Saturday, July 30, 2016


Author, broadcaster, columnist, and designer of Contribution Accounting©.

Jerry Schuitema was born in Benoni on the 22nd of January, 1944 as Jurjen Antonius Franciscus Schuitema.

He comes from gold mining stock with his father having spent most of his adult life underground in South African gold mines, and all of Jerry’s school years were lived in various mining camps, villages and towns. He worked for some months as an onsetter and two of his brothers worked in the industry. His elder brother, Berend Schuitema went into exile after a promising start to a gold mining career, to found the Anti-Apartheid movement in Holland.

Jerry matriculated at Milner High School, Klerksdorp in 1961. After his mining experience, he spent a year in Amsterdam to study, but limited funds forced him into a number of odd jobs before returning to South Africa in 1962. He completed his military call-up the following year.

He studied Economics, Political Science and History at the University of South Africa dropping out in the final year to concentrate on his journalist career. He completed the Senior Management Development programme at the Oxford Centre for Management Studies in 1983.

After a year of insurance underwriting, he joined the South African Broadcasting Corporation as a reporter in 1966. His reporting beats covered a wide field, but concentrated on Economic affairs. He went on to pioneer the establishment of the Economics Desk as a separate, specialist Reporting Unit within the SABC and became the SABC's first Economics Editor.

In March 1990, he established South Africa's first Specialist Developmental Communications consultancy.

Married to Kathleen Eveline in 1967. Widowed in 2004. Three children and seven grandchildren. Hobbies: Reading, and Do-it-yourself.


Designed and introduced most of the popular Economic slots on Radio and Television over two decades. These included:
·        "Radio Today’s” Economics report.
·        The lunch-time Radio Market Trends.
·        "Indicator" reports on TV.
·        The investment programme "Diagonal-Street" on TV1.
·        The Employee Reporting Programmes: "Egoli\Gauteng" on TV 2 & 3.
·        The Business report on Breakfast TV.
·        The economic Educational Programme: "Econovision”.

He has written on Economic subjects for popular and layman magazines and periodicals including:
Reader's Digest; Rapport; Mining Sun; Retail World; Black Enterprise Magazine. Management Today; The Chartered Accountant; HR Management; Convergence; The Star (Workplace); People Dynamics; HRHighway.
He has authored 4 books.

"Econosense” first published in 1990 simplified economic concepts for the layman but is now out of print. (Foreword by the former minister of Finance, the Hon Barend du Plessis reads: "The author needs little introduction .... as a polished communicator with a particular knack for simplifying complex economic issues.") “Value through Values” Published in 2007 examines values and ethics in business and economics and is more fully described below. “Empathy” and “Common Purpose; Common Fate” were published as e-books in 2015.

Mining (Onsetter); Insurance underwriter; Broadcasting and Economics journalism. Studied Management at Templeton College; Oxford University as part of the Rosholt Fellowship; and this included a fortnight sabbatical at Time Magazine, New York. Attended for coverage, many conferences including many annual conventions of leading Business and Labour representative organisations. Attended 10 annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Broadcasting career has ensured intense exposure to a wide variety of Economic and associated affairs, including financial, company, macro-economic, and labour issues.

·        1979. Sanlam Financial Reporting prize in the TV category.
·        1981. Sanlam Financial Reporting prize in the TV category;
·        1982. First winner of the Rosholt Fellowship in Executive Journalism;
·        1984. Sanlam Financial Reporting prize in the TV and Radio category;
·        1988. F A K Prestige Prize for his contribution to Afrikaans Economic reporting;
·        1988. SABC Management Artes Award for his contribution to enhancing Economic Awareness and promoting the concept of management accountability to employees in the public Media.
·        1990. Consumer Council Certificate for contribution to consumer awareness.

