July 20, 2020

33 Arthur Gillis: learnings from a blended family by a seasoned entrepreneur dad & grandad

33 Arthur Gillis: learnings from a blended family by a seasoned entrepreneur dad & grandad

“As fathers we sometimes have to be benevolent dictators, even if our children are grown-ups, they are still children.” Arthur Gillis on DADicated.com.

Arthur Gillis is an insanely successful South African serial hotelier and proud dad of five (3 biological and 2 from his second marriage) and grandfather of three, soon four children.

In our session Arthur shares his journey of being a dad, a granddad and entrepreneur; His powerful experience shares include positive conflict, family forums and family counsel, not ruling from the grave, forging bonds with your kids, fathering the fatherlessness, why not to treat children equally, money and its energy in family and turning disadvantages into advantages.

As an entrepreneur and CEO Arthur grew the Protea Hotels Group from the initial four hotels to the leading hotel operating company in Africa consisting of 128 hotels in 19 countries with 16.000 employees. After 36 years, in 2014, Arthur facilitated the sale of Protea Hotels’ three brands and management company to Marriott International, Inc..

Arthur is a warm, beautiful father figure and truly worth a listen. If the session helps you, I am asking you to please share it with someone you love. Enjoy!

“As fathers we sometimes have to be benevolent dictators, even if our children are grown-ups, they are still children.” Arthur Gillis on DADicated.com.

Arthur Gillis is married and lives in South Africa. He is a titan in the hospitality industry, maybe the most successful in Africa. He is a serial hotelier and proud dad of five. Three of those kids are his biological children and two came with the second marriage. However Arthur and his wife took the line of treating all kids as their own kids. All five are married and Arthur is a grandfather of three, soon four children. 

The session is fun, uplifting and I found it very inspirational. Arthur speaks from the heart and his experience shares are powerful. Arthur is such a positive and motivational father figure and his own yearning for learning makes the session special. 

As entrepreneur and CEO Arthur grew the Protea Hotels Group from the initial four hotels to the leading hotel operating company in Africa consisting of 128 hotels in 19 countries with 16.000 employees. After 36 years, in 2014, Arthur facilitated the sale of Protea Hotels’ three brands and management company to Marriott International, Inc..

In our session Arthur shares his own journey of being a dad, a granddad, an entrepreneur and how he manages to blend the many family streams that make up his own family today. We talk about values, what he learned from his own father and other father figures throughout his lifetime and Arthur shares some amazing insights and very practical experience shares on building a successful family. 

Some of the shares are how conflict can be positive, his family forum and family counsel, how he will ensure not to rule from the grave, how to forge bonds with your children, fathering the fatherlessness, why one should treat children appropriately instead of equally, money and its energy in family, turning disadvantages into advantages and relationships over money.

To give you some more perspective on Arthur: he often attends funerals with people who have no contemporaries anymore. The learning he shares here: nobody ever, ever talks about how much money they’ve got. They talk about family or relationships. 

The most powerful takeaways for me as a dad were:

  • Listen more to other Dads who have walked this path before.
  • Be kinder to yourself.
  • If you have no choice at least make the experience beautiful.
  • In a blended family: never side with blood, ever.
  • Show your children your vulnerability. It’s a strength and not a weakness.
  • Find a project, like restoring a car or anything really, to do together with your boys to forge bonds.
  • Have a psychologist or independent third party on call to act as family counselor.
  • Quality time has to equate quantity time.
  • Beautiful routine for all parents: “What made you glad what made you sad? What do you want to do tomorrow and what do you want to do right now? This is your time, you chose.” 45 minutes exclusive one on one time with your child.

The regular listeners will know this. I am part of the initiative together for cape town where we aim to raise enough money for kids in Cape Town’s townships before the year is out. If you’d like to support our cause, please check out www.togetherforcapetown.com and donate or reach out. To all of you who have contacted us or donated, thank you for your support! You are amazing.

If this podcast helps you being a better parent, please consider leaving a review and share it with another parent or two. It’ll only take you a few minutes and I truly love getting feedback from you, in fact it makes my day. Thank you so much. Enjoy this session with Arthur Gillis! 

Books mentioned in this episode: 

  1. Life of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Biography.
  2. Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph
  3. The 8th Habit by Steven R. Covey 
  4. Good to Great by James Collins 

Arthur Gillis:

  1. Platinum Hospitality Holdings
  2. Arthur’s LinkedIn

Philipp Hartmann (host):

  1. Philipp Hartmann
  2. Philipp Hartmann's LinkedIn

“Being Dad” on DADicated.com:

  1. Podcast Website
  2. Instagram & facebook

AG: [00:03:44] So the best advice that I would give myself as a dad is, first of all, what I didn't realize is that these [00:04:00] children don't come with a handbook. I thought that they do. Unfortunately real men don't read handbooks anyway, you know, when we get a new car or a watch or something, we would ever read the manual.

So even if I had got one, I guess I wouldn't have read it. And I would say that the best thing that I could have done would have been to listen more to other dads who've walked the spots before me, because without question, there is nothing that I'm experiencing. That somebody else somewhere before me is not experienced.

And I think that's the first piece. The second piece is to be kinder to myself. I want it to be the best dad ever, and I still do. But when I make a mistake, I now have a kind of deal with myself that I will tell the children that I've made a mistake and please forgive me for having made the mistake, but it is [00:05:00] always done with their best interests in heart or what I thought was their best interests.

When I make a mistake, I say I made a mistake. I'm sorry. And hopefully we can move on. So, this is advice to me as a dad. And now that I'm a grandfather of three and yesterday, it was announced that my daughter, one of my daughter's pregnant. So hopefully for in the, not too distant future. And hopefully with those children, with the grandchildren, I will continue to improve on my skills as being a dad.

So that's, that's my message from me to me.


PH: [00:05:51] Arthur, I'm [00:06:00] super stoked to have you on the show today.

Thank you very much for sitting with me. I heard you in a zoom call that we heard for some ER entrepreneurs and I was really, really, it was very powerful for me, very motivational and you did say a few sentences around family and I knew immediately I had to have you on, so thank you for coming today.

And what do you want to say. Have a few lines about yourself. And then we dive straight into,

AG: [00:06:25] thank you very much, indeed, for having me. It's a, it's a real privilege that somebody wants to give my trials and tribulations as an ancient dad. But I, I'm, I'm very, very excited to be here. And I hope that I'm able to leave something behind, which will assist other dads on this journey for which there is no handbook.

PH: [00:06:54] Awesome. What's your, what's your business and how many kids do you have? Let's go straight there. [00:07:00]

AG: [00:07:00] When I was growing up, I went into the hotel business, went to hotel school, both in Johannesburg and in America at Cornell, and then worked for a company in South Africa, which. After a few months, the owners decided to sell and Al found a check.

