GREAT is the operative word


The world as we once knew it has changed. The way things work now is totally different from the way they did in the days of our forefathers. So we need to manage and lead this space we’re in differently as well.

Some believe leaders are born, and the world will, like it has in the past, never be short of people to rule, as they believe leadership will surface as part of a natural process. If that would be the case, as for future leadership we have nothing to worry about. Our ship will always have a captain.

Others are of the opinion that leaders are made. Strategists who believe this are increasingly raising the question: Where will we find tomorrow’s leaders? And I sense a nervousness that, in this modern world where, unlike in the past, we can’t leave anything to chance, they fear a lost and rudderless ship blindly sailing unknown rough seas.

As Planet Leadership shifts into ‘final preparation mode’ for the annual Tomorrow’s Leaders Convention (TLC), I realise that TLC has such an important contribution to make when it comes to promoting, empowering and inspiring our young future leaders. I have often asked myself how valid this question is and have come to realise that it’s not important at all. Simply because there will always be followers and therefore there will always be leaders. But the question we should all really concern ourselves with is: Where will we find tomorrow’s GREAT leaders?

This year, as we celebrate 20 years into democracy, TLC will once again be a huge injection into the veins of future leadership in SA. The fact that so many companies and individuals are prepared to invest in promising young leaders by supporting them to attend events such as TLC says to me that our current leaders realise the need to develop our future leaders.

There will always be people who would want to lead – but does it mean they are great leaders? Of the uncountable leaders the world has produced: Adolf Hitler, Nelson Mandela, Richard Branson, Julius Malema, Mark Shuttleworth, Ken Lay (Enron) and J. Arthur Brown (former Fidentia boss) – they were (and are) not all GREAT leaders. In the end, it becomes the responsibility of current leadership to ensure the real talent surfaces through the ranks and reaches great heights.

To everyone attending TLC: I trust that you will be freshly charged and inspired by our dynamic lineup of some of South Africa’s most brilliant and talented young minds – and that conversations started at TLC 2014 will contribute to GREAT leadership in not too many years from now.

Lindsay King

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