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Gary Kirsten’s Tips On Leading A Successful Life

As a Protea cricket player, Gary Kirsten loved the game. As an international coach, he discovered that leadership is about more than motivating a team to win. It’s about leading a successful life, which starts with understanding and working towards a greater good.

Nadine Todd




Harry Truman said that it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit. This has always resonated with me. It’s the essence of teamwork, and what you can accomplish when you work together.

Becoming India’s coach in 2008 pretty much fell into my lap

I had long ago decided that leadership wasn’t for me. Even as a Protea I just wanted to play, and had even resigned my vice-captaincy. After I retired I set up a cricket academy. And then I received an email from Sunil Gavaskar, asking if I’d consider coaching the Indian cricket team. I thought it was a hoax and ignored it. And then a second email arrived. They were actually interested in chatting to me, even though I had exactly zero hours of coaching experience.

Related: SA’s Very Own Legend Francois Pienaar On MAD Leadership And Paying It Forward

The Indian cricket team had some of the best players in the world, and yet they didn’t function as a cohesive unit. This played a part in why they were not doing as well on the international stage as they should have.

With the help of Paddy Upton, it took us two series (which we lost) to realise that our role wasn’t to tell them how to play better — they were excellent players. It was to help them to become a team. We had one more series (against Australia) to prove ourselves, or we’d be out.

I started by asking the whole team to write down on a piece of paper one commitment to the team over the course of the series. What will your commitment be from tomorrow for this team? It was a turning point for us.

It was when each player stopped functioning as an individual, and started working towards a greater good. The fact that it was a commitment that needed to be honoured just made it even stronger. I wasn’t telling them what to do. They were choosing what their best contribution to the team could be. They were taking ownership over the team’s success.

It was a lesson that shaped the kind of leader I wanted to be: I needed to open my ears and shut my mouth. I needed to listen to my team, understand who they were as people, and then assist them. We played some outstanding test cricket over the next 24 months, losing just one match. After the 2011 World Cup, my contract came to an end.

Just before returning to South Africa, Sachen Tendulkar’s wife thanked me for some of the happiest times in his career. He had told me at the beginning that what he was looking for in a coach was a friend, and that was what I had become. Knowing that I’d made a personal difference to many of the Indian players meant more than winning a world cup to me.

Related: Starbucks Coffee Is All About Culture… For A Reason

Leadership is a journey, and not a goal

I believe you need to create an environment where people have the times of their lives, and achieve great things because of it. To do that, you need to have a set of values and non-negotiables that you live by, and that you instil in your team.

This is more important than a result. As a player I was willing to bend the rules. As a leader I realised that how we operate and what we are about is more important than just winning. A successful life is less about what you do, and more about who you are.

Helping others to become the best they can be is a privilege and a responsibility. Focus on commitment: What is yours? What is each member of your team’s? It takes courage to make the right commitments and then follow through. To help people do this is the greatest call of a leader.


25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton



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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.






Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect




Vital Stats

It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.


“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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