Good autotelic. Who was our chairman? Remained our chairman in fact, for 36 years. He decided that he would build a hotel management company. And so we started off and as frequently says, we started with no money, but by the end we have most of that left. And we built a group of 128 hotels. I was like 28 hotels in nine countries, 16,000 employees.

And we sold it to the Marriott corporation on the 1st of April, 2014. So that's, that's the short version.

PH: [00:07:55] Wow. Yeah. And I'm [00:08:00] sure that was quite a ride. And on that, I know, I know about your setup with family and that's going to be an interesting one because you have six kids, right. Maybe you can share with us how that, how that set up works.

And I'm very interested to hear how you've managed to combine family and business in that time, because I'm sure

AG: [00:08:19] that was, I have three kids with my first wife and. I described the failure of that marriage, probably at least 50% to myself. I spent too much time on business, focused on being on the road and getting out there and trying to get it done.

And perhaps not enough time looking after her and the home situation. However God blessed me with the most astounding second wife. An inspiration. If, if our I've met one, my true love and my true mentor, Lauren had come out of also a long marriage. She had separated them, got divorced and we connected.

She was in America. I was in South Africa and at, at. Reasonably elderly age, all of a sudden I had two kids that came into my life because she brought in a son and a daughter. And so Lauren and I, when we started going out and realizing this was going to be serious or could be serious, we did something very unusual.

And that is that we employed a psychologist to act as a family counselor. Now, at this stage, of course we had no issues. There were no issues. How could they be. But we took the advice of this very Sage, very wise, very intelligent, but very upfront human. And he assisted us in the process of how, how to be a new mom and dad.

And we chose to take a line that said, we will treat all [00:10:00] five children. Exactly the same irrespective of who they were born to, whether they were Lauren's kids or my kids. And in fact, I very often even now get confused. I don't really remember the focus on Lauren's kids and my kids. They're all five of our kids and the way that we want it to be.

Yeah, it's good at the moment because thank God or five of them are married. We have three grandchildren and another one announced yesterday. So yeah, much to look forward

PH: [00:10:31] to.

Yeah, congratulations. And that psychologist or psychologist you kept him or her employed for a period of time. And how was that? How did that go concretely? Did you have sessions with everybody or be separate and

AG: [00:10:52] was it family counseling? We had both recognized that in our previous lives. [00:11:00] We had not been the best that we could be. So in setting up this new relationship, we said, how do we be the best that we can be? And he was the third partner in our executive. He was an advisor to what he kept on calling the executive. So in the family, this, the structure that we are the executive. And the children or five of them, and now their spouses and the grandkids kind of report into that.

But we never make a distinction between us and I learned some unbelievably valuable lessons. And if you're okay with it, I'll share one or two and see if they resonate with you. So.

PH: [00:11:42] Yep. That's okay.

AG: [00:11:43] So our youngest at the time was about 14. And by the time she became 16, she, for example, wants to go to a nightclub with her friends as these children apparently do today, or want to do.

And I [00:12:00] said, no circumstances being an overprotective dad. And Lauren said, yes. So we spoke to Martin and we said to him, What did we do? Because my natural instinct would have been that we would agree. Yeah. Disagree. In other words, that we'd have a conference in the executive, and then we'd say to her, look, you can't, or you can go.

And he said, absolutely not. So you call it in. And this is how the meeting went. We called it around the kitchen table and I started off and I said, mom and I have discussed this. And I think that you're too young. You're too immature. And I think that your friends will lead you astray. But mom thinks that you should, and we've had a conversation and I've agreed to go with her to the spaces tonight.

So you can go out with your friends. The only condition is that I , you one, two, three, four in the morning makes no difference. You call me and I'll be there to fit you. But go out and you know, that we disagreed now approach this, [00:13:00] but we are now United in our decision and that's what happened. And I must say she was.

An exemplary child in that regard that she took this on board and Mark was very wise in, in teaching us. To way we disagree to show our children that disagreement can be happened, can happen in a constructive way, in a respectful way, and in a way that we can move on from having a disagreement, whether it's, what color are we going to paint the wall to whether we gain to go on a vacation together on a side note though in more recent years we had nine kids.

In the family, plus Lauren and me, in other words, four of them were with somebody and then Alexis wasn't and we got a dog and I took a picture of the puppy and I put it on the family WhatsApp group about four or five years ago. And I asked everybody for, you know, give me a name, tell me what you think the puppy should be called.

And everybody [00:14:00] came up with names and then it was quite interesting that after about a day or so, they started loving each other to get more votes effectively for the name of their dog. And I was the only one who stayed out and off the 10 days. I said, ladies and gentlemen, it is my privilege to announce the addition to our family of Zoe.

And they came back and they said that nobody suggested Zoe. And I said that's because you people think this is democracy. This is not a democracy. This is a benevolent ship. I'll decide the name of the drug. So the story has a follow-up I'd forgotten, I'd forgotten all that. And we got new dog go jacks.

Okay. But he didn't have an iPad. And I went to the family and I said, what do you think we should call the stub? And by the stage, Alexis was married or engaged. And Daniel, her husband is an advocate. So he's a man of woods. And he came up with lots of names and all of that. Yeah. Muddy as one wind to him on the group.

And they said, be careful, [00:15:00] this is a trap jelly medic. Cause he's not going to listen to you. So it's, it's one of those urban legends in our family. And there are times that I believe that we should be benevolent dictators because sometimes children, even if they are 40 don't know what they don't know. But generally speaking, it's far more a democracy and we all have a comment.

PH: [00:15:28] Yeah, that's powerful. And it's true. Did you, and it kind of also leads into your advice to yourself where you said you should have, or you wished he would've listened more or

AG: [00:15:42] learn more hurt loss or the

PH: [00:15:44] experiences of others.

AG: [00:15:48] Okay, there we go.

PH: [00:15:49] I can hear you, but the connection is quite bad, but I think that's just

AG: [00:15:53] a

PH: [00:15:53] John William.

Okay. No problem. We'll edit it out. I think that also kind of [00:16:00] leads into your device to your safe, in terms of hearing experience, from other dads. Right. Because even when you're 40, you don't know what you don't know. I mean, I learn so much stuff on these calls on these podcasts all the time from all of you guys, because yeah.

I don't know. That's also what I'm doing. I'm leapfrogging those experiences in a sense, and trying to, to get ideas and to lend ideas and to incorporate them into my life.

AG: [00:16:25] Guess what? I'm 63. And I learn from people like you every single day. So every single interaction that you have with somebody else, if you can go away and learn something from it.

And the reason I agreed to come to the school was so that I can hear your experience. And from the questions that you ask, for me to be a better dad as a result of that, which is that my purpose in life is to be better.

PH: [00:16:53] Yup. Yup. I think many are, and I think. In today's world, it's [00:17:00] difficult because people are overwhelmed.

