In our December blogs, we commenced a trilogy of practical, challenging and good news articles for the Christmas Season. One of the quotes that I referred to was that of Anatole France: To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act. It is repeated for ease of reference.

As a quick recap, in our first article we wrote of four mission critical activities that you could undertake before Christmas so as to ensure a successful 2016. They are:

1.      Set a Vision bigger than you
2.      Determine the timeframe and set the milestones that need to be achieved
3.      Set the goals for the milestones
4.      Write down the plan of action

The second article was focused on the all-necessary, Execution. Indeed, the first is daydreaming if you do not Act with Intention. The headings were:

1.      Clear and communicated goals
2.      Bringing the resources to bear
3.      Management control
4.      Hard work

In this third and last blog as we rise into the fun and family of Christmas, is the most important mission critical activity in my humble opinion. In order to introduce the topic, one of my best learnings from a programme at Harvard was a quote by the ex-Chairman of ALCOA [the Canadian equivalent of Huletts Aluminium]. As background, he had been the CFO for many years when the board sought a new CEO. Of course he was highly competent at finance but may have lacked the “leadership flair” required to be the CEO. He managed to convince the board and was appointed. He tells of how he sweated over what he would do to stamp a culture of “People matter” into the organisation. He decided that as people do matter, he would introduce a culture of Care to the organisation.

Given the nature of his industry, he decided that Safety would be his first priority. Soon after his appointment with the issue of Safety clearly communicated as a matter of priority, he visited one of Alcoa’s plants. There he came across a person grinding metal without safety glasses. He asked why and discovered there were not sufficient glasses to go around so, on a first-come-first-served basis, some workers were allowed to take the daily risk of eye damage. He called the Supervisor over, confirmed the story and fired him on the spot. Word sped around and his leadership was stamped on what became an incredible period for the company. He then said this, which I repeat often:

People give you their hands, their heads and their hearts [and then what really struck me] and they give them to you in that order.

He made the reality and the requirement of making People your primary focus absolutely clear to me. He encapsulated all we require to make our businesses happy and healthy. He also raised the bar very high for me and every one I worked with. Indeed, it is obvious to me that Mutual Respect and A Sense of Belonging are core pillars for any business.

Let’s spend some time on the cusp of Christmas, unpacking these four elements:

1.Peoples’ Hands
You buy peoples’ hands. When you interview a new person and appoint the best of the candidates, you make them a job offer which they accept. The first thing they read is the salary, the benefits and the bonus. The rest is waffle that they eventually prove or disprove. I read my son’s job offer the other day and it commenced, quite un-customarily, with a statement about the culture of the company and the style of management and employee interaction that they sought to portray, them to him and him to them. I was impressed with that and wished I had applied such a statement in my offers over the years. It became the mirror against which he and they could reflect every interaction going forward in his career. What’s most impressive is that they have not let him down on one issue so far. But that said, they have paid him and bought his hands. His labour, or as the economists would call it, his unit of labour is R”So much” per hour and his Letter of Appointment tells him the hours he must work per day for the pay he will receive.

It is tragic that many labour polls repeatedly confirm that staff have decided that, treated as a unit of labour, you can only expect their work. Given the hours [obviously excluding lunch, tea times and smoke breaks in this scenario] and the job’s instructions, that’s what you can expect. No more, no less. I have worked with many people in large corporates that see work as a means to an end – it’s not just prevalent in government.

2.Peoples’ Heads
So how do you break out of such a menial, labour-only mentality? Begin to see people having a sense of meaning and a desire to achieve.

Two well-known motivational theories come to mind: Maslow and Herzberg’s theories. Maslow believed people seek to rise from Physiological needs, through Social and Emotional needs to the Need to Self-Actualise. Stephen Covey of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People fame, took this a step further to Self-transcendence being the need to actualise in order to serve others and live life at a level higher than your self-centred needs. Of course, self-preservation to self-transcendence is a journey but, as a leader, you can assist in motivating the upward tendency at the level of each individual’s potential.

