Blog

  • Back to blogging: life lessons from great leaders

    These past months, when circumstances forced me to take an unintended break from writing, it was gratifying to hear from the many people who said they missed my regular posts. To those whom I may not have answered directly, suffice it to say that some family and health issues have claimed much of my time and energy since February. Though

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • The power of reconciliation

    A dynamic scene from the movie Invictus depicts a tense conversation between President Nelson Mandela and Jason Tshabalala, his diligent and passionate security chief. At issue is Mandela’s decision to hire some of the highly qualified white bodyguards who had watched over his predecessor during the controversial apartheid regime. When the white guards report in to take up their duties with the Mandela administration,

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • From a personal transformation to a new national narrative

    Whether he knew it or not at the time, Nelson Mandela’s prison experience would provide something of a blueprint for what he sought to achieve as South Africa’s first post-apartheid president. During his years at the fabled penal institution on Robben Island, one of the truly fascinating aspects of Prisoner Mandela’s personal journey was the evolution of his relationships with the

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • How Nelson Mandela reshaped himself in prison

    In the previous post, we looked at the extraordinary change of attitude that transpired during Nelson Mandela’s lengthy incarceration. Bit by bit, Mr Mandela evolved from a defiant prisoner who scorned his “oppressors” to one who befriended the jailers and embraced their Afrikaans language and culture. We also stated last time that choosing to treat his wardens with respect, and  learning their dialect, was but

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • How Nelson Mandela began a new story for South Africa

    The previous post gave a brief description of Nelson Mandela’s first hours as President of South Africa. Many of the white government workers he observed that morning were busy packing away their personal items, in anticipation of being relieved of their functions. A majority of the government workers President Mandela walked past in the corridors leading to his office were typical

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • Nelson Mandela and his South African rainbow nation

    At the outset, my plan for this post was to focus on Nelson Mandela, whose tale of transformation is even more striking, and more improbable, than that of Margaret Thatcher. When Mr Mandela became president of South Africa in 1994, virtually nobody in the entire land believed in his program for building “a rainbow nation”. Before addressing this remarkable case,

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling