10Strategy is 10%. Execution is 90%
“The key to success is being able to take an idea and execute it.”
- Ivan Epstein is the founder of Softline, which was acquired by Sage Group in 2003.
- He is currently CEO Sage AAMEA (Africa, Australia, Middle East, Asia).
“Even though I can admit that I work six days a week, it’s still about the quality of your time, not how long you work. Never procrastinate, it’s a complete waste of time.
“The key to success is being able to take an idea and execute it. Strategy is only 10% of it. The other 90% of success lies in your ability to execute your great ideas. I’ve made a point of always surrounding myself with highly intelligent people who get the job done.”
“We don’t waste time. The art is in the execution. As a company we have always moved quickly. My MDs report directly to me, but they also have ownership of their autonomous business units, which gives them a sense of urgency.”
Read more: 10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing
9Start every day with a fist pump
“I’ve always believed that the first person you need to build a reputation with is yourself.”
- Marcel Klaassen is the Executive Head of Growth for FNB Business Banking.
You can’t project outward confidence if you’re trying to fix what’s inside. Your foundation is self-belief. I give myself constant affirmations that I’m doing well. I start the day with a double fist pump. It might sound silly, but try it one day. It’s an instant boost to your mood and confidence. I also make a big deal of my personal victories. I’ll even high five myself. It’s important to celebrate being true to yourself.”
“I’m also a big believer of the ‘crush it’ philosophy. Instead of trying to do everything well, give one thing your absolute all. Be the best at it and always be taking what you do to the next level. Focus on what you’re really good at and crush it.”
Read more: Marcel Klaassen’s full story here
8Rigorously debate big business decisions
“Some of the most amazing people I work with give me a sense that ‘it is possible.’”
- Adrian Gore is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Discovery Group.
Adrian Gore always draws on the collective input of a strong team.
“Discovery’s Exco meets on average for seven hours a week every Monday. We go through everything. Sometimes it’s a bun fight. We don’t stick to the agenda. Some things we’ll spend three hours on, other things we won’t get to. There’s rigorous debate and arguments, but it means that every week 20 really smart people are all thinking and providing input.”
“No one is making buy/sell decisions. Everything is debated until consensus is reached. Reaching consensus is the path I prefer, even though I’m actually an impatient and frustrated person. I’ve got a thin skin. I don’t take criticism well. But because of that, I don’t like to command because I don’t like the push-back that I get. So I far prefer consensus.”
7Embrace organisation – even if it’s not your natural inclination
“I’m naturally an extremely disorganised person. But I’ve had to learn how to be organised. You can’t run a business if you procrastinate or you’re disorganised – ever.”
- Asher Bohbot is the founder of EOH, which has an annual turnover of R5 billion.
“I’m naturally an extremely disorganised person. I’m the kind of person who would put off doing things until tomorrow, or do them at the last minute. But I’ve had to learn how to be organised. Being disorganised in business causes you stress and embarrassment. It’s something I had to work hard at because it isn’t my natural inclination, but having structure to my day reduces my stress levels and enables me to be maximally effective. You can’t run a business if you procrastinate or you’re disorganised – ever.”
“This carries through to everything I do. I even try to respond immediately to as many e-mails as I can. I don’t like leaving things hanging. In my experience, queueing things in my head only causes stress. So if I can reply with a definitive answer, I do. Then that item is out of the way and off my plate.”
Read more: Business Lessons from Asher Bohbot, Founder of EOH
6Tech and multiple screens maximise productivity
“I have four screens on my desk, both at the office and at home, and I find it’s a huge time-saver.”
- Kumaran Padayachee is the CEO of Spartan Technology Rentals.
“One screen is my calendar: It lists my appointments, reminders and lists, and gives me a constant perspective on my day, week and month. The second screen is Outlook, and the third is Explorer, with multiple tabs open, including our Intranet, Google and LinkedIn. The fourth screen is my current tasks screen — anything I’m working on.”