Herzberg [Google his theory for further insight] speaks of Hygiene factors and Motivators. Hygiene factors eg never enough paper for the copier machine [or the toilet :)], aggravate people but only become conspicuous by their absence. They need to be solved before their irritation turns into a reason for demotivation. But, Motivators such as Achievement, Promotion, and Recognition, become lasting forms of motivation. Only once in my life have I seen a person who questioned their promotion and eventually stepped down; the rest were extremely happy. When last did you restructure a job to give more responsibility, catch someone doing something right, compliment achievement or tell someone they have what it takes to succeed? If you want heads at work – thinking, questioning, curious, initiating, deciding, improving heads at work, then look to yourself and the manner in which you handle people.

3.Peoples’ Hearts
Hearts are not easily or quickly won. Just watch The Bachelor J. We all feel vulnerable giving our hearts to someone – will I let them down, will they reject me, it’s just silly or too emotional, will they hurt me or divulge confidence? How much more unlikely giving your heart to your company or your boss? It’s very tough to win people’s hearts. So what is the secret to getting the brain switched on as the employee enters their office and then giving it everything they’ve got as an individual and as a key team player with their colleagues and their team? You build trust and confidence; it takes time and patience. Look how the ALCOA CEO started – Safety first – and then the rest. In a multi-billion Dollar enterprise, he put the People first and fired anyone who didn’t understand the Rule – for him it was not a game; the protection of his employees was non-negotiable and sending them safe to their families every night was HIS responsibility. How do you think it feels when you work with [never “for”] a boss like that? If you can trust him to worry about your eyesight, perhaps you could trust him with other important things. And, by the way, his Union relationships improved dramatically as well.

So it is, you win peoples’ hearts one step at a time. What do you get for your effort? Commitment, Dedication, Loyalty [not the kind you only get from a Labrador], Compassion, Others-centeredness, Care, Growth and, a big one, Willingness. I have been blessed to experience those kinds of people even in the most dire of circumstances. Each of us who floundered our way through 2008-2010 needed every scrap of “heart” that everyone could muster. Try retrenching people when you’re still doing well because pipeline is still strong whilst explaining that the pipeline was going to collapse soon [by 90% eventually] and the packages they are receiving now would not be available when that happened. You need Heart right then ‘cause hands and heads just don’t cut it. And even better, when things are going well and recognition is being handed out, Heart accepts it gratefully and determines to do more. Perhaps, in a nutshell, it’s just amazing to work in a company where hands, heads and hearts come together every morning to enrich colleagues’ and customers’ lives.

4.Peoples’ Order of Priority
Let’s dwell on the negative for just a moment to make a point. If you breach “heart” in a relationship, everything recedes immediately back to “hands”. A sad fact. It is no different in your personal life as what it is in your business life; it takes years to build trust and confidence and minutes to dent, or worse, destroy it.

On the positive side [it’s Christmas after all], the process of building from hands to head to heart is quite possible. Believe it or not, the Golden Rule is a very good place to start. How do you like being treated? You accept a job you’re confident you can do, you get paid month after month, you get some targets and you work hard to achieve them and then you are promoted by a boss who indicates they like you and you receive an increase and carry on performing and then, when your parent dies, the boss goes to the memorial service out of respect for you……..not too difficult when you read it. And what’s the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do to you”. It sounds childlike, but it isn’t that much more complex. Let’s try it another way. You take the job, but it’s a little more than you can chew so you approach your boss and they agree to help you. You start with some mentoring and they set tasks for you to achieve. If you don’t, they correct you and if you do, they compliment you. Slowly but surely, admitting mistakes and building self-confidence, you achieve higher and higher targets and get rewarded in the process. How does it feel and what would you not do for that “fabulous” boss? You could probably mention someone who has meant that much to you – a teacher, a spouse, a boss – someone who built your confidence, enthused you to higher things and privileged your life. The order is always the same – hands, head and then heart – and your personal values have much to do with the process. To explore this further, you may wish to look at McClelland’s X and Y theory. How you choose to see people often determines the height to which they rise; starting with your spouse and your children.

It has been a privilege writing these blogs for Homeloan Junction. They have stretched me and caused me to revise what I know and research what I need to know. If they have benefited you in any way, we are pleased that we could make a small difference in your life. 2016, in the light of local and global events, looms before us. But, as a nation, we have known worse and overcome with application and faith. We will do so again. For each of us, the challenge is to do what we can, to influence what we can and to harness the resource of our People to achieve the goals we have set and agreed. It is no different for a self-manager, or Homeloan Junction, a corporate or a country. We trust you will take the time to reflect on a vision greater than you and then action it to the point that your heart knows meaning and blessing in the years that lie ahead. Two sayings, believe it or not, off T-shirts in a gym:

Whoever you are

Wherever you go

Whatever you do

Be Yourself and live your dreams.


