It is a great pleasure for me to be able to address you here in Sun City this morning.


I should also like to welcome you all here to South Africa – and wish to congratulate you on your choice of venue.  We have a great deal to offer tourists and visitors


Another advantage is that very few South Africans are likely to raise the question of sport with you.  You will probably meet very few South Africans who will admit that they have ever heard of cricket or rugby.  The memories of our most recent encounters are still too fresh and too painful to bear too much repetition!


So as you travel about South Africa please observe the following simple rules:


Of course, you must also remember that you are here to work.  Don’t allow yourselves to be distracted by the casinos, shows and golf courses.


Concentrate on hairdressing.


So when you go game-viewing in the Pilanesberg Reserve next door try to focus on the relevance of the experience to the topic of hairdressing.


In fact there is a lot that we can learn from nature – even in this time of globalisation.


During the past decades we have begun to lay the foundations of a new supranational global economic and information community:


Globalisation confronts us – not only with breath-taking opportunities – but also with awesome challenges:


One of the central implications of globalisation is that we can no longer ignore crises and grievances in distant countries.  Non-performing economies cannot be consigned to a basket-case category outside of the mainstream of the world economy.   The reality is that the gap between the poorest and richest fifths of the world’s nations has widened from 30 to 1 in 1960 to 78 to 1 in 1994.


The world cannot accept a new de facto apartheid between a rich white north and an impoverished and unstable black south.  In a shrinking world, the problems of one region will inevitably become the problems of other regions and ultimately of the whole world:


Neither can the first world dismiss ongoing conflicts in distant third-world countries with 30 second segments on the evening news.  Many of these conflicts have their roots in poverty and under-development.  Eleven of the thirty poorest countries – including Rwanda, Burundi, Afghanistan, Sudan, Liberia, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – have in recent years been wracked by devastating wars.  On the other hand, there has been very little conflict in the twenty richest countries.


Our second great challenge of leadership in the new millennium will, I believe, be the need to live in harmony with our global environment.


In recent decades we have been receiving increasingly urgent signals that our environment can no longer sustain the current pace of human and industrial development:


We dare not ignore these warning signals.


We cannot allow the mindless and wholesale assault on our fragile environment to continue.  We must ensure that our governments move beyond declarations and lip service in their efforts to protect the global environment. Our future and the future of our children depends more on this than perhaps on any other factor.


Perhaps, these first two leadership challenges are part of the single overarching challenge of managing the accelerating processes of change that confront us on all sides.


We can make the following three observations about change:


During the past century – and particularly since World War II – there has been an exponential acceleration in the pace of change.  Our society probably has changed more during the past ten years than it did in the first ten thousand years of our development as a species.


Change is also unpredictable.   Some of the main developments that have fundamentally transformed the world, were entirely unforeseen only fifteen years ago:  think of the internet and the world-wide web; the collapse of the Soviet Union and international communism and AIDS.


The change that we are experiencing is also fundamental.  It affects virtually every aspect of our lives.


Everywhere the forces of change are in full flood.  They are obliterating the familiar and comfortable landscapes in which we grew up.  Like flood victims, they leave us clinging to the few certainties that have not yet been inundated.


The question for us as countries, as companies and as individuals is how we should deal with the uncertainty that this accelerating, fundamental and unpredictable change is bringing to our lives.


As I suggested earlier, we can perhaps learn something from nature – since uncertainty is the basic state of nature – and of most human history.


When you go to the Pilanesberg Reserve see if you can find a good water hole.  Watch the impala, zebra and wildebeest as they emerge from the bush and make their way to drink at the water’s edge.  Who knows, somewhere nearby lions might be lying in wait.  At any moment there could be an explosion of muscle, dust and claws.  You could get to watch the eternal and uncertain drama of survival in a harsh and  unsympathetic environment.


The animals that will survive will be


Don’t feel too sorry for the impala.  The fact is that the environment in which your company is operating is just as uncertain and just as dangerous.  Whether we are individuals, companies or countries, we all face the same challenge of survival in a harsh, competitive and uncertain environment.


The challenge to leadership in the globalised world will be to develop the skills that we will need for survival.


Like the impala and zebras, we must also be acutely aware of the slightest changes in our environment;


We must be fit and possess real skills;


We too must have the flexibility to adapt and change direction quickly.

The theme of your conference is “step up the pace”.


These are some of the skills that we in South Africa have tried to cultivate to help is to deal with our rapidly changing environment.  South Africa’s recent past is very relevant to a rapidly changing world precisely because – through good luck or good management – we have shown that it is possible to manage historic forces of change – that we can avoid catastrophe and move toward a better future.


Because we accepted the need to manage change we were able to achieve most of the primary objectives that we set ourselves in 1990:


Nevertheless, we dare not rest on our laurels.  Our main challenges now will be to ensure that


The reality is that the process of change is accelerating.  The greatest challenge for leadership in this new globalised environment will be to learn how to navigate on the flood of change.   Clinging to the treetops of the past offers no long term solutions.


At the beginning of this new millennium we will all have to confront difficult and uncomfortable challenges:


These are questions that I believe are just as relevant to you in Schwarzkopf Australia as they are to individuals, companies and countries throughout the world.


How we respond to them will determine our success as individuals;

Your success as a company; and

The survival and success of our species in this exciting and rapidly changing new environment.