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‘We’ve made our biggest mistakes in hiring people’

Insights from the managing director of SA’s second oldest, premier wine estate.

Deetlefs is not only a highly-respected, multiple award winning, 8th generation family-owned wine estate – it’s also a nearly 200 year-old business. The current custodian of the Deetlefs Wine Group, managing director Kobus Deetlefs, started working in the family business alongside his father in 1988. Today this Deetlefs son is held in high esteem in the rarified world of wine, and more recently has been on an ambitious business mission to export more than 80% of Deetlefs wines to the rest of the world.

Despite his amiable demeanour, he is clearly a man of steely resolve, as he has succeeded admirably in staking the Deetlefs’ claim in international markets. However the success has not come without mistakes. Interestingly, he confesses that some of the biggest mistakes made in this family business, were in the hiring of people. Even though he and his management team were not averse to psychometric testing and thorough screening of candidates. In fact on the contrary, he maintains that they have spent more than their fair share of time on the profile analysis merry-go-round. Ultimately though, his experiences (and failures in this department) taught him some valuable lessons. In this Quick Insight Video, extracted from a full length face-to-face interview, he reveals why he is no longer impressed by people who do their jobs well, or people who have extensive technical knowledge, and which one characteristic he values most in potential employees.

Watch the full length interview here.

In partnership with FNB, Moneyweb presents this bespoke leadership video series with top business people. The interview draws 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.

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