LYH68 Leadership Lessons from South Africa


Show Agenda

  • Featured Presentation: Leadership Lessons from South Africa

Featured Presentation

He [Nelson Madela] always made the point, if they say you must run, insist on walking.
If they say you must walk fast, insist on walking slowly.That was the whole point. We are going to set the terms.” — Neville Alexander, fellow prisoner

I had the opportunity to spend two weeks in South Africa in celebrating my 50th birthday. During the trip, we spent time in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg. We also crossed the border and spent a day in the Kingdom of Swaziland.

During my visit there with my family, we visited many of the most popular tourist attractions including:

During my visit, I gleaned five lessons that are important in life and in leadership.

  • Lesson #1: Your attitude not your circumstances determine your success
    • The Prisoners at Robbins Island transformed the place from a place of oppression to a place of education
  • Lesson #2: The brightest hope emerges from the darkest storms
    • What is now known as the Cape of Hope was originally called the Cape of Storms by the first Portuguese to sail its treacherous waters
  • Lesson #3: You, not your circumstances, define your turning point
    • Nelson Mandela chose to use his power to forgive rather than to rebel and in the process ushered in a new democratic South Africa
  • Lesson #4: Achievements from small to big may be more similar than different 
    • The small 2 foot 11-pound Dassie and the large African Elephant unbelievably share the same DNA
  • Lesson #5: You have to act differently at high altitude
    • At more than 5700 feet above sea level, Johannesburg has a higher altitude than Denver, the mile-high city

I’d love to hear your perspective on these five lessons from South Africa. Leave a comment.

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