The Unending struggle for relevance

No leader has ever emerged out of a vacuum. Leadership is always shaped by emergent challenges and is purpose driven. However, the continuing challenge for the human cause is to ensure that the purpose remains ethical.
Change is impossible to predict. How will your business respond to it?  Thabang Motsohi, in his best-selling book Fit for Purpose, explored the ability of people in top leadership positions to both anticipate and dynamically react to changes in the ecosystem of their industry. Internationally renowned consultant on leadership, strategy and implementation, Ian Mann, called it “a necessary read for all who run organisations”.
From Motsohi’s pen now comes the eagerly anticipated The Unending Struggle For Relevance; a practical guide and knowledge resource. With its elegantly simple way of unpacking complex strategic issues, it bridges the gap between concepts and their application so effectively that it might leave you astounded at the reality it opens you up to. Do you have what it takes to safely navigate your business through socio-political upheaval and increasing levels of economic uncertainty?


Deputy Editor – The Conversation

Renowned management consultant, Peter Drucker, once observed: “A time of turbulence is a dangerous time, but its greatest danger is a temptation to deny reality.”

Thabang Motsohi’s latest book, The Unending Struggle for Relevance, contains case studies of South African institutions, both economic and political, that have suffered immensely in recent years. This suffering, as the book shows, can be traced back to the moment they fell for the temptation to deny reality; their own internal reality, as well as the reality of the environment within which they operate.

In this book, Motsohi eloquently explains how institutions can create the contextual intelligence they need to survive these turbulent times and thereby become fit for purpose.

Leadership Coach, Facilitator, and writer – Director | DMI and P2P Foundation

This book comes at a time when there is so much debate about leadership and management. Also frequently under discussion is the relevance of leaders within their organisation, in relation to their followers and, perhaps even more so, to their operating context. In this book, the writer makes an important statement about the nature of leaders: The Unending Struggle for Relevance is about leaders who are not preoccupied with their own unending struggle for personal survival.

The above statement establishes Motsohi as an insightful, inquisitive critic of context. But it also becomes clear early on that he is a scholar, teacher, contributor, and an active observer of matters of organisational life and growth. The writer sees common factors of life and potential for change in the following areas:

  • Planning the futures of organisations and departments;
  • Propositions for future research and development that provides for critical thinking, strategic conversation, and innovation;
  • Execution of plans that provide for the bridging of concepts and their application, and;
  • Purpose-driven vision aligned with focus.

In this book, the writer emphasises the need to be fit for purpose. This is critical in the face of the ever increasing complexity and changing dynamics of the operating context. The book highlights critical leadership failures, the absence of discernment at critical moments, the failure to understand and respond to change, and the alignment of skills and competencies to suit the need.

A number of chapters speak to the South African context and the failures of state owned enterprises, the political system of the ruling party, and the State Capture debacle, amongst others. The writer also makes an in valuable contribution in an earlier chapter by providing a Fit for Purpose methodology, where he shares his thoughts and perspectives on leadership.

This book is essential reading for organisational leaders, managers, coaches as well as the facilitators of change and transformation within organisations. Special mention should be made of the appendix – it solidifies the need to ‘localise’ and make knowledge indigenous.

This must-read book will emerge as a manual for leaders to refer to for a long time to come.

Lecturer UNISA

The author is a patriot in pursuit of the vision and strategies that could divert South Africa from the ruinous trajectory it has been on in the past 15 years. There is universal concurrence, even within the ruling alliance, that the political rhetoric underpinned by archaic slogans and ideology no longer resonates with masses of the people.

The first pandemic to hit our shores past 1994 was corruption and the elevation and celebration of mediocrity. The deployment, rather than appointment, of people on merit and the ‘dethroning’ of meritocracy in favour of cadre deployment. Evidence of this abounds in the book. There is no sphere of government or the social structure that is not affected and impacted by the plaque of corruption. The exposition is lucid and persuasive. The chapter dealing with governance at state owned enterprises enunciates the challenges of leadership, and the calibre of people necessary to turn organisations around. (Especially, in terms of the knowledge economy undergirded by science, engineering, technology and innovation.)

Motsohi is not an unrealistic critic. In a later chapter he explores and envisions the strategic repositioning that can reignite sustainable and inclusive growth. As a leading organisational strategist he is convinced that South Africa is endowed with adequate talent and capacity to become the economic powerhouse on the continent that it is destined to be.

The book deals with complex organisational challenges so lucidly and concisely that students in tertiary institutions, public servants, corporate managers, and political leadership would immensely benefit from studying it. It is not fiction. It is informed by empirical evidence and is rooted in the existential experiences of the people of South Africa and beyond.

Any student from any discipline will derive some form of benefit from reading this book, including people who are just committed to lifelong learning.



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