I determine to:

Be Active

Be Healthy

Be happy

Be Me.


And one for the road, the prayer of St Patrick of Ireland:

May the road rise to meet you, 

May the wind be always at your back, 

May the sun shine warm upon your face, 

May the rains fall soft upon your fields, 

And, until we meet again, 

May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Happy Christmas!

Yours in Property



What will my monthly bond repayment be?

Budgeting in general can present major headaches for people but a bond repayment calculator, if used correctly, could help to ease the pain. Coming up with a realistic budget — whether for the purchase of a new home, or for the necessary control of household and monthly expenses or the entire expenditure plan for a whole country — can bring its fair share of headaches, even when you know it will be implemented in the most skilful and savvy way. So, don’t feel disheartened: you’re not alone if you’re facing the tiresome task of working out your budget.

If you’re planning on buying a house, you’ll need to know how much you can budget to spend on the loan each month. And you’ll need to know this before you go house hunting if you want to avoid disappointment. Imagine spending valuable time finding a dream home, only to discover that it is out of your price range! Luckily, Homeloan Junction offers you a simple, online tool to make this easier for you. Try their free bond repayment calculator to see if you can afford the house you love

How a Bond Repayment Calculator Works

When you are shopping for a new home, the last thing you want to discover is that the amount you thought you could afford is actually quite a bit different to the amount you can realistically afford each month. It’s best to find these things out before you go charging headlong into the process – and certainly well before you sign any Offers to Purchase.

Nowadays you can explore your options in the privacy of your own home, with the help of a bond repayment calculator. Having the benefit and independent use of an accurate bond repayment calculator in front of you, can help you create a more realistic assessment for the way forward. Remember, when you make your calculations, it is important to take into consideration that financial circumstances can change, so be sure not to stretch your budget too far.

Go ahead and test the bond repayment calculator tool on Homeloan Junction’s website. You’ll see that in less than one minute you will be able to quantify the amount of the bond you are eligible for … and the amount you can realistically afford.

Easy-To-Use Bond Repayment Calculator

You also have other calculation options over and above the bond repayment calculator available at your fingertips. With the useful calculators on the Homeloan Junction website, you can work out how much you will be able to afford to pay, you can project bond and transfer costs, and also work out how much you could save on interest with a bigger deposit. The website is well-optimized which means you’ll experience no problems with speed, and you’ll have the answers to your questions in a few minutes. Also, the calculators are simple to use.

Whether you are working out a budget that includes a new bond or re-evaluating the way forward with existing bond repayments, after spending a few minutes with these versatile tools you will soon see that they are quite easy to navigate and apply to your own, individual needs.

Save More and Pay Less

The most successful and accurate assessment of how much you can afford on a homeloan will come from thoroughly doing your homework. Don’t stop once you’ve assessed how much you can afford to pay as a monthly instalment, research as much as possible about the methodologies that can be applied to see you save more and pay off your bond in the shortest period possible. Banks in general are happy to see you stay with them for longer; after all you are generating streams of income for them. But will this really work for you?

A successful trick is to pay off your homeloan over a shorter period, but this entails a disciplined approach. Prioritize this expenditure and also seek new ways to add a bit extra to your repayment schedule. This is another reason to keep your budget realistic – give yourself the option to pay more into your mortgage each month, allowing you to save more and pay less.

Do you need assistance in determining your ideal homeloan amount? Even if you have used the useful bond repayment calculator to find out how much you can afford, you can also talk to one of the qualified and experienced consultants at Homeloan Junction to help you make accurate assessments.

South Africa can be very proud of its property industry

I was having a look at the ‘net and came across this headline: SA property sector worth R4.9-trillion

I know, I felt like that as well: So much property and so little in my name. It happens to all of us!