·        1976. Artes nomination: Coverage of the Swaziland Mineral Resource conference.
·        1979. Artes nomination: South Africa and the IMF.
·        1981. Artes nomination: 12 Months after the Carlton conference.
·        1982. Artes nomination: Gold: its role as money.
·        1987. Development Bank: Contribution to the enhancement of understanding of development issues.
·        1988. Artes Nomination: The Labour Communication crisis.
·        1990. Vanderbijlpark Afrikaanse Sakekamer. Contribution to Economic coverage in Afrikaans and coverage of AHI affairs.
·        1990. Minister of finance, Mr Barend du Plessis. "My association with him in more than a decade as Economics broadcaster, has convinced me of his indefatigable missionary zeal in enhancing economic awareness." (Foreword: "Econosense”.)

The conviction that the narrow profit driven company model is self-destructing and still covertly expresses labour as an exploitable commodity led to the development of the Market driven, Contribution Accounting© model, based on the powerful CARE AND GROWTH principles which have become the hall-mark of Schuitema Associates of which he was the principal founder after a business rescue of his brother Etsko's fledgling leadership consultancy. Etsko, and a partner were the co-founders. Together with the leadership work, and under Jerry Schuitema’s direction, Schuitema Associates was able to offer a comprehensive turnaround intervention based on growth as opposed to containment implied in conventional re-engineering. This work has been given much greater clarity and comprehensiveness under the new company Value through Values (Pty) Ltd and now in retirement as an independent counsellor.

Jerry Schuitema has done extensive research into the concept of employee communication and contextual economic communication as a natural extension of his commitment to the enhancement of Economic awareness. He first became interested in the subject with the realisation some years ago, that public broadcasting had a limited role to play in improving understanding of economic issues, and that far more could be achieved with a structured, educational approach on the work floor. His l2-week study period at the then Oxford Centre for Management Studies (now named "Templeton College"), gave him the opportunity to examine techniques of Employee Reporting and their achievement in Britain and Europe. He worked closely with the Unisa "Project Free Enterprise" team, and his concept of Employee Reporting has received special mention in their 1989 report on employee misconceptions.

He has also worked with the accounting profession, on content and presentation of relevant financial information for employee Accounting practices. He has also had four articles on the subject published in "Accountancy SA”.
He established the Employee Reporting programmes: Egoli\Gauteng on TV2\3 as a commitment to management’s public accountability to the employee, and these programmes were considered to be the first of their kind in a world where public accountability is assumed to be the sole domain of the shareholder. This pioneering effort has had highly favourable labour response and received a Special SABC Management Artes award.

The core of the employee communications work has crystallised into a single, powerful focus on Wealth Creation and value driven market principles. This theme has gained momentum and is rapidly being adopted by other actors in the field.
His public appearances in this regard include numerous writings; seminars and speeches, including those under the auspices of the Free Market Foundation, The National Productivity Institute and the Public Relations Institute of South Africa.
In 2003 he left Schuitema Associates to form the Value through Values group. In 2006 VtV (Pty) Ltd was taken over by Soul Circle (Pty) Ltd. His work has been applied at many South African companies such as South African Airways, Pick ‘n Pay, A.E.L., Tredcor, Sentrachem, Sasol, S.A.B., Momentum Life, Firstrand Group, Absa, NCP and small enterprises such as Empire Dairies and Midrand Panelbeaters.

The book, “Value through Values” examines the impact of value driven economic behaviour over a very broad front from individual success and contentment to country and company performance. The treatise shows the extent to which a change in behaviour could effect virtually all aspects of a collective, casting a new light on key issues such as ethics, governance, transparency, employee commitment, fortune sharing, accounting practices, investment, and sustainability.
In his foreword to the work, Pick ‘n Pay chairman Raymond Ackerman says:
“It really is a treatise on ‘Corporate Governance’, but Corporate Governance voluntarily implemented by Business Leaders to create a successful Company, a successful Economy and a vibrant country. It is a practical formula which just needs to have passion, clarity, and the heart to pursue it to the ultimate, thereby fulfilling the aims and objectives of the Company and its employees.

