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Book review: Car industry icon’s pointers

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to Brand Pretorius - In the Driving Seat

In the Driving Seat – Lessons in Leadership
by Brand Pretorius (Tafelberg, R195)

 

Brand Pretorius, a respected business leader and motor industry veteran, discusses matters such as “the attitude and skills required for effective leadership; inspirational leadership in action; leadership in service excellence and successful marketing; how business leaders can contribute to a better South Africa”, and “the challenges leaders will face in the future and how they need to adapt”.

He notes that we can be proud of good progress and many achievements but right- fully disappointed about some concerning developments.

He emphasises it would be foolhardy to wait for the government single-handedly to deliver a better life for all. It is not going to happen: “We cannot afford to delegate our future only to politicians. We should rather take charge of our destiny, accept co-responsibility and do whatever we can to move the country forward.”

An important starting point would be to strengthen the relationship between the government, business, and civil society as well as labour, he writes.

“We currently have one of the highest incidences of strikes in the world and lose millions of working days every year due to workers downing tools. Labour productivity fell to the lowest level in 40 years. Such a situation is unacceptable.”

Business leaders should focus on the following priorities: Despite some concerns we should promote a positive vision for South Africa and act as ambassadors; to ensure longer-term sustainability we need to play an even more active role in the economic transformation of South Africa; we should set the right example in terms of governance and business ethics; we need to develop our human capital to the very best of our ability; we need to be deliberate in our efforts to develop the transformational leaders of tomorrow; we need to demonstrate our commitment to all the sustainability imperatives; we have to develop world-class businesses that can create jobs, generate wealth and achieve success that is sustainable.

Pretorius discusses each of these priorities in detail.

By following these steps, he says, we will provide true leadership.

The principles and practices of effective leadership are clear; the challenge lies in the successful implementation and execution.

Anyone interested in helping to make South Africa a better country and in looking forward to a successful future should get hold of this excellent book written by an expert who has had years of leadership experience in business, notably as managing director of Toyota South Africa Marketing from 1988 to 1995 and as head of the McCarthy Group. He played a pivotal role in saving McCarthy from bankruptcy in the early 2000s.

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