Life has complicated anyways, and now you also have to be a better this, a better that, and better everything. And it's just a lot. So I think it's good. If you get practical advice and, and experience share from people who are, who've gone through this, or maybe who have learned a thing can share that

AG: [00:17:16] I kind of contribute to society.

One of the things that I tend to do is I attend funerals of people who don't have any loved ones. Who don't have many people to go to the funeral. So we've got a group of people who congregate and get together and attend funerals to be there for those maybe one or two mourners who don't have lots of friends.

And it's, it's, it's sometimes the funerals always sad, but sometimes it's tragic and these are very often tragic. But when the person stands up to inform the rest of us, of the life of the person who passed away. [00:18:00] And we had one day before yesterday of a woman who was 104. So obviously all of her contemporaries were not around anymore.

And when they stand up and they share nobody ever, ever talks about how much money they've got, they talk about the relationship with other people and their family. And therefore putting money as a goal or a bigger business or any of that nonsense as a goal, right. At the end, it becomes completely irrelevant.

And so I think we need to focus on that, which is important. Not that which kind of seems urgent. And I really tried to live that life.

PH: [00:18:45] Yeah. Have you changed? Have you changed that? I agree with you when you die, you will not say I wish I had been at the office more obviously. Have you changed that, have you had, have you had a change inside your safe where you, that you use to try and have a [00:19:00] bigger business and cause it certainly looks like it was, sounds like it.

Can you share that? How was that training for you

AG: [00:19:05] certainly was at one point. You know that we wanted to be the largest hotel group. And then Otto was very, very wise, man. He said, no, we, we don't want to be, we want to be the best. If, if we get to be the biggest that's an aside kind of thing, that happens, it happens.

But we really want to be the best. And if we focus on the right things, then we'll move along. And I'm not saying that to be ambitious is a bad thing. It's not, it's a good thing because without ambition, then we just all flop around and kind of do nothing. But I am saying that the balance between family and work life is something which is very often misconstrued and yes.


PH: [00:19:49] Yeah. Sorry.

AG: [00:19:51] It's just okay. I suppose that in the earlier years, you know, when you've got the sniff of the, of the finish line, or you [00:20:00] can see you closing in, on a deal. And especially as men, you know, with lots of testosterone and we running and we going, and we've got a team with us and we shouting maybe it's time also just tobacco for a little bit.

And just accept that the other things that are a lot more important. Yeah,

PH: [00:20:23] funny them. The most successful businessmen I speak to also on this podcast will say things like you do. And I will say lifestyle first, and it will say family first and live the life you want to live. And design the life as you want it to be.

That is so, and I totally agree with that. Sometimes it seems to for good, because obviously, like you say, you want to close that and you do work late in the night and day goes to family dinner, but to have that to not have that goal, but to have the goal of family first is

 AG: [00:20:54] what are you, you do? I mean, how do you deal with not [00:21:00] chasing this with all your kids?

PH: [00:21:02] Yeah. Yeah, I do. Yeah. So I've got a very strict schedule. I've got, I start working at nine. My drive to the office is 20 seconds because I walked right next to the neighbor's house where it's nice and quiet as you can hear. And then I worked until 12 o'clock when I dropped my pen and I went back next door.

And we have launched head breakfast already from seven to nine together or family morning and breakfast. Then we have lunch every day at 12 o'clock until 1245. And then I went back to work at one and I dropped the Pentagon at five. So today I would probably be 15 minutes over time in terms of our podcast.

So I'll have lunch at a dinner at five 15 as a family. And then from five to seven is children's time and bedtime is at seven on the dot. And then it's either a night with my wife. Or I do something for myself or I [00:22:00] work and get knocked down. Now we've got a date night, every Thursday. Well, we know we love out, but in doctrine we had every third day because every other day It's night shift for one of us.

So either myself, my wife, or the night nurse, and I schedule all these things. So I make sure that I do get the family time in and in terms of spending my time on the highest contribution, let's say that my time makes the highest contribution on the impact that I want to have a formulated goals in four different buckets, family business, personal.

And community or safe and community. And I worked as altogether with Warren Rustin, my mentor, and I track everything. So I track my time on where I spend it within the buckets. And I try to track the time so that we'll try to spend the time with what this helps me be aware of, where I'm spending my time, so that I can actually measure if I'm [00:23:00] driving the right activities to underpin my goals.

To give you an example for family, I've got a mission to live a life or to lead a life with the, of my children's and wives, love and respect. And so underneath that mission, I can obviously make activities. So for instance, I've got a date night, once a month with my wife last weekend, we went to coil.

That was beautiful, really amazing fitting the love tank. And it's just one night, you know, but we can sleep, no screaming. I make a fire. In fact, I'm at three fires, one for the hot tub, one for outside, one for inside fire. And we had a nice dinner and we had a bottle of wine and it was just beautiful, you know?

And, and so we do that. And then for the kids, I've got solo sessions where I try to, and that's a difficult one because I have five. So, you know, and I can't do it in the evening. I have to do it during the day. So I try to get one hour one-on-one time. It's difficult to leave the house with just one, because then four others would [00:24:00] start to scream.

Sometimes it's then two or three years sentence sort of them, but I try to dedicatedly have one-on-one time. And so I've got all these activities that are track against and. Yeah, the podcast is by the way, is one of them too, to be fit and healthy in my mind, and to learn around being a better dad.

And, and part of that is reading books. And another part is obviously speaking to amazing fathers.

AG: [00:24:24] Like you, that's brilliant because I think that what, what you're not saying over here, but it's self evident from what you're speaking about. It's the discipline that is at the core of everything that you do. If you don't have discipline, you can not do any other stuff.

And so if you read the life of little gun Beethoven, you would assume that this guy was, you know, on cocaine and then yeah. And he smoked a joint and then, you know, drank four bottles of wine. And then he said at the piano and he'd do something. But in fact, if you read these memoirs and you read what people have written about him, He was up at four o'clock in the [00:25:00] morning doing mathematical equations of the music.

And he was writing you don't get to be a musical genius really by just being spaced out and not caring about anything, you get the damn hard work. And so I think that whilst wanting to live life in certain boxes, that is for you easy. You know, for example, I just taking from what you said. One of the things that I learned because I was very cocky in, you know, when I, when I started out being a dad and I was asked by a friend of mine, she said to me, the psychologist, and she said to me how do you spend time with your kids?

And I said, well, I'll come home from work and I'll shower and we'll have dinner. And then, you know, sit with them and chat. And she said to me that I actually haven't got a clue. She said, you obviously don't understand. In those days I used to wear a suit to work. And the deal then was that I would come home and I would jump into bed with each of the kids.