“I commend Jerry for putting this book together in such a meticulous and meaningful way. He has played a leading role in Business, and I think this pioneering work of his is not only timely, but deserves to be read and studied by Business Leaders and students in the years ahead”.

Other endorsements said:
"The one thing which stands out above all others during the couple decades I've known Jerry is the way he has inspired many of us to think deeply about ethics and values. And how we can use them to make a contribution in business and our daily lives. This manuscript will help his carefully considered ideas reach a wider audience. Jerry is usually ahead of the game. With this book, though, his timing is impeccable. Bravo."
Alec Hogg. Founder and Editor in Chief: Moneyweb Business News.

"It is a well written testament to Jerry’s humanity. I was moved beyond words by the introduction. People constitute Society and interact with each other in many different ways. Some interactions are positive and add to the common good and some are negative and diminish society. But it is always within the gift of the individual as to how he will interact.

So much of life is dominated by commercial interaction. The concepts of the smart deal, profit and value are absorbed at an early age and then acted upon for the rest of our lives especially in our dealings with others. Business is constituted by these very people - us - and it is we who choose its character and determine its predilection to add to the common good. It is this value in a Business Endeavour that will secure its legacy in Society and contribute mightily to a sustainable and coherent proposition for value creation for shareholders, employees, communities - for society as a whole. This book makes the case for this in a simple but powerful way."
Mick Davis. Former CEO Xtrata Mining and Resource Group.

“I have read this book with great interest, as it confirms what I believe good managers have always instinctively practiced. This is the insistence that moral values, such as honesty and integrity, rank equally with technical excellence in staff and client relationships to secure long-term sustainability.
Jerry Schuitema gives us methods of evaluating these values. It should help senior executives to select potential leadership candidates on their ability to foster common purpose and common fate in their companies. It should be good reading for such candidates."
Frank Aab (the late). Former Chairman, Concor Civil Engineering.

"I have always been impressed by Jerry Schuitema's writings. He has exhibited a deep understanding of the need to strike a proper balance between man as homo economicus, and the person who draws his or her inspiration and motivation in social and economic dealings from appropriate ethical values.”
Ali Allawi. Economist, Investment Banker, former Minister of Finance and Defence in the Iraqi Transitional Government, Author: The Occupation of Iraq. Winning the War, losing the peace.

As part of his employee communications and awareness campaigns, Jerry Schuitema collaborated with some of South Africa's leading employee training departments to develop in house training on business and company figures. This led to the design of his two flagship programmes, People and Wealth, and Inspired Service. The former had great influence on South African Entrepreneur, Ian Fuhr in his founding of the beauty franchise chain, Sorbet. In his book “Get that Feeling” he writes: “Through Jerry Schuitema’s People and Wealth programme, I learnt that business was nothing more than people serving people. Everything else flowed from that.” 

Jerry mostly received more than 90% good to excellent ratings on his talks and workshops. Feedback from these workshops bear testimony to the power of the message, his passion and the lasting impact he has on his audiences.

"I definitely have been inspired and have learnt something new about me. THANK YOU JERRY!"
"It is fantastic to get information from someone who has had so many experiences and to share it with us."
"Learned a lot and it has opened my eyes."
"This course is highly recommended to anybody and I think if our country can be run in this way of thinking we’ll be a lot better off!"
"Very good for me. Thank you very much!"
"There are a lot of unhappy people who need this workshop to put things into perspective."
"Jerry made me realise that there is nothing wrong with giving."
"Jerry made me see things in a different light."
"Jerry is excellent!"

