Pregnant with Hope

In less than two months we have come a long way
And yes, we have many more dragons to slay
Though Zuma has gone, there’s still many a crony
And brothers called Ajay and Atul and Tony.

In a decade this scum has sucked all our air
Corrupt to the core without compassion or care
Our SOE’s have been brought to their knees
And our State has been captured by the greed of this sleaze.

SARS was derailed and the hawks lost their wings
As our very own President did unspeakable things
We were sliding down hill with each passing hour
While he washed his sins away in a shower.

The rainbow gleam of our shining democracy
Was in danger of becoming a complete ineptocracy
Week after week with a new range of stenches
As Number 1 giggled and shuffled the benches.

The rot of our head was guarded by keepers
And the rest looked sadly like reapers or sleepers
But thankfully though, some brave souls held strong
Those heroes who know their right from their wrong.

While gravy train pigswill was lapped up so loudly
Good men and women stood gallant and proudly
They threw their bodies in front of this bus
For a better South Africa for each one of us.

Some will stay silent, but they’ll get their rewards
And we might wish that others will fall on their swords
Perhaps ‘Butter Mielie’ will finally go
‘Faithless’ and Zwane and those useless and slow.

Wipe Brown away and put Dudu to sleep
Trim the eyebrows of stuttering Shaun sheep
It will take some action, decisive and fast
But those complicit must have “heh – hehed” their last.

Cyril you’ll be hailed as our Nation’s third coming
After Christ and Madiba, we’ve had a rather rough bumming
We look up to you as a sign of salvation
And you have our support to rebuild our Nation.
We’ve been dragged through the depths and the dust and the dirt
Pain in lost trust, betrayal and hurt
The negative downgrades have been hardly surprising
But in this year of Madiba, his new Son is rising.

So, get out there and connect on the beaches
Engage with the students, go and speak with the teachers
Our previous error had lost his connection
Let’s not worry today about next year’s election.

But you’re not alone and we must work together
Though Zuma brought us to the end of our tether
We can greet warmly and cross our divides
And lift up our country from such diverse sides.

Good luck Mr. President, your task won’t be easy
As you unpick our way through the slime and the sleazy
Both corporate and cabinet are in need of a cleaning
As we find our way to new purpose and meaning.

While a decade of decadence has broken our souls
You outlined at SONA some magnificent goals
While we have felt shafted down a slippery slope
Thank You, Sir, for making us pregnant with Hope!

Steve Hall

Human Energy and the crucial role in all human outcomes




We focus on Human Energy and the crucial role it plays in all human outcomes, as individuals, in teams, in organizations and even in communities.

It ultimately defines success or failure in what we as humans seek to achieve and how we want to live.


The challenge for each one of us is to see Energy and feel its powerful impact on everything we do: at work, at home and at play.

We need to understand it; value it; and then master it sustainably!

The pay-off is that we THINK better and behave differently: at work, at home and at play.


• Individual Energy Coaching.
• We share the learning in groups of up to 40, or more. We call these “Energy Days”.
• We train Energy Coaches and Team Managers within organizations to share the learning amongst colleagues.
• We have created a video based e-learning program, our “Personal Energy Journey”, to reach large numbers at lower levels within organizations.
• We have published a book called “Peoples” that tells the Energy Story simply for children – and for adults!
• We follow up each Energy session with a series of our Fully Alive Letters, at intervals of 4 to 5 weeks to sustain the learning.


Successful teams are made up of high energy individuals WHO TRUST EACH OTHER. The challenge is to understand and accept that, and then to change the behaviours to build trust.


• We work together, out of the office if possible, and we reinforce why we are together.
• We share our own values to create a common set of team values.
• We explore the Quantum World and expand our thinking exponentially.
• We examine our paradigms – our pictures of the World – and find common ones that drive the way we choose to behave towards one another.
• We test those behaviours against the way a Pride of Lions behaves and achieves.
• We learn to THINK TOGETHER!

We call this our “Energy Journey”, which we tailor make for each client, usually at regular intervals spread over about a year.
We use unique experiences – in the Bush; in the Inner City; at Constitution Hill – and powerful speakers, well debriefed into relevant learning to enrich the Journey.

Gold of the Desert Kings


Successful organisations and communities have a clear VISION of where they are headed. They have the buy-in of high energy members, and they are alert to the risks and opportunities that face them constantly.


• We have a new approach to Strategic Planning in the Quantum world that technology is revealing in a convincing way.
• We facilitate 2-day off-site sessions to review and define Vision.
• We work through a Values process to align and share the team’s values.
• We create the reality of what we call the “Seeing Eye” – the capacity to see new risks and opportunities through the eyes of everyone in the organization.
• We use innovative learning exercises and experiences, such as our tried and tested “Gold of the Desert Kings”. We don’t go bungi jumping, zip lining or go-carting!
• We leave with no doubt that we do infinitely better as a team when we THINK TOGETHER.


