’s growing rapidly.

The CEO, Izak Smit, whom I worked with whilst he was at Absa bank, has been busy transforming both the business and the culture. I had another auditorium packed with precocious leadership talent.

There is a new generation that is itching to get involved in the leadership challenges the nation faces, but there are some legacy managers who are still practising the failing and ancient approach of command and control.

Izak is demonstrating just what can be achieved in a more empowering and trusting environment.

AmCham – Finland

It was then off to Helsinki, Finland, to deliver a leadership keynote at the ultra-swish Maxim Cinema.

Many left their businesses early to make for a calm and very Finnish atmosphere, but they were all fully engaged on the subjects of New Age Leadership and Collaboration is the New Leadership.

It was dark when we got up and dark again when we entered the cinema around 16:00, we were certainly able to shed some light for the outstanding leaders that joined us.

AmCham Finland

AAA – Susanne Schaffert

Then, it was off to the ancient but vibrant city of Rome.

I was the guest speaker for Novartis’ recent acquisition, AAA.

Novartis acquired French-based Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA) for $3.9 billion (2.99 billion pounds), giving it a platform in radiopharmaceuticals and access to a new therapy for the kind of cancer that killed Steve Jobs.

This fast moving and hugely innovative business was predicted to provide stellar growth opportunities for Novartis. The challenge with all acquisitions of entrepreneurial start ups is to have them benefit from the scale, strength and experience of the new ‘mother ship’ without diminishing any of the speed and innovation that they bring to the party.

Novartis have played their hand beautifully and deftly by appointing Susanne Schaffert as Chair and President of AAA. She is a New Age Leader practicing everything that we preach.

It was a brilliant session as the new joiners from Novartis looked to build upon the exceptional entrepreneurial culture present at AAA, and the existing AAA team members had the necessary humility to appreciate what Novartis could and will bring to this fast moving and innovative business.

AAA Keynote Rome

Unlocking Potential Conference

Finally, it was off to the sumptuous Whittlebury Hall near Towcester, where I closed the Leadership Symposium held for Head Teachers and other leaders in education.

An absolutely cracking day. The educational profession is under much challenge and stretched to the limit but they were all fully committed and were more than up for the challenges that a rapidly changing environment was bringing.

There were moments of straight talking and honest challenge, but my strongest memories were the towering belief in the importance of education and their ability to continue to rise to the ever growing list of demands made of them with constantly diminishing resources.

We should all salute these leaders that are giving everything for the next generation of talented students.

Unlocking Potential Conference