Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

Do your jobLast month I think I was a little bit too cryptic in the title of my newsletter. So this month I’ll be a little more Direct.

If you want to keep your job, get promoted, build your business and have happy customers all you have to do is – do your job.

I seemed to have hit a nerve in the Happyology keynote, when I tell people if they wish to be happy at work and have a happy manager all they have to do is – their job.

Recently after a talk the MD of a large construction company thanked me for my presentation. He had just realised that he and his co-directors had spent the most part of the past year doing nothing more than setting up policies and procedures to ensure that people, just do their jobs.

People complain that we have no leadership, yet when walking into most companies you will find instead of leading, leaders are spending most of their time chastising, disciplining, negotiating with labour, the unions and sitting at the CCMA fighting with people who didn’t do their job. Imagine if that time was actually spent leading the company to new horizons!

I realised just the other day while watching Man United losing to Swansea that the reason they lost was because someone didn’t do his job. His job was to mark a player. He didn’t do his job. The opposition scored and United lost. It’s really the same with any sport, let’s see how the Boks do their jobs in England this month.

So whether it’s textbooks not getting delivered to children in rural areas, no supplies on hospital shelves or no nurses to deliver babies – someone just didn’t do their job.

Getting a divorce? Someone is not doing his job. Someone is not doing her job. Let’s face it when we sign up for a marriage it’s basically a job. The employment contract is pretty simple and read out and agreed to before God and all of your relatives, and hers.

Generally the holy guy will ask you in your position as wife / husband if you will have this woman / man to be your wife / husband, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her / him, comfort her / him, honor, and keep her / him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her / him as long as you both shall live? You reply an emphatic “I will!”, and with that the employment contract is sealed.

For the most part and especially in the beginning it’s a fun job. There is the caring job, the listening job, the sharing job, the time and attention job, a few fun jobs, and all the other jobs that go into running a successful marriage. But then someone stops doing their job or just some of the jobs. That’s why I honestly believe that a more complete job description should accompany all marriage certificates. So when someone stops doing their job (the way they did them before the nuptials) they are in breach of contract and they can be called on to be accountable.

I was once asked if I could record clever messages for a call centre so that the customers would be occupied whilst on hold and waiting for the phone to be answered. My reply was simple; just answer the phone and help the customer immediately. In other words just do your job. Don’t make excuses as to why it can’t be done. Don’t tell me that I don’t realise (I love it when people tell me real-lies), and please don’t try and rationalize (tell me the rational-lies).

one jobYou accepted a job and the responsibility. You said “I will do the job”. So do the job! Don’t do it half, don’t do most of it, and don’t have good intentions or mean to do the job – just do your job.

I love the words of Vince Lombardi when he said, “Winning is an all-time thing. You don’t do things right once in awhile you do them right all the time.”

At this point I can see most managers and business owners are literally giving me a standing ovation and offering me s3xu4l favours. But before you hit the send button forwarding this message on to all the section heads to disseminate these words of wisdom, depth and philosophical amazing–ment at the next staff meeting, let’s not get ahead of ourselves shall we!

If you were doing your job your little minions would be doing theirs! People generally don’t do their jobs because there are no consequences. People complain about staff not being accountable and responsible. Lovely words, nice things to say around the boardroom or as a keynote at the company conference.  BUT …

What makes people accountable and responsible, is knowing that consequences are real and dealt out firmly, fairly and consistently!   

Read that again!

passive aggressiveMost leaders and managers should rather go and make chocolate or watches because they are too afraid of holding anybody accountable and they avoid conflict like the Swiss! Research tells us that 80% of people in any form of leadership capacity will avoid conflict and tolerate poor performance instead of confronting it head-on. Half of people in organisations will just merely work around the nonperformance. Non-performing people create a culture of frustration, anger and disappointment. It also creates one person who will be called upon not only to do their own jobs but to continuously do the job of the others who do not perform. In South Africa I think they’re called “the Kippie or “Kippie the ….”

There are really three basic messages here today:

  1. Do your job
  2. If you are any form of leader do your job, by getting others do their jobs
  3. Hold them accountable & make them responsible

Stop asking me to tell people to be accountable and responsible at your conference. Stop telling people to be accountable and responsible. Hold them accountable and responsible and you will have accountable and responsible people who do their jobs. If the people on the floor are not performing it’s because the manager is not performing. If the manager is not doing his job it’s because his director is not doing his job. This goes on and on until you find where the buck stops. And it normally stops at the person asking other people to be accountable and responsible for their jobs!

Life really isn’t that complicated. Just do your job. Nothing more, nothing less.

Have a great month, now that you’ve wasted 15 minutes reading this nonsense,

Go Do Your Job!

So what do you do when all that you know, and believe in and have based all life actions on – no longer applies? In fact it never really did apply. What happens when traditional wisdom fails and rules you once believed to be infallible – fail?RULES.jpeg

When I grew up I was made to believe and I was taught that if you behave, listen and do what you are told you will be loved, liked and accepted. I followed the rules only to find that I was sent to boarding school at the age of five because the other kids in the area were misbehaving and my parents were tired of us being blamed. So they sent us away. I had followed all the rules, I was a good little boy and yet I was punished for other people’s behaviour.  At the age of seven I was marched into the staff room of Mondeor Primary School to receive three of the best, from the principal, Mr. De Kock (remember when they used to issue beatings at school?). My crime – I happened to be present on a public bus at the same time older boys from another school were spitting out of the windows on the upper level.  All of the boys, who happened to be on that bus and in a Mondeor Primary uniform, were physically assaulted by a grown man with a flexible stick. I was physically beaten for something I had no knowledge of and did not do.

So I learned that being good and listening doesn’t always equal love and acceptance.  In fact in many cases the opposite happens.

We all had rules, and beliefs that we lived by, and for a long time they actually seemed logical.