·        Author of “Econosense” Southern Books. 1st Edition 1990. 2nd Edition 1998. Oxford University Press. (Econosense was prescribed reading at some Tertiary institutions, and recommended reading at others.)
·        Author of “Value through Values”. Thomas Griffel 2007.
·        Author of “Empathy; the power within” and
·        “Common Purpose; Common Fate: making business sense of Empathy” in 2015.
·        Writer for five years of the Reader’s Digest annual Personal Finance feature.
·        “Accounting Statements and Unemployment”. People Dynamics 1999.
·        “Going for Growth.” Productivity S.A. 1999. (Published under the name W. Lambourne.)
·        “The Care and Growth Business model”: Series of 4 articles for the Star: Workplace: 2001.
·        “Organisational Transformation Is Missing The Point!” Business Day 2000.
·        “The Value Added Statement: The case for its wider use and a sensible standard.” Series of 2 Articles. Accountancy S.A. 2001
·        “Tackling Unemployment through an African Economic Model”: Black Leadership 2000.
·        “The care and Growth Business Model”: Series of 10 Articles: Management Today 2001/2002.
·        “The Worker: Cost or Noble Contributor?” Labour Bulletin: 2001.
·        “Sustainability and Governance: To be Feared or Revered?” Convergence 2007.
·        “Ethics: Who is to Blame?” DE Kat 2007.
·        “Labour Unrest: A new Understanding of Business needed.” HRHighway 2007.
·        “Flexible Pay: Threat or Opportunity?” HRHighway 2007.
·        “The Fallacy of Figures”. HRHighway 2007.
·        Fortnightly Column for Moneyweb 2013-

Friday, July 29, 2016

Unemployment patchwork.

And missing the two critical patches of expectations and flexibility.

Employment statistics are becoming a recurring nightmare. The latest figures (see STATS SA report here) have again recorded a decline in employment in the non-agricultural formal sector of some 15 000 jobs., Forbes Magazine has listed South Africa’s official unemployment rate of 25.5% at the end of last year, as the highest in the world.

All of this is not intended to remind you of the bad dream, nor can it serve as soothing platitudes that things will be fine once we emerge from all of the events that have disturbed our serene slumber – such as the global recession, the collapse of commodity markets and demand for our primary exports, job cutting technology and a host of other developments out of our control. Not so helpful either are the constant flagellations by a number of experts and their media bullhorns on what can be done specifically, or “holistically” to stop the nightmare.

The latter is a much overused word implying that there is indeed some or other magic potion that can give us a restful night. Unemployment, and with it the other triplet siblings of poverty and inequality, is such a multi-faceted phenomenon that it does need many treatments aimed at both symptoms and causes. To be sure it is a patchwork approach, but short of an “unemployment state of emergency” mooted by Ryk van Niekerk amongst others recently, is perhaps the only option available.

In that approach, one has to try and ensure that the eventual quilt has some coherent and attractive whole, not from an original rigid design but from a careful selection and fitting of individual patches. This should be the underpinning of the current growth and employment dialog between the key role-players of government, labour and the private sector under Nedlac auspices. They will achieve little if they do not have some consistent quilt in mind – a task that will require much more than simple trade-offs and compromises between conflicting interests that create clashing patches.

But a good quilt always has one attention drawing centre piece: a large patch that draws and connects all the other pieces together to a coherent whole. And, with a corny mixing of analogies, that centre piece may have to address the question whether our nightmare has not been induced primarily by a polluted economic environment, nor by a very toxic diet of laws, restrictions, bad government, corruption, maladministration, belligerent unions and other lumps of sugar; but by simply sleeping on the wrong bed!

That is the inconvenient truth of our parlous state. It is the absence of a centre-piece that not only catches everyone’s attention, but that everyone can, without huge sacrifice and disruption to their lives, align with and support in their daily lives. Of course, some event organiser or passionate crusader may jump on this idea and set about planning another grand hoop-la-la parade, or dedicated day or week. They seldom work, and are even less effective than the intense institutional soul searching we have been having for some time now.

I have on many occasions argued that the centre piece has to be a firm focus on wealth creation itself and a shift away from the obsession with wealth distribution, let alone the expedient populist calls for redistribution. Remember Boetcker’s “You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich”?