But, that got me thinking about our country and the industry…………

The South African property industry is significant in many respects:

  • Property rights are secured in our Constitution and we trust that it will stay that way.
  • The Deeds Office nationally is functional and does relatively well in securing our property rights as well as the rights of our financiers.
  • Our property law is well established and we produce outstanding conveyancers and property experts in many fields of the property market.
  • It is very well managed with a number of globally competitive property funds that own significant amounts of property on behalf of shareholders.
  • Our estate agents are highly skilled and requiring of continuous training and development in order to stay at the top of their game. Estate Agencies, are widespread and whilst the large franchises dominate, there is still room for the smaller business owners to ply their trade off the back of excellent exposure and/or relationships in their community.
  • We are building property across the spectrum of requirements, from the poor to the aged and up to the rich. Whilst the process could be much better, developers are getting access to land, and we hope ever-improving, to electricity which was a real issue a few years ago.
  • In our cities we have leafy suburbs and our own “Hollywoods” and, by and large, we live safely though behind some very high, secured walls.


Not a bad situation to be in as a country. Yes it could be better, our cities could be better managed in key areas of delivery, our poor ramshackle areas could be revitalised and our informal settlements are a blight on us, but it is probably fair to say that we have a good property industry overall. In fact, I would be prepared to call it a significant and contributing national asset.

The CEO of the Property Sector Charter Council, Portia Tau-Sekati, presented excellent research to the industry in September. The sector contributes significantly to the country’s economy and in 2009 comprised 8.3% of gross domestic product (GDP), according to a South African Property Owners Association research report entitled “The economic impact of the property sector in South Africa”.

According to the Charter Council’s study, only 1% of the country’s land is urban and residential, about 73% is natural pasture, approximately 12% is agricultural and the remaining land is comprised of conservations and reserves. Two-thirds of the property owned in South Africa is residential and worth R3-trillion, while commercial property is worth R780-billion. Undeveloped land that is zoned for development is valued at R520-billion and publicly owned property, including national, provincial and local government and state-owned enterprises, is worth R570-billion.

“Retail property has the highest value of the commercial property sectors in South Africa at R340-billion, followed by office properties at R228-billion and industrial properties at R187-billion,” the Charter Council reported. “Representing a small comparative value of R25-billion is hospitality, leisure and ‘other’ property.”

According to SAinfo reporter, the study will be an annual one and the Charter Council aims for it to become the benchmark against which progress in the industry is measured. “The study is a useful tool for understanding the South African property market and its dynamics,” Tau- Sekati said.

To read more go here.

I make my point again against the backdrop of this recent and defining research that South Africa can be very proud of its property industry.

Against this backdrop, the SARB’s decision to hold off on an interest rate hike late last month augers well for the industry. Inflation figures will be announced today [19 October 2015] but are expected to remain within the 3-6% range so no serious danger there. Of course, the whole world seems to be waiting for the USA rates decision and we have the unfortunate matter of the weak Rand, ostensibly because of the US$ strength. There is no doubt that the SARB decision, as much as it would like to raise interest to protect the Rand and still inflationary fears, is set against the context of South Africa’s dismal economic growth. That will probably be revised to a 1.5% forecast but it is, at best, hovering unacceptably low.

John Loos, FNB’s Property Economist, speaks to the interest rate and makes valid points as usual. Firstly, a gradual rise in interest rates prevents any need to over-react later and keeps lenders and borrowers cautious. Secondly, he makes the point that lending does not grow the economy but only productive lending does that with any sustainable effect. Finally, he states the obvious that we all need to hear: Indebtedness is not good for our economy [and back pockets] and we should use the low interest rates as an opportunity to reduce our household debts as quickly as possible.

According to Private Property, Cape Town has the most exclusive properties and precincts of incredible value. Private Property, quoting Lightstone research, reports, “Cape Town may not be the financial epicentre of South Africa but it continues to dominate the list of most exclusive addresses and data has revealed that the Mother City lays claim to three of the five most elite addresses in the country. According to the Lightstone research, the most expensive street in South Africa currently is Nettleton Road in Clifton, where the median price for houses is R27.1 million, followed by Glen Beach Road in Camps Bay with an average house price of just under R24m. Head Road in Fresnaye takes fourth place with an average selling price of R21.44m. Sandhurst in Johannesburg scoops third and fifth places with a median sale price of just under R25m in Coronation Road and R20.76m in Rivonia Road. In the list of most expensive addresses in the Western Cape, not surprisingly, four of the five most pricey are situated on the sought-after Atlantic Seaboard, with fourth place taken by Eastcliff in Hermanus.

