We shine the light on The Leadership Platform’s father-son duo, Louis (74) and Adriaan (47) Groenewald, as we continue our Getting To Know feature. The Groenewalds share their lessons and insights on leadership development, debate leadership issues and learn universal leadership principles from world leaders. With such wealth of knowledge, we sat down with them to uncover more about these two thought-provoking individuals.

Adriaan and Louis outside studio

Thanks for taking time out to chat to us. Leadership and education is a common theme for your show, let’s backtrack a bit – what were your personal schooling processes like?

L: I went to Port Natal High School in Durban and managed to get an academic honours blazer but was mostly interested in rugby and cricket. Subsequently, I then studied marketing and management and had a passion for creative writing.

A: I mostly disliked school. It just didn’t seem to be for me.

You’ve clearly made an interesting turn-around then, Adriaan. What does education mean to you now?

A: I want my kids and all kids to see it differently though. After school it meant a lot. I studied further, which placed me on this extremely exciting road I am currently on!

You’ve both achieved great successes in your careers thus far and from listening to your show we’ve learned how important setting a vision for yourself is. What were your visions for yourselves as you started your careers?

L: I battled to settle in on a satisfying profession and always orientated towards seeking out that which I felt was authentic. I am grateful now that this was my passion and I managed to stick to it. I believe in a spiritual home.

A: I couldn’t really crystallise it in my mind, but I always knew it would be one of making a difference. At one stage I thought it would be politics, but thank goodness it didn’t take on that form.

Even with setting visions for yourselves, sometimes we do happen to unfortunately fail – what has been your greatest failure and on the other side of the coin, your greatest success?

L: Greatest success has been my service as a minister and leader in my church and also in producing with my special wife a great family of five children and several grandchildren. The writing and leadership partnership with my son Adriaan is most definitely a highlight in my life. My many failures have all evolved into positive happenings and precious experience.

A: My greatest successes have been recovering from very difficult personal and other setbacks; remaining true to my values even in difficult times; and publishing books and writing articles for known publications, even though I failed a subject or two in grade 11 and one in grade 12. My teachers of those years will not even remember me I was so quiet and withdrawn.

Louis, at this point in your life, would you say that you have any regrets?

L: Not really. All things have worked out for the good, contributing towards the bigger picture that is unfolding in my life.

Adriaan, what motivates you?

A: The drive to show to my fellow citizens the worth of belonging to this great nation, chosen above all others to fulfil a destiny peculiar only to itself! To make our country and world a better place. I want to be in a position of influence…for good! Being in the bush with my lovely family!

Who are the people you look up to as role models?

L: I have been more interested in following universal principles than people, but as a role model I follow Jesus Christ and have great admiration for many leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Thomas A Monson. I am inspired by the quest that Adriaan and I are on to meet and engage with top performers in all areas of life.

A: The ultimate leader of all time – Jesus Christ. Setting aside all religious beliefs, his leadership has had the greatest impact on this planet than any leader that has ever lived. I say this from a leadership and logical perspective. But I also admire Nelson Mandela like most. My father; I think every human being is a role model in some way. We can learn from all leaders, everyone we rub shoulders with.

How is it like to be ‘father and son’ and business partners?

L: Both of us try to apply the universal principles we learn in our daily quest for leadership essences. We have a profound respect for each other’s motives and values and give each other room to act out our beliefs. It is how it should be between father and son!

A: I can’t explain it. This is a destiny thing and just somehow works out!

You have a show of superb quality, have Sibanye Gold and Trudon as great sponsors and have had intriguing guests – what’s next for The Leadership Platform?

A: To be a global weekly leadership master class! To take this master class to the laptops, tablets and phones of millions of leaders worldwide – live and podcasts. To impact leadership in every facet of society – business, politics, education, sports, government, family, and so on! To share the best possible leadership principles & practice with all leaders…basically for free!

Lastly, what are your hopes for South Africa?

L: South Africa is a special country with a unique heritage of leadership and freedom. I would hope for leaders to unite under the common cause of lifting us out of a self-indulgent tendency in order to live up to our vast potential.

A: That we will share and show to the world what great leadership is. That we will export great leadership to the world. That we will keep our leadership heritage alive. That we will achieve our potential as a country, united, successful, as we experienced during the two world cup events. Let’s believe we can teach the world something!


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Getting To Know: Adriaan & Louis Groenewald