Key Elements of an Effective Internal Communication System

Key Elements of an Effective Internal Communication System


Your business is a body and communication is the blood that carries oxygen through the system making it survive and thrive. There are two types of blood: good clean haemoglobin that allows oxygen to move quickly, and dirty toxic blood that causes illness, disease and eventually death. 

Successful people and companies understand just how important effective communication is to the effectiveness of them and their enterprise. They can see where there is poor communication and they remove all the obstacles allowing the clear flow once again. Before we can correct poor communication, we must be capable of recognising and identifying poor communication.

Encourage sharing, input and dialogue

Successful companies all encourage two-way communication. We have two ears and one mouth. Successful communicators listen twice as much. This allows them to fully understand before commenting. Communication flows both ways from a sender to a receiver and back. If it is only going one way, it is not communication – it is instructing. Below is what happens when we instruct without listening properly:

Steven Covey gives the example of an arrogant naval commander, trumped up by his rank, who fails to listen:

Two battleships were at sea on manoeuvres in heavy weather. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. 

The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.

Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, “Light, bearing on the starboard bow.”

“Is it steady or moving astern?” the captain called out.

The lookout replied, “Steady, captain,” which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.

The captain then communicated with the ship: “we are on a collision course; advise you change course 20 degrees.”

Back came a signal, “Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees.”

The captain said, “Send, I’m a captain, change course 20 degrees.”

“I’m a seaman second class,” came the reply. “You had better change course 20 degrees.”

By now time, the captain was furious. He spat out, “I’m a battleship. Change course 20 degrees.”

Back came the flashing light, “Suggest you change course, I’m a lighthouse.”

We changed course.”

Four Communication Rules

During my career, I developed four communication principles that serve me well:


  1. The “no surprise” rule. Staff have to bring sensitive and in particular negative news to me as quickly as possible so we could deal with it. I didn’t want a matter to fester and worsen simply because staff were concerned about brining me “bad” news. A mini-crisis is easier to deal with than a full-blown catastrophe.
  2. The “don’t kill the messenger” rule. When a staff member brought negative feedback or even personal criticism to my attention, I thanked them. I always believe that knowledge is strength irrespective of whether it is good or bad. If you kill the messenger who brings bad news, you will eventually have a company full of staff who know what’s going on whilst you do not. You become the Emperor with no clothes and you encourage “group-think”, a dangerous condition where everyone agrees to avoid conflict. Being out of touch is never a good position for a manager. And I believe criticism is an opportunity to grow and improve. Positive feedback reinforces the fact that we are progressing according to our goals. Negative feedback is a chance to develop character and skills.
  3. The “are you part of the problem or part of the solution” rule. If a staff member approached me with a problem, they needed to have given it some thought and come to an informed opinion as to how it might be resolved. In this way we empower staff to become active problem solvers. Staff learn to resolve problems at the first opportunity and lowest possible level, rather than simply escalating everything up me. Succesful organisations build excellence into their DNA by recognising it and sorting out deviances form it. Excellence can’t only reside in the corner office.
  4. The “facts are more important than opinions” rule. Give me the facts no matter how miserable. We can work with the truth; we cannot work with opinions. Know the difference between a fact and an opinion: a fact is “the game of rugby originated at Rugby College in England”, an opinion is, “I prefer rugby to soccer”.

Jim Collins explains the Stockdale Paradox the need to balance realism with optimism. Stockdale commented, “you must address the harsh brutal reality without giving up hope.

Business consultant Paarl
Set Those New Years Resolution Now

Set Those New Years Resolution Now

New Year, New Me, yes, no, maybe, WTF?

At a time when we most need encouragement, support, goals, dreams, visions, hope and the certainty that goes with routine, a plethora of self-help books have encouraged us not to make new year resolutions. The reason? We might break them. If like me the logic appears a little lacking, then take my hand and read on.

The beginning of each year is as literal as it is figurative. It is simply the next day or it is a symbolic day. It is another 24 hours or it is imbued with the magic of promise, of new beginnings and fresh opportunities. I choose the latter.

Whether you are a business or an individual you need purpose and direction in order to be engaged and fulfilled. The start of the year is the ideal time to do so.

Not only is it an opportunity to pause and reflect at what you’ve learned and who you’ve become but it allows you to build on those strengths and create the future you desire.

