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Steve Jobs on the “crazy ones, misfits, rebels.” Best antidote to #GuptaCurse.

By Alec Hogg

Not for the first time I’m celebrating the value of diverse views – and a simple practice we’ve adopted here at Biznews. Over the weekend an important email I was about to send was circulated beforehand to our core team. A single dissenting voice opened up a new line of inquiry. And a potentially costly mistake was avoided.

Bell Pottinger and the South African operations of McKinsey, KPMG and SAP would have benefitted from that kind of diversity in thought. For years, a nasty smell has wafted around the crony capitalist Guptas. But such was the lure of lucre that nobody within governance structures at these organisations stopped for long enough to ask management why they were accepted as clients.

Why so? Risk Capital Partners chairman Luke Johnson nailed it in the London Sunday Times when he said: “organisations suffer from ‘insider capture’ and groupthink – a clanningness that resists outside influence.” Warren Buffett reckons companies need directors who act like dobermans. Instead, end up with cocker spaniels.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the first advert he launched read: “Here’s to the crazy one. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.” Injecting a few ounces of those qualities into boardrooms will save pounds of trouble. Ask those worthies suffering from the Gupta Curse.

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