 And she [00:26:00] said, quality time has to equate to quantity time. Exactly what you're doing with it's an hour per person. So what I did was I gave them each 45 minutes. Starting with the younger two wants to go to sleep early on. I would literally let them smell the work on me. The fact that dad has been working today, and I would then say, it's your time?

What made you glad? What made you say that? And what is it that you want to do tomorrow? And what do you want to do now? Do you want to do a jigsaw puzzle? Do you want to read, you want me to read to you? Do you want to sing? What do you want to do? Whatever you want to do? This is your time and let's do it.

And I attribute the relationship that I have with my children to that time, which I spent with them. And I've spent enough time now with all five buckets and the grandkids and the S and the spouses. If one of them calls me, I will shit you to speak to them within the next couple of hours, I will drop whatever else I'm doing.

And if they want to speak to me, I want to speak to them. Because I understand that if they deem it necessary or desirable to have a chat, they will let me know and I will make the time to speak to them. So more or less taking the lesson from you?

PH: [00:27:21] Yeah. Yeah, it's true. And one day I told me if they do want to spend time.

Better take that opportunity because next time they might not want to spend time. You can't get that. You can't get that aspect, you know, and it's going to be short enough anyways. I'm, I'm often sad that we have. I mean, yes. I said I'm very aware of the fact that I've got five children pretty much at the same age.

And so we had them all at the same time. We had five and we had five under two within 13 months, but at the same time, they will all leave. At the same age, right. They will all go [00:28:00] study or get married or whatever they do work. I don't know. Pretty much around 18 to 22 or something and yeah, hopefully then there's grandchildren.

So that's another goal for instance, I have. And by the way, I cannot get up at four o'clock in the morning . My weak points are really. I would love to get up at five o'clock every morning, have two hours to myself because they obviously they get up at six 37 and then my morning is screwed on a normal

AG: [00:28:29] morning is made.

PH: [00:28:32] Yes, but exactly

AG: [00:28:34] that you

PH: [00:28:34] have choice in that sense,

AG: [00:28:37] like with my family, better choice in the name of the dog, you have no choice, but at least it's beautiful.

PH: [00:28:44] Nothing. Yeah. And that's another goal. I want to be fit enough in 25 years. So they'll ask me to come with them on a surf trip. Hopefully it's a surf trip because I surf, but if it's a mountain, if it's a [00:29:00] climbing on a mountain or something, that's the same level of fitness that's required.

And the trick is the 25 years on ever out. So it's always in 20, in 25 years, because then hopefully I get to do that with the grandchildren as well. Hey, also I want to, I've got two things that I really want to dive into. I don't know which one and maybe we. Two first. So the one is for my context I w I also have children from another mother, but in my context, I adopted them when they were six months old.

So it's a little bit different than with you, but it's never, it's nevertheless interesting for me. They also just my children, I, I make absolutely no distinction and yet, or differentiation between. My biological children and adopted children. And the other thing I wanted to talk to you about maybe we start with that first, let's start with that first share with us.Some of your learnings. I don't know how old the kids from the second marriage were [00:30:00] when they came into your family. But share with us a little bit about the Petruic family. You already started a little bit with the counselor. The last time I spoke to you or you shade, there was a family forum that you initiated when Corona hit.

Just share with us a little bit, the strategies of holding together. Petruic family structures. If I, if

AG: [00:30:22] I, Karen and I refer to this as a blended family where you've got two different streams that they've been blended together to make a particular mix in the middle. And, you know, perhaps the biggest mistake that we make is assuming that everything is always going to be hunky-dory between all of them. So the first thing that we learned, the very, very first thing that we learned is, and it's difficult to do is never to side with blood effectively. What that means is assume that two of our daughters have a [00:31:00] disagreement about something once naturally international is to assume that your biological children are correct.

 I'm really proud to say. That I've overcome that. And so has Lauren without question, and she's got a master's degree in social work, and so she's much more tuned to this also being a woman, I think naturally it comes easier to her. And she's the glue that holds this family together without any shadow of a doubt, but we never side with blood.We look for both sides of the discussion. And the next thing that we do is let children's issues be children's issues. Now, bear in mind that we've got children. So, you know, when they're still children and if they ever had a disagreement between them, it's the issue to sort out, they are not to bring it into the public space.

The family forum, as you said, was something that was created as a result of coronavirus. The first brilliant thing to come [00:32:00] out of . And in fact, this evening at seven 30, we've got a call and they're on the call. It's each person's zoom call, everybody gets a chance to speak and they can discuss anything they want to.

And I think the biggest learning is that everyone is carrying the stuff around a very famous preacher once said to his congregation. All of you take all your troubles, write them on a piece of paper, put them in a little Brown paper packet can come and put this in front, here in the alternate, right in the middle.

Everybody did. He said, you're not rid of your troubles, but the bad news is you've got to go and fit your parcel. You've got to find one, pick it up and take it out. And a hundred percent of the people in the parable, except they own their own issues, because those are the issues that we know how to deal with.

And so everyone has issues, whatever they are, and they change from time to time. And the fact that [00:33:00] as a family, we can relate to the vulnerability of each other. And I cry on the first call. I mean, I, I, I cried for all of the people who I could not feed anymore. So, for the people that were working for me who have had to let go against my will, but I had to try and let the businesses survive in order that they can come back and be employed. I don't care whether we've got any money left, that's irrelevant, but we just have to keep going long enough to be able to give an opportunity to these people. And I don't think my children had ever thought about it that way, because it was never an issue.

I mean, they know that. Giving jobs to people is the highest form of charity that there is. And they know that that's a massive priority for me, but at the same time, they saw me very vulnerable and very upset and very sad that I wasn't able to do more. So that's the one thing [00:34:00] about this blended family of ours and the other thing which we learnt from the counselor and from other very wise, Generally dads and moms around the world is that there is a saying that you treat your children equally.

Lauren and I do not, we did not treat our children the same. We treat our children appropriately. So imagine for a moment that you have a daughter, who's a nursery school teacher, and then you have another daughter who's a nuclear physicist, a nuclear physicist is earning a million dollars a year. And the teacher is earning 8,000 random months before deductions, but they both do their passion and they are both out there and making a difference to the lives of other people.

The support that you give, one is completely different to the report, the support that is required for the other one, [00:35:00] emotionally, financially, perhaps, and whatever. So, we look at each of them individually and now with the, in the family unit. And what we do for them is based on the needs that we perceive them to have.


PH: [00:35:20] Yup. I can agree with that. We had, I've never formulated it that brilliantly, but I grew up with four siblings and I've got two half-brothers they're much older than my father's first. Marriage. But what I've learned is that it always equals out. You know, if you, you can't have this now, but you'd have something data and it's somehow equals out.

