Why do we exist, what is wrong with schools and business – Ricardo Semler

If you watch one TED talk ever it must be this one. Other than being an out right genius and a fantastic business success, this man gets life like no one else I’ve ever witnessed. Why wait until you are dying to do all the things you ever wanted to do? Why not start doing them now. Why are we married to our companies?

Truly inspiring and thought provoking. This is a wonderful start to the answer of how do we spend our lives.
Don’t start creating obstacles,just start thinking how we can live better, work better and be better, then implement from there.


Does it all boil down to education, or should that be management?

Every argument or discussion I have ever had on how to improve a country the quote that people seem to fixate on is “it all comes back to education”. This is my argument against that statement.

Firstly unless you are in education it completely dis-empowers you, what are you to contribute to your solution? You pass the problem along.

Many people advocate the incorporation of the capital punishment as a deterrent to violent crime, this ethically does not sit well with me. Send a message they say. I find this deeply troubling, in one sentence you say that murder is wrong, but then in the next breath you state that in order to deal with murder you want to legalize certain forms of murder. You want to allow people to pass judgment on life and death, weigh up all the pros and cons of ending someone’s existence, sounds like premeditated murder to me. It is an ethical nightmare. The trends show that those who have experienced violent upbringings are more likely to grow up to perpetuate those same crimes. To me the most obvious mechanism to reduce violent crime is to break this cycle.

You pass the problem along again unless you are the judge or executioner.

Conversely my concluding remarks on those subjects are usually that it all comes down to improving management or effective management. Leadership is so crucial to the correct functioning of any country. Where leaders are dynamic and dedicated I believe that a country can only improve. (barring dictators, there are lines between genius and madness). I believe that my perspective empowers and allows people to take ownership of improving the status quo.

How does it work?

In it’s most base form the challenge is: changing how a huge number of people experience life.

This takes real management (political will and leadership). You need to co-ordinate with the specialists that form the plans, you need to create buy-in to these plans. You need to manage expectations of all involved parties, budgeting, construction, education. All of these cannot be integrated without decent oversight and accountable management.

Throwing money at education has not worked in South Africa, schooling is not education, employers are not hungry for school leavers, they are hungry for hard workers, people that are inspired to better themselves and their situation. People that want to learn more, learn and implement their training. Be it brick laying or advanced mathematics. Keeping these people engaged at work is also about management.

Good management is leadership, setting an example placing boundaries, setting expectations defining the mission plan.

Managers need to be measurable too, they have to set milestones that they need to achieve and they need to be accountable to these goals, just as any CEO is held account to their board. I believe that an improvement in education would be as a result of a better functioning system. Surely where children can read and learn at night because the lights stay on and they are safely tucked away in warm waterproof building the uptake of knowledge increases exponentially!

When people have options other than crime, when they have belongings and people that treat them well they will not be so quick to throw it all away on some terrible short sighted deed. When detention for crime is seen as a way to rehabilitate and reflect on ones transgressions and improve and become a better person.

Better management breeds confidence and investor confidence is essential to job creating and growth in the economy. The rules have to be fair for all and enforced equally. Leadership needs to be accountable to the functioning of the entire system. If the system is in disarray management cannot fix a problem by blaming a past manager. They need to analyse the situation and set out a road map, this plan then needs to be actively nurtured and supported and reported on.

I don’t mean to say that the entire burden rests on the managers shoulders, but if that is where the praise will be lumped then that is where most of the performance must be measured.

The support staff of this vision need to believe they are heading in the right direction, they need to be motivated to power this vision. Before that however, as is true in business, they need to want to work at it. South Africa as an example struggles with active citizenry, it is always easier to sit back and complain but if you want to see an improvement you need to get up and ask how can I help? You need to offer feedback, everyone is accountable to and for their own future.

Self-management guided by examples from your leadership is an essential part of forming a safer, more prosperous society. In the same way as a few individuals can drain the enthusiasm out of any movement, those few individuals that give of their energy and enthusiasm can encourage those around them to do the same propagating energy.

This is part of my contribution I want to start these conversations, not about the “misbehavior” of parliament but about what each and every one of us want out of life. What roads we are prepared to walk together to see everyone to the destination they deserve for the effort they are prepared to put in to raising everyone up.

We are not owed anything from this life a friend recently told me, now I’ve been told this many times before but it sunk in this time. We get what we work for. Relationships, social cohesion, country. We need examples to look up to we need management we need leadership. We have to define what that looks like to us.

If we don’t see what we want held up as leadership then we need to stand up and be that leadership, worst case scenario everyone disagrees with you, you argue and discuss ideas and you all grow. Best case scenario you inspire others to stand up with you, one small voice amplifies and and spreads and you make a contribution.