  •  Study at school; get a degree and you’ll get a good job
  • Exercise and you will lose weight
  • Eat correctly and you will be slim
  • Look for the good in people and they will surprise you
  • Woman love men who are kind, considerate, treat them well and are gentlemen

What happens when the exact opposite occurs in direct contradiction to the beliefs and laws we have believed in, some of which may have worked in the past?

  • I’ve learnt that studying is not a guarantee to a good job, good life or security. Tell that to the thousands of qualified doctors selling insurance or Amway, or the LLB law graduate working in his dads engineering plant. What you do with the knowledge, how you apply it, and who you know is the key. They should have taught us how to network and how to build relationships.  More importantly they should have helped us find our passion; motivated us to study and then how to apply it.
  • To lose weight stop eating sugar and bread and exercise daily. No! All this does is make you a dull person who says no to good food and spends his time peddling on a bicycle in a gym that doesn’t go anywhere. Exercising and eating correctly is a myth after you reach the age of 45. You can train every other day (as I have) for 12 years, eat salad and swear off donuts, chocolates, bread and all tasty food but you still actually put weight on every year. Ask any 40-year-old if eating correctly makes a micro-gram of difference. When you hit 40, the game changes. Just thinking about a milk tart puts half a kilo to your butt. The older you get the harder it is to stay healthy and in shape, and most 50-year-old with fantastic bodies are on some kind of drug or growth hormone and they love plastic surgery.
  • As for looking for the good in people – People will surprise you if you are dumb enough to only look for the good. I promise you their bad side is waiting for some “look for the good” person to sucker punch you and your business into failing.
  • Women do love kind, gentleman who treat them right! But how come is it then that all the ill-mannered, rude, selfish, couldn’t give a damn men get and have more pretty woman then people who don’t bother to vote? (That’s about 14 million people-in case you’re wondering). Ask most honest woman and they will tell you that a good man is great but bad boys drive them wild.  Women are attracted to kindness and manners but they are mad about alpha males. “All of them?” You might ask. No, not all, only about 70% and the other 30% are probably lying or who have learnt the hard way that a bad boy becomes a bad man who takes it out on a good woman.

The truth is that most of the rules and beliefs we are taught are merely idealistic fairy tales that we should strive for and try to achieve in our lives. Real-life however is not like that and the rules as you’ve been taught them; well they’re pretty slippery. This may sound like a middle-aged crisis rant, but it’s really not. I wish someone had told me about the fairy tale laws and then the real-life laws when I was younger. Hell I wish I could meet a 70-year-old street-smart person now to tell me about what to expect for the next 25 years. Here are a few actual rules.

  • Life is not fair!  Who said it was? Life can be tough or beautiful it’s all up to you, but know that pain is a big part of life, and life is messy. Marriage, kids, business, careers, health, relationships are all part of life so they are all messy and no one-size fits all.
  • People are honest! Nah! People will lie, steal, cheat and promise you anything based on their agenda. And everyone has an agenda and most people want something from you. Ask Dr Greg House who says – “everyone lies”.
  • People are basically good they just don’t know it. But people have issues and everyone wants something from you. Trust me! Very few people will come into your life wanting to help you and make your life better, richer and stronger without wanting something in return.
  • Be careful what you think and say. Nonsense! What you do is the only thing that really counts. You are judged on your actions not on your thoughts. Thanks goodness for that – if I was judged by my thoughts I would have been in prison years ago. Your actions speak louder than anything you could possibly say. Everyone has an opinion and the opinionated ones, the critics, the “devil’s advocates” talk, condemn and are the first to criticize and mouth-off. Anyone can say they care and that they love you but it’s the people who pitch up, and who have your back that really love you.
  • Love is forever. No! Love is an action. If you want it to last forever you have to work on it and demonstrate it every day. It’s what you do that matters. And here’s the bad news – if the person you love has issues it really doesn’t matter what you do.
  • All people are basically good. Nope! Some people are mean and cruel and some people are nice. Keep the kind ones.
  • Try and find your soul mate. No such thing. No one can complete you. No one can make you happy, no one really wants to, and you are responsible for your own happiness. You may find somebody who connects with you, but the friendship takes hard work and effort from both of you. So rather look for a committed, loyal person. It’s also less airy-fairy.
  • Friends for life!  Friends will come and go. Some will leave scars and a few will leave pleasant memories but they will leave.
  • Always be there for your friends. Depends on what they want you there for? Never lend money to a friend – ever. Unless you don’t want the friendship anymore. Never lend money to anyone with money problems – they’ve already proven they can’t work with or be around money so why give them more? It’s like giving an addict drugs. A lesson I have learnt over and over and over again.
  • Oh and I love this one as a close – people who like you won’t hurt you. Anyone you’ll ever love will one day make you cry (sad). Think about it!

I suppose the rules haven’t really ever changed. We were just told fairy tales. Fairy tales that would hopefully make us better people. But fairy tales are just make-believe and the day you realize this, is a tough day. But the day you understand the actual rules, is the day you are set free. Maybe we should teach our children better so they are better prepared. Maybe we should have nursery rhymes and fairy tales that are kind and gentle but teach about the real rules of life.

Have a great month!

Gavin Sharples

The Fairy Tale Slayer

STOP ITI don’t know about you but I’m really tired of receiving those cr4ppy emoti-quote-pics telling me to just be myself and not to care what people think.

“Be you, be true to who you are and walk your path and those who love you will understand and those who don’t are not for your path …
Give no mind to others and if they love you and if they really care they will love you exactly the way you are”…

Blah blah blah! Really!

Well, what if you are a B with an itch and you have no social graces? What if you are a negative know-it-all who doesn’t brush his teeth? What if you’re just plain lazy? (You never do your job or anything you say you’ll do and you always blame others) Or, what if you are lazy and stupid! You know the type; they always have an opinion about things but don’t have the slightest clue what they’re actually talking about. The type of person who gets elected to run a country or manage a service division of a multinational?