This is not complicated and it is necessary. I follow this process and I encourage all my mentees and companies to do the same.

"Whether you are a business or an individual you need purpose and direction in order to be engaged and fulfilled."

Firstly, call it what you will; ambitions, wishes, aspirations, dreams, hopes, ideals, intentions, designs, targets, goals, strategies, visions, choices, aims, objectives, purpose – choose one, anyone it doesn’t matter.

Secondly, define in your own terms what your resolutions mean for you. To me, they are simply a set of choices as to how I wish to spend my time over the next twelve months; what I want to do and as importantly what I do not want to waste my time doing.

Then keep it simple, no more than one page. But to get to the one page requires some thought. This is how I do it. 

Discovery – what is my reflected best self, what are my recent achievements that I am most proud of? 

Dream – what is my desired best future self? 

Design – what do I need to do in order to make my dream come true?

Let’s go, start by answering the following;

  1. Discovery
    • What do I love? [what activities cause me to lose track of time? What did I love doing as a child?]
    • What does the world need from me? [what three skills do I have that are in high demand? What can I teach others?]
    • What am I good at? [what parts of my current job come easily to me? What do people approach me for help with?]
    • What can I be paid for? [can I make a living doing this for a sustainable period? What do my competitors look like> is there a niche for me?]
    • What are my core values? [my soul]
    • What is my purpose? [my why, my heart, my Southern Cross]
    • What are my strengths?
    • What is my one line mission statement?
    • Finally, complete your own annual SWOT;
    • What are my current strengths?
    • What are my current weaknesses?
    • What are my current opportunities?
    • What are my current threats?
  1. Dream
    • List the following objectives I want to achieve in the following areas of my life:
    • Personal;
    • Professional;
    • Pastoral;
    • Psychological;
    • Physical
  1. Design

Use the SMART method:

    • Specific; make sure they are simple, unambiguous clear calls to action.
    • Measurable; use simple clearly defined metrics [qualitative or quantitative] to measure your progress.
    • Achievable; set yourself realistic goals including quick wins that allows you to experience success and thus reinforce your progress.
    • Relevant; this is not a wish list, it is a set of objectives you want to achieve in order to have a successful, fulfilled year.
    • Timebound; all successful plans have a clear timeframe that forces us to commit to a deadline.

Now that you have a list of objectives, list a comprehensive set of key results you need to do in order to achieve them.

I call them Objectives [underpinned by] Key results.

  1. Destiny

It is one thing to have a set of objectives but now you need to incorporate them into your personal DNA.

 I do this by considering the following:

    • I always accentuate the positive. Rather than entering into a scarcity spiral of “I’m giving up carbohydrates”, I approach it from a spiral of positive abundance by simply saying, “I’m looking forward to increasing my protein and fat intake to build lean muscle”.
    • Once I week a view the activities and relationships that give me energy. I increase those and ones like those creating more frequent peaks.
    • I look at the areas where I’m draining energy, I stop doing them.
    • In this way I increase my levels of positive energy frequently.
    • I journal daily
    • Every Friday afternoon I check in with myself and review my One Page Personal Plan. I reflect, celebrate, or add more resources to areas requiring it.
    • Success breeds success.



Now get up, dress up, and show up – the world is waiting for you to live your dreams with purpose.

The Renaissance is all around. Are you ready?

The Renaissance is all around. Are you ready?

Today is the Spring Equinox.

Around the world the hours of daylight and night are equal. It is a clear indication that the sun is moving south and summer with it. It is a time of change, optimism, growth and renewal. It is also time to move to Level One.

The Corona virus, whilst not yet over, is not the first nor is it the most devastating virus in history. On the 13thSeptember 2020 the World Health Organisation recorded 917 417 deaths caused by the Corona virus. The Black Death raged over four years from 1347-1350. It killed an estimated 200 million people. 

The plague destroyed Italian society and then transformed it. For the better. Florence’s recovery led to fundamental social, economic, cultural, political and religious transformation heralding the emergence of the Renaissance. 

Is it possible that in the aftermath of such destruction we may be on the cusp of a renaissance?


Yes. If we are awake and receptive to it.

