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March 2017

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Legitimate Leadership’s first breakfast event of 2017, on the subject ‘Leading in Times of Adversity’, took place in Johannesburg on 15 March. Executives from two organisations, Hyundai Automotive South Africa (Hyundai SA) and Jurgens Ci, shared their experiences of how they responded to the difficult circumstances they faced.

The types of adversity that the two companies faced were different. Jurgens Ci was confronted with significant conflict in management-employee relationships, a factory which burnt down, and a decline in sales which necessitated a 10% reduction in employee numbers.

In Hyundai SA’s case, the company was faced with the year-on-year decline in new car sales, an exchange rate not in its favour, fierce competition in an industry where all vehicles are of high quality, and a negative organisational culture.

There is a natural tendency in difficult conditions to cut spending and batten down the hatches, but both Hyundai SA and Jurgens Ci elected to do the opposite.

They chose to rather invest in their people and to use the Legitimate Leadership framework as an enabler to change management-employee relationships, build trust in the leadership of the enterprise, develop leaders’ ability to lead, and engage employees’ willingness to go above-and-beyond in the pursuit of the organisations’ objectives.

As a result, Jurgens Ci was able to get back the trust relationship with its staff and engender a “how do we fix this?” mindset rather than an attitude of “what’s in this for me?” The conclusion of Bradley Salters, Jurgens Ci’s managing director, was twofold: firstly, that it is much easier to cope with difficult times when you have a workforce which is engaged and on your side; secondly, to get where you want to go, you have to help others to get where they are going.

In the words of Masenyane Molefi, human resources director of Hyundai SA, “culture beats strategy for breakfast but real culture change takes 3-5 years”.

After 18 months of a project with Legitimate Leadership, Hyundai SA has some pockets of excellence but has still to achieve a critical mass of leaders who can solicit the willingness of their people to truly go the extra mile. Hyundai SA is currently measuring the impact to date of the care and growth intervention on shifting the culture from “taking to giving” and determining how best to sustain the momentum it has gained.

In a Legitimate Leadership project for a retail group, a local dealership was headed by a man who was always people-inclined, according to his subordinates. From the start of the Legitimate Leadership intervention, he found himself able to easily accept what it was advocating.

However, no-one is perfect, and this man had the fault that he was somewhat of “a control freak”. Over the years he had implemented a lot of rules, controls and paperwork in the dealership.

From left to right: Masenyane Molefe (Hyundai SA), Wendy Lambourne (Legitimate Leadership) and Bradley Salters (Imperial Group).


As told by a senior operations manager.

We started using “Care and Growth” in the USA about 5 years ago. “Care and Growth” is really about changing yourself and changing your team, and to achieve this it is important to have a clear sense of purpose.


If you decide to embark on care and growth with your team, make sure you have a clear “why” behind what you are doing.

The main reason we were successful in introducing “Care and Growth”, and getting individuals to change their behavior, was because we had a sense of purpose.

As a management team, we had many discussions about the kind of site and culture we wanted. We decided to ask what could be done to create a culture which would encourage the behaviours we were looking for.

We spoke to someone who had experience in the implementation of “Care and Growth,” we had some initial training, and then we went back to our site to decide how to implement it locally.



By Tony Flannigan, Organizational Development and Talent Management Director, Process Technologies Division, Johnson Matthey.

It’s that time of year again when we have to set people’s objectives! What is a good objective based on? Results? Goals? Inputs?

The answer is: a good performance objective should be about the contribution a person makes to a result.

Just to clarify language terms. What is the difference between Responsibilities and Accountabilities? Responsibilities tend to be set top down and are the shared goals or targets of the organisation. Accountabilities are unique to each person and are about the person’s contribution to the result.



By Tony Flannigan, Organizational Development and Talent Management Director, Process Technologies Division, Johnson Matthey.

Contribution is assessed against a standard by watching the game and can therefore be above, on or below standard. The standard is therefore critical in defining a good contribution and can only be set by the leader. The standard should be the highest possible that the individual is capable of at their stage of maturity and experience. Nothing less than excellence at their level should be set by a leader who wants their team to be the best they can possibly be because not only are they likely to achieve the result, but they will often exceed it.

Results or outcomes are measured against a desired target and can therefore be above, on, or below, target.



By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership and motivational speaker, addressing a designers’ conference in the USA 


Humans are social animals and our very survival depends on our ability to form communities to form cultures.

What is a community, a culture? It’s a group of people with a common set of values and beliefs; so is a country – it should be a group of people with a common set of values and beliefs. Likewise a company should be a group of people with a common set of values and beliefs.

When we are surrounded by people who believe what we believe something remarkable happens: trust emerges.

Trust is a distinctly human feeling. We all have friends who are total screw-ups and we still trust them.

Trust is not a checklist. Simply doing everything you say you’re going to do does not mean people inherently trust you; it just means you’re reliable.

