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Becoming an economic Activator in spite of COVID-19

With the rapid spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus across the planet, South Africans face the possibility of greater prohibitions being imposed on their lives and business activities. It’s easy to fall into an observer mindset in times of uncertainty, waiting to see what happens before taking action. “Yet, it’s clear that, if we want to preserve the South African economy, each of us must move from passive Spectator to economic Activator,” says Annelize van Rensburg, Director at Signium Africa, an executive search and talent management company based in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Spectator vs Activator

A Spectator waits for someone else to make things better for them. An Activator, on the other hand, takes the initiative and makes things happen for themselves and others. Think of a rugby team and their fans. Both are Activators in that the players energize the fans by scoring and the fans support the team by cheering them on to do better than their opponents.

Contrast this with someone waiting at a railway station. They are true Spectators because they cannot participate in the train’s approach; they can only watch from a distance and hope for its timely arrival.

Unfortunately, the same situation arises when one’s limiting beliefs about their current circumstances immobilise them. “We must, as individuals, actively contribute to South Africa’s economy in spite of the current pandemic; we cannot wait for an outside solution,” says van Rensburg.

Executives as Activators

This is especially true of entrepreneurs and business executives, whose very profession precludes them from being Spectators. Yet, in these daunting times, they may find themselves in a deficit when it comes to the skills and models needed to lead their companies forward. It is now that they, as elite strategic problem solvers, must dig deep to develop innovative organisational solutions for doing business in a distanced society.

At such times, they can and often do seek out the services of an executive coach or leadership consultant, to help them re-evaluate limiting personal and professional perspectives and reignite their drive to succeed. In addition, executives can also take action by being Activators to others, through mentoring, participating in mastermind groups, offering direction to small business owners, or making other valuable contributions. “They are in the best position to help people remain economically active,” observes van Rensburg.

Self activation

How do people go from Spectators to Activators? Van Rensburg notes that Spectators often feel powerless to effect change simply because they don’t know what their strengths are, how they can develop them or how they can apply them to problems. Once they do, they become agents of change because they understand their role in the solution.

“So the first things we must do is discover and develop our strengths,” she says. “This is self activation.” There are many ways to accomplish this, such as being assessed by an industrial psychologist and, with their assistance, developing a career plan around their findings.

When people know how to activate themselves, it’s easier to activate others in their team. And those who excel as Activators of others can find themselves entering the executive ranks in their organisation.

Activating the economy

“Everyone has unique strengths that, taken together, create a powerful force for changing South Africa’s fortunes in times of trouble,” concludes van Rensburg. “Whether you are a leading business figure or a municipal worker, become an Activator now to help the country’s economy weather this crisis.”

*Annelize van Rensburg is a Director at Signium Africa (previously Talent Africa), a leading South African-based executive search and talent management company servicing sub-Saharan Africa.


Tel:                   +27 11 771 4800

Issued By:         Tale Spin Media & Marketing

                        Zelda Williams 082 461 0689 or Gillian Schmid 082 960 3233


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