Maybe you’re the person who is a trifecta? Stupid, lazy and just plain mean. How the hell are people going to like you if you’re a trifecta? Maybe you should take a hard look at yourself and ask, “Why don’t people like me and what can I do to change their perceptions?”

News Flash! No person is an island and we all need each other unless you’re living on a deserted island. So it follows that people’s opinions matter. Get that? People are always saying don’t stress, don’t worry, so I say – worry and stress all the time, your business and relationships depend upon it. Your boss and your customers are watching and believe me their opinion matters.

Worry about your skills and efficiency because someone else wants your job. Worry about pricing, delivery and standards because your competition is eating your lunch and customers are promiscuous. Worry and stress about your appearance and your health because there are hundreds of viruses and bugs, germs and carcinogens that will make your heart stop and your life pretty uncomfortable unless you shape-up. Worry and stress about your marriage and relationships because love is an action. Love is an active awareness exercise that if worked on could stand the test of time.

You see if you stress and worry, if you work hard, play hard and give your all, if you’re a nice decent person who always tries his best then it is easy for people to like you.

Will they always like you? Hell no! Who likes a person who is always nice, does what she says she’ll do, keeps her word, works harder than everyone, exercises more, and looks better than most? People’s insecurities, issues and jealousy will make them hate you. So in a way you are damned if you do, and you are damned if you don’t. Or are you?

Wake up every day and just try to be a better version of you. Do your best, work hard, and give more so that you are proud of your efforts. Not because you want someone else to say so, or to be proud of you, do it because you’re competing with yourself. Trying to be a better you. When you like and respect yourself it is easier for others to like and respect you. There is no guarantee that they will but its better, I suppose, to earn the sometimes respect of others who appreciate class, than to have the scorn of people for your dysfunction.

In short, people have issues and so do you. People will always projected their cr4p on to you. But in many cases people are a reflection for you to improve yourself. They are a 4D full colour feedback system. The secret I suppose is being able to identify the difference between someone who is projecting their limitations and jealousy and someone who is genuinely showing you that your conduct needs altering. Either way start with you, work on you, and in the end you may get to a point where what they think of you really doesn’t matter because you know who you have become. Who you are. It really won’t matter because you know that you’ve worked on yourself enough to know your intention and conduct came from love and compassion.

Make 2015 yet another step in learning to like, love and respect yourself.

The oxymoron life law – to worry what other people think and yet not to stress! To stress about your results and performance but to remain calm in knowing that no matter what you do, someone will find fault. To improve you so others will notice and respond yet not to be caught up in the opinions of others. To play the game of image, brand and hype knowing it is merely a game you are playing. To play the game but to know it is not real and you are not the game.

After all of that – my head hurts! Have a fantastic self-improving year.


LAZINESSA few months ago, I penned a newsletter with a similar title and got an overwhelming response. Dozens of business managers contacted me wanting to know if I had a keynote presentation on the concept of being lazy. I did not back then, but I do now. I began to apply my mind around the concept of laziness or Lazy-ology.

Yes, the study of laziness, its causes, and effects on business, relationships, and personal lives.

Here’s the thing! You can trace back almost every major problem to someone, somewhere, somehow being lazy. Now before the lazy readers, who are too lazy to give this concept proper thought start arguing about a sudden death in someone’s life – let me explain! If you have a look at almost all business problems, you will find that someone somewhere was too lazy to do their job. On the other hand, look at divorce and relationships, someone, or perhaps both parties were too lazy to do the dos and work at the relationship. If something is not working in your life right now, there is a 99% probability that it is because you are too lazy to get off your … buttisimo … and do something about it.

In the movie The Departed, Matt Damon’s character asks Mark Wahlberg’s character who he thinks he is, to which Wahlberg replies,
“I’m the guy who does his job, you … you must be the other guy!”

What an absolute amazing one-liner. If I may, for the purposes of this rant, take the liberty to alter it slightly:
“I’m the guy who does his job you … you must be the lazy guy!”

Yes but what about:

  • Poor customer service? Lazy
  • No after sales service? Lazy
  • Lost customers? Lazy
  • Lost market share? Lazy
  • Undisciplined staff? Lazy manager
  • People who are late? Plain lazy
  • Calls not answered? Lazy
  • Late deliveries? Lazy packers, stackers, dispatchers and drivers
  • Bad attitude? Lazy attitude
  • Poor results? Lazy work ethiclazy
  • Fat? Lazy a$$
  • Physically unfit? Flippin layyyyyaaazzzzy
  • Out of shape? Lazi
  • Most modern day diseases? L.A.Y.Z.E.E
  • Unhappy? Lazy
  • Dysfunctional children? Lazy parents
  • Unwanted pregnancy? Lazy lust
  • Divorce? Too lazy to have sex or too lazy to make an effort
  • Lonely? Lazy
  • No friends? Lazy
  • Crime in an area? Lazy police and community
  • Bad government? Lazy electorate
  • Poor unfed kids? Lazy absent fathers
  • Child headed households? Lazy communities and government
  • Female-headed households? Lazy men
  • Not studying? Lazy
  • Not learning? Lazy
  • Not improving skills? Lazy
  • Don’t read? Lazy

Bring on the problem and I promise you lazy is to blame!

In business as in life, we tend to make excuses for non-performance. We always seem to find justifiable reasons for below par standards and results. Most people do this to justify their laziness or the laziness of their team, which they were too lazy to oversee, train, and correct. Bleeding heart liberals will always try and justify poor performance by blaming the past, current conditions, situations, training, education, opportunities and anything else that they can justify, to excuse terrible results. However, when it comes down to it and after full investigation, you will probably find that laziness was the main cause.

