It’s really difficult to lift a standard in a business when the product is a person. We spend a tremendous amount of time in nurturing our people pipeline and it can take months “to close the deal” on a new team member.
Our Phantom Share scheme pays up to 50% of our company profits towards the phantom shareholders (staff and independent of company shareholders). Our share scheme is now a major source of additional annual income to the phantom shareowners and directly linked to project success and company profitability.
Internally, we only aim to bill 50% of our time. The rest of our time is used to learn and research the expansion of the Salesforce platform. The velocity of Salesforce releases requires focused time and certifications. European and American trips for training and further enablement can place pressure on projects but spills over into tremendous value for our clients.
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When choosing clients, we ask ourselves whether we’ll be able to work for them as an employee. If the answer is no, then we don’t do business.
We protect our team against unreasonable clients
We do not employ salespeople. The Architects and consultants facilitate the ‘sales process’ by first placing the client in a position where he/she can make an informed decision. We check for internal power plays, politics and tensions that can compromise an engagement and place our structure and people under stress.
Clients with an appetite for success
The future of commerce in South Africa will be owned by those with an appetite for excellence. Our most successful clients do not shy away from challenging their systems, processes and people. Where we find these people, we find a fit.
my name is human
Beauty, sleep, fit and eat
Our clients pay a premium for our team members to focus on their problems. The base cost of the premium is found in Exah and our individual team members investment in their own bodies and minds. In our market, Salesforce or other business process knowledge is not enough to be the best. To be the best, we, as individuals need to beat the competition every day without energy drops, sugar spikes or lack of quality sleep symptoms.
If we want to continue developing, we need to do more than supply biltong, nuts, comfortable seating, or remote working ability.
We’ve identified focus areas around our business that we and the team continuously invest in:
- A mature relationship with beauty.
It’s really hard to make something beautiful, but it's really worthwhile. Make one thing in your life beautiful, then you’ve established a relationship with beauty. And then you can start to expand that relationship with beauty out into the world and into other elements of your life such as building systems.
People are terrified of this, and they are terrified of color. They paint their walls beige. People are terrified of art. They buy some mass-produced things because they don’t want people laughing at them due to their lack of taste. You have to develop a sense of what is beautiful and you will stumble, which is natural as you learn.
You have to steer clear of the con artists and the frauds because it’s difficult to distinguish between the real thing and the fraud, but it's unbelievably worthwhile.
Artistic types are also entrepreneurial types, they are the same personality types, so it’s worthwhile making a practical and economic case for this sort of thing.
If you can read, think, and communicate, you are unstoppable. There is nothing we can do that is more valuable than to teach people how to articulate themselves and communicate because then they can:
- Identify problems
- They can formulate solutions
- They can negotiate to consensus
- They can negotiate on their own behalf and on behalf of others
- There is no downside to it, except for the responsibility that comes with it.
Man does not live by bread alone. We live by beauty, we live by literature, we live by art, literally, not metaphorically. We can’t live without it because life is too dismal and tragic in the absence of beauty.
- Approaching sleep as an essential part of human development.
“The importance of insomnia is so colossal that I am tempted to define man as the animal who cannot sleep,” wrote EM Cioran, the patron saint of night owls whose weary visage kept floating into my mind as I read Why We Sleep. Walker’s worldview may not be as bleak as that of the Romanian essayist, but he does paint an intolerably grim portrait of a society in which an increasingly large proportion of us are getting a decreasing amount of sleep. What he calls our “cultural sleep norms” are under assault on multiple fronts:
Midnight is no longer ‘mid night’. For many of us, midnight is usually the time when we consider checking our email one last time – and we know what often happens in the protracted thereafter. Compounding the problem, we do not then sleep any longer into the morning hours to accommodate these later sleep-onset times. We cannot. Our circadian biology, and the insatiable early-morning demands of a post-industrial way of life, denies us the sleep we vitally need.
Basically, if you’re regularly clocking in at under seven hours a night, you’re doing yourself a disservice as grave as that of regularly smoking or drinking to excess. And as someone who tends to chalk up six hours as a solid victory, and who feels – or at least felt before reading this book – that he can get by on five, I was especially disturbed by the revelation that sleep-deprived people often don’t recognise themselves as such.
That low-level exhaustion becomes their accepted norm or baseline. Individuals fail to recognise how their perennial state of sleep deficiency has come to compromise their mental aptitude and physical vitality, including the slow accumulation of ill health. A link between the former and the latter is rarely made in their mind.
- Physical conditioning.
There is no way around it; we have to be fit and we love it. Except for functional workouts and boxing classes at the office, we’ve dedicated a space to shower and change after a run or bike ride into or out of the office.
We measure everyone's resting heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen levels on a monthly basis and allow each individual to improve their stats over time.
Due to this focus on our health, we rarely see sick leave or serious health issues and all of this helps us to build stable, emotionally healthy, and physically fit individuals.