Corruption – Scourge of the Developing World

“There is no question that corruption represents one of the biggest threats to stability and economic growth in developing countries, and remains stubbornly resistant to any attempts to reduce and eliminate it. This is the view of David Silverstein, CEO of strategic management and consulting firm BMGI, who recently wrote a paper on how to break the cycle of bureaucracy and corruption in developing countries.

“Most corruption in the developing world has at its roots in a long history of control and mistrust,” Silverstein said. In Apartheid South Africa, white minority rulers wanted to control the black population; in colonial India, a similar relationship evolved between the governing British rulers and native Indian population; in communist China and Russia, control of the population and distrust of workers similarly led to excessive bureaucracy and, ultimately, corruption.

The key word, according to Silverstein, is bureaucracy.  “Bureaucracy drives corruption and corruption breeds new bureaucracy.”  Initially, people just work around the rules to get the job done.  This results in more rules and more workarounds.  “It is both ironic and paradoxical to realize that the steps taken to defeat corruption—more and more rules and regulations —actually exacerbate it.  Corruption and bureaucracy feed each other in a vicious, circular relationship.”

According to Silverstein, most efforts to break the cycle fail because new rules and regulations, and more aggressive enforcement, merely feeds and perpetuates a vicious cycle.

So, what is to be done? Silverstein believes that “to defeat corruption and to break the bureaucracy-corruption cycle, we must establish a culture of trust and accountability.”
Continue reading

BMGI and Heidrick & Struggles Join Forces with Local Business Leaders


David Silverstein addresses local CEO’s at a breakfast meeting with Heidrick & Struggles

How tough is the life of a CEO these days? 

Remarkably so, especially if you live in South Africa.  “It’s a difficult environment worldwide for executive leaders, but in South Africa, things are even more acute.  In many ways, local CEO’s are facing a perfect storm of circumstances – if you consider low economic growth, political volatility, high unemployment, power shortages, devaluing currency,  and labour unrest, among others,”said Robyn Imray, Partner, Sub-Saharan Africa, of Heidrick & Struggles.

Heidrick & Struggles partnered with BMGI last week to host two breakfast meetings attended by a number of South African CEOs. Discussions about strategy were catalysed by BMGI founder and CEO David Silverstein, drawing on material from his book “Three Steps Ahead”, as well as “The CEO Report,” which was produced by Heidrick and Struggles and the Said Business School at Oxford University.

The CEO Report, which is based on over 150 interviews with CEOs of multinational companies, revealed that the demands placed on modern business leaders are changing significantly.  The core question the Oxford study sought to answer was: how do senior executives develop the competence to lead in a changing world? Continue reading

CNBC Africa profiles BMGI Global CEO on next steps thinking

What has happened in the markets lately is too complex to explain. This is why you need to be Three Steps Ahead“. On this episode of  CNBC Africa’s Moneymakers, Bruce Whitfield chats to David Silverstein, CEO of BMGI Global, to explore the philosophy that “If we don’t think three steps ahead, we forfeit the opportunity to manage the future.”

BMGI Global CEO David Silverstein on CNBC Africa’s Moneymakers

Briefing SA Executives in Keeping ‘Three Steps Ahead’

Currency weakness, plunging commodity prices, stock market volatility, global economic uncertainty and local labour unrest all add up to one thing for South African business leaders: how do we implement a strategy that will hold up in a climate of such uncertainty.

If ever there was a time for cool heads and clear thinking, it is now.  For some local business leaders, though, expert help is at hand.  David Silverstein, founder and CEO of global management consulting firm BMGI and author of the book Three Steps Ahead’, is in South Africa next week to participate in a series of meetings and business breakfasts with senior corporate leaders on precisely this topic. 1991-three_steps_ahead_front_cover-bmgi

The breakfast discussions will be held In partnership with global executive search firm Heidrick and Struggles, with Silverstein leading discussions around planning and implementing strategy in times of uncertainty. Continue reading


Companies in the Durban area will be able to attend a two-day Team Problem Solving workshop, 10 & 11 September 2015, focused on the practicalities of effective problem solving, which will be presented in the city by international consulting firm BMGI.

