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Dr Johann Uys

Each month, we will feature one of the “friends of TEI in the spotlight”. In this month’s edition, we shine the spotlight on Dr Johann Uys
Each month, we feature one of the friends of TEI in the spotlight, in this month’s edition, we shine the spotlight on Dr. Johann Uys. Dr. Uys is Chartered Psychologist and a specialist in the field of Leadership. He consultants in Strategy & large-scale change, leadership and organisational development projects across a wide range of industries; including government, mining & minerals, power generation, financial, retail banking, and pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Uys will be leading a 10-Day masterclass between the 1st and 12th November in New York City. During this time, he will introduce the lessons from his most recent book the Anatomy of Leadership in Industry 4.0: The 4.0D® Leadership Development Model. Registrations for this program are now open.

What’s your very first memory?

On my grandfather’s farm swimming in a cement dam and there was a lot of green slimy algae on the side where a fig tree casted a shade over the water - I was around 4 years old and could swim by that time because my mother thought it best that we should be able to swim at a very early age. Oh yes, and then there is also one of tying a cows hind legs, and then milking by hand while sitting on a foot stool. Then I took the milk to the milk room and poured it into the “separator” to separate the milk from the cream. We placed the milk in huge cans and left it by the gate about 5 am the next morning for the milk company to pick up and return the previous day’s cans. Nowadays it is all mechanised as you know. 

What did you say as a child when asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Leave me alone!

What country do you most want to travel to?

Russia – especially Moscow and St Petersburg

What’s the most memorable book you’ve ever read?

There are a few, Peter Senge’s ‘The Fifth Discipline’, Jim Collins’ ‘From Good to Great’ and lately Simon Sinek’s ‘Find Your WHY.  Then of course my own book on Leadership! 

What are your views about artificial intelligence?

Marvellous tool for humans and human survival if used and applied correctly and ethically.  Or a great threat – if ulterior and devious motives in its application fields are intended.

If you could be famous for something, what do you wish it would be?

I would rather want to leave a lasting legacy than fame and if it is for developing the 4.0D Leadership Development Model and Assessment Protocol it would be very nice. But if it is not to be, that will also be OK.  I have I think already left a legacy, or legacies in many arenas – most notably for my children and me taking them to many continents of the world in trying to enrich them and their wisdom and also paying for the best education I could afford for them,  from pre-school through primary, secondary and tertiary education. Both are Medical Doctors now early in their careers. 

What do you wish for the world, ten years from now?

Peace, prosperity, no climate issues, no suffering and most of all, optimism for better things yet to come.

Is there a personality trait you just can’t stand?

Many! Self-cantered people, micro managers, people who do not know their boundaries and of course those who don’t know what they don’t know!

What is your all-time favourite quote?

I have two, both quipped by Einstein. The first is "God does not play dice with the universe." and I like it because few people really understand what he actually meant by it. The second one is “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – and this I see daily in organisations! 

In what circumstances is it okay to commit a crime?

To steal food to survive and overcome hunger – in a world of abundance it is a shame that millions are hungry.

Have you ever had to scream “help!” and if so, why?

Yes! In a bar after 10 minutes and no one bothered to take my order!

Do you have any irrational fears and if so, what are they?

No, I do not have irrational fears, but, what if we will never be able to travel anymore?

What makes you anxious?

An impulsive decision maker with an overinflated ego.

What makes you angry?

Many impulsive decision makers with overinflated ego’s that have formed a mutual admiration society.

When have you felt most proud of yourself?

Long ago when I got my PhD before age 30 and recently when I was bestowed with the Bruce Hebbelwhite award by the Society Of Mining Professors (143 mining schools all over the world) for my contribution to the body of knowledge in the mining industry. The significance of this is that I am not a mining engineer but through my work on leadership in the industry, recognition came.

What are you most grateful for?

Health, family, friends and a bit of common sense.

What superpower do you wish you had?

To make all political decision makers in the world, true leaders.

If you could find a permanent cure for a single disease, which would you choose?


In 10 words or less, how would you describe humanity to an alien civilization?

Monsters that are bent on destroying their own habitat.

If you could give your teenage self, one piece of advice, what would it be?

Work hard, play hard, stick to the rules and you are in charge of your destiny, no one else is. Like yourself because you spend every living second with yourself, you may as well make it nice.