In a press conference ahead of the 2023 RWC Final, Siya Kolisi said this:

"... people tell us how they feel. People send us videos and tell us (that) this is sometimes the only time they are happy about something is when we play ..."

Q1: As a leader, how often do your people - teams, family, stakeholders, community - see you "playing for performance" vs "working for performance"?

Q2: Is your "tone at the top" inspiring performance or mining performance?

Q3: What would happen if you walked in on Monday heart-first, ready to "play-to-priorities" and invited your team to do the same?

Madiba had that playful twinkle in his eye, despite the odds. His left-field nation building strategy was enabled, astutely, through "play" in 1995. When the game is played beyond the self, commitment to "win" is fuelled by a bigger purpose.

As you watch the Bok and Kiwi gladiators play their hearts out for the 4th Webb Ellis World Cup in 2023, imagine infusing "play" across your fields of leadership influence.

Why? Because effective leadership starts with making people "feel" worthy of success. Leaders today, hold the torch for how that plays out tomorrow.

Roshni Gajjar is the founder of StratAstute Consulting. a boutique consultancy that specialises in strategy, strategy-execution and cultivating a mindset to support resilient success.

I am pleased to be representing StratAstute Consulting as a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

The StratEx 4.0 coaching service stream has evolved organically, through supporting leaders, entrepreneurs and athletes navigate the Covid-related disruptions and uncertainties. I found that coaching is like a game of golf or the sport of marginal gains - the more you and your client show up for practice together, the more you want to learn how to practice better. That's strategy, and fair play, in motion.

My purpose, through StratAstute, is to help organisations, leaders and rising stars to become the best versions of themselves so that they can reach their highest potential, achieve targeted success and make a positive contribution through foresight, purpose-driven actions and a “can-do” mindset.

“It is possible of ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.”

- Elon Musk

I am excited to work with existing and new clients, to cultivate resilient performance and to enable them to reach their vision of success. Let's Talk.

Roshni Gajjar is a certified Performance Coach and a member of the ICF. She is an experienced Chartered, Strategy Consultant and Board-level leader. She has offers +20 years’ executive-level experience to her clients, served in the advisory/assurance, automotive, consulting, healthcare, higher education, insurance sectors and pharmaceutical sectors.

The future of SA motorsport is bright with high potential! We got to meet some very interesting and inspired STEM minds at the 2023 Simola Hillclimb in Knysna.

What did we chat about? F1 in Schools of course!

Thanks to captains of SA motorsport, industry leaders, teams, passionate school pupils, parents, professionals, seasoned technical experts, members of media and diehard fans from racing around world.

Thank You for sharing the pupil-to-pinnacle vision with such positivity and enthusiasm! F1 in Schools ZA is now in full motion!

If you missed out on the launch, read about Future Ones NPC and the "pupil-to-pinnacle" quest on our website:

Play Your Part. It takes at least four years to reach World Finals readiness. We ask schools and sponsors to commit to the vision so that we can see a South African team at the 2027 F1 in Schools World Finals.

Get On Track for Success! Registrations now open. Early adopter schools will get a head start and save on costs.

Let's GO🔴🔴🔴🔴🟢

🟢Schedule a call - Let's chat to your school principal to explore fit-for-school

🟢Build a proposal - Let's help your school get on track with funding and equipment

🟢Form a team - 6 participants aged 6 to 9 years

🟢Participate - Run the in-class, extra curriculum programme

🟢Compete - Race and win to qualify for the World Finals

🟢Stay on Track - success takes time. Never give up!

Join the Fanzone and follow the journey:

Linkedin 👍🏽-
Twitter 🔁 - @FutureOnesSTEM
Telegram Group ↗️ - F1 in Schools ZA
Email 📤 -

Following the stories of sudden collapses making headlines in March involving SVB, Credit Suisse, Transaction Capital and others that are likely to follow, I share high-level reflections with reference to two critical leadership tools, being strategy and risk management.

1) Strategy is a game-plan with a 3 to 20 year time horizon in the case of large companies; let's say 3 to 5 in smaller entities/focussed projects. For governments, up to 50 years.

2) Risk management (verb) supports the execution of that game-plan w.r.t evolving internal and external factors - it must work consistently during both good times and bad times. Surprise/ shock events means the risk was not identified or fairly prioritised or the CRO or was not in the room. Of course, black swans do land, albeit only occasionally and cyclically in some disciplines. What about repeat events - 2001, 2008, now 2023 and ESG scandals in between.

3) Companies that apply inconsistent or ineffective risk management will fail and fall eventually - the game-plan has a faulty scoreboard and offers no practical adaptation levers. Kicking the can down the road simply deepens the cracks in the lifeboat.