And I think that's, that's a different way of saying the same. It kind of equals art and, and you don't need to smell, but your sister does maybe, and

AG: [00:35:48] we're not a large family. I had never, ever met a family like this. I think that they are superhuman, her late dad a giant of a man in every conceivable way. [00:36:00]

He took the view that the money that was there in the family was sitting in the middle of the table and whoever needed it could use it. So the astounding thing is that between Lauren and her brothers, their wives and me have never, ever had any fight at all ever about anything, little old money.

Because money is there. It's a family resource and it's to be shared by whoever needs it now. And whatever we've got is there for all of us to share it. And it's to be treated with respect,

PH: [00:36:43] do that, that's quite that's quite progressive in the sense that, I mean, he must be, how old is he? Is he still alive or later? You said so, so he

AG: [00:36:52] grew up in . A place that doesn't have a traffic light. He was so queer that he went to university and his school [00:37:00] clothes. And yeah, when he got married to Lauren's mom, they had tomato boxes as side tables, but he was a brilliant electrical engineer, both incredible businesses, but lived the most modest life, really like driving a 20 year-old old motorcar.

When I met him, lived in a house, which. You know, just before he died, he asked me to sell on behalf of the family, which I did. Didn't get much money for it. He just wanted, he knew that he was dying and he wanted my mom in law, who he loved him to these last day to be in a beautiful retirement home and then passed away.

And we started to find out things about him, about the charity that he did in his life. The amazing tributes that people paid to this man and the financial success that he'd enjoyed very quietly, just giving more and more and more of it away and born. And more of it came back into the family. But the view that he took was that, that, which is there [00:38:00] is there for everyone to share it.

 And he passed away on our fifth wedding anniversary 11 years ago now. And Lauren said that was a sign from him that he was happy without marriage. And so, and so what I'm saying is I, I also believe in that not, not that I would do something stupid and give one child 1% inheritance and you know, the other child, 99%, I wouldn't do something like that. But at the same time, I'm trying to teach that value. To the children recently we did a distribution out of a trust and the most important thing was that they each got a certain amount and then they got a further amount which had to be given to charity and they had to decide which charity went to because it is an obligation upon us to give to charities.

PH: [00:38:55] Yeah, I've spoken to that. Who money comes up often. So in [00:39:00] my family, money was difficult. My parents couldn't agree on how they should deal with money and it became a form of bad energy. In that sense they got divorced. And so I have a very interesting relationship to money. I try to just ignore it like as an energy I'm to get money, say, to spend when it comes in, it goes, and it's also a problem because I don't save. I just like to spend it because I know I can make new money, but that's also not tasty, but so One dad told me that children shouldn't inherit any money. Interesting point. He said at the age of eight, I sat them down. He's very well, well off. And yeah, he touched them. Looky will never inherit money ever.

[00:39:43] I teach you how to work, you know, with some of his kids he's in business together and they have very, very successful businesses. They have a very structured approach on how to teach kids how to deal with money. And that's also an interesting approach. You know, another dad told me you have he gives [00:40:00] them, he gives them an allowance, younger children. And then they have to split the money three ways. One portion they can spend as whatever they want. One portion they have to give to charity. And one portion they have, and they can choose the charity obviously. And one portion they have to invest and where they invest. They have to discuss with him and ultimately it's their decision, but he advises them.

On what to do. And I like that approach too. So is anything wrong or right. But I think it is valuable to think about how you want to teach money to children and that money is an energy. And you started with saying that Dave never had a fight and then came to money. Money is only really just energy and some people.

Assume too much of that energy in a positive or negative way. And then it becomes unhealthy. And I also do believe that you can't sit on energy. It has to flow. Like you said your father-in-law, he gave more and more [00:41:00] way and more and more came back into the family and that's also money.

AG: [00:41:03] You, you did write about that. So the family would preserve the family unity about absolutely anything else. And we have those tricky situations because we got, yeah. Situations where we have different beliefs in politics. We have different beliefs in everything from religion to anything else that's controversial.

But what we do is we agree to disagree in a respectful way, and that's the way that we try and be. It's a big difference. I will tell you that. I think that that money has energy. And I think that there's good money and there's bad money and there's good energy and bad energy. And again, during the course of my career, I came to recognize that there are people. I met a multi dollar billionaire sometime ago with one of my daughters who wanted us to consult for him on a job. And I said to him, you don't have enough money to employ us. And

PH: [00:42:01] no

AG: [00:42:03] I'll tell you, but a bit enough to do, but because everybody knows. But what I said to him was I said to him, this is not a project. That will be in your interest to employers. It will, I'll charge you an absolute fortune, which I'm sure you'll pay, but it's not the right thing to do. It's not the right thing for you. And it's not the right thing for us now, of course, you need to be in a position to do that. I don't want to be a smart house and say that you can do that.

If you, if you can't feed your family, have to do some jobs that, you know, you're not very comfortable with. But the minute that you do have enough money, I think it's incumbent upon you to decide which energy money, energy will feed your soul and will be good. And which manages money, energy you would prefer not to have.

And so in the hotel business, our company came of age. When we threw a hotel out through lack of standards [00:43:00] and through the owner of the hotels, poor behavior. Rather than their ability to pay because in the very early years, the first couple of years we had to take everybody's money. Otherwise we wouldn't have survived, but the minute that we did that and we were on our feet, we immediately decided where the people were paying us for the good heart or a bad heart.

And if you were paying us with a bad heart, we would in fact prefer not to do business with those people. And that came back and multiplied itself for us over and over and over again.

PH: [00:43:33] Yep. Yep.

AG: [00:43:35] Yep. Okay. One more story that goes to the heart of what you were speaking about. Perhaps I have a friend who's extremely wealthy, is a very wealthy chap and he's got two kids. And I said to him, this question, because you know, you and I were sitting having a chat and he said, what are you going to leave your children?

And I said, well, they know that we're not dying. I'm going to leave them my very best wishes. [00:44:00] And hope they have a good life.

And my success will be, if we spent the last day, we'd learn our birth for better having left

 PH: [00:44:10] behind.

 AG: [00:44:11] But in fact, that's not the case. So what he's done, he called me on that. He said, that's called people, should, I know that's a joke, but it's bullshit what he does. He takes his kids once a year and they go skiing and they go on yachts and they do whatever.

 And he flies the business costs. And he says, when I die, I'm going to leave you enough money to fly economy once a year overseas, do you like this business costs stuff? Do you like this appeal to you guess what? You could have to work from economy to business. So you're not going to have to work for your economy cost ticket.

I'm going to give you that. But if you want to fly business class that, but you're going to have to work for which I found very interesting. The approach that I've taken to money Is that on the day of my death, every single asset that I have, every single [00:45:00] one is valued. Okay. By an independent valuer and those, and my trustees know this because I've drummed it into their heads a thousand times.