I guarantee you that in each case I will show you people in worse situations, conditions, with less education and training, and very few opportunities that have succeeded, just by getting off their back-sides and making it happen. The poor rural area schools with no sanitation, hardly any books, a lack of classrooms, or desks but who deliver a 100% matric pass rate springs to mind. Just an example of the dozens that you could attest to I’m sure!

Everything from rampant crime, corruption, fraud, theft, assault, murder, divorce, insolvencies, judgments, written warnings, dismissals, lost orders, lost sales, no sales, returned goods, unsolved problems, backlogs, the list goes on and on – can all be laid at the feet of pure, simple laziness.

  • Why should I work for it and pay for it when I can just steal it?
  • Why should I earn it, when I can just forge it and pay someone off to get the tender for the contract?
  • Why should I study and learn for the degree or the doctorate when I could just say I have one? (Too soon Paolo? Too soon?)
  • Why should I work when it is easier to rampage through the streets burning, breaking, and destroying?
  • Why should I sacrifice, hold down two part-time jobs, and pay for my studies when I can just destroy a university campus and demand that my tuition is free?
  • Why should I work longer, harder and smarter when I could just stay away, go on strike, and demand more?
  • Why should I bother to sort the problem out by talking, finding common ground and seeking a mutually beneficial solution, when I can just assault him, kill her or falsify documents?
  • Why should I work on my relationship? At the first hurdle, I can just get a divorce.
  • If I do not do my job what is the worst that can happen? I may get a written warning or 2 and then put a little effort in until the warnings fall away and then just be lazy again.
  • Why should I make the extra sales call or indeed why should I make them at all?
  • Why should I care and fix the problem immediately the first time? They will bring it back and someone else will do it.

Laziness in my opinion is a pandemic that is destroying schools (and our children’s future), hospitals, municipalities, businesses, and organizations and in many, many cases is literally responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people around the world every day.

A guesthouse belonging to a church collapses in Nigeria killing over 100 people. Someone was too lazy to build it properly, to submit plans, to pay for professional builders and engineers. Death is the result.

Recently parts of Gauteng did not have water for days. The cause; someone was too lazy to maintain the system and set up a backup plan.lazy2

Useless incompetent governments are put in place by people either too lazy to vote for a competent one, or who don’t bother to vote at all.

Most of our personal problems from being overweight, being unhealthy, being short of money, having no friends, and having few customers all stem, if you really look at it, from being lazy. Plain and simple!

Instead of working and living within our means it is easier to buy it on credit. It easier to tell someone to go to hell, than to sort the problem out. People are too lazy to cook, to clean, to build, to walk (so they park as close to the shopping mall door as they can), to try, to talk, to smile, to give, to connect. It is easier to order junk food from Mr. Delivery, to leave it for someone else to do, to not get involved, to frown, to blame and complain.

Here’s the action

Take a look, a hard look at any area of your life that is currently not working or up to the standards that you desire. Now, look at what you have not been doing and start doing it! The best and easiest way to fix anything that is not working is to get off your backside and do something about it.

Whenever people complain about things in their lives my first response is always, “so what are you doing about it?” My second question, “What did you not do that you were supposed to do that contributed to it being as it is?”

You see laziness has many friends:
There is Mr. Excuses; Mrs. Rationalize (rational lies); Miss Ignorance (I don’t know how); Miss Unaccountable (no one told me, it’s not my fault) and the manager Mr Scaredy Cat (no consequences, no conflict). Then there is also Mr. Entitlement and Mrs. Care-less (I don’t give a damn). However, one of laziness’ best friends is the concept “I don’t feel like it!” Really? Well what’s new and who does ever feel like getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning to exercise? Who really feels like making that extra sales call? Who feels like spending hours composing, writing, creating, building and doing the job right? Hardly anyone ever feels like paying the price and getting off their backsides, but the successful and happy people do. Are you that guy or the lazy guy?


It has been said as soon as an action needs to be taken you have approximately 5 to 7 seconds to start moving. The 5 to 7 seconds between the idea and the “I don’t feel like it” feeling that screams in your head, and you taking action. It is generally believed that if you don’t get your butt moving within those few seconds you probably won’t move.

  • Lazy people kill everything they touch!
  • Lazy managers and leaders frustrate and kill companies and countries.
  • Lazy staff members kill businesses, concepts and ideas and they lose customers.
  • Lazy spouses destroy families, hearts and marriages.

The antidote to laziness is always positive action

It’s almost always never someone else’s fault. It’s always about you and what you could have, should have or can do.

I was going to end this piece of with a pithy quote but I just don’t feel like it!

Have a very active month



Okay this is what keeps me awake at night and has me racked with guilt. It’s a genuine question that I need an answer to. So please reply after you’ve read it all or send this to anyone who you believe could assist with an answer.

Here’s my question?

Am I; Are you; Are we – an accessory to fraud, racism, corruption, theft, culpable homicide, manslaughter, and murder?

Here’s the thing!

  • In a democratic society the government is elected by the people who vote for it in a free and fair electoral process. Pretty straight forward; nothing difficult.
  • As I understand it, the majority of the people give their power, law making rights, and a massive share of their income to a group of people called a party. (And man do they know how to party with the income!)
  • People choose a party they believe in, and then by voting for them; give the party the power of attorney to act not only as them, but for them in almost all areas. Still with my logic?
  • If this is so, it should follow that should these elected people then commit crimes, surely the people who voted for them are accessories to those very crimes? How is my logic now? A stretch you might say -well not really!

You might say that you, we, I, they, didn’t know about the crimes before they voted for them and only found out after the fact. Yes, but even when knowing that criminal activities have and are taking place; after said crimes being exposed in numerous media releases; criminal court cases; audits; inquests; and after literally dozens of dead bodies being produced; if I, you, we, again vote for these very same people, surely I am, you are, we are an accessory to the crime/s?

Scary logic and a far-fetched idea? Well maybe not!

