“ We believe that every
business has a responsibility
and opportunity to contribute
to real transformation. „
wage earner earns? How can one person offer that much
value? What if people were recognised for the value they
added, and they had an opportunity to grow that value in
a trusting environment? What if the profit was shared on
that value basis?
These are some of the ideas that drive the recent
establishment of our non-profit organisation, aptly named
“Yeoman Service” after James Rennie’s involvement in
the Imperial Yeomanry. We have a long-term view to take
the learning that we have been through with regards
to progressive management structures and building
a culture based on trust, and create an entity that can
take these ideas out into the South African workplace.
It’s a long way from HVAC, but something we believe
can add value to the industry and the business world
in our country, hopefully positively impacting people
on the way, and helping those people take more
responsibility for themselves.
The magic must come from both sides. The
organisation must be willing to be open to
new ways of working with capitalism, and
the individual must be being willing to
take more responsibility. These words from
Jordan Peterson speak of this responsibility:
“The fundamental issue is that life is
difficult and tragic for everyone. It is tainted
by malevolence because no matter how
bad things are there is always something
else that you or someone else could do to
make it worse than it has to be. That’s life.
And you need an antidote to that or it
will embitter you. The tragedy combined
with betrayal and malevolence
makes it even worse. Especially if it is
self-induced! You need something
to set yourself against that so that
you don’t get bitter and resentful.
What do you set against that?
DOING SOMETHING WORTHWHILE!
By your own definition. You need a
reason to get out of bed on a terrible
day because you have something
good to do. So, what is the best that
you can do? Transcend your current
and wretched miserable self. There is
meaning to find in this. And the meaning
is found in that responsibility. One of
thing I have been trying to lay out is: Life
is hard; it is tainted by malevolence and
betrayal; that can make you bitter. You
need a meaning to offset that. Where is that
meaning to be found? Not in rights. Not in
impulsive pleasures. But in responsibility. You
As much as our country’s government has failed its people
and left business bitter and resentful, we believe that every
business has a responsibility and opportunity to contribute to
real transformation. Doing the right things for the right reasons
and slowly, business by business, we could make this country the
place it deserves to be. And this is without even considering the
contribution we could make by just not partaking in anything
underhand or immoral.
There is huge opportunity in sharing. Capitalism works but
it results in natural hierarchies based on individuals’ skills and
opportunities. These hierarchies are entrenched by ego and
greed, effectively reducing opportunities for others. Imagine a
capitalism that could exist if people at the top were willing to
share. Why should the CEO earn 254 times what the average
www.shamusrennie.co.za • 0860 SHAMUS
SHAMUS RENNIE • 60 YEARS • A THIRD GENERATION FAMILY BUSINESS • 15
the result is a semi-conscious organisation. An
organisation is our own little ‘country’ (sometimes
not so little, and sometimes more profitable than
a country) and one in which you can create your
Most work environments do nothing to explore
the potential of the human being. Decisions are
generally based on profit that dehumanise people
and restrict their growth and possible contribution.
It has intrigued us at Shamus Rennie to get that magic
mix that allows people to bring their whole personality to
work, to make new and meaningful contributions and to be
profitable at the same time.
What drives us at Shamus Rennie is human potential. We
look at the individuals that make up our business and are often
amazed that they have no idea of what their true potential is. We
are continually inspired to find ways of unlocking that potential.
It is not a process that derives much acknowledgement or
thanks, and our results have been less than anticipated but it is
one that we are inspired to continue with. It is remarkable how
often that unlocking never occurs because the leadership or the
environment is wrong, and the trust is never developed to the
point at which the magic can occur.
It is much like our country. We have so much potential as a
people. So many diverse backgrounds and strengths that if
only they could be harnessed by the right leadership we could
become a world power in anything that we choose. The situation,
however, like a business, always comes down to leadership.
Leaders growing other leaders. Leaders creating visions and
unlocking ideas and contributions from others. Leaders growing
trust and common ground. Leaders willing to share and sacrifice
for the betterment of all.