And what will then happen is that every person who inherits will get a certain number of let's call them shares. And call it, let's call it monopoly money and they will say, right, the first asset is disposable, you know, speed boat or an old car or something and everything we'll ever value. And do you ever want to convert for it?

If they want to take that, pay 20% less than the price, the official price. If two of them want to take an, either outbid each other, or they can agree to share it. So this little cottage that I'm in at the moment is our little holiday cottage, but I'm not going to leave that in a trust for the five of them to work out the rules about how the hell they should use it or not.

They can either buy all five and buy it, or alternatively, one of them can buy it or two can buy it. I don't care, but until such time as they put an ATM at the cemetery where I can go to draw my money, I'm leaving all of the stuff. And Trying not to rule from the grave. So if somebody likes a particular thing and it's valued at something, they could decide if they want to do not, if not sell it and let somebody else get the enjoyment from it, because I am determined not to have my children fight about money after I've died, I just don't want that to ever happen.

And it's very important. Very important for me to do that. Yeah. Obviously I'm in a much later stage and much closer to death than the new, and probably most of the people who are going to be listening and watching this podcast that you know, it's, it's, it's, it's important for me. And therefore I started that way.

So the assets that I've invested, all capable of being unwelcomed, some of them a little bit more difficult than others, like shares in private companies, but everything else is capable of being unwelcomed. I don't want to put money into things that can't be underwhelmed . It makes it just too difficult. So that's, that's my beef.

PH: [00:47:17] Yeah. My company is illiquid, that's a problem of course, but I mean, we're much, much, much smaller, but I mean, hopefully by that time I would have sold it or radiant.

AG: [00:47:28] Yeah. But, I know that one of my younger employees is younger. There's a big difference.

Between bigger and younger a young company, it's it? It is a lifecycle. It should not be sold out of the Gates. It should, these two mature and then be sold. So don't push, don't push for the sale before it's ready. Took us 36 years to get to a point that we could sell the company. I don't want to scare you, but it wasn't tomorrow.

PH: [00:47:54] Yeah. Yeah. I'm not sure. Yeah. Yeah. I'm not, we're considering selling a very, very small percentage now just to make more cash. We are still very healthy despite Corona. We are pumping actually, but I've learned that cash revenue on people is now the biggest thing that I need to focus on. And so that it makes sense to me to tie a client in more he wants to have some chaise and yeah, sure.

You know, he, he gives us a bigger contract for that and. That's okay. But otherwise I will let it mature. Yep. So your system works in the sense that, so you give them some money, you call it monopoly money and they can spend that money on the assets. You do not expect them to have the money to buy. No, they

AG: [00:48:39] don't have any money.

Let's assume they've got no money. So what they will do is they will get monopoly money which will total the value of all the assets. So let's assume the assets are within a hundred and let's assume the 10 people that are inheriting if they get 10 each now, and as it comes up for [00:49:00] red, who wants it?

Well, maybe nobody wants it. Maybe it was a piece of my fantasy, something that I left or learned after nobody, nobody wants to do, you know, it's like this piece of artwork that your family's had forever. And it meant something to somebody that everybody else thinks is a bloody idiot. They hate it. It might be valuable, but it's serious.

Well, then get rid of it. What do you want to keep it for one Ms. I tell my children, they have to have this. The thing that you see over and over are these homes that are filled with these antiques and the parents die. And all the children want to do is run away from it. Nobody wants it. So why are we putting a millstone around the neck of our children, especially.

As they are millennials. And especially that they do not believe in owning this kind of stuff. They can have whatever they want. And by the way,

PH: [00:49:54] yeah, they believe in all the

AG: [00:49:55] times they want to go through the money that they get and it's gone in a week. [00:50:00] I'm sorry for them. And I'll be, I'll be out of here. It's not going to be my problem. I promise you start looking at a download app, but when I do your problem, not my problem.

PH: [00:50:15] Hopefully down, do they have to stick to the price? That's the valuation, or can they just kind of join together?

 AG: [00:50:25] So already the comment has been in the family. We are going to keep the hunted out. I said, that's fine, but then you've got to get around a table and you've got to decide the rules and now you're going to use it.

I don't want to be the one to dictate those rules. You bought from a little company and every little constitution and whatever, that's all your problem. You know, too many people, right? These wolves were the rules of all the stuff. It becomes so complicated that nobody can actually work out what to do with it.


PH: [00:51:00] I liked that.

AG: [00:51:01] I really liked,

PH: [00:51:03] I hope we both have a long way to go

AG: [00:51:05] before a couple of old cars and stuff. You know, I already know that there are members of the family that like particular ones. And it seems as though, you know, like my little grandson, he loves one of those cars. He absolutely adores it.

Well, all things being equal, he could own, it only has to do the Saudi wants that more than he wants the money or he wants a property or he wants whatever. Go ahead. Earn it. No problem.

PH: [00:51:32] Yeah, but implicitly, that also means that you can't give him the canal. 

AG: [00:51:39] no, you kind of breaking mine

PH: [00:51:50] and then like the cartoon. So

AG: [00:51:52] you can drive with me. You can drive the car, you can do it, but it's my clock. Yeah. So it's, it's all these all by [00:52:00] your wife work as hard as I did, then you could have one as well, but

PH: [00:52:10] anything. Yeah. I like the system. It's a good system and I'm sure people who would actually take it in and think about,

AG: [00:52:18] I've got to be careful that I don't do something. That they sit around one day. And so, you know, the old bosses with a level of more dead than alive, so she would push him off a cliff or something.

PH: [00:52:32] You also have to make sure that you have enough Monroe, monopoly money to buy your own assets. And at the same time, make sure there's still some assets left. So

AG: [00:52:40] don't worry, you know, and there's enough to pay state duties and stuff like that. So that will, that will be sorted out anyway. Yeah, of

PH: [00:52:49] course. What is there that I haven't brought up or that we haven't gone to yet that you want to share?

Because I know you've thought about this. She shares stuff that's meaningful for [00:53:00] you as a dad in your journey as a dad or from your own dad, or

AG: [00:53:07] is 92 now 91 kind of going on 92. And he doesn't have much life left. He is in a wheelchair. In bed 24 hour a day care and so on. But because I think of his upbringing because of having to leave school early, to go to work on the family farm because his dad died unexpectedly of a ruptured appendix, which in those days was fatal.

He was very skeptical and very, very hard. And astoundingly only in the last year has he told me that he loves me. He always gave me to understand that I wasn't trying hard enough and that I wasn't good enough. And having felt that previously I always tell my children how much I loved them, all the boys, [00:54:00] all the goals, all the husbands, all the wives.

And I love them very much. And I told them that I'm very demonstrative. I hug them. And it's part of the makeup. And it said that he was not able to demonstrate that during his lifetime something which I would like to see as an improvement for the next generation for myself.

