A roller coaster year...
Since 1994 the South African nation has achieved so much in some areas, but so little in others. We have much to be proud of, but our country still needs a great deal of hard work and learning. The past year was a “tipping point” for many South Africans - they realised South Africa will never be the same again.
In our 2016 year-end message we wrote about the so-called “land between”, a desert experience and a time of hardship that challenges us at various levels. While uncomfortable, the “land between” can also be fertile ground for reflection, personal growth and for developing new perspectives, beliefs and habits.
2017 has certainly been a year of reflection, more so than 2016. We need a grander vision for our country, we need a different mindset to address the legacies of the past and build a united future.
So, what can leaders do?
We need a different level of leadership thinking
Albert Einstein said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
Lorenzo Fioramonti, a political economist at the University of Pretoria and a proponent of the so-called wellbeing economy, says: “The pursuit of economic growth worldwide often results in more losses than gains, exacerbating inequality in societies. As long as we pursue this model of growth we’ll remain off sync with the real issues – climate change, poverty and inequality.
In an environment where economic growth is declining a new “recipe” is required. Rather than crying about low growth, we should have a conversation about how we can optimise the resources we already have. Countries should rather start focusing on new indicators that track human wellbeing, health and education. This could be the beginning of a new development paradigm.
Our culture of consumption is self-destructive. We preach doing things in moderation, yet when it comes to economic policy we consume as much as possible and we celebrate countries that excel at this consumption. As an alternative, we should place humans and nature at the forefront of our economic objectives. We need an economy that empowers people; we need 'pro-sumers' rather than consumers – people that produce and consume in different ways.”
Lorenzo’s arguments resonate with our thinking at Marathon and they could be a pathway to overcoming South Africa’s challenges. As a country, we will never have enough resources to address the inequalities of the past.
We should do what we can with what we have instead of complaining about what we cannot do with what we do not have.
Such an approach combined with the spirit of unity (“gees”) we experienced in the 1995 World Cup Rugby and 2010 Soccer World Cup, could make South Africa a place of greater well-being and more opportunity, especially for the poor.
Just imagine what could happen if every business and government leader focussed on only three things i.e. tracking and tackling the systematic improvement of the wellbeing, health and education of their workforce or citizens. We should all lead in this way within our sphere of influence.
A big thank you
In times of low growth, we understand the value of loyal clients and supporters. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all. Without you we do not have a business, nor will we be able to live our grander vision of realising potential and making a difference.
Momentum at Marathon
2017 has been a year of exciting developments at Marathon.:
- Marathon Consulting entered into a Joint Venture agreement with SIT an international consultancy specialising in innovation, with its headquarters in Israel.
- Marathon Financial Services
- Marathon Capital has bought a 25% stake in Incon Health. Incon provides a range of occupational health, employee assistance and executive health services to a number of listed clients, nationally.
- We re-branded our assets & liability insurance business, Nuvision Insurance Brokers, to Marathon Insure.
- We founded Marathon Wealth, a Family Office Wealth Manager.
- We founded Marathon Finance, an end-to-end financial management services provider, that supports entrepreneurs with real-time information via cloud technology.
Lastly, the Marathon Group will be moving offices in mid 2018. We have bought new offices in Springfield Estate, right next to our current operations.
When you need a trusted advisor and partner to share your load, the Marathon team is ready to run with you. We know we can add value and help you on this journey. Please call us for coffee, visit our offices or www.marathongroup.co.za
Have a memorable, happy, restful and safe festive season.
Thank you for running with us!
About the author(s)
Alwyn Rossouw, Marathon directors and team.