Pieter Faure – Mergon Group CEO
Since Mergon’s establishment almost forty years ago, courageous leadership has been one of its most enduring character traits. It was instrumental in navigating the vulnerable start-up years in the early 1980s; in surviving the crisis of economic sanctions; in capitalising on opportunities at the dawn of democracy in transitioning to a new generation of leadership in 2008 and then in backing a next wave of entrepreneurs that grew and diversified Mergon over the past ten years.
There are many more such instances that come to mind, notably each of these represents key junctures in our journey. It has always required faith and invariably involved a degree of risk, but once accomplished, it set us on a new path to success and greater impact. However, when I reflect on Mergon’s journey, the moments that I believe required the most courage from us as a leadership team has been of a different kind. It is the courage to surrender.
Let me explain. Mergon Foundation, with its Kingdom Impact mandate, is the 70% shareholder in the Mergon Group. As such, we have come to respectfully view God as our de-facto majority Shareholder. As with any normal majority shareholder in a business, we believe there are certain decisions of significance which are reserved as Shareholder matters. In such matters, one will typically consult the majority Shareholder and then wait for His answer – not moving forward until such time.
One such example was when we needed to decide whether to move forward with our largest start-up investment to date, the co-founding of King Price Insurance. We had done all our due diligence but decided to surrender the final decision to God in prayer, and not move forward until we felt we clearly heard from God. For me, as a leader, the reality of truly letting go of such an important decision was very much outside my comfort zone – like most leaders I prefer being in control, especially since God’s timing and guidance on such matters often looks very different from what we in our human capacity might have in mind.
After much prayer from our team, our board and partners, we eventually felt God gave a clear release for us to go ahead, but with a caveat – that we should not go it alone. With the deadline fast approaching, we eventually found a like-minded partner to journey with us, and we proceeded with the investment. Since then, despite many challenges, more capital and a longer time than expected, King Price Insurance has become an incredible success story, and it is quickly becoming a key part of our investment portfolio.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to us; rather it should be an encouragement of what is possible if we as leaders display the courage to surrender our own plans, dreams and concerns to God, to prayerfully wait on Him and walk in relationship with Him.
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