PH: [00:54:22] We talked about that many dads today that grew up without a dad or with an absent dad because of the different, I should say, traditions or. Bro understandings, I guess. Do you want to talk about that?

AG: [00:54:38] During the sickle second world war, which is when my dad grew up, life was very hard. It was, it was subsistence life, you know, every Friday you'd have a look and see if you had enough money to go another week. There was never any extra, there was never any luxury. And we were fortunate because we were white growing up in South [00:55:00] Africa. And I just cannot think of the, the, the, the, the huge drama that many black dads had to face earning wages that were just not enough to come out on. It's just the saddest thing ever.

And my life workers now dedicated to trying to help to change that because of it being so apparent to me in the context of. Just trying to survive. I don't ever blame my dad for not having told me that he loves me. I don't think he knew any other way. He worked really, really hard. And as a result of that, I think culturally, from a time perspective, from a, everything was just not seen to be manly to be doing that.

But as we show our children, our vulnerability, and as I said, if we cry, [00:56:00] they seem to love us more for our vulnerability, not just for being, you know, the paternity, the big patron of the family who, you know, never shows any cracks or any weaknesses and so on. So it's something that I try and work on. And I think that showing vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.

PH: [00:56:29] Yeah, definitely. And it's powerful. And ultimately it's back to your own advice to be safe, to apologize because apologizing to your kids or to anyone kind of levels the playing field, especially since you are, you have leveraged as the parent. So you're more powerful in that sense. You can, you can overpower every argument anyways, any argument.

And so apologizing is, is great because it allows everybody to be nice

 AG: [00:56:55] is if you do overrule them because of this argument or [00:57:00] discussion needs to come to an end and a day or two later, you find out that you were wrong and you reopen the argument in your reverse, your position and say, I was too hasty in making that decision.

I was wrong. I apologize. You were right. We are doing it your way. It changes everything. It absolutely changes everything. And it's something that I want to be more aware of. As, as a dad, I want to learn more about that and where I'm wrong. I want to say that.

PH: [00:57:35] Hmm. I want to speak to you on fathering fathers or fathers husbands or fathering men that came into your life because your daughter's married. I know because we talked about it. Can you share that a little bit?

AG: [00:57:49] Of course, men come into your life and I'm privileged to have three of them. Three of my new sons in my life.

And [00:58:00] of course they came from completely different backgrounds. And it's the same for them as it is for the two women that came into our lives. And so they have to kind of meld into our family and I can only imagine how difficult it is for them. And so we have lots of these discussions on values, and very often they might have different values, maybe better than maybe other values.

And I think too, that we have to be respectful. And as each of them joined the family, so the family dynamic changed a little bit with the input that they gave. But the strength of our company always was that we had diverse people on the board and we employ diverse people. And so to these ones who come into our lives, change the dynamic of our family.

 I am very happy to say that in our case, [00:59:00] it's always been for the better, they've always edited dynamic or an element or a perspective, which is an element that's not been perhaps thought of before the sadness though, is that with all of them come a lot of their friends who kind of visit with us and become our friends and the number of especially men that I see out there.

That kind of my kid's friends don't have a father figure in their life is astounding. And the challenge for us is that we have to be dead, not only to the children in our family, but to a number of others. And it's always, for me, heartening on family on father's day to receive from other people from the.

The gentlemen, the Malawian gentleman who works for us, who effectively didn't ever dad. And he always thanks me for being his dad on father's day, [01:00:00] because he is like another one of the family. And like I say, the friends of our children, many of whom whose dads are alcoholics or drug addicts, or simply absent by virtue of having.

 Deceased or just left the building, they just chicken, the, and left without having a relationship with their children. And it is, it always moves me to tears and I, and it's incomprehensible that somebody can leave behind a family and just literally walk away from them and have nothing to do with them anymore.

I struggle. I struggle with that, but I do see it as an obligation and a privilege. To be able to share and assist in the racing of those men you know, in my life. So I suppose I have, I have other children as well. It's a

PH: [01:00:57] big topic. I'm reading a book called Raising Boys. They talk about it and I've had another dad, Dr. Malik Mohammed. He talks about it a lot and you can make it very easy. If you, if you think about it really in the beginning, I was like, eh, but how do you father other children?

Well, often it's maybe your friend who was a single mom and you asked the boys, especially around boys, the issue of ups, ups, and fathers, and maybe you ask the mum of the single mom. If the boy wants to come to the game, And do you take him and your children and that's it. And, and that's already a fatherly kind of act.

You don't have to become the father. You don't have to become her partner, but at the same time, you know, you're fathering that child maybe just for that day.

AG: [01:01:42] And then, because they're nice. The, the raising boys that you were reading is the one by Steve, but from Australia. So Steve's a friend of mine.

And I'll tell you a quick story that I was lying in a swimming pool in Istanbul. He and I were both speakers at a conference and we lying in the swimming pool on the banks of the Danube. [01:02:00] And he starts to tell me about, you know, I, I, that stage had maybe a 11 year old son and he says that men have to do things.

Where I sit, Steve, listen, I've now spent some time telling you about the hotel industry, which you seem to find quite fascinating. I need to hear from you from the horse's mouth men on men. How can I be a better dad to my son? Cause I realize this thing's coming to a, it's going to, there's a train smash coming and I can see it because you know, he's becoming a man and my little boy is becoming a man and he says, you've got to do something.

You got to take it for a drive because men don't like looking at each other when they speak. The lack of looking forward. And that was the day that I decided to invest in a classical cause. And the other thing that he said to me, you got to do something, what are you doing? I said, well, I dunno. He said, you've got to do something with your son.

 said, not the bullshit of going to a game. I want proper stuff. So I said, well, I'm having a land Rover series [01:03:00] three restored for me. It's with two and a half thousand Rand on a great day. This thing is just a bucket of bolts. And he said, you got to do it with your son. So I came back to Cape town. I brought it, I got it back from the guy who was restoring it.

[01:03:15] I put it in my garage to the disgust of my first wife. Who didn't want this terribleYeah, exactly.

PH: [01:03:32] But anyway,

AG: [01:03:34] I think Jack stands and I'm underneath the car with my son. Who's not 12 and I'm busy. I'm doing the summer night and I noticed 30 Wells is going to go everywhere. And he said, dad, I want to ask you something. He's lying on his back next to me. I said, what's that? He says, there's this girl in my class.

And I want to ask her out to a movie. And I said, well, the fact that he wants to get my advice on how he should do [01:04:00] this. So I went into the kitchen and I picked up the phone Novo bottles in those days and I steep it off. And I said to him, you, my friend. In Australia, by the way, I said, you are an absolute genius.

I want you to know man, to man, you are a genius because in working on that, that's what we do. So my little grandson, Jordan, who's now eight. He's asked at school to comment on something about your grandpa. He says, tools are always busy in the tool room. He's always busy building something. And when he's with me for his third birthday, he got a little, go-kart one of these little things for the pedal.