We have developed, tried and tested our own eQ Energy Survey which enables reliable diagnosis, comparisons and the measurement of progress on the Energy Journey – at individual, team and organizational levels.

We have developed and share an additional step in the recruitment process for identifying candidates with naturally high energy.


We focus on Human Energy.

We try to stay at the cutting edge of all new insights in the area of Energy – in Nature, from New Science, Neurology, Psychology and Human Physiology.

But we share with the Simplicity on the far side of Complexity.

We have one foot in the Linear World, and the other in the Quantum World – the world of unpredictability, uncertainty and infinite challenge!

We put a great deal of effort into high energy learning, learning spaces and experiences. We do as little teaching as possible, and there is no “death by Power Point”!

And if it isn’t FUN, we have failed!

We live in two worlds – the predictable world and the unpredictable world

cut apple


Cut open an apple.

First question:

How many seeds are there in your apple?

This is a simple linear challenge – anything from 5 to 8 seeds. A child can do it easily.

Second question:

How many apples are there in each seed?

That’s a different, non-linear challenge. The number of apples in each seed depends on a whole lot of unpredictable variables; time, money, water, space, soil fertility, diseases, pests, and …. and ….

We are becoming more and more aware every day that we are living simultaneously in two quite different worlds.

The one is the world we know.

The predictable world; the stable, the repetitive, the safe world.

The other world is almost totally unpredictable, uncertain, full of infinite variables, and potentially very scary.

We always have lived in both worlds of course, but we couldn’t see the second, and it certainly didn’t challenge us until the absolute explosion of technology in the last 20 years.

The Internet, Facebook, Apple, GPS, Google, Amazon, IPads, Smart Phones and literally thousands of free Apps have invited us – or forced us – to admit to this exciting but infinitely uncertain environment in which we can fly; or swim; or sink.

This new world requires a totally new way of thinking, of doing and of behaving.

The key to this challenge is the ability to THINK and to THINK TOGETHER.

High energy individuals in high energy teams do both really well; provided they have developed really high levels of TRUST.

Different behaviours are essential but are not easily learned!

Contact us.

Our focus at Learning to Lead is on ensuring that individuals and/or teams Think, and Think Together in High Energy and High Trust relationships.



Before you judge others

I collect pieces of writing that fascinate me.  Sometimes I don’t even know or remember how they reached me.  Even more frustrating is not knowing the source.

Here is one such mystery, but if it “gets” you as it has inspired me, then I’m happy.

Before you judge others or claim an absolute truth, consider that…

…you can see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum. As you read this you are travelling at 220 kilometres per second across the galaxy. 90% of the cells in your body carry their own microbial DNA and are not “you”. The atoms in your body are 99.9999999999999999% empty space and none of them are the ones you were born with, but they all originated in the belly of a star. Human being have 46 chromosomes, two less than the common potato. The existence of the rainbow depends on the conical photoreceptors in your eyes; to animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist. So you don’t just look at a rainbow, you create it. This is pretty amazing, especially considering that all the beautiful colours you see represent         

We live in an exciting world of infinite possibilities; and infinite risks too.

At Learning to Lead we share all we know about how to stay fully alive amid all the complexities.

Challenging the “culture cult”

I was fascinated to read a recent Harvard Business School Review …“We’re thinking about Organisational Culture all wrong” – Written by John Traphagan.

The first two paragraphs gripped me.

“A common thread in the study of organizational culture is the idea of culture as a unifying force that brings people together to work productively toward the attainment of organizational goals. In this approach, organizational culture is understood as a variable to be used in projects of social engineering aimed at creating unity and cohesion.

But that’s not really what culture is about, nor is it a useful way to think about organizations. Why?

Because culture isn’t just about unity; it’s also about division. Rather than a deterministic “thing” that shapes behavior and unifies people, culture is something people use, often strategically, to achieve goals. It can also provide a basis upon which people contest and counter certain ideas and values while accepting other values associated with a particular cultural context.”

I believe the author is right on the button. The real issue is how we behave towards one
another…and to our precious planet. There’s hardly a corporate of any size that doesn’t have a framed statement of either “Our Culture” or “Our Values”, or both…on the letterhead, the website, or framed and hung on the wall at reception.

Yet the behaviours both inside and outside don’t unify the players.

When push comes to shove, we play POWER against and upon one another.
We play like leopards….trained to play independently, for themselves. Not like lions who play in and for the pride.

The challenge we enjoy sharing is helping people learn that they have a choice. They can behave in a way that is divisive and costly, or in a way that creates unity and cohesion and high levels of sustainable energy, that enable them to THINK and THINK TOGETHER much better….the critical capacity for survival in our complex, fast changing and unpredictable world.

The Jar of Life

Get inspired with this short film of a professor explaining to his class the importance of using one’s time wisely and setting priorities in order to have a fulfilling life.

Director/ Producer:
Meir Kalmanson


Would you like to see the “BIG FIVE” so close up that you can almost touch them?

