Strategy A to Z: Abstract Thinking, Abstinence and Appraisals.

The essentials of Strategy in Business, Employees and the Workplace.

I used to day dream whilst in boarding school. Seeing myself as a young varsity lad enjoying the kind of life only varsity kids enjoy. Not that I knew the demands, pressures or challenges a university student goes through. I still tried having some picture of circumstances better than where I was. This was the reality of adolescence, being a foreign national and surrounded by a mix of liberation struggle offspring and post-apartheid ‘born-frees’. This often led to my declining of certain peer pressures, as you see the result of nouveau riche spending on young children that don’t wonder what efforts it took for their parents to enable their purchasing power. This abstinence from the wrong kinds of high school fun was a direct result of seeing the hands of my father fight to ensure my provisions.

In my university years, I still yearned for something better. Looking for a purpose to define my life, there are many choices I made that any normal person would regret, but I learned that it is that introspection that would later define my character. The mistakes, friendships and life-changing encounters I went through truly encouraged my ability to look at the difference in my character over the years. Moving from a dumb boy to top ten in high school, then eventually having that pride knocked off with the dynamics of university – brought me to understand how life can change without realising it.


Little did I know that day dreaming would result in abstract thinking. That this quality is yearned for in today’s workplace; a skill that is only honed overtime and sparked by the naivety of youth. Little did I know that my MSc class would define this quality as Strategic Thinking.

Little did I know that Abstaining from certain teenage activities as a virtue of being different and limited, that this would instill a certain discipline in my work ethic. That I would understand what it means to prioritise even if I was not as skilled in doing so at university.

Little did I know that reflecting on my life and introspecting on the changes I underwent would result in understanding what it means to appraise a system, appraise myself or even a subordinate. These are the basic skills one would never learn in class. This is why I admire all great leaders who ask “What is your story? Who are you?”, because this is what truly determines the quality of personnel you retain.
You can have the most qualified of individuals under you – if they’re not driven, or have purpose for the work they do and kind of life they lead, what value can be derived from them? Great work is executed by great people and from what I have learned through observing some of the best entrepreneurial success stories; you can always hire skill, but never train character.

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