Participants will take part in the workshop’s core exercises, group work, simulations and practice sessions under the guidance of BMGI expert, Jayshree Naicker. They will gain wisdom and insight – and give some too, along the way – as they network and interact with people from other industries and environments.

Whether you’re in insurance, manufacturing, healthcare, financial services or any other environment, the problem-solving skills taught by BMGI will apply. Because delegates will come from a variety of business environments, the transfer of learnings and knowledge will be tailored to participants’ individual needs.


After attending this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and define what the problem is in a particular situation.
  • Identify root causes of problems.
  • Understand the fundamentals of effective problem solving and their applications to daily management in the workplace.
  • Understand the importance of the voice of the customer in the process.
  • Observe the as-is process and perform waste analysis.
  • Effectively brainstorm solutions and implement changes.
  • Apply the BMGI Problem Solving Roadmap.

Workshop leader Jayshree Naicker is BMGI’s Managing Director of Africa. A qualified pharmacist and a trusted advisor and problem solver by nature, Jayshree brings a wealth of experience and skill to her work with clients across a range of industries and environments. With a passion for driving sustainable breakthroughs and leading broad-reaching transformation efforts, she’s played a key role in helping clients develop and execute strategies and implement Operational Excellence initiatives.

This workshop is a unique and rare opportunity to interact with one of the most influential and dynamic leaders in business consulting in South Africa today.

Register now to avoid disappointment

BMGI To Host Vital Team Leadership and Change Management Workshops

Team Leadership and Change Management Workshops


August 31 to September 2

Companies in the midst of the cut-and-thrust of normal market operations often do not find time to address issues around their most important asset – their people. Fighting fires in the marketplace often leads to a lack of investment in people. “Research consistently shows that holistic, effective, cross-functional teams are significantly more likely to produce better business results,” says BMGI’s HR and Change Management Specialist Ginty Chalk.

Of the best performing companies, 66 percent show good crossfunctional co-operation on project teams, whereas only 24 percent of the worst performance companies do. “Organisations with high performing teams significantly outperform their peers by effectively leveraging the capability and experience of each individual team member,” Chalk says.

BMGI Training

The Leading High Performance Teams workshop is designed to lift the performance of teams and empower team leaders to get the most out of their teams. Delegates participate in games, exercises, evaluations, practice sessions and meaningful interactions, learning how to deal with difficult situations through role-playing.

The course provides opportunities to link to real life challenges and conditions and ensures that participants focus on the specific plans and actions needed in their working environments.



September 7 to 9

The environment around companies changes regularly. The key questions are: is there a resistance to change in your company? Does your company know how to manage change? The change model in this workshop was derived from the proven work of experts such as John Kotter. The course is practical, experiential and personal; it focuses on the specific actions and behaviors needed to successfully manage change initiatives in a company.

“As interactive this workshop will build skills around tools and techniques that will provide a sound foundation of change.  The behavioural assessment DiSC is used, and the workshop will leave participants with practical tools and techniques to achieve a successful change implementation,” Chalk explains.

Interested? Call BMGI on 012 460 0304 or click here to sign up.


Critical Need for Entrepreneurs in South Africa says Clem Sunter

Clem SunterRenowned business leader and scenario planner Clem Sunter spoke about the critical need for entrepreneurship in South Africa at BMGI’s recent business breakfast held at Sandton.

“We need to grow the economy and create jobs,” he said.  “In this context, the role of small business is critical.  Entrepreneurs – men and women who create new businesses specifically to satisfy needs they identify in their environment – need to be encouraged, assisted and rewarded.”

Entrepreneurship and the growth of small business cannot happen in isolation.  It needs to be the product of a helpful business and regulatory environment.  “Setting up a small business should be relatively easy.  Red tape needs to be minimized.  Access to finance should be easier.  Providing potential entrepreneurs with management, marketing, financial and administrative skills should happen more readily,” stressed Sunter.

