Leading corporate executives’ views on Towards Synergy
“Reflecting on five years since the first publication of Towards Synergy.
As an elegant document that ranks among the finest of coffee-table publications, Towards Synergy has magnetic qualities. It always draws one back to pick it up and luxuriate in the exquisite library of its photographs before reflecting on the profound wisdom of the lessons it teaches.
Inevitably, however, that reflection embraces the contemplation of an equally profound transition that has taken place over the past ten years in Lou’s own photographic journey but also the innovative developments that followed the first publication of Towards Synergy in 2015. Who could ever have thought that a variety of modest excursions to photograph Nature in the wild, would ultimately lead to the internationally acclaimed Da Vinci Institute supporting a Masters degree and even doctoral research conceived in relation to those photographic trips to the bush and the leadership principles that were unearthed.
Such life-changing events are seldom the result of coincidence. They generally reflect the genius of one individual. And such individuals are generally driven by a passion to create something for the greater benefit of Mankind. Common denominators among them are their exceptional levels of energy, their intellectual versatility, their intense focus on particular disciplines of interest and an inventive spirit that sets them apart from ordinary mortals. In that context, one thinks of legends like Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Graham Bell, Henry Ford, and Albert Einstein.
But there are others, more modest perhaps in the size of the canvas upon which they chose to place their signature and among them Lou Coetzer stakes his claim. Scholar, engineer, physicist, philosopher and perfectionist, he is the architect that forged the potential link between Nature, Leadership and Academia by placing behavior, interaction and storytelling at the top of an innovative photographic rating system thereby creating the basis on learning leadership principle from nature.
It is not unusual, therefore, that his mind and perceptions found synergy with the finest academic intelligence and aspirations of the Da Vinci Institute to create the Towards Synergy concept in business studies in which Ben Anderson played a major role. By DaVinci offering Wenzel Kotze with his background in Corporate management and nature photography the opportunity to research the impact of visual memory on identifying Leadership Principles In Nature as part of a Masters Degree and how to integrate his research result in the corporate business world the innovative process that started with Lou’s modest photographic model has now not only grown into a next level Da Vinci Institute corporate leadership program but also Wenzel’s world-first formal academic research on the subject. What is comforting is that the inventive energy and devotion that have marked Lou’s signal contributions over the past decade of photography, will not wane with the passage of time. Through the programs of the Da Vinci Institute and Wenzel’s academic studies, they will continue to inspire future generations for years to come”
The observation of wildlife behaviour and the drawing of parallels with that of humans is not new. Neither is the distillation of animal leadership themes from such behaviour and the application thereof to modern corporate leadership and management practices revolutionary. However, Lou Coetzer’s personal knowledge, experience and understanding of these matters together with his internationally recognised photographic skills are combined here to produce something that is really unique.
The culmination of many years behind the lens has resulted in a series of images that have no equal. These, coupled with Lou’s experience as a successful entrepreneur in his people-orientated wildlife safari business, have resulted in a book that will not only grace the coffee tables of nature and photography enthusiasts alike, but will also fittingly find a prominent place on the desks and bookshelves of the contemporary business leader.
Duncan Blackburn, Executive Director – Karbochem
Business leaders need a vision. Once they have it, they need to communicate that vision while persuading others to embrace it. But they also have to be prepared to adapt their vision to ever changing circumstances and above all, avoid the daily risks that it might provoke.
Leaders in the animal kingdom are no different. They lead from the front, alerting their followers to ever-present dangers and constantly adapting their direction to avoid these. They are the first to encounter danger and are willing to die in defence of their followers.
For thousand of years leaders in the animal kingdom have had both the heart and the head to lead their species to survive and prosper. Our world would indeed be a better place if our leaders were to lead with the same fortitude and inspiration. It would be a better place if the whims of the individual were subordinate to the real needs of the community.
Few people are better equipped than professional photographer Lou Coetzer to unveil the intricacies of leadership in the animal world. His own business successes coupled with his life-long study of behaviour in the animal kingdom have enabled him to draw some interesting parallels in leadership protocols. As a result of Da Vinci Institute’s collaboration in producing this publication of award-winning photographs, the images can be appreciated in the context of a new and refreshing perspective on leadership.
Rudolf Pienaar, Divisional Director – Growthpoint Properties
Journey into a world of spectacular glimpses of the beauty of nature, through the expert lens of Lou Coetzer and be inspired by the life and business insights offered by nature. This is an exciting, inspiring and engaging collection of brilliant images and stories that will leave you needing more, reflecting on unique nature lessons and motivated to capture the magnificence of Lou’s images yourself!
Anton Musgrave, Senior Partner – FutureWorld International