Lew Geffen says: “The upswing on the Atlantic Seaboard started in 2002 when a property in Chilworth Road in Camps Bay sold for R23m, but the demand for luxury homes really began to peak 2008 when 13 properties in the R20m plus price band changed hands to the combined value of R414.193m.”  “In spite of the credit crunch which hit in 2008, property values on the Atlantic Seaboard have continued to grow exponentially and now it is not only home to the most trophy properties in South Africa; it also fetches the highest price per square metre.”

Closing on this article, Cape Town may be home to the most luxury properties in South Africa, although data from New World Wealth shows that Johannesburg still has the most Dollar millionaires in the country.

So there you have it, Cape Town has the properties and Johannesburg has the money. Like Homeloan Junction’s excellent service, some things never change.

Yours in Property

Inside Tips on getting your homeloan approved first time

Let’s face it, particularly in the South African context; securing a homeloan in order to purchase your first home can be quite scary. Do you even qualify? Most men and women dream of settling down and starting their own family and to have their very own home in which to do this. The bad news is that the challenges of meeting the criteria as a first-time and successful applicant have increased. Does this mean you won’t qualify?

Here are 5 insider tips to help you to secure the homeloan that will help you buy your dream home:

Tip #1 Create a Record of Good Standing
Many first-time applicants have had their home loan application rejected. Why? The problem lies in the fact that young applicants have no credit record and history of their ability to pay promptly and consistently. So, in spite of having saved for a deposit with the bank, you may not be able to secure that homeloan simply because you have no other loans. Before making an application, spend some months creating a good credit history by paying smaller loans on time, like your cell phone or clothing accounts.

Tip #2 Generate Financial Discipline
While the country’s leading lending institutions and major estate agents warned against this, the government under Thabo Mbeki was determined to and ultimately succeeded in relaxing credit access rules and lending criteria. There are two ironies in this. One; Mbeki’s Minister of Finance (who did not have jurisdiction over these rulings) was openly opposed to the relaxing of previously prudent credit rules. Two; while the banks were initially sceptical when the laws were quickly passed, they obligingly processed new applications and granted them. This proved to be a disaster waiting to happen. The trick is to have financial discipline – don’t accept just any offer of credit. Make sure that you can afford the repayments first. This way you won’t be in any danger of being blacklisted.

Tip #3 Make Formal Inquiries with Home Loan Junction
Today, the homeloan application process is relatively simple and straightforward, and most South Africans with access to computers, laptops, mobile devices and the internet, can self-test while completing a pre-application. Correctly, banking criteria still prefer the first-time applicant (or any applicant for that matter) to make a formal application and ideally with one of our officials in person (although the application can, in certain instances, be made online). Invariably applicants are reminded of, or advised on what records and documentation are required to make inroads towards a successful application.

Tip #4 Ask About Options and Opportunities
In reaction to the disastrous effects of the relaxation of credit lending criteria, the government initiated new legislation which saw the founding of the National Credit Regulator which essentially acts as a watchdog for both clients and lenders. This has also made the homeloan application process more difficult for many applicants. But, today there are still companies, particularly new entrants to the personal and home lending markets, arguing in favour of more flexible, merit-based and opportunistic rules. Their argument is sound because if more people have access to credit within the parameters of properly regulated checks and balances, of course, the country benefits economically as a whole.

Tip #5 See What You Can Afford
Let it be known that all is not lost for new applicants. Homeloan Junction leaves them with some clues on how to go about securing their homeloan successfully. As a bond originator and not a traditional lender, We promises a speedy delivery of services ideal for helping you plan ahead of time. The emphasis is also on savings and tools which are available online to help you assess affordability and whether you qualify for a first-time loan. We also offer innovative alternatives to traditional bonds which could see you paying far less in the long term and also paying off your loan over a shorter period of time.

Tip #6 And Learn How Much You Can Save
For more information on whether you meet all criteria and what you can do next, you can contact Homeloan Junction directly online. Our service and advice is free.  Blog posts on our website have important information on what influences first-time home buyers.

In view of all the challenges, expectant applicants should have realistic objectives. With enough information on the home buying process, and with online calculators at their fingertips, there is no reason why South Africans cannot plan and succeed in buying their home at their first attempt.

