Roy Roche, Business Development Executive, Multotec International, shares his story.
From the outset, I need to say that when one talks about values, and in particular, one’s own core values, we should acknowledge that it’s a very personal, unique and ongoing journey. Each one of us is innately different, having arrived at our current reality via our own unique paths.
My story starts with a 5’1” mother who grew up on a farm in the Karoo, speaking Afrikaans, and who dished out all the discipline in our family. My father was English and an engineer who worked very hard. So in my formative years, all I saw was hard work, and that all issues were reduced to right or wrong evaluations. When you were wrong, you had to apologise fast but you knew you would still be getting a hiding with a wooden spoon. Now, I am sure that many of you experienced something very similar, but my wake-up call came in Grade 9 (Standard 7, in the old terminology) when I had just turned 13. A guidance teacher (of all people) told me, in front of a class of 29 boys and girls, that I would amount to nothing in life.
Looking back, I realise that she did me a huge favour because she got me thinking about what I want from life, what my purpose is, and how I want to be seen by my friends and my peers. What she had inadvertently done, was conscientise my attitude towards life. I realised that I was competitive, I had views that I wanted to express, and that taking decisions was always a choice that I owned. By observing what my parents did and having been made very aware of what I wanted in life, my value-defining and goal-setting journey started. To illustrate the point, I was the first member of my family to graduate from university; the first to get married and have children. These are not major achievements, but they were all goals I had set myself.
I was exposed to excellent leadership at Anglo American, where I worked for seven years and during this time, I further defined my values. What really attracted me to Multotec was the family values that I experienced and the way that the values on display resonated with my personal beliefs. It was at Multotec, during the early 2000s, that I first articulated my belief system. I was 42 years old at the time. The moral of this statement is that it takes a long time to crystalise one’s beliefs and goals, but it remains a never-ending journey.
Thomas Holtz developed Multotec’s value system in 2006 and published it in 2007, if my memory serves me correctly. I remember at the time, he had numerous conversations with a wide range of people. We did not know at the time that we, at Multotec, had embarked on a very interesting journey together, which was always running in the background whilst we did our jobs. In 2018 Thomas prompted the company’s Exco to embark on a major culture change journey, and it was a journey that he wanted the whole of Multotec to participate in. 18 months into that journey, “Our Multotec Way”, was formalised.
I believe there are five very powerful statements that both reflect and encompass our values to a ‘T’. Each statement is equally important. Yet if we only implement a part of any of them, it already puts one in a better place than before the implementation. The process is the journey.
Values are simply the fundamental beliefs that motivate our actions and our attitudes towards life and the universe that we live in. They allow us to sleep peacefully at night, never having to look over our shoulder, or worry about what we have said. They make life, and decision-making, much easier.
Personally, I place a high value on authenticity, integrity, respect, kindness, continuous learning, leadership and loyalty. These may change or shift over time, but I do not believe they fundamentally change. My only wish is that you are all somewhere on that Multotec journey, having fun and achieving what you have set out to do in life.
To end off, I would like to state my overarching belief system: “Life is about how we speak to the universe, and how it speaks back to us… but not in ways that we would expect. Actions are all that matter; words are empty, they evaporate, and clearly, we can only lead by example, because the actions speak for themselves. It’s our belief systems that drive our actions.”