I am a different sort of accountant. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in Zimbabwe and South Africa I spent 8 years in public practice before moving into financial management and consultancy, working in blue chip organisations in South Africa, North America and the UK. Recently my wife and I relocated to Scotland where we are enjoying a more measured pace of life.
Despite the fact that it sometimes makes me appear critical or judgmental, I have always been motivated by Antoine de Saint Exupery’s adage “As for the future … ours is not to foresee it, but to enable it.” As a result I have never been interested in the figures alone, but rather focused on trying to understand how things fit together. Starting with purpose and the basic idea that people are the key to organisational success I have always had a more human-centric approach. This came to a head when I set out as an independent consultant and heard yet another executive talk about his employees being his “greatest asset.” The paradox of this statement in the light of accounting treatment that treats employees exclusively as costs struck me forcibly, and I immediately embarked on a mission to turn this around.
Making the accounting of people as assets the USP of my business I wrote “Lean Organisations Need FAT People” to attract others to the cause. Despite garnering some success, the book failed to identify others willing to work with me to meet the challenge. Consequently I remembered that, although I am not a “bean-counter”, I am an accountant and therefore ought to be able to figure it out for myself. I duly set about doing just that, and eventually achieved my goal, coming up with my Every Individual Matters Model, promoted by the short book, “The 7 Deadly Toxins of Employee Engagement.”
While working on the concept, I realised that the lack of recognition of the value of people was also distorting our socio-economic systems and thus our social and governance systems, which led me to write further books – “A Feeling of Worth” and “The Democracy Delusion” – aimed at inspiring others to the cause. More recently, recognising that I’m not getting any younger, I decided to move beyond trying to be thought-provoking and instead turn my hand to writing books that were more like manuals and rather illustrate how is ideas could be put into practice. This resulted in the two book series ”Searching for Better” with Book One – sub-titled How Universalism Transforms the Workplace – explaining how the Every Individual Matters Model addresses the historic industrial worker versus management conflict by valuing employees and offering shared ownership that creates a common culture that radically transforms results. Book Two –sub-titled Exploring Ideas for Improving the Quality of Life” – moves on from there and shows how to address the increasing polarisation and conflict in the world to meet the existential crises that humankind and the world are facing. I hope these ideas will enable my grandchildren and future generations to have a better future than the one they otherwise appear likely to have.