Let’s get the Nel and Roux elk involved for some legalese shall we:

According to my knowledge of the criminal procedure act (I was a CID detective in the dark ages) and what I have extensively researched on Wikipedia J, Principles of Criminal Law and Legal City (they have a web site) the following are elements of being “an accessory to a crime”. I have added my own-bracketed score card My Lady.

  • “An accessory must generally have knowledge that a crime is being, will be, or has been committed.” [Check]
  • “A person with such knowledge may become an accessory by helping [voting – Check] or encouraging [Voting again and again – Check] the criminal in some way, or simply by failing to report the crime to proper authority.”  [Check]
  • “The assistance to the criminal may be of any type” [lovely term, any type – Check]
  • “Including emotional or financial assistance [Tax, VAT, etc. – Big Check] as well as physical assistance or concealment” [Using tax money for lawyer concealment – Check]

 Knowledge of the crime 

  • “To be convicted of an accessory charge, the accused must generally be proved to have had actual knowledge that a crime was going to be, or had been committed.” [Every day in every court and media channel – Check]
  • “Furthermore, there must be proof that the accessory knew that his or her action, or inaction, was helping the criminals commit the crime, or evade detection or escape”. [Read on – and Check]Source: Principles of criminal Law

Assisting in breaking the law

“Someone who assists another to commit a crime either before or during its execution, but whose conduct does not constitute the crime itself, is known as a socius criminis, an accessory before the fact or accomplice to a crime. The term ‘accessory’, however, is more often used to describe somebody who knowingly assists a perpetrator after the crime has been committed. That person is then an accessory after the fact”.Source: Legal City

So here is my mad simple logic

Government fraud, oops sorry “tender irregularities”; corruption, oops again “cadre deployment” theft, nog ‘n oops “misappropriation of funds”; spin them how you will but surely the majority of the voting public must be accessories to these crimes and the consequences of the incompetency of all state department, officials and “leaders”?

Some may argue that they did not vote for the regime. Does that make them less of a criminal? You may argue that having knowledge when the crimes were committed, seeing where crimes are being committed: you took it upon yourself to vote for an opposition party thus cleaning your hands of the matter and making you innocent of all charges. Well here is more of my mad logic Pontius.

I am forced, we are forced, by the elected regime (not of my choosing or yours or maybe of your choosing), to pay exorbitant amounts of taxes, tariffs, VAT, levies, surcharges, license fees, tolls etc. to a government that arms a police force with lethal weapons and orders them to shoot and kill striking miners. My tax money was used to purchase weapons and ammunition that was used in the slaughter of my fellow citizens.

My tax money, our tax money, is paid in salaries to policemen who beat up a service delivery demonstrators, handcuff him to a vehicle and dragged him to a police station; killing him.

My money, our money; paid for regime Policemen to beat another unarmed service delivery demonstrator and to shoot him in the chest. In fact hundreds of millions of rand are used every year to fight, defend, and settle abuse of power claims by citizens against the regime.

And what of the blue lights civil servants paid for by me, you, us and their cavalcade of in some cases, convicted criminal guards and drivers, driving recklessly and shooting at and maiming ordinary citizens.

The money that I pay over every month is used to arm and legally protect thousands of criminal activities every year. Lets face it without money none of this would be possible? Without the tacit support of an informed voting majority none of this would be possible? I am informed. I pay for fear of penalties and prison, am I an accessory?

My money, our money that we pay over is aiding, funding and being stolen and misused and therefore I put it to you My Lord, My Lady: we meet all the elements according to law so: are we not accessories to these crimes? And more importantly if this is so, what is there to be done about it?

If I know and understand that racist laws are being promulgated and passed every day in this country using money that I have handed over – surely that makes me a racist? If I see thousands of my fellow black countrymen and women suffering because of policies and criminal activities and I do nothing but keep funding such activities and laws am I not a racist not to speak out?

Maybe I am just a simpleton. Perhaps I do not understand all of the legal opinions, variations and interpretations of laws in this country. One thing is for sure every time a multi-million rand motorcades blast by me on a freeway breaking every traffic law and endangering me and my fellow citizens; peaceful people are subdued using violent force; multi-million rand homes are built and upgraded for politicians while little 6 year old Michael Komape suffocates by choking and drowning on feces and urine in a pit toilet; I can’t help literally crying and asking am I guilty of that? I am sorry little Michael! I will do better; I will shed light; I will speak out. That’s my money that they stole. That’s my money that they used. I paid for proper toilets, sanitation and human dignity but it was used rather for a luxury swimming pool, multi-million rand home upgrades, luxury German cars and overseas holidays all for a greedy few elected by an apathetic majority.


Mr and Mrs Komape

I know that my monthly newsletters normally have a fun tongue in cheek message but sometimes the pain is just too great. Michael deserves more, you deserve more, and we deserve more! I knowingly am forced to financially contribute to a system of criminal, racist, classist, activities -surely I am an accessory before and after the fact? Well that’s my opinion!

All I can do for now is to speak out and stand in line on 7 May.

I hope I will see you there!

Gav Sharples

Do you know who I am? This saying, made famous by Barry Hilton, ‘the cousin’, has a deeper meaning than most people understand. There is a famous business line – bit of a cliché – but so true: ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that counts!’ To a certain extent this is very true and in business, as in life, you will find that the contacts you make and keep (some even from your school days) will and can serve you in your future. But I would like to take it one step further: who really knows you and what you do? In other words, “do you know who I am?” Getting people to know of you, or about you is called marketing. Getting people to understand what you do and why you do it, is one of the golden secrets I wish to rant about this month.

Have you ever been at a family function and a cousin shows you his new phone? Everyone oohs and aahs, until you ask where he got it from, and why he never came to you because you sell phones. He gets a really puzzled look on his face and says, “Oh! I didn’t know that you sold phones. I knew you were in the telecommunications industry but I didn’t know…”

Have you ever bought something only to find out a good friend or family member has a contact and could have saved you 50% off the asking price?