4) Banking on external factors and systemic forces to compensate for poor risk management culture is like captaining a damaged ship with arms folded. Hubris and irresponsible. High uncertainty requires high risk monitoring and consistent key stakeholder engagement. Keep the CROs close and allow them to be brutally objective about the facts and scenarios.

5) During change, adaptation or turbulence, stakeholders must remain well informed of how the game is being played, in simple language, so that they can clearly evaluate the upside and downside of their involvement, based on what they choose to hear and buy into. Vital in an age of information overload and high polarisation. Effective investor/stakeholder relations needs objective technical experts who communicate with facts. PRO and marketing are different.

Turbulence and disruption are the new normal, until the 4.0 foundation is set. We are seeing various systems in adaptation/ transition phase, across sectors. We have also entered a new AI era which brings in new complexity. Yet old risk events repeat. Chaos looming?

What is the capacity for critical thinking within our leadership teams and structures? Can current thinking help direct a new trajectory that delivers prosperity? If not, what practical changes can we make now to avoid a foreseeable crash, collapse or corporate scandal in our spheres of influence - as business leaders, influencers and educators/mentors? This is surely a key layer of the 4.0 foundation?

Keywords: Leadership, Resilience, Strategy Execution, Sustainability, Inclusion

Of the snippets I have heard of the Spare interview, my contextual question is this: Does Prince Harry's yearning for a "family" vs an institution represent an underlying generational trauma experienced by the Gen Y / Gen Z's or those who feel unseen / unheard / unrecognised?

As leaders at home, in society and in organisations, I believe we must engage in multi-generational talks with the cohort the WEF calls "the disillusioned youth", to understand their root issues so that we can co-create and unlock a cohesive, future culture of living, leading and working. Else the next generation is unlikely to thrive - relational locks exacerbate conflict and conflict-ridden patterns; nothing prospers. Resilience atrophies.

Everyone has a part to play in any future scenario where shared respect between people fuels a shared vision, beyond individual goals/ agendas. Leaders must enable this across their spheres of influence and intentionally.

Perhaps a leadership priority in the New Normal is about back-to-basics when we choose, where we have influence, to actively invest in those significant, high-quality connections and to create space for relevant, meaningful conversations.

By: Catherine Domingo | Go Solo Publication, New York

Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Roshni Gajjar, founder and CEO of StratAstute Consulting.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

StratAstute Consulting is a boutique management consulting company that specialises in strategy, strategy-to-execution and related services, including strategic agility, sustainability, resilience and high-performance leadership. Our objectives are to help businesses and individuals to unlock their highest potential, cultivate a growth mindset and make a contribution through purpose-driven performance. StratAstute's approach to sustainability integrates the 4 P's: Purpose - Performance - People - Profits. The fifth, Passion, is in our DNA – we love what we do to shape our clients' success stories. Our approach aims to make strategic planning a practical tool that directs day-to-day focus so that longer-term outcomes can be achieved with reduced risks and with more confidence.

The business is based in South Africa, with clients based in South Africa and internationally. Our target market is any medium, large or listed corporate or commercial organisation that has reached a strategic choice point, requiring leaders to develop, decide on and execute fit-for-purpose strategies. We also work with SMEs that are in the expansion, scale-up or innovation phase. We choose to work with clients who are aligned with our values and who have an appetite for change so that we can deliver what is in the best interest of the business and its stakeholders.

There are four service streams:

  1. StratCapital - strategy development, business plans, financial sustainability, ESG strategies, and risk management
  2. StratEx 4.0 - strategy execution support through consulting/advisory services and our coaching products
  3. StratCom - strategy articulation, corporate narrative/reporting and investor relations support
  4. StratConnect - facilitation of strategy workshops, related training sessions for leaders, the Lift As We Rise podcast and keynote speaker engagements.

The Resilience Success Formula and High-Performance Leadership coaching products are tools to support effective strategy execution, resilient performance and sustained success. For large companies, corporates and organisations, our services include risk management and ESG training/coaching, as well as executive coaching. Our strategy consulting work is sector agnostic. We have established trusted client partnerships in the following industries: healthcare, pharmaceuticals, financial services (insurance), manufacturing/industrials, precious metals and automotive.

StratAstute Consulting supports the Sustainable Development Goals. StratAstute Future Ones is a not-for-profit company serving the purpose of fueling the passion and potential of next-generation South Africans to reach and succeed at the pinnacle of their dream STEM careers (SGD 8) in motorsport and related value-chain industries (SGD 11). The flagship programme supplements maths and science theory at participating schools (SDG 4 and 5) through the engaging, exciting, and high-performance global competition, F1 in Schools.

Tell us about yourself

My consulting work began in September 2015 when I received an emergency call-up to consult back to my former employer for six months. Being in a new executive position, I did this between 6pm and midnight daily. Fortunately, I don't need an eight-hour sleep routine, so it worked out well. StratAstute Consulting was subsequently registered as a private company in November 2015, to eliminate any perceived conflicts of interest.