Part of our service entails good advice based on experience and qualifications. Talk to Homeloan Junction today about how you can successfully secure your loan. We have contact with banks and conveyancers and knowledge of the products, and various credit terms available to advise you of all the options which will best serve your requirements.

How better to serve your needs than to approach a company who will, on your behalf, motivate and negotiate one of the most important deals of your life? Homeloan Junction is a one-stop service complete with efficiency and convenience at the tips of your fingers.

Yours in Property


individual or firm; they are not more important or less important. A friend of mine consults to a coffee company. They have the opportunity of cracking the Retailer market [high turnover, low margin] or of rolling out a franchise of brilliantly branded coffee cafes. The first strategy looks powerful on paper, but the second, by far less in turnover, makes more money. Interesting for the entrepreneur because he physically can’t do both. He is faced with goal prioritisation and then goal optimisation as he executes. Poor goal clarification can lead to a “straddled” strategy –  attempt to do everything and, whilst I may not fail at everything, I don’t optimise outcomes as I could have if I was focussed. In the book by Ashbury and Ball, The Winning Ways, they quoted Meyer Kahn, then-CEO of SAB, as saying he just did one thing every year. Sound seriously simplistic, almost childish. But you see his goal in those days was to internationalise SAB and become the biggest brewery in the world. His business managed 2nd and anyone who has SAB shares knows what’s happening right now as Anhauser Busch moves to acquire SAB, gain and African footprint, and be by far, the #1 brewer in the world. So your goal needs to be owned and communicated as the most important thing you need to achieve. If not, beware the new year resolution quandary.

  1. Bringing the resources to bear

In the course of establishing milestones or, in other words, laying out the journey of the Plan, you would have given thought to what it takes to achieve the goals. Apart from the caveat that entrepreneurs often take big risks, knowing what it requires to take on your goals is fundamental to Execution. Early January, you will begin committing resource to your Vision and its Plan. In the coffee example above, the owner needs to employ a Financial Manager without whom his tax, debtors and quick expansion could vaporise his business. A friend of mine taught me that businesses fail for two reasons: Success and Failure itself. Whatever the latter is you will understand, but the former is harder to comprehend. Success, and what the bankers call Overtrading, goes hand in hand. You may need new staff, more staff, new offices, more offices, more cash resources, more marketing, more stock – whatever is “more” could lead to unsuccessful Execution. From observation, Success fails even more conspicuously than Failure or, put another way, it’s just a bigger mess. So dedicate the resources that you have to the top priority goals and don’t overstretch them. Getting “one thing” done properly is more important as you build success than attempting everything. The only antidote to inadequate resources is clear prioritisation.

And, by the way, for many estate agencies, the most vulnerable resource is the Principal – You. Stretched too thin, you cannot execute optimally. You may put in the effort but something is bound to fail – your health or relationships, for example. You’re human so pace your ability to Execute as if it is a scarce  resource. By doing so, you may avoid much disappointment.

  1. Management control

I often think that this management discipline is the most neglected of all. In 1916, Henri Fayol laid down 5 functions of Management which were condensed over the years to four: Planning Organising, Leading and Controlling. Let’s face it, by the time you’ve done the first three successfully, the fourth seems redundant. Nothing could be further from the truth and, I would go so far as to say, what you don’t Control will control you. The five pillars of Management Control are: Set the Goal, Measure Performance, Evaluate Performance, Correct or Reward and Feedback [into Goal Setting]. A process is required to control an outcome. Space allows for just a few points: (a) Ensure that you can measure your goals. Some say you only get what you measure. (b) Evaluation takes time and effort. Look at what went wrong and what went right, assess future performance and what needs to change and compare current to desired outcomes. (c) We all correct well but few of us stop to reward well. From a pat on the back, to a restaurant voucher, to a monetary incentive to a large bonus – all Reward is good to ensure continued performance to goals. (d) Feedback is the process that informs direction. Think of it this way, you get to a destination by steering the car away from deviation and putting it back on course over and over again. Management Control is just like that and is mission critical to Execution.