Just the other day at my daughter’s school a parent informed my wife that her advertising agency had been asked to recommend a comedian or humorist for a countrywide road show. My name was raised by the client as their number one choice. The parent insisted that, “Gavin Sharples doesn’t do road shows!” After speaking to my wife she was told that road shows form a large part of my business. It was clear this parent didn’t know, “who I am and what I do”.

As much as we try and keep people in the loop, situations like this will always arise and things will fall through the cracks. There is also a fine line between marketing, advertising, informing and being a spam irritation. Be that as it may, I believe that whether you work within a corporation, small business or are self-employed, it is very important that everyone you come into contact with knows about you, what you do and why you do what you do.

Here is a nifty exercise that you can do in order to spread the word. Do a fun ‘20 question survey’ asking people questions about you and how well they know you. Give a prize to the person who answers most of the questions correctly. Design a business questionnaire and a personal one. You could perhaps combine the two depending on how well you want your clients to know you.

Questions could include:

  • What is my full name?
  • Do I have brothers and sisters?
  • Am I married and do I have children?
  • What is my job title?
  • What are my hobbies and do I play sport? (If so what are they?)
  • What am I passionate about at work?
  • What do I do?
  • What don’t I do?
  • What do I believe?
  • What are my values?
  • What do I love?
  • What is my style?
  • What are my pet peeves?
  • What do I hate so much that it causes heart palpitations and steam to pour out of my ears at high-pressure?

So with this idea in mind and being a person who likes to walk the talk let me answer some of these questions for you as both an example and a way for you to get to know who I really am.

Do you know who I am?

Gavin Sharples

My full name is Gavin Sean Sharples nee Van Der Merwe.  I was born Gavin Sean Van Der Merwe and at the age of 21 I legally took on my mother’s maiden name as I was the last unmarried male of our Sharples clan in South Africa. I was raised and educated for the most part in the south of Johannesburg at Meredale Primary and Mondeor High.

I was 6 years old when I first stood on a stage to entertain my entire school. I was in grade one. Another boy and I were to recite ‘10 in the bed’. One of us (probably me) lost count, counting backwards and instead of merely carrying on we had a stand-up argument on stage, much to the delight of the entire school and staff. For some strange reason I never interpreted the laughter as being directed at me or us but I felt a sense of power at being able to make an audience laugh. The recognition and attention I received after the event was extremely rewarding and I suppose this event caused me to lose all fear of being on stage. At the end of the year we were again asked to recite the same nursery rhyme and again we had a ‘stand-up’ argument much to the amusement and applause of the audience.

After leaving school I was called up to do national service in Palaborwa but opted to study teaching. Four months at the Johannesburg College of Education were some of my fondest memories – as most hormonal young men, like myself, were outnumbered 60 to 1 by young hormonal females. I intended to change my direction of study, from education to psychology but Magnus Malan had other ideas and issued me with my call up papers. As a child I always wanted to be a policeman and make a difference, so I enrolled in the South African Police Force and studied psychology through UNISA.

With the increasing political turmoil in South Africa at the time, my studies were put on hold. I rose to the rank of Detective Sgt and resigned after four years. To this day I still consider those four years as being a degree in human nature. In the course of a 24-hour day I would work with everyone from paedophiles to Supreme Court judges and everyone in between. It was a real-life, experiential crash course in the best and the worst of our species.

I backpacked around Europe and America for a few months.

I sold door-to-door for the SPCA.

I sold door-to-door children’s educational toys.

My 1st full-time job was at a company called Tedelex, selling telephone answering machines in the then Eastern Transvaal.

I sold property for De Huizemark and insurance for Liberty Life.

I became an insurance broker.

I opened a security business with two friends, one of whom was shot and killed in an armed robbery 30 days after we opened our business.

Two years later we sold the business to a larger security company and at the age of 28 I decided I was in semi-retirement.

Cellular phones then hit South Africa and after complaining about poor service I found myself submitting a training contract proposal to someone at Vodacom to train and motivate their staff. After 2 years MTN made me an offer I couldn’t understand. Shortly after that speaking agents began calling and asking me if I did keynote presentations. At that time I was doing full day training. They told me I could earn 3 times the amount for just doing one hour. I was in! Word spread and 19 years later I am still on the speaking circuit having fun and hopefully making a difference.

What do I do?

I am a high impact keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, humorist, and MC.

I have written 3 best-selling books and have 20 books still in me.

I have stopped writing books to focus more on writing manuals. The current manual I am working on is called The MANual: a manual on how to be a real man, because real men don’t wear pink shirts!

I speak mostly on change, action and RESULTS in all areas. I suppose you can call me a ‘how to: action and results expert!’

I am generally called in to open a conference or meeting in order to set the tone.

I am also used in the middle of a conference to break up the day.

Mostly I am used as the closing act of a conference in order to pull it all together and leave the audience with a serious but fun message to take home. The thinking being that the last thing the audience remembers about the conference is having ‘serious fun’.

I am also asked to MC the events and then to close with a keynote, making references to the events and speakers that have been used.

What do I believe?

I believe people talk too much and do too little.

I believe that positive, recurring actions will and can solve almost anything.

I have a passion for sales and applying back-to-basic actions and change in order to get results.

What are my values?

–        Awareness: to see and shed light.

–        Authenticity: to be me!

–        Fun: try and find the fun in every situation.

–        Love: as a REASON for everything.

–        Truth: trying to live mine.

–        Integrity and Honour: being true to me.

–        Courage: to act because of and in spite of fear.

–        Belief: in me to take action.

–        Action: the secret success formula of life.

What is my purpose?

Love, light and laughter

Everything I do I try to do out of or because of love.