I consult to a number of companies who are essential services. When Level 5 was announced, these companies had an option. Shut down or crack on. They chose, amidst the anxiety of the unknown, to crack on. 

On day one they implemented Covid-19 regulations. They found themselves dealing in ambiguity, uncertainty and with high levels of staff anxiety. 

They are pioneers and did what was needed to keep fragile wheels of what was left of the economy turning. 

Two of them are in agriculture and logistics. They needed to function and function efficiently keeping supply chains running. It is not overtly dramatic to say they fed us and kept us alive. Imagine if they were dysfunctional and failed us? Day after day they got up, dressed up, and showed up – yup in the very eye of a global pandemic. 

What interests me was what makes these companies different? What makes them resilient? What makes them Succesful? What makes them sustainable. And what is the nature of culture that drives them?

Firstly, they are owned and run by optimists. Leaders who trade in hope on a daily basis. They see every challenge as a blessing, as an opportunity they revel in solving, and in solving improving themselves and their business.


They have what I call the mindset of Abundant Possibility.

They share the following traits. They believe in the abundance of opportunity. They believe opportunities are everywhere. They are attuned to and awake to these possibilities. They are appreciative of who they are and what they have. They appreciate the value of themselves, others and their business. This appreciation leads to creativity in the broadest sense. A creativity that looks at the possibilities in the universe and how they can benefit from them. Their businesses constantly look to solve a problem for others by providing a product or service that is of use. This is how they make and create more – a cycle of abundance that is infinite. And they deliver. They deliver to themselves, their staff, their clients and their communities. They are a source of abundance. 

It’s the difference between saying, “what can I do for myself?” or “what can the government, my company, my family, my spouse, or anybody else do for me?” 

They are continually in a growth mindset using their strengths not only to perform but to transform. They are not victims, they are victors. They see themselves as succeeding, even against the odds. They do not blame others; not the competition, not the state, not the government – even when it is attractive to do so. They take full responsibility for their actions saying, “if you remove all the excuses in your life, you can achieve your full potential”. And they do. 

Finally, they constantly scan the horizon looking forward and upward. They live now not in the past. As a wise woman once said, “you must give up all hope of a better past”. Serial entrepreneur Vusi Thembekwayo put it just as eloquently when he urged us that, “whilst the past may not be our fault, the future is our responsibility”. It is, we cannot abdicate it to anyone else. 

After the devastation the lockdown wreaked on our personal state of mind, the nations psyche –  and the economy what happens if we don’t have a mindset of abundant possibilities?

We become victims. 


Our lives are dependent on the mercy of others.

We believe life to be a constant battle over scarce and limited resources. If you have something I want, it means I can’t have it because resources are finite. I become a helpless. I become envious. Envy leads to jealousy – Shakespeare’s all-consuming green-eyed monster that gnaws away at our insides. Jealousy leads to a downward spiral of anger, resentment, despair, and depression. I am no longer a victor in control of my life. I am a victim living at the mercy of those I envy.  

A North Indian grandfather told his grandson that, “there are two wolves, good and evil, at war within us”.
The boy enquires, “which one wins grandfather?” “the one you feed came the reply”


Which one are you feeding? 

If you want to control your future, you must invent it. You must create it. You must choose abundance over scarcity. You must deal in hope. 

LaunchLab in Stellenbosch is an example of how we can be catalysts of hope, creators of abundance. If you had any doubt that the renaissance is starting under our noses, go to their website and listen to an interview with CEO Josh Romisher and one of the world’s great entrepreneurs Steve Blank. The next renaissance is right HERE, NOW. 

So, scan the horizons and be awake to the endless abundance and opportunities that exist. They are literally all around. If it is to be, its up to me – cumaan Mzanzi lets roll up those sleeves and build a better future for us all. 

If Florence was the tide that floated Italy and the rest of the world, then what’s to stop us starting right here inside within ourselves. Think abundantly, make that call, get that meeting in the diary, hustle and make it happen. And smile. Find your strengths, your values, your passion, your purpose, dream, designing the future and create your destiny.

The Saige Business Consulting executive and leadership development program offers personalised mentoring to help you become the best possible version of yourself.

Tax Time – Provisionals Aug 2020

NB: If you are a provisional tax payer, August 2020 is the deadline for paying your provisional taxes.

