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

David Silverstein’s Seven Trends for 2015 – and Beyond

David SilversteinThe one thing that is certain about the future is that it will be uncertain.  Given that business strategy is all about the future, one key component of a successful strategy is to become more successful than your competitors about predicting what is going to happen in your particular environment.

A key component of business strategy is the study of societal trends across the world. Combining insight with trends, companies can do a better job of exploiting future potential.

David Silverstein, BMGI’s founder and CEO, draws upon his extensive research and more than two decades of experience when he advises on innovation and strategy.   To assist his clients, Silverstein has identified seven trends that the world will encounter in 2015 (and beyond), trends that will have a far-reaching impact on businesses and lives.


As the economies of the world become more and more interlinked, distant geopolitical events become increasingly relevant at a local level. Because global politics are so uncertain at present, businesses need to increase the weight they give to political risk when thinking about their future.  What ultimately happens internationally is often determined by a small number of individuals who are driven primarily by economic advantage.

Example: the sudden and precipitous fall in the oil price has altered the economic profiles of countries, companies and individuals.  Continue reading

Become an elite mental athlete

The executive’s essential guide to maximising your mental performance

By David Silverstein

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David Silverstein, CEO of BMGI

Our global CEO, David Silverstein was recently in South Africa. We asked him to share some of his most useful insights into how executives can improve their thinking and mental performance, from his book, Become an Elite Mental Athlete.

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