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"Effective leaders are visionary, principled, inspirational and of critical importance, they have mastered the skill of execution. They get the job done!"
Brand Pretorius

Summary of " In the Driving Seat "

Many books have been written about leadership, but only a few have been written by business leaders who have personally experienced the highs and lows of the art and the science of leadership. One such book is "In the Driving Seat – my leadership journey" written by the respected business leader and motor industry veteran, Brand Pretorius. He played a pivotal role in establishing Toyota as the market leader in the eighties and was also instrumental during the second part of his career in turning around an insolvent McCarthy Group.

Although the book is not an autobiography, it does contain an overview of his childhood years as well as an account of his career, spanning 38 years. Both business and personal lessons learnt are shared in such a frank and honest manner that the content engages the mind and touches the heart. In essence though, the book is about leadership. Pretorius amplifies the importance thereof and defines the essence of it. He outlines the attributes and skills required for effective leadership and paints a clear picture of inspirational leadership in action. Based on his own experience, his key conclusion is that servant leadership provides the strongest foundation possible for sustained influence and high level of commitment. Practical examples and inspirational case studies are used to give meaning and impact to his advice and recommendations.

The book also contains chapters on leadership in service excellence and successful marketing of products and services. The guidelines given are relevant and useful. A separate chapter is devoted to the role that business leaders can and should play to bring about a better South Africa. A holistic approach is advocated and it concludes with a call to action.

The last part of the book covers the likely challenges leaders are going to face in future and how they need to adapt and deal with it. Thought provoking perspectives and possible solutions are offered. All aspiring and existing leaders regardless of environment or level of seniority will benefit from the reading of this book. It covers the philosophical side of leadership as well as the keys to successful execution. No leader, whether of a family, community, public sector or business will leave empty handed. The anecdotes and case studies have a distinct local flavour but the principles and practices shared have a universal application. The core message is that leadership is all about character, influence and contribution, for the good of all.