During times like these we find many clients are making a plan to pivot, evolve and survive during their current circumstances. So if you have started a new business, side-hussle or have been paying yourself sporadically through your business it is time for you to ensure your taxes are in order – August is the deadline for provisional tax payers. 

Income Tax

  • This is the tax paid on your taxable income;
  • Everyone earning an income in South Africa is liable to pay income tax;
  • If you earn over the threshold (Feb 2021 year: R83,100) you are required to submit a return;
  • Likewise, if you have more than one form of income you will need to submit a return.
  • If you are in full time employment you have your income tax deducted off your salary in the form of PAYE (Pay as you Earn).


Provisional Tax

If you work for yourself, have side-hussles, have other forms of income (like rental or investments) then you have not have paid PAYE nor any other form of tax on those income streams, in which case you fall into the category of Provisional Tax payer.


SARS explains the reason for this as follows:

  • Provisional tax is not a separate tax from income tax.
  • It is a method of paying the income tax liability in advance, to ensure that the taxpayer does not remain with a large tax debt on assessment.
  • Provisional tax allows the tax liability to be spread over the relevant year of assessment.
  • It requires the taxpayers to pay at least two amounts in advance, during the year of assessment, which are based on estimated taxable income.
  • A third payment is optional after the end of the tax year, but before the issuing of the assessment by SARS.
  • On assessment the provisional payments will be off-set against the liability for normal tax for the applicable year of assessment.

Provisional Tax Payment Timing

There are three payment dates for each tax period for provisional taxes:

  • First payment is made 6 months after the start of the tax year:
    • If your tax year is end of Feb 2021 this would be end of August 2020
    • This should be 50% of your anticipated tax bill for the year
  • Second payment is due at the end of the tax year:
    • End of Feb 2021
    • This should be the balance or 100% of your tax bill
  • Third payment is not compulsory but is due:
    • Within 6 months of year end
    • This would be a top up if necessary.

Provisional Tax Calculation

This is the calculation due in August 2020 for the period ended Feb 2021:

The First Period:

  • Half of the total estimated tax for the full year;
  • Less the employees tax for this period (6 months);
  • Less any allowable foreign tax credits for this period (6 months).

An example of a Provisional Tax Calc

Note 1 – your taxable income is your net income you need to pay taxes on. This is your total income less all the expenses you qualify to deduct per the income tax act. I.e. all expenses incurred to generate the income you are being taxed on. In these COVID19 circumstances a lot more people are able to qualify for deductions related to home office so be sure to consider those.

For assistance on your calculation or submission please email us on

Mentoring – why?

What is Mentoring, and what can I expect to gain?


“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”

— Oprah Winfrey

Mentoring is not a mystery. Nor is it new. We are all mentors. We all, to a larger or lesser degree learn by observing others. A mother smiling at her new born baby until it learns to smile back is a mentor. A child in the playground looking intently at his peers on the jungle-gym before copying them is learning from others. Teachers, lecturers, parents, business leaders, leaders in society, politicians, sports coaches, music teachers – we are all either showing someone how to do something or learning how to do something.

Mentoring is important because “every day is a school day”, meaning every day we wake up we have an opportunity to teach someone, and to learn from someone. Every encounter with another person is an opportunity to co-create learning, to share ideas, thoughts, and information through the critical art of conversation. We all do it, but many of us are either not aware or we are frightened away by the notion that it requires a range of complex skills.

Life is the simple evolution of thoughts and consequent behaviours, the distilled wisdom of the ages that is transferred from one generation to the next. Historically wisdom was passed on orally through song and dialogue. As mankind mastered the art of writing and recorded values, principles, norms, policies and procedures – these were then passed on to the next generation in text form. Scriptures, philosophy, law and even cookery books give us a glimpse into life before the common era. As we evolve as a civilisation we simply continue to place stone after stone on the cairn began all those years ago.

Mentoring simply brings the distilled knowledge of the ages together with personal experience in a practical manner that makes it relevant to the mentee.

Is it really just as simple as reading a few books and having a couple of discussions that constitutes mentoring? Yes, it is both of these, but for mentoring to be effective and meaningful, we need to co-create a structured program that suits the needs of the mentee. This is important as we need to manage expectations as well as to define what mentoring is not.