I try and shine light on things that are in the dark or are hidden.

I try and make people laugh because it’s just a cool thing to be able to do.

I am driven to show people how to rehtnik their tnhiknig. To raise people’s awareness and to get them to take action in their lives, marriages, businesses, with their children, wives and husbands.

Things I love!

My family. My health, wealth, wisdom, love, joy and abundance.

I love what I do, and how am I able to do it.

I love honest and true friends, loyal and uncomplicated clients and people without dandruff.

I love a hot shower to end and start a day, I love a good clever movie, an interesting non-fiction book and I love it when a stranger stops for another look.

A love strawberry milkshakes, Rooibos tea, cheese burgers and chips (from hotel room service), Malva pudding and Crème Brûlée.

I love most music from Richie and Buble’, to Bon Jovi and Nickleback, just don’t give me country or Opera or people butchering Killing me Softly on Idols.

I enjoy poker with my friends, ‘5 card draw’ or ‘7 card stud’, I just don’t play ‘Texas hold em’ – I think it’s a game for mugs.

I loved George Carlin, God rest his soul, and Dianne Lane is on my: “it’s okay to leave me for” list, with my wife (she has Ryan Reynolds and a few others).

I am big into moments and the essence of things. It’s the little things in life that are precious to me and seeing kindness in any shape or form always touches my heart and makes me cry.

What’s my style?

  • I’m a straight talker and I don’t beat around the bush.
  • I tell people what they need to hear and not what they necessarily want to hear.
  • I say the things to staff that management wishes they could say but fear the Labour Court and the CCMA.
  • I like to laugh, joke and have serious fun. I believe the art of learning is to disguise the lesson. When people are laughing you can say almost anything to them and plant the seed.
  • I believe laughing is like jogging on the inside. I believe in all the medical, personal and psychological benefits of laughter as I have written about before.
  • I don’t work well with others who don’t work well.
  • I am blessed that I am pretty independent and can choose my clients. Some clients call me in to check me out. What they don’t know is that I am actually checking them out. If they are selfish, egotistical idiots I won’t work with them. They can keep their money and I will return when they have left.
  • I hate meetings and think they are a waste of time. Use Skype or the phone if we must connect.

What are my pet peeves?

People who are late, people who are rude, people who think they are better than others, people who are pedantic about the pronunciation of their names. It’s ‘Car-ren’ not ‘Kae-ren’, it’s ‘Candeece’ not ‘Candice’. I always reply, “Yes but is it snotty, insecure, stuck up or poor self-image – ‘couw’ or ‘cow’?”

Small talk and people with long bushy nose and ear hair.

What do I hate so much that it causes heart palpitations and steam to pour out of my ears at high-pressure?

Bigots, idiots, obnoxious know-it-alls (there can be only one), complainers, doomers, gloomers, lazy people, black or white racists, affirmative action (putting people in positions they are not qualified for because of the colour of their skin), BEE, incompetence, violence, crime, corruption, discrimination, entitlement, stupid people with opinions, injustice and things that are not fair, men who wear pink shirts,  gym guys who shave their heads bald with tattoos and goatee’s – who wear Tap Out shirts, people with MBAs who tell you they have MBAs, any crime or discrimination against children and any crime or discrimination against women.

What should people know about me?

I have many action keynotes because most of my business is repeat performances where I am asked to come back. I am really sick and tired of people saying, “oh we have heard him, we have had him!”

I am the only humorist on the continent.

I can customise any presentation to fit a theme or outcome.

I am currently writing manuals to solve almost every area in people’s lives. If you have a challenge in your business or personal life, send for the action manual.

I am still the busiest Keynote speaker on the African continent – a fact that has never been challenged although many have laid claim to this. It is said and stated not to brag or boast but as a marketing statement (in demand is an indication of results) and a warning that time is my limitation, making clients aware, to avoid disappointment.

I believe I am only as good as my next gig.

I don’t remember names. At all!

I do what I do because it is fun, it pays well, I get to make people smile, and maybe, on occasion, I am the right message at the right time for someone. So, that is a glimpse of Gavin Sharples.

I dare you to do this exercise on yourself and/or your business. Being open and transparent is always a great way to build relationships. When people know you and what you do they treat you differently and will probably use you more.

Most importantly (just in case you haven’t already got this) it is an exercise in identifying and getting to know yourself, your values and your purpose.

As Shakespeare once said “know thyself”. Then he followed it with, “and above all else to thine own self be true, and it shall follow as the night, the day that thy canst not be false to any other man.” …. or something like that!

Have a great month and always remember the question that you should constantly be asking is “do they know who I am?”

Gavin Sharples

His name is Balloo. He is a 12-year-old Dalmatian and he is probably the most loyal creature in my life.

You see, Balloo loves unconditionally; he forgets what I did or didn’t do yesterday and is always genuinely excited to see me! He is the most excited in our family and ever since his arrival, whenever the front gate bell rings, with tail wagging and much excitement, he waits at the front door! Here is the thing, in 12 years the visitor has never been for him. Not once. But does that stop him from imagining his dream poodle? NO! But I digress.

It’s not the same with people. You spend eight years delivering dynamic, results orientated presentations and events for a company. You go the extra mile; you lose your entire ego and get stuck into minor and major jobs that are not your responsibility and you’re not invoicing the client to do them! “It’s all about relationship building”, you say and you carry on giving your heart and soul.

One day you get an e-mail from a 3rd party supplier of the company advising you that “your services are no longer required!”  All the effort, contracts, relationship building, meetings, birthday cards, gifts, meaningful dialogues, fun, results, contacts, gone in six words. No explanation. You just hear through the grapevine that a restructuring has occurred and you are out. You later find out that one of the underlings has by virtue of the fact that everyone else has resigned, been moved into a position of authority and wants to do things her way. She hijacks your concept and proceeds to run some of the most unsuccessful events in the history of the company!

