I have just come back from Billund, Denmark where I spent some time with the leaders of LEGO. Here is what I learnt.

My journey in competitive sports, activities and even in business has taught me one-thing: you are either the target that everyone is chasing or you are no-where.

Are you living the kind of life that makes you the target & possibly envy of everyone or were you simply part of the crowd. I have had the privilege of winning the world championship in public speaking. Each time I get up on stage and speak that makes me a target – and I love that!

So how to great leaders achieve this?

 1. Dump Mediocrity

The most important part of being a leader is that you must get people to give of their best, even when they don’t see how they can rise above their current performance levels. That means you’ve got to raise the performance bar and then ( and this is the true test) perform at that level consistently. This is because most people are programmed to think and believe that their benign level of performance is the only level at which they can consistently perform.

2. Be Attentive. Be Disciplined

Greatness exists in the details. Great leaders, entrepreneurs, business people, partners, spouses, parents (I have recently come to learn) are made through their ability to obsess over the details. Simply, they must detail-oriented to have certain clarity of thought and systematic mental process of processing & dealing with issues.

Discipline is not the enemy of enthusiasm. Most leaders seem to think that to enforce a culture of “disciplined execution” you must curb people’s enthusiasm. Not so. Enthusiasm – correctly harnessed – can be a real strategic advantage. Be disciplined in your approach. That’s how you achieve truly magical results.

3. Embrace Excellence

I don’t understand people that tell me “Excellence is hard”. I was sitting in an Audit Committee meeting for one of the companies we own through our investment business and a manager reported to us that our “measure of excellence was to rigid and unforgiving”. What! Needless to say that this individual is on their way out.

Excellence is about about being unforgiving in the pursuit of greatness. The challenge with many leaders is that they have forgotten to insist that their people be excellent in everything they do. That means they must be driven to be the best and that they must look to themselves for inspiration.

4. Be Consistent

Honestly, all the things mentioned above, done only for a moment serve nothing but to simply create great short-spurts in performance. The true test of leadership is to enable their people to be consistently excellent, consistently attentive & that they consistently rebuke mediocrity.


Vusi Thembekwayo
Speaker. Investor. Disruptor