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.”
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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.