And of course it comes Ikea style in a flat pack box. So I got a tome and I started the same thing. And Lauren said to me, what are you doing? Are you mad? I said, what are you talking about? She said, you've got to build it with Jordan. I said, I'm a slow learner. You did. Right. [01:05:00] So I put it all back in the box.

He came out of school. And now if I ask for a size 10 spanner or a Phillips screwdriver or a torque wrench, he knows exactly what I'm talking about. And he and I both stuff together. So I'm building my relationship with the next generation of men. Exactly the same way as I did with my mother, because I think it is incumbent upon us to do something I'm not suggesting for everybody that they get all greasy.

Whatever it is that you do, whether it's gardening or whether it's auto, whatever it is. Yeah. Go and do that within that with your son, as he's becoming a man and he will forever thank you for that. The building of that relationship. And it's not something that I would ever have guessed. So thank you, Steve.

But until today, appreciate the lesson that you taught me almost 30 years ago today.

PH: [01:05:55] We want, we want Steve on the podcast after that, he's he,

AG: [01:05:59] you know, Steve, [01:06:00] we're going to have to call him. They are both psychologists. They're very funny yet. They wrote this book raising the boys and they don't ha didn't have a boy or a child, but he said, he said, no, we need those 600,000 copies of your record to be safe, to have a family.

And yeah, in December, every year we make how much money he needs. And however much money he needs. Then he starts working in January and usually by February as enough money for the whole year. And then he stops working until the end of the year. And then he starts working again the next year, these amazing sounding guy

PH: [01:06:35] and how does he do that?

How does he make that many in, in two, three months, basically? What is it? Just a little money?

AG: [01:06:42] He can, he can come on any price he wants to keynote. Anyway, how you know, anywhere in the world. And so that's what he does, but with it, he's the most down to earth, fun, loving, kind human. I brought him out to South Africa and I watched him in a forum environment with 10 [01:07:00] men dealing with issues the province has with each other and just.

Was so bound by the incredible power that this man, you know, this scrawny little Southern guy with who seems inconsequential, you could walk past him a thousand times, but when he gets up and he starts speaking, he commands the room. And the words that he speaks have such take-home value for everybody. He just is genuinely honest.


PH: [01:07:33] Wow. Yeah. We lit, literally we listened to the book. It's an Autobot together now on, on date weekend with my wife in the car, driving back. And

AG: [01:07:44] we do that as well, Lauren,

PH: [01:07:46] and it

AG: [01:07:47] was good for them on our drives. Whenever we go on we take one of the old cars. We come from Cape town to Ken volleyball back.

We listen to podcasts and audio books. By people at Wayne Dyer and Steve and people like that. [01:08:00] And the result of that is that we stop. At some point we stopped the, the, the, the recording, and we then discuss it and see if there's anything that we've learned that we are capable of applying and whether we agree or disagree.

And so it becomes a topic for discussion because we are on a never ending journey. To become better parents and better spouses. So that's what we try.

PH: [01:08:29] Yeah. That's a good ending. Can I ask you, do you have two or three books that you can share off the top of your head since we're talking about books anyways, for dads or parents or children or bringing up

AG: [01:08:41] children? I definitely, yeah.

PH: [01:08:45] Yeah. And also personal development. So operating at your highest impact or at the point of your highest impact, that's also something that I find very, very valuable, especially in the context of parents and

AG: [01:08:56] businesses.

I think that most of the business books [01:09:00] can actually be applied in family as well. So, I was with Steve Covey in Los Angeles and. He speaks about the seven habits and then the book about the eighth habit, which was the last one before he passed away. He talks about the story of the great Ormond street hospital, where a member of our family actually is in charge of the neonatal cardiac ICU.

And he uses Ellen Goldman as an example of how you think outside the box. And solve problems. And I think that if one listens to all of these stories they might be about business or they might be about some other aspect of our lives. They are things that we can do to make us better parents. If we apply those same rules.

In our lives. The other stuff that I think is astounding is Jim Collins and again German [01:10:00] idea decision in Singapore and what he spoke about you know, the good to great stuff. The latest work that he's done is about companies that he predicted would do well and didn't, and the companies he predicted would fail and actually didn't fail it.

Why? And the research that they've done. And what I like about it is that he's taken the values of kind of spoiler alert. Let me tell you where the, the bottom line is. Cause I, I was listening to him directly and, and he says everybody, every company gets the same amount of luck. Both good and bad. The difference between people that are extraordinary and companies throw extraordinary is the way in which they play the hand that they are dealt.

And people say to me, you sitting in the middle of a Coronavirus epidemic, it must be horrific. You're in the hospitality business. In the worst business is [01:11:00] how can you remain cheerful? And the answer is because at least I'm not alone. There are every one of my friends that are in this business globally and in South Africa in the same position.

And all it does is it creates an opportunity for us to emerge better and stronger at the end of it. We have to take this disadvantage and turn it into some kind of an advantage. And maybe it was so. That our lives were completely out of control. And maybe we were operating on a level that we were never supposed to operate on.

And so I foresee an opportunity. The hotels and resorts and game reserves are actually going to become busier and holiday places and retreats are going to be what people now start factoring into their lives instead of the endless pursuit of a couple of dollars.

PH: [01:11:56] Yep. I agree with that. Yep. And it is a good [01:12:00] well, it's not good because it's very, very difficult for many, many people. And I'm not saying I'm not taking that lightly, but it's a, it's a valuable time. In terms of a reset and the false deceleration that's for sure. Yeah. That's besides drop losses

AG: [01:12:18] because our obligation, our obligation is to employ as many people as we possibly can.

Those people who were hurt so badly, it's going to be, we're going to have a moment of opportunity where we can give back to them that which they lost and those. Who will fly in the next generation will be those who look after the people who wear the wished hood during this time. And I think that those who are destined to fail are those who gobble up the assets in order to make more money and to do what, I don't know that it's not about that.

It really isn't about that.

PH: [01:13:01] Yeah. I agree. Awesome with that. Thank you so, so much, this was super valuable session for me 

AG: [01:13:11] I really appreciate having learned from you and I will be a regular listener now to your podcasts and learning from you and everybody that you interview all the very best. Thank you.

Arthur GilisProfile Photo

Arthur Gilis

Arthur Gillis is an extremely successful South African serial hotelier and proud dad of five (3 biological and 2 from his second marriage) and grandfather of four children.

As an entrepreneur and CEO, Arthur grew the Protea Hotels Group from the initial four hotels to the leading hotel operating company in Africa consisting of 128 hotels in 19 countries with 16.000 employees. After 36 years, in 2014, Arthur facilitated the sale of Protea Hotels’ three brands and management company to Marriott International, Inc.