This becomes starkly clear when you examine the dynamic of maximum wealth creation and optimal distribution at a company level. It is a good place to start and perhaps even follow because the biggest challenge in unemployment is not the creation of new jobs but the retention of those that exist. Without that emphasis we are simply trying to balance a see-saw where the fulcrum post constantly shifts.

The three pillars of maximum wealth creation are an inevitable condensation of any strategic exercise, and a highly effective mantra to get common purpose support by all stakeholders. One simply has to unpack the contributory actions, behaviours, metrics, remits and accountabilities (including all of the “sustainability” prescriptions), at a corporate, team, and individual level as individual patches to a value-adding/wealth creation quilt.

Wealth distribution has become the real impairment – not only because of our narrow obsession with it and illogically prioritising it over wealth creation itself, but because the two pillars of “meeting legitimate expectations” and “encouraging continued contribution” have become highly subjective, often arbitrary and delinked from valid market informed criteria. These are:
·       For the state: international norms of prudent government expenditure to GDP;
·       For labour: the supply and demand for skills and qualifications;
·       And for shareholders or owners: the cost of capital.

Instead, each tries to maximise benefit to the point of open conflict and where trade-offs overwhelm the agenda in soul searching at an institutional level.

The two greatest threats to optimal wealth distribution, which in turn threaten wealth creation itself and therefore economic growth, job retention and job creation are unrealistic expectations and inflexibility. They are inextricably linked and mutually encouraging. The lower your expectations are, the more flexible you become and vice versa. These spill over into the national arena where battle lines are drawn at a societal, political and institutional level, often resulting in laws and prescriptions that inhibit flexibility.  

For a company, strategy has to address in a tangible way the tempering of expectations through enhancing awareness and understanding of the business, and regularly communicating its performance and the company figures. These steps will also encourage flexibility through involving staff in the destiny of the enterprise, especially if they are then linked to rewards through some fortune sharing mechanism.

But owners too are not innocent of inflexibility in the manner in which they drive profit maximisation, also often to the point of threatening longer term sustainable wealth creation. A simple shift to pegging profit expectations to a cost of capital criterion and viewing anything over that as discretionary surpluses that can even involve staff in determining its disbursement, will enhance overall flexibility.

At an individual, societal, national and political level, the toxic behaviour traits of unrealistic expectations and inflexibility have gripped the nation for decades, from parenting to politicking and electioneering. They may have been tempered by the bad times we are going through, but most likely not nearly enough or permanent enough to have a lasting positive impact on our economic destiny. For that we need a permanent shift in the national psyche to one where aspirations exceed by far our expectations.

Until then it will be the same bed and the same nightmares.  

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Servant Organisation

Without it, Servant Leadership is a hypocritical facade.

When Robert Greenleaf coined the phrase “Servant Leader” in 1970, he probably could not have foreseen the impact it would have on modern organisational theory, especially on human resource practices.

His often quoted aphorism: “The great leader is seen as servant first, and that is the key to his greatness” rings true to many. So it should, because he also conceded that it is a “timeless” concept; one that can be identified in the behaviour of most great leaders over millennia.  And, as is often the case, stating the obvious hits a chord at a specific time and place that then finds expression in a plethora of practices. These often lose sight of the fuller context, but still give succour to a number of practitioners all claiming to hold a holy grail of originality and exclusivity as well as authorship of new organisational text books.

I have come across many definitions of leadership, many not making a distinction between power and control, and between governing and ruling. But Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership proposal perhaps says it best: “It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.”

In other words, the essence of Servant leadership is based on empathy. But so too is the essence of the Servant Organisation.

It is only when cognitive capacity takes over that one starts getting perversions or, as Greenleaf puts it: “Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first.” Those wanting to lead, therefore are often self-aggrandising and driven by self-gain or having power over others. Which may explain why his work and the infinite number of courses and interventions based on the concept have become so popular. It is easy to learn how to feign empathy; something akin to Carnegie’s “how to win friends...” Even psychopaths can do it better than most.

