The Paradox of Team Management (and Democracy)

There are few who can think strategically, who have the experience and values to make good decisions, and have the leadership to make it happen. Einstein understood this when he said “The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance.”  This is the issue with democracy today.

We face population growth with automation, corporate dominance and world trade. The result is cheaper goods, but potentially fewer jobs. The rich get richer. Unemployment, given the opportunity (in liberal countries) is rising. In a world of ongoing philanthropy and idealism, with the communist denigration of capitalism and the rich, we have come to believe that we can also be great leaders, make decisions, be successful and wealthy, and climb on the popularity bus where those who shout the loudest, demonstrate and even terrorize, seem to get ahead. This is a ‘fixed’ mindset illusion. Only a few have all that is required to make it to the top in life. Firstly, building this wealth requires a ‘growth’ mindset. (Dweck).

A new Trail of Tears

The American dream is the possibility of achievement. This is seldom achieved without patience, sacrifice, dedication and a lot of faith. While it is true that a team culture is the best for a high level, work-oriented group of people, it does not mean that it will work anywhere. Remember the famous Situational Leadership Model? Well, the details of this have been forgotten in our drive for ‘democracy’ (and political correctness), and in many cases those given power do not qualify in terms of the opening sentence, and affording them team/democratic decision-making is certainly illogical. The results of this gargantuan gaffe, promoted in large by the sympathetic, idealistic, but naive media, has resulted in the devastation of most African and South American countries, with many lives lost. A once prosperous South Africa is hot on this list.

A Study done in South Africa illustrates this point:

“Remember Zebediela Citrus Estate? Here’s what happened to it. From 1918 to 1926, more than 565 000 citrus trees were planted on 2 260 ha of this estate’s land. For the twenty five years before the estate was sold to the South African government in 1974, it showed a profit of millions of rands every year. After the sale, Zebediela grew to become “the diamond of agricultural projects”. It was of such great national pride that the Reader’s Digest Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa wrote in 1978 that “nearly 400 million oranges are harvested each year from the groves of Zebediela, the world’s biggest citrus estate. The output is sufficient to provide one orange for every eight people on earth.”

This was written in 2001: Zebediela Citrus Estate, once the largest of its kind in the world with an annual harvest worth R30 million, is in ruins today losing more than R35 million per annum. Taken over by the Agricultural and Rural Development Corporation, its managers were replaced by people who had no farming experience. Half the citrus trees have died and hundreds of employees have been retrenched.

The Lisbon Citrus and Mango Estate, once our largest exporter of mangoes, has met a similar fate. So has the Saringwa Estate in the Lowland which is now R17 million in debt. The Gillemsberg Citrus and Cattle Boerdery, once debt free and producing R14 million per year, has been totally plundered. This once magnificent 25 000 hectare gem is now a huge squatter camp. One of the largest pig farms in the country was also handed over in a ceremony attended by Nelson Mandela himself who claimed that the farm would serve “as a breadbasket of the community”. Today all the pigs are gone and squatters are living in their pens.

Around the country examples abound of the systematic destruction of the last remaining food exporting infrastructure in Africa. As in Zimbabwe, the claim of “racial imbalance” in land ownership is a red herring. With the government owning around 25% of South Africa’s land, (and blacks about the same) there is ample land available for those who want to work it. But that is not being distributed. Instead organized agriculture is being strangled to death by those who seek only to occupy farms and not to continue their productivity.

Ignorance is no excuse for arrogance

The goal of team leadership is not one of democracy, but one of motivation and ownership, of participation and meaning. However, there are many who suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect, who believe ‘everything is easy, so who are the ‘leaders’ to tell them?’ The paradox is that ‘before we can be, we must become’. Wisdom doesn’t come with a title. To ‘become’ requires humility that takes many years of the right experience, culture and education. Sometimes this collective learning occurs that takes centuries to achieve. We are not all equal in this respect. We have to use our discernment to learn and work with humility until perhaps one day we also can ‘be’. Politics again tries to convert the macro into the micro, and fails. It cannot work, ever. The South African farms will soon lie in ruins, never to recover. Democracy will have failed.

The parallels of South Africa apply across the world. Philanthropy (liberalism) does not work, according to Paul Theroux, who has dedicated years of his life to working in Africa to create a self-sufficient environment. It has made Africa addicted to aid (around $63 billion p.a.), like an adolescent with a huge allowance. It perpetuates the illusion and creates a ‘fixed’ mindset. Bad decisions follow without consequence. Again we make the error of not looking at disconfirming facts, but continue to follow an illusionary media-driven philosophy. Africa, if compared to 50 years ago is far poorer, has fewer basic rights, violent racism with extreme crimes against women and whites, even tribal genocide, and has governments that are driven by power, greed, hatred (blame) and short-termism. In short, they have become barbaric, but no media outrage here! This selfishness, documented by anthropologist Colin Turnbull in his book The Mountain People, which is based on his studies of the Ik tribe in Uganda, has now swept the southern continent.  The atrocities of the Russian revolution, starting with the farmer invasion, is happening in South Africa, and we are all apathetic to the outcome. This is Uhuru, which actually translates into chaos and autocracy, (the barbarians’ understanding of freedom), and it is coming to your world unless you take a stand.

The Solution

So, you may ask, what is the solution to Africa? Give them ownership for their problems is a start.  Studies done by Sir Paul Collier (Oxford) have found that there are 6 key stages of development for a functioning centralized economy. Some of these are missing in Africa and may never emerge, so again it appears that 1st Quadrant issues are the dominating factor. South Africa is however different. It had a sound infrastructure and a productive economy. While many blame the colonialists for their current misfortune in Africa, it appears that it is the philanthropists who have caused the most damage by offering huge amounts of ‘aid’ to those without direction, increasing corruption and illusion. The responsibility for the output still lies at the hands of the perpetrators. Ignorance is no excuse for arrogance. You reap what you sow. It is certainly food for thought, and begs a change away from gratuitous donations in response to the gratuitous violence committed by those who benefit. Surely these gratuities must end!

The principle of the micro becoming the macro, and not vice versa, cannot be refuted. We have ‘to become before we can be’, no matter how unfair it might seem. Companies and countries must be run by those best qualified. Team decisions, where suitable, are limited to micro operational issues only. Politics and Democracy have proven to be counterproductive, as it leads to self-indulgence. It looks like we have come full circle. We, now the kings, are as guilty of crimes of those we chose to overthrow, and worse! South Africa, like Venezuela and Zimbabwe, are destroying themselves and their country based on an ideology that will always fail. (In 1975, Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, was rated first in the world by the United Nations in the overall production of crops!) It is an illusion. Southern Africa bears enough evidence of this. They have killed the golden goose. It is imperative to understand “Who is John Galt?”

To fix this situation (that we all face) we have to attend to the 1st Quadrant issues, and to change at national levels it must start with qualified leadership, law and order, and then focus on building a ‘growth mindset’ in the schools. Empathy and not sympathy must be of prime consideration, as must ownership for their output. This is the way to bring about real change for the better. Please visit for the total, best practices, 21st century solution. Or cry for our beloved country.

Advised reflection: Viewers discretion advised, but this is happening!

Story of this picture girl:

‘Farmlands’ Documentary:

Ethnic hatred with an SA twist: Evil truths about farm murders – Ed Herbst