  1. Hard work

The founder of Twitter was interviewed the other day. Asked about their success he retorted: Isn’t it funny how 10 years of hard work looks like an instant success? To the same point, many years ago our Bank came up with a slogan: Work smarter not harder, as part of a values campaign. I’ve got to be honest, I have never understood that and have always resorted to hard work, the right kind of focussed work, as a prerequisite for success. Continual attention to detail, looking for new things, personal application to the task, risk management and expenditure of effort has a way of winning through. I know successful people and all of them look like an instant success after years of hard work and sacrifice. Why should you and I be any different? In the process, don’t ignore three things: Exercise, Eating and Sleep.

Execution makes the difference between success and failure. In between is mediocrity. Only Success is desirable. 2016 can only be successful against a Plan that is well Executed. Otherwise hope for a geluksskoot [“a lucky shot”]. On the other hand, it is highly probable that a well-considered Plan and a great Execution will pay you rich dividends and serve others in the process. Why would you choose anything less for yourself and those you value?

There is one more ingredient, I believe. People.

Yours in Property

If you knew you had December to make your business highly successful in 2016, what would you do?

“‘Tis the Season to be jolly tralalalalalalalah”.

So the carol goes. But just reading the pre-reporting on the Fitch rating which may see SA Inc achieve junk bond status on 4 December 2015, the “jolly” turns to “golly” in one foul swoop.

So for that reason, at the entree to this beautiful Christmas Season [I really struggle with “the Holidays” so please forgive me], I deem it a good idea to write a trilogy of uplifting articles. Trilogy, because I also need a break between Christmas, that very special Holiday, and New Year, that time when all the resolutions kick in.

If you knew you had December to make your business [read Life, if you will] highly successful in 2016, what would you do? Run for the hills, Dream big, Plan, Act, Take advice, Retrench your dead wood, Drink champagne, Motivate your people, Have a workshop, Write your thoughts down, [Eat, Love and] Pray; really, what would you do? This is the month of determination; in it you set the course for all that achieves success in 2016 – so what would you do?

We don’t know your circumstances, but if you’re reading this blog, you probably are a person who seeks to learn by being informed and challenged. You probably take the smallest scraps of thinking and learning and coagulate them into something you can work with to develop yourself and your relationships and your business. If you’re that kind of person, read on. Below are four major highlights that will define your year commercially and which deserve attention this month before you take a break. Four is not magical and I’m sure there may be more for you. However, dedicated focus on these four things are proven to be key ingredients of success.

First, an anecdote from my days at Nedbank.  At one Homeloan conference, a thoughtful organiser put a small card on my pillow that said: To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act. The quote was by the famous French poet, journalist and novelist, Anatole France, who was awarded the Nobel peace prize for Literature in 1921. Another anecdote, which quote by Zig Ziglar I sent to my Son a few days ago, is: When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that’s when passion is born.

1.Set a Vision bigger than you

You see, Anatole was right to call the dream into being. Nothing in the conditionality he places on action detracts from our God-given right and responsibility to dream. There is  a thought that if your dream doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough. I would say that is extreme but something in there does raise the bar. My school motto is Per Ardua ad Astra which means “By hard work to the Stars”. I like that and wouldn’t if I believed in get-rich-quick schemes. It’s the “to the Stars” part that lifts your chin, drives out your fears and burns in your heart. It is the Vision in you that keeps you constantly thinking, wondering, searching and striving until you find the Confidence that this dream, this Vision, is for you. If you can’t buy the “hyper” in what I’m saying, then think about this – What would you like to change so that you double what you have now in one year? Sales, originations, the depth of a relationship, turnover or money? What would it take to do that versus what price you are prepared to pay? If the formula is acceptable to you, then what stops you from achieving that dream? In the stating of it comes the angst of how I would do it; in the envisioning lies the challenge and the risk. But without the genesis of this thought “any ol’ place” would be good enough. If there ever was a distinction between our soul and our spirit, it would be the deep desire for more that lies in the spirit. You can be content with what you have and where you are or you can begin to thirst for more. Set a Vision that is bigger than you. 