“No one device can do everything. Once you realise that, the decision to have multiple devices is an easy one. For me, productivity is key, and so I want to always be working with the right tech for the job. Desktop PCs, tablets and smartphones all have their place. Microsoft Exchange links them all together, and so anything I do on one is automatically updated across the rest.”
Read more: Kumaran Padayachee’s full story here
5Work during your most productive times
“I’ve learnt my most productive hours are from 05:30 to 08:30 in the morning.”
- Divan Botha is a corporate veteran, the owner of popular coffee shop The Whippet, and presenter on KykNET’s Winslyn.
“Everyone is different and experiences peak productivity at different times. Some people are night owls, others get loads done at the crack of dawn. Be aware of when you’re getting different kinds of work done. Do you think best earlier in the day? Are you able to concentrate the longest late in the afternoon? Do your neurons only wake up when the sun goes down”
“Develop a work routine that works around your peak productivity, rather than trying to force your productivity into the traditional eight-to-five workday.”
Read more: Divan Botha Believes the Key to a Healthy Business Starts with a Healthy Entrepreneur
4When it comes to e-mail management, it boils down to three choices
“Keeping on top of your emails with a one-touch policy.”
- Adrian Gore is the founder and CEO of Discovery.
- In 2013 the company listed operating profits of R762 million, and his worth was estimated at R2,2 billion.
Adrian Gore has a one-touch policy when it comes to e-mail management.
“Rather than browsing through your mails and becoming overwhelmed by the pile by the end of the day, week, month or year, do one of three things with every new mail: You either respond to the e-mail so that it’s dealt with, you delegate it to a person who will be able to complete the task, or you delete it.”
Read more: SA Dragon’s Den Judges here
3How to keep time on your side
“I have a daily seven-minute huddle with my team, and each day someone different presents the brief.”
- Yossi Hasson is the co-founder of Synaq, a company listed as one of Forbes’ Top 20 Tech Start-ups for 2012.
- In 2011, Dimension Data bought a 50,1% stake in the business.
According to Yossi Hasson, a fortune can be done in a small space of time, but tasks will extend to the full time allocated to them.
“Seven minutes can cover a lifetime of information if the structure is there. The time limit isn’t about being obsessive about time-keeping, but forcing people to be more concise and structured in their thinking,” he says.”
Read more: Yossi Hasson on Mastering the Art of Productivity
2Everyone is different. Don’t fight it, leverage it
“Getting the most from your staff is about working with what you have, and leveraging it.”
- Miranda Isaakidis is the co-founder of high-end spa supplies company Indulgence Spa Products, and she is the Johannesburg Chapter Chair for The Women Presidents Organisation.
“I once had an assistant who possessed none of the skills required to perform her job. I complained to my manager, but rather than receive sympathy, I was told I was responsible for her non-performance, and that I should look at my management skills. That was a huge shock.”
“I went back to the drawing board and re-assessed her skills. She never learnt to spell-check properly – I had to keep doing that myself – but I discovered she had this extraordinary ability for getting me any appointment I wanted, which was far more valuable and useful for my position at the time. Had I stuck to insisting she brush up her word-processing skills, I would never have been able to take my work to the next level by booking the right meetings.”
Read more: The Win-Win Mindset Of Miranda Isaakidis
“If someone hasn’t left their desk in days, I tell them to get up and get out. Go see what’s happening in the world and do something different.”
- Mandi Fine is the CEO of multiple award-winning Fine Healthcare Group, a strategic healthcare marketing and advertising agency.
At Fine Healthcare Group (FHC), they believe that award-winning marketing ideas form everywhere except at your desk.
“We have a philosophy of ‘white space’, which is essential for good ideas.”
“We give our staff the time and space they need to be rejuvenated and creatively energised, so that they bring their best ideas and energy to the office. It doesn’t matter where your work gets done, so long as you’re meeting your KPIs.”
Read more: Mandi Fine On Why You Have To Make Some White Space