“One of the characteristics of South African business over the decades has been the emergence of many outstanding entrepreneurial business leaders, from the early twentieth century mining trailblazers to amazing modern leaders like Adrian Gore and Elon Musk, to name just two.  There is no reason why there should not be many more such entrepreneurs.  They just need to be given the right environment,” he said.

Rewarding entrepreneurial spirit and success is essential.  “Starting a successful business is often reward in itself, but companies need to reward entrepreneurship within their own ranks as well.  Creative and innovative employees need to be recognised and rewarded.  Usually, the growth of a business comes from the innovative skills of a handful of entrepreneurial employees within its ranks.  These people need to be nurtured and rewarded.”

Clem Sunter  at BMGI Business Breakfast

Clem Sunter speaking at BMGI’s Business Breakfast in May.

As an international consulting firm that focuses on strategy, innovation, operational excellence and change management, one of BMGI’s core areas of expertise  is the management of innovation, a key success factor for companies operating in an environment where change is happening at an increasingly rapid rate.

BMGI consultant Dimitri Markoulides shared the podium with Sunter at the event.  “Companies need to focus on innovation as an important corporate philosophy and skill.  Not all people are naturally creative and innovative, but, in many cases, both companies and individuals can be taught to be innovative.

BMGI is currently rolling out South Africa’s first formal Innovation Champion Programme, which provides individuals with the skills necessary to manage the innovation process within a company.  “The Innovation Champion is the individual within the company tasked with driving the process forward.  We have shown that the course builds competency and equips the Innovation Champion with the tool sets required to successfully roll out and deploy innovation in the organisation,” said Markoulides, BMGI’s own innovation champion.

Six Steps to Effective Adult Training

gintyBy Ginty Chalk, Organisational Design and Change Specialist at BMGI South Africa

Ever wondered why training isn’t successful?

Ever wondered why delegates aren’t engaged?

Ever wondered why you just can’t get through to your delegates?

Wonder no more… Because adults prefer learning situations which:


  • Give overviews, summaries, examples, & use stories to link to the content
  • Discuss and help them plan to apply their new knowledge and skills
  • Use collaborative problem-solving activities
  • Anticipate problems applying the new ideas to their setting so, offer suggestions
  • CAUTION: Don’t be too theoretical.


  • Provide low-risk activities in small group settings
  • Plan for building individual success incrementally
  • Help them become more effective and confident through guided practice and establishing routines.
  • CAUTION: Readiness to learn depends on self-esteem


  • Help them recall what they already know from prior experience that relates to the topic of learning.
  • Share your agenda and assumptions and ask for input. Adjust time for topics to fit their needs.
  • Use a continuum that describes a range of skill & knowledge. Ask them to apply stickers or marks showing what their current level of knowledge/skill is in the topic(s)
  • Ask what they would like to know about the topic
  • Build in options within your plan so you can easily shift to address needs.
  • Suggest follow up ideas and next steps for support and implementation after the session
  • CAUTION: Collect needs data and match the degree of choice to their level of development



  • Provide for their physical needs through breaks, snacks, coffee, comfort
  • Provide a quality, well organized, differentiated experience that uses time effectively and efficiently
  • Avoid jargon and don’t “talk down” to participants
  • Validate and affirm their knowledge, contributions and successes
  • Ask for feedback on your work or ideas, provide input opportunities
  • CAUTION: Watch your choice of words to avoid creating negative perceptions


  • Don’t ignore what they already know, it’s a resource for you
  • Plan alternate activities and choice so they can adjust the process to fit their experience level
  • Create activities that use their experience and knowledge
  • Listen and collect data about participant needs before, during and after the event
  • CAUTION: Provide for the possibility of a need to unlearn old habits or confront inaccurate beliefs


  • Build your plans around their needs, compare desired behaviors (goals) & actual behaviors
  • Share your agenda and assumptions and ask for input on them
  • Ask what they know already about the topic (their perception)
  • Ask what they would like to know about the topic
  • Build in options within your plan so you can easily shift if needed
  • Allow time for planning their next steps.
  • CAUTIONS: Match the degree of choice to their level of development. Also, since there may be things they don’t know that they don’t know, use a mix of their perception of needs AND research on needs and organizational needs and calendar to guide your planning.

