When the CEO of RMI Investment Managers was about seven years old, her father put the entire family through a Peter Drucker management course. This had the effect of teaching her to focus on her desired outcomes from a very young age – and complemented her father’s teachings about finding her inner drum and marching to it at all costs. Contrary to expectations, this hyper-focus on goals and one’s own drum did not lead to self-absorption on her part.
In this refreshingly different full length leadership interview, Alida De Swardt reveals her approach to business development and the importance of simultaneous human capital development. She is big on self-actualisation within a business context. She also talks about picking your teams based not only on professional competence, but most importantly, on self-awareness.
One of the interesting issues De Swardt unpacks is the focus on the company’s bottom line. She’s a firm believer in professionals and entrepreneurs focusing on ‘what is motivating me, rather than what is scaring me’, which is a somewhat unusual approach, considering her line of business.
De Swardt also has an interesting take on diversity in mentoring. She has observed that many business leaders tend to mentor people who are carbon copies of themselves. Her advice to mentors may be challenging for some, but there is no doubt that, like everything she stands for, the ultimate outcome will be better business.
Moneyweb presents this bespoke leadership video series with top business people in partnership with FNB. The interviews draw on the person’s life, failures and the lessons they have learnt on their journey to the successful leadership positions they hold today.
Other business leaders share their stories here.