2.Determine the time-frame and set the milestones that need to be achieved

Bring your Vision down to earth. Unless you’re a dreamer, dreaming is a beginning but not the desired outcome. Our minds love pictures and can bathe themselves in daydreams and images all day long. Sweet dreams we say to our loved ones, but then they’re going to sleep! Given our December challenge above, there’s no time for sleeping just yet. We can rest later. You need to begin to think out what milestones will direct your achievement and when you would expect to see them on the journey to success. To keep it simple, milestones are quantitative indicators of your achievement. Think of it like this: any salesman loves the “hockey stick” approach to his annual goal. For years I’ve seen that, off target up to September, the super-salesman thinks he can achieve the rest in the last quarter. True maybe, if you’re GM of a holiday resort, but for the rest of us mere mortals, you probably can’t “shoot the lights out” in the final sprint any more than you could in the previous 3 quarters. Salespeople, yes you and me my Originator and Estate Agent friends, love the hockey stick and it’s expected air-punch but, alas, it seldom works. If you’re travelling Joburg to Cape Town in 14 hours, doing 90km/hour for the first 900kms will leave you with much catch-up from Worcester. The problem then is you hit law enforcement, sharp bends through the Hex and more traffic. Life and its achievement is no different and by the time you realise your mistake, it’s too late. From a brain point of view, as you click from the Vision in the right brain, you enter the Reality of the left brain. There you need milestones and a good sense of timing to keep focused on the destination.Determine the time frame and set the milestones that need to be achieved.

  1. Set the goals for the milestones

In point 2 I said the milestones are indicators. Give or take an hour or 30 kilometres, not achieving a particular milestone is not a major issue when you’re on the road. But in business, indications are not enough. Goals are required. If you look at the five pillars of Management Control: Set the Goal, Measure Performance, Evaluate Performance, Correct or Reward and Feedback [into Goal Setting], then you can see that a process is required to control an outcome. “Ag, it’s only 30 minutes” is fine for normal day-to-day driving, but winning rally drivers have their navigators assess their progress by the second, literally. Goals enable the fine tuning necessary for specific achievement. Goals are the hard rock of success. Over is good but Under is simply not acceptable to a Winner. Setting goals is hard work. You need to think and challenge yourself and re-think. You need to drill down into the milestones, decide on the price you’re prepared to pay and then drive out the appropriate, non-negotiable goals you want to achieve. Anything less in a plan is simply wishful thinking and the next time to get to think about it, you’ll be facing the indeterminable “hockey stick” reality. Set the goals for the milestones. Now!

  1. Write down the plan of action

In the Good Book, Habakkuk was told to write the vision down. Hey but it such a cool Vision, why not just announce it and turn it into reality. The reason was simple: We Forget. The plan is the document where you write down the Vision, its milestones and the goals. Then you write down the actions required and mentally rank their level of difficulty so as to understand the obstacles to their achievement. What you need to overcome is as important as prerequisites. You can reach for the stars as long as you like but you better get a ladder or “go virtual”. Not seeing these obstacles to a Plan and dealing them upfront is a figment of the imagination. One word of caution though, as I revert to this almost mathematical process.  Entrepreneurs see the vision, the milestones, the goals and the action plan but often choose to ignore the requirements. Sheer passion says I will [read: want to] do this “whatever it takes”. Fundamental to this approach and attitude is that I am a firm believer that Risk and its concomitant action, Risk Management, is fundamental to success. Entering a business, creating a BIHAG [Big Hairy Audacious Gaol], deciding to marry, all require you to take risks and then manage them. Why? Well, on the one hand, little goals are “more of the same”, they’re incremental and risk mitigating whilst big goals need you to jump at some stage. Once you jump, you’re committed; no turning back. On the other hand, you just cannot see all the pitfalls in the beginning. We often read about the overcoming of a Hilary Tensing team, Ford and Edison. The question is would they have started in the first place if they knew what they would face along the journey? You can’t see it all and the bigger the goal, the longer the timeframe, so the less you can see. But what Reward awaits Success! Write down the plan of action.

So there you have it plain and simple. You now have a choice, get ready to go on leave and just enjoy the silly season, or, do the hard yard to revolutionise your circumstances. It’s always a choice and the choice confronts us many time about many things in life.

In our next part of the trilogy, we’ll have a look at Execution. It truly is the sine qua non of Success. It is the as well as act of Anatole’s quote.

Homeloan Junction epitomises what we’re speaking about. It was built out of the ashes of Sub-Prime to be a top Performer in Evo, Ooba’s Aggregation business, in a few years. Why not approach us to see how we could help you turn your dreams for starting an origination business, or multiplying your existing success, into reality?

Yours in Property.