What is mentoring not?

A recent meeting with the head of student affairs at a local university highlighted just how misunderstood the notion of mentoring is. I was part of a team establishing a mentoring program for the universities alumni department wanting to create a platform for alumni to share their skills, experience and wisdom with fellow alumni and current students.

I was extremely positive about the initiative as I had recently implemented a similar program where the impact was enormous. An institution which was largely separated into current students and old boys was united by the simple process of creating a platform for skilful, wise, experienced and connected persons become energised by spending time with eager, enthusiastic and energetic young students.

The program had many benefits. Most importantly it created an environment where individuals with a single purpose forged relationship across generations, races, creeds, cultures, genders and professions. These co-created relationships were of mutual benefits as the student might learn about the complexities of corporate governance whilst the mentor learns about social media.

The head of student affairs, a psychologist, was horrified, “never, these “so called” mentors are not trained therapists, we could soon be dealing with depression and suicides on an unprecedented scale.” The program was not implemented.

Her response was not unexpected as the process of mentoring is not fully understood. At best it is confused with formalised coaching and at worst with therapy which are both important and both have a place – but they are not mentoring.

The need for mentoring is even greater today!

My experience in business as well as in life generally has taught me that mentoring is the single most important factor for leading a successful, fulfilled life. I say business and life because when mentoring, I see no difference between the boardroom and the bedroom – it’s the same person who simply has a life divided into portfolios: spouse, parent, employee and more.

When I began working there was very little business literature. Businesses developed their own unique structure, systems and culture. The result was in order to replicate the DNA of the business you needed to develop your own training programs and train staff “in-house”.

If you left school and wanted to be a sales representative in FMCG, you joined a company as an assistant merchandiser. The merchandiser would show you where the stores in your cycle were. He/she would introduce you to the store manager. Show you were the goods receiving was. Where your products were stored. Guide you through the first daunting sales meetings at head office. Teach the basic skills of merchandising: eye level is buy level, category management, how to fight for shelf space, what products never to go out of stock on, what a promotion was, what a gondola end was and how to treat the staff instore to make your job easier. If you were successful, you were appointed to the permanent staff and the training wheels came off. After some time in this position he would be promoted through the ranks of junior sales representative, sales representative, regional sales manager, and if good enough the national sales. This process was common across all job functions. We can call it in-house training, apprenticeship, traineeship and more – but the truth is it was simply a transfer of knowledge, information and experience – mentoring. And it took time and patience.

Think of it this way, the day you left school you had certain knowledge but very little experience. By experience I mean the kind of experience one cannot gain through reading books or looking it up on google. Many people I mentor comment, “if only I had a person I could speak to, someone who had experience in the situations I faced whilst at school I would have avoided so many elementary mistakes, done so many things differently and saved a lot of time and wasted emotional energy. How can we avoid this?

By sharing our insight with young people or those moving into the professions and trades. One well thought out idea or well-made choice is worth years of wasted time and regrets. This is all the more necessary given the skills shortage that sees young graduates assuming more and more responsibility before they are ready. Furthermore, these same young graduates come with heightened expectations. The notion of building a career entails does not mean a “job for life” and slowly progressing through the ranks. They are a brand of one wanting as many different experiences on their CV as possible. Their careers are like their email addresses rather than their post-box number, they move around to develop themselves rather than waiting in one place for things to improve.

In my experience the best institutions achieve the greatest return on their human capital when they establish a formal and/or informal mentoring program. Naturally these must be tailored to suit the needs of each institution as well as those of the individual.

As each company requires mentoring aligned with its needs and culture, so too will the individual require a wide variety of choices: first time employment requires the employee to adjust to the workplace – meetings, politics, change, their relationship management, workplace etiquette and more. Mentoring executives means providing a more strategic insight. Whilst business training for small, medium enterprises requires a broad spectrum of skills including moving from start-up by establishing policies and procedures without using the entrepreneurial spirit. Career mentoring and life skill mentoring mean less of a focus on technical skills and more on general career development. In some instances, it can be one or many of the above depending on the needs of the mentee.

If mentoring appears to benefit so many, why did the head of student affairs have such an aversion to establishing a mentoring system? It can’t be that it is a novel idea?

Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”— John Crosby