Years later when the “cool” people are in power, they call you back to do your magic. This time however you are different! You are on guard and have no expectations. You see, if they want loyalty, they had better get Balloo.

For years you work with the minions in a company on projects for the senior management team. You subscribe to the belief that people are people and everyone should be treated with dignity, honour and respect. You support, help, supply, train, befriend, commiserate with and back up these staff members when unfairly treated. A relationship is in place. They become managers and heads of department themselves and you foolishly expect these people to not only continue supporting you, but to make you their number one supplier. No silly, they simply become a worse version of the manager they used to hate and become self-serving corporate vultures. If you want loyalty, feed the dog!

All the books, courses and programs will and do wax lyrical about how to build relationships. But the truth is, in the real world, everyone is just looking out for themselves.

Many years ago I dated a lovely woman, we split up but always remained (I thought) good friends. We both married (different people) but stayed in touch on and off. I still call her every year on her birthday and we do lunch about once a year. She used my services once or twice in 19 years. Strange thing though, – after years of relationship, the “blowing smoke”, to my face about how good I am, how much she likes me, how much we are “buds” for life – she consistently uses other people for 99% of all of her functions. To my face she’ll say one thing but then her actions “do” another. If you want loyalty may I suggest a Dalmatian?

I sat in front of one of South Africa’s top CEOs while discussing a rather unfortunate breach of contract by one of his employees, a breach that had cost me a substantial loss. After two years of loyal results and service and a (relationship) with this top guy he looked me in the eye and said “Gavin, you are too much of a loyal asset to our company, I will have this matter sorted for you by five o’clock this afternoon.”

That was in the early 90’s and I’m still waiting for his call! If you want loyalty may I suggest a boomerang?

Eight years of loyal service as an employee of a large company, she was unhappy with the way she was treated so she resigned. No one tried to stop her. Her devastated staff clubbed together to throw her a farewell and shockingly only one general manager attended the event. If you want loyalty get a frequent user client card.

I get a confirmed booking for an event from a long-standing “loyal” client only for it to be cancelled at the last-minute and to be told, “We are looking for a black!” They originally booked me because of the results that I never fail to deliver, but I am bumped, dropped because my skin is white. No other reason. Stuff the loyalty, the extra mile, the results and the fact that I am perfect for the event. If you want loyalty get a blender.

I suppose I can understand someone being disloyal if terms and conditions have not been met or performance is substandard. The supplier who does the bare minimum and lowers standards, should expect a performance review and standards-check, with a warning to up their game or the business will be placed elsewhere. But when the standards and results are exceptional and getting better – without notice – to be discarded! What I don’t get is betrayal of loyalty for no reason. In fact, betrayal of loyalty in spite of fantastic service delivery and results, is just cruel. If you want loyalty get Samantha Sharples.

MARRIAGE IS NO EXCEPTION. In marriages loyalty plays a big part. The man who promises to provide for his family and then doesn’t (after consultation and attempts to resolve) can expect his wife and family to seek a new financial partner. The man who marries the nymphomaniac but finds out shortly after the nuptials, he is living with sister Chastity Belt, then after negotiations and awareness one could, would, expect him to seek a new supplier outside of the loyalty program!

The contract of marriage I feel has little to do with the actual piece of paper you sign, but more to do with the delivered promise of the actions displayed and advertised before the marriage. The actions, goods and services that were advertised, sampled and agreed to, are in my opinion, the actual deliverables. Loyalty for me is the ongoing and consistent delivery of the goods, services and actions that caused a decision to be taken to make the other party the preferred supplier and to sign up for the loyalty program (marriage). Every married woman should have a “stuff-you fund”, set up for the event of disloyalty. In fact real men actually set up a “stuff-you fund” for their wives.

But today I am older, wiser and I have a wonderful collection of scars to remind me to “keep it real”. Most people are generally loyal to themselves, their self interests and covering their asses. Out of fear mostly, some people make decisions that aren’t in the best interests of others. If you want loyalty get Kikuyu grass.

But thank goodness. There are people and companies who are not like this and loyalty is one of their Cornerstone values. Seek these people out, go the extra mile for them and enjoy it while it lasts! Remember, however, my fellow traveller, things will change and it may not last. You will meet scoundrels on your path, – they will smile and shake your hand and preach about human capital and human resources. They will tell you that their people are their greatest asset and resource. Then the share price drops or profits are down and you get an e-mail on a Friday afternoon just before going home for a weekend, “your services are no longer required!” NB Always have a backup plan! Be able to face disloyalty by walking away from any business salary, for eight months, without it affecting your lifestyle or bottom line! For most of you that means start saving and don’t leave all your eggs in one basket. Keep making contacts for emergencies and never be surprised when a loyal employee tells you he’s stolen money from you! Don’t be shocked to find out that her mother was actually not on death’s door for the time she needed to take off to Cape Town and that in fact she forgot that common friends would post photos of her enjoying a 40th birthday party on Facebook! The exact time she was supposed to be saying hail Mary’s she was drinking bloody Mary’s. (All true stories)

Don’t become cynical, trust everyone and expect loyalty but never put your guard down and if you really want loyalty get Gavin Sharples. 

Some people say loyalty is something that is nurtured over time. Well yes! But it’s also something that means nothing when the right deal comes along, a younger model, a new look, a fresh approach, a new fad or better offer. By all means build a loyal client base, following, relationships and support. It’ll pay off most of the time but don’t be surprised if loyalty just becomes a word in the dictionary.

I suppose the real opportunity, due to the fact that it’s so rare and fickle, is for you to become Ms, or Mr Loyal. Be the loyal supplier and or employee. Be the manager that holds loyalty as his number one attribute. It’s a rare commodity that will give you the edge. If you’re looking for loyalty you will find it amongst people on the road less travelled.

Have a great July!