We need trust. When we’re surrounded by people who believe what we believe and trust starts to emerge – we trust them and they trust us – we’re more willing to take risks, we’re more willing to experiment (which requires failure). We’re more willing to explore and go somewhere that no one has ever gone before with the confidence that if we fail those within our community, those who we trust and who trust us, they will look after us while we’re gone, will pick us up when we fall over, help us when we’re hurt. Our very survival depends on it.

We’re not good at everything; we’re not good by ourselves. If you have to go and fight a sabre-toothed tiger by yourself, odds are it’s not going to go well. But if we go out as a group, we’re pretty amazing because we all have our strengths.

We also all have our weaknesses but the goal is not to fix our weaknesses, it is to amplify our strengths and surround ourselves with people who can do what we can’t do.

But it’s not just based on skills and experience; it’s based on what you believe it’s based on.

Simply being good at something and having somebody else who is good at what you’re not good at does not mean you will trust each other. The sense of trust comes from the sense of common values and common beliefs

Say you come from New York. When you go to Los Angeles and you meet someone from New York, you greet them and you are best friends. Likewise when you go to France, if you hear someone with an accent from your country.

This is because when you’re surrounded by people who don’t believe what you believe, when you’re in a strange environment where you don’t feel comfortable, you look for anyone who may share some of the same values and beliefs that you have, and you start to form a bond with them simply because you know that they have a basic understanding of how you grew up, of the things that you care about.

The same is true when we go to work. We want to go to work with people who understand us and believe what we believe – have a similar view of the world.

This has nothing to do with their opinions and the differences that we share – that’s good, that’s called diversity and it is an advantage in problem-solving because with it we can all look at the same thing from different angles and come up with solutions.

What I’m talking about is why we should help each other in the first place in what are we are in pursuit of.

Now the question is: what creates that sense of values and beliefs, what creates that sense of trust? We know how to find people who believe what we believe because our survival depends on it. If I ask you to go out in the street and find people who believe what you believe you know exactly what to do. You’re going to strike up conversations, you’re going to start talking to people and realise you have a good feeling about them. Sometimes it’s quick, sometimes it’s slow but we know how to do it – it’s called making friends, dating, networking – and we have the innate ability to do it.

The problem is it’s not scalable – you’re the only one who has that gut feeling. But if you know the signs to look for, it’s easy to spot simply because those people have sign or a symbol, they have something they’re giving off that says something about who they are and what they believe when you are standing on that Paris metro. The accent you heard is a symbol, a sign.

Though you don’t know these people, you trust they will save you – or give you a good reference to a restaurant.

It’s also why you will believe a credible friend’s recommendation when you buy a TV.

We don’t trust everyone, we trust people from within our community.

But we have to know what to look for. Every single piece of communication we make, every decision we make in our lives as individuals or as organizations is a piece of communication – it is our way of saying something about who we are and what we believe.

This is why authenticity matters; this is why you have to say and do the things you actually believe because the things you say and do are symbols of who you are – and we look for those symbols, because our very survival depends on it.

If you say what you believe and you do what you believe you attract people who believe what you believe.

If you had to go to your friends and say ‘how would you like me to dress so that you liked me better, how do you want me to address you, how do you want me to speak so that you like me more?’ Your friends would look at you funny and tell you to just be yourself, because that’s why they like you.

Now think about what we do in industry and in market research. We go and ask the customers what style we should speak to them in; how should we decorate ourselves; what kind of things they are drawn to – so if we can do those things they will like us more. It’s ridiculous!

Organizations should say and do the things they actually believe and they will attract people who believe what they believe.

If they choose to lie, at the slightest hint that they might be lying, cynicism sets in and people start saying ‘I’m not sure I can trust these guys because there’s not a lot of consistency in what they say and do which means they can’t have a very strong belief’. That is, they are not authentic.

The entire process of asking other people who we should be – positioning studies – is inauthentic.

People put Harley-Davidson logos on their bodies to say something about who they are. Did you ever see anybody with a with a Mac laptop who had a sticker over that shining Apple?

But there is no Procter & Gamble logo tattooed on anybody’s body.

Regarding the spirit of generosity, if we’re willing to give to the person next to us it’s amazing but they will be willing to give to us. Again, our very survival depends on this. I hate the whole self-help industry because how can you be happy with the five steps to follow to be a millionaire or the seven steps that you need to get the career that – with me, me, me.

What about helping the guy next to you with the five steps, or to lose some weight?

At work, you can be happy because you did things you can be proud of and fulfilled by –when you do something for someone else. It’s the only way we get that feeling.

Statistics say that over ninety percent of people don’t feel fulfilled by the work they do – it’s not because of the job or the benefits; it is because we don’t help each other anymore. We sit in our cubes and we work and we don’t put ourselves out there to help somebody else. Generosity is doing something for someone else expecting nothing in return.

Mother nature has given us this feeling that when we do something for someone else to encourage us to do it.

Sex feels good so that we can procreate more; the same applies here for that sense of fulfilment.

I don’t care how good your design is, if you don’t understand people you don’t understand business. We are social animals we are human beings and our survival depends on our ability to form trusting relationships.