Midway 2016, two local legacy companies contacted me for advice on a cost-cutting strategy in response to the economic headwinds in South Africa. Making things smaller is not my A-Game, and fortunately, both parties kept an open mind when we evaluated the scenarios. Fast forward eighteen months later, both companies landed up expanding and diversifying their businesses, empowering people in the organisation to support the growth. With just one day per month granted to do private consulting work, I felt energised at the end of these intense but impactful consulting days. I resolved to steer my career path accordingly. At that same time, emerging blockchain and digital technologies caught my attention and I wanted to work with business model adaptation strategies. In February 2018, I took quite a big risk to resign from full-time employment and build StratAstute Consulting from 1 June 2018.

I come from a family of business owners and professionals. From the age of six, I chose to work in the family business above idle play time over weekends and vacations, with the aim of earning pocket money to fund my book collection and to build enough savings to open a bank account. I enjoyed interacting with customers, observing my dad negotiate pricing with suppliers, sitting in on meetings with the bank manager, and making sure the right stock was on the right shelves for customers during my shift. I rotated between three family businesses and keenly observed what makes each business "tick." It struck me that each business had a unique culture that attracted different types of customers. My dad was a horologist, which attracted watch and clock connoisseurs, specialist and suppliers from all over the country. I was intrigued by the way in which shared passion connects all sorts of people and their stories. This was during the peak of apartheid. My mother was an estate agent. I observed her client relationship management skills and her marketing plans. I admired her meticulous approach to prepare for client meetings, show houses and deal negotiations. From the various family businesses, I learned mostly how attention to detail, consistent professionalism and sincere relationship management bridge diversity and social structures. It is a delicate art, underpinned by respect and trust. One could say that entrepreneurship, relationship management, and passion-driven work are in my DNA.

My purpose is to help businesses and individuals become the best versions of themselves and make a positive contribution to lifting others. Seeing people I work with grow, transform and expand is exceptionally fulfilling, although this requires patience because it is a long-term game. Mine is a mind that loves to solve the challenges that complexity presents, see through the mud and join the big dots. My motivation comes from practicing gratitude and taking ownership of my strengths, which I try to apply in the most useful way, and for the incredible people that I connect with through my work. Each client is unique. Success means something different in each business. That requires me to tailor the consulting and coaching approach to deliver client satisfaction. The diversity offers room for creative thinking and problem-solving with different minds - bridging the gap between the current state and the highest potential state is what motivates me most. Each day I try to do one thing that I really enjoy doing to reset, recharge and realign with my Purpose.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

This is a tough question, as I tend to be a critical thinker when it comes to self-evaluation. I believe StratAstute Consulting has steadily but intentionally established a trusted brand identity and presence across our eco-system. We hang our hat on being a values and purpose-driven consultancy and executing our 5P's approach in a way that is most beneficial to clients. This has been achieved despite the pre and post-COVID headwinds, which have been exceptionally challenging for South African businesses and citizens.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

I have had to make some tough calls to uphold our values and to walk away from clients and business partners who apply a very different business ethos. As an independent female business owner, I've had to climb a steep learning curve  to be firm and place due value on the quality of my work when it comes to contract negotiations. These calls were necessary. Entrepreneurship is a long-term game and reputation is the golden thread that knits a sustainable business model, builds brand equity and garners stakeholder trust.

I have learned, the hard way, that many talk about collaboration, but very few practice fair give and take. The general business culture is still very much around competition, be it subtle or predatory. Growth and scale-up phases are particularly challenging for emerging business owners. Market penetration and profitability depend on income certainty, right pricing, low credit risk and high cash conversion - tough KPIs to meet in recessionary times where blue chip and large-cap companies operate behind strong moats. Corporates and policymakers have a huge role to play in enabling the success of emerging entrepreneurs so that there is sustainability in the economic value chain. Else widened economic participation and wealth creation are out of reach in many countries where unemployment rates are high.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Entrepreneurs start, run and grow at the same time and often with all types of resource constraints, mostly time and cash flow.

  1. How you start is how you finish. Define the minimum viable product/service supported by non-negotiable decision-making criteria and unambiguous business values which you apply consistently.
  2. Run in one clear direction. Have a strategy. Work to defined goals. Analyse performance data. Manage the controllables astutely.
  3. Grow with resilience. Align Performance and Profit targets to strategic Purpose and, through your business growth, lift People as you rise.

Where can people find you and your business?


This article was published in Go Solo, a digital blog/magazine that highlights the amazing stories of brilliant entrepreneurs and business owners, based in New York. Strategy Beyond the Numbers - StratAstute Consulting ( The featured story was not paid for, solicited nor promoted by StratAstute.