BMGI Business Breakfast Looks at Unlocking the Creative Potential of Employees

Igintynternational consulting firm BMGI will be hosting a business breakfast in Durban on Friday, May 29, that will focus on the key topic of unlocking the creative potential of people in an organization.

Presenter at the breakfast will be BMGI South Africa’s Organisational Design and Development Lead Consultant, Ginty Chalk. 

“Leadership in business is about more than making decisions and taking risks.  It is also about making the most of one of your most critical resources – your staff. Many executives do not realize that the scope for enabling their people to engage in ongoing improvement activities is, truth be told, limitless,” she explains.

BMGI is an international consulting firm focusing on strategy, innovation, operational excellence and change management. Emphasis is on the practical side of strategy—making sure clients have clear directions and goals while ensuring that those goals are truly achievable.  This particular breakfast will focus on how to improve the engagement of people in a business and unleash their inherent creative potential.


“When I work with clients, I emphasise the following – ‘Don’t do for people that which they can do for themselves.’ This approach requires that managers be taught how to do this.  Even though we cannot get down to the specifics of a particular organization at a breakfast, we know that the overall approach is useful to companies.  Very often, these breakfasts lead to deeper relationships with clients that have been extremely beneficial to everyone,” explains Chalk.

The BMGI Getting Engaged…The Leadership Challenge breakfast will be held at the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani, 63 Snell Parade, Durban from 08h00 till 11h00 on Friday, May 29.  It is aimed at  HR, Learning and Development and Talent Managers and entrance is free.  Registration is essential, however.  

To register, go to 

Mark your calendars!

2015 is speeding towards the halfway mark. Save these dates for exciting events coming up in the next quarter and plan for success!

Business Breakfast: Getting Engaged – The Leadership Challenge

29 May, Durban
Ginty Chalk will facilitate an interactive session for leaders on how to engage team members and spark creativity.

Structured Innovation Course
1 – 5 June, Cape Town
6 – 10 July, Johannesburg
26 – 30 October, Johannesburg
Yes, Innovation can be structured and in this course, BMGI will show you how to follow a systematic innovation roadmap following the D4 (Define, Discover, Develop and Demonstrate) methodology. D4 helps you identify unmet customer needs, generate ideas to fulfil those needs, analyse the most promising solutions and test the end product/process.

Change Leadership Course
2 – 12 June, Johannesburg
19 – 23 October, Johannesburg

BMGI’s Change Leadership Course will help you become a strong and capable change leader—providing all the knowledge, tools and skills you need to create widespread commitment and manage the details of any change initiative, large or small.

Navigate Change with the ChangePro Simulation
10 July, Johannesburg
2 October, Johannesburg
19 November, Johannesburg

BMGI is the only company in South Africa who is accredited to facilitate this highly interactive business simulation. The ChangePro® Simulation is designed to illustrate the importance of managing the change process.

Leading High Performing Teams Course
22 -24 June, Johannesburg
How can companies unleash the potential of people to create high performing teams? BMGI’s High-Performing Team methodology is designed to empower people to achieve innovation success.

Leading Lean
13 – 16 July, Johannesburg
The Lean Workshop is a highly interactive learning experience to develop your approach to Lean thinking. The course uses various simulations, media and games in an experiential manner.

Train-the-Trainer Course
20 – 24 July, Johannesburg
(Our last scheduled Train-the-Trainer course for 2015!)
BMGI’s Train-the-Trainer course is an intensive skill-building experience that teaches attendees how to become better instructors, presenters, meeting leaders, mentors and coaches. Attendees learn the practices, behaviors and tools they need to improve audience participation, buy-in, comprehension, retention and application.

Design for Lean Six Sigma
24 – 28 Aug, Johannesburg
Design for Lean Six Sigma, is a powerful methodology for ensuring the quality and reliability of new product and process designs in any industry. This course uniquely combines the best knowhow for developing efficient and waste-free designs (the Lean aspect), as well as those that are defect and error-free (the Six Sigma aspect).

For more information on any of our events, please contact us.