The concept of Servant Leadership has increasingly been narrowed down to staff relations, almost to the point of obsessive exclusivity. That too, is understandable. Human resource theory and practices have always been the soft underbelly of the modern organisation. Fix the people and you have fixed the organisation, it is held.

What must have irked Greenleaf before his death in 1990 were the intervening years that saw the firm entrenchment of the shareholder value argument – short term profit maximisation and clamouring homage to the Milton Friedman edict that “the sole purpose of business is to maximise profits for the shareholders.” That is totally counter-intuitive to Greenleaf, who espoused that servant leadership is not restricted to relationships between people, but also embraces institutional and company behaviour.

“Whereas, until recently, caring was largely person to person, now most of it is mediated through institutions – often large, complex, powerful, impersonal; not always competent; sometimes corrupt,” he wrote.

I first came across this contradiction when I merged my consultancy with a leadership consultancy to become the principal founder of Schuitema Associates and saw synergy between the two. Their home-grown “care and growth” version of the Servant Leadership approach was also focussed on the relationship between leader and subordinate in the workplace and was based on Chamber of Mines research and interventions.  

The argument for “care and growth” was the same as Greenleaf’s argument around intent – having a benevolent intent towards the other. The paradox of having a “benevolent intent” within an enterprise, that in turn has an arguably “malevolent intent” of maximum self-gain through exploitation of its market, was missed. It was only when we introduced what I later called the Contribution Accounting© model that the approach was complete.

Yet it was extremely difficult to implement fully – as I discovered when a colonial relic on the board of a big client remarked: “This is a good way to placate the troops.” And that is for the most part what servant leadership has become: placating the troops while we chase the money. There is even a hint of that in entrepreneur Richard Branson’s rather bemusing assertion that: “if you can put staff first, your customer second and shareholders third, effectively, in the end, the shareholders do well, the customers do better, and you yourself are happy.”

Branson then, with his well-known obsession with customer service, sees putting staff first as a way of achieving that. It is still a means to an end argument – albeit a noble end. Then it is similar to “placating the troops” to maximise profit, which is simply a means to an ignoble end. Both are internally focused. It leads to the extreme of employee growth being an end in itself, seeing organisational tasks as the gymnasium for employee body building and the customer as the treadmill. This clearly must become dysfunctional. You can never use the market as a practice ground. While ultimate empowerment is to unleash willing contribution to the other, the real purpose must always be the contribution itself.

The ranking of role-players in the creation of wealth is little more than schoolboy bantering about who has the biggest. But it becomes inevitable in a profit driven model where share-holders interests are always put first, despite sanctimonious credo’s, missions, visions, values, ethics statements and yes, behavioural models such as Servant Leadership. Exclusive internal servant leadership to support such a model is little more than seduction. It can only be authentic in a customer driven Servant Organisation, which has a common purpose of service and a shared common fate in rewards that have to meet all role-player’s expectations and ensure continued contribution. The only top ranking, I would insist, is still the customer.

A refreshing addition to servant leadership champions is South African entrepreneur Ian Fuhr. After presenting the employee awareness course, People and Wealth, as part of his Labour Link consultancy many years ago, he had an already intuitive conviction firmly entrenched that business was nothing more than “people serving people.” (See page 142 of his book.) He has independently applied the Contribution Accounting© model fully at Sorbet – from forging a common focus on customers, and common fate embracing variable pay. The company is the perfect example of Greenleaf’s extended servant leadership vision.

Of course, one could argue that it is much easier to adopt this model for a non-listed family owned enterprise without the crushing shareholder-value demands of a large body of equity holders and institutional investors. And therein lies the twist. Perhaps that is where the real servant leadership challenge lies – not in placating the troops, but indeed in gaining full support for and passionate loyalty to an essentially Servant Organisation.

They have done so before: Branson, Jobs, Gates, Musk, Gordon and Ackerman.  Despite shareholder-value theories, there is still substantial equity hunger for the real servant leaders in our midst.