Well, we can go to the nearest Zoo to see them.  The signposts show the way to the Lions, the Elephants, the Buffalo, the Rhinos and the Leopards.  And they are all safely behind bars so it should be an easy non-threatening visit.  And we can even have tea and cake at the tea-garden afterwards.

Or would you like to see the “BIG FIVE” in the deep Bush?  Now that’s a very different proposition, with more variables than you can count on your two hands.

What if the vehicle breaks down?  We have some choices:

We can walk to the nearest road and hope for a lift.

We can sit in the vehicle and complain and blame until someone notices our absence and sends help.

We can try for a cell phone signal and make a call for help.

While we ponder our choices we might see a lion kill …. and we might be the kill!

We might reflect upon a termite mound and remember that we were taught how extremely complex they are in their architecture, and that inside the mound is an extensive system of tunnels and conduits that serves as a ventilation system for the underground nest.

Or we might come upon the web of a Golden Orb spider and be told that its silk is stronger than man-made steel.

So your strategy for the visit to the Zoo is completely different to your strategy for the visit to the Bush.  The Zoo is easy, fairly predictable and fairly safe.  The Bush is risky, unpredictable and potentially dangerous.

In the uncertain times we now live in you don’t have a choice but to have a robust strategy to cope with the risk, the unpredictability and the potential danger.

Ziziphus Story

Ziziphus_mucronata02Sitting in the shade waiting for the animals to come, the old man talks about the nearby mpafa tree – Zizyphus mucronata to the scientist. “We have two names for this tree,” Magqubu says, “Mpafa and lahlenkoos, which means to lay down the chief or the king. This place is the meeting place between people and animals. Look at the thorns, one points forward and the other is curved back. This is like life itself. We are forever going forward for that is our destiny, but we are hooked to our past and can never shake it off.”

The old Zulu points to the lower branches. “The grey duiker and the steenbuck feed on the leaves and the new stalks. A little higher up, the impala and nyala eat the leaves and stalks. And those that are broken – that are the kudu bull with his big curved horns that have smashed them by putting his head into the tree and twisting his horns. This in turn makes it possible for the smaller antelope to feed again, especially in the dry season when the lower brances have been stripped clean of leaves. The black rhino also loves the leaves, stalks and branches of the mpafa. Sometimes he pushes half the tree down to feed on chosen leaves. This makes it easy for the duiker and steenbuck to feed again. The giraffe eats leaves, stalks and thorns from the crown of the tree.”

“So from the bottom to the top it is used by animals. But that is not all, for porcupine feed on the bark and butterflies and ants like the sap. Baboons and monkeys eat the berries and francolins, guineafowl, warthog, bush pig, wildebeest, zebra, white rhino and all the wildcats eat the ones that drop on the ground. That is the animals and the tree,” says Magqubu.

“Now there is the story of man and the trees”:

“We Zulus like to have the spirits of our relatives at the kraal. When my father died in Durban, I took a branch of the mpafa and travelled to the city to bring his spirit back. I found the hospital and the bed he died in. I laid the mpafa twig on the bed and I said, ‘Father, I have come to take you home.’  Then I caught a taxi to the station. I paid for two fares and bought two train tickets to Mtubatuba, one for my father and the other for myself. At the kraal I put the twig in the eaves of the hut and then said to my father’s spirit, ‘Father, you have now come home and you are part of the community of spirits.’ I then killed a beast and my family and neighbours feasted.”

“After the great battle of Isandhlwana when twenty thousand warriors swept down from the heights of the Nqutu Hills and wiped out eight hundred men of the British army, four thousand Zulu died. Family after family had to travel to that battlefield to bring back the spirits of their relatives. Everyone carried a mpafa twig and when they arrived at that lone koppie on the plain they held the twigs above their heads and called out to their relatives, because by now all the bones had been mixed together, ‘Ntombela, Mdalalose, Mabuza – woza amadhlozi – come spirits, come to the mpafa because we have come to take you home’.”



Mad Consumption of Coca-Cola

I very seldom drink a Coke, but I will drink even less after an article I read in Time magazine.

One paragraph did it for me.

“Coca-Cola sells 1.5 billion beverages a day in over 200 countries, and it takes about 2.5 litres of water to produce just one litre of its products at Coke’s bottling plants. In 2006 Coca-Cola and its bottlers used 80 billion gallons (290 billion litres) of water to produce its beverages – equivalent to one-fifth of the daily water usage of the U.S.”

Are we mad, or have we just lost our balance?

Years ago on a tourist bus in Bali our tour guide, temporarily out of information about shopping, temples and history, gave us this piece of wisdom which I am determined never to forget.

“Whatever you do ladies and gentlemen, whatever you do, don’t lose your EQUILIBARIUM. When you lose your EQUILIBARIUM, your ‘whills webble’.

As a Planet we need to regain that EQUILIBARIUM!