“Culture is the glue that keeps your company together,” Asher Bohbot, CEO of EOH Holdings

When Asher Bohbot founded technology services group EOH Holdings 19 years ago, he instilled an ostensible company culture that is lived and breathed by every EOH employee – from the top executive to the mailroom clerk.

He still considers a definitive ‘company culture’ as the concrete foundation (or building blocks) for any organisation that strives to be successful. EOH has delivered impressive returns for shareholders for many years, and Bohbot’s influence will be sorely missed (he’ll step down as CEO at the end of June). During his keynote speech at our Top 500 Awards earlier this year, Bohbot shared with delegates his six key secrets to starting and managing a successful company. They are:

1# CULTURE: The culture of a business is the glue that keeps your company together. It’s the environment, the feeling, the connection to your people and the thread that runs throughout the organisation. In today’s world, a strong office culture means that employees generally happier and tend to enjoy themselves more. A company’s culture is what drives people to get up in the mornings and come to work, rather to go somewhere else. Culture is paramount. It’s also the most difficult thing to get right. It requires time and effort and you have to LIVE IT!”

2# PURPOSE: “Your company must have a specific purpose in society and the economy. If it doesn’t, people cannot relate to their place of work. People don’t work for the sole purpose to earn a salary, pay the house bond or support their habits. People want to get up in the mornings, and come to work for a business with a purpose. EOH’s purpose is to provide technology, skills and know-how that are critical to developing countries like South Africa.”

3# THE ROLE OF BUSINESS: “The business role, according to our belief, is to take up human development over society, the employment of people and giving life and purpose to its employees and people. Government’s role is to provide the right environment and everything it takes for people and companies to want to invest. But what really makes society go around is business. Only business. Business is life.”

4# BUSINESS DRIVERS: “We believe that in business, a company needs to decide on one dominant driver and everything else will be attended to by focusing on that one specific element. At EOH, our driver is people. Everything you look at, you look through the eyes of people. You need to look at your business with the focus on one dominant element, and the rest will fall in place. That way, you know exactly what you are doing.”

5# STRATEGY: “Business schools talk about strategy all day long. In today’s world, things keep changing and evolving all the time – not just in the technology space, but all industries are disrupted at some point or another. One should have a business philosophy that’s always opportunistic; always looking at what’s changing; and always be willing to capitalise on the opportunity, as opposed to implementing a a strategy that’s rigid and unyielding. We have no idea what’s going to happen in the future, so how are you going to make decisions and assumptions, and build businesses around it, only to discover that it’s not going to happen. The one thing I know for certain is that whatever you think is going to happen, I can guarantee you that it WILL NOT happen.”


#6 BUSINESS CONDITIONS: “There is no good or bad reality, only reality. If you are willing to say: “This is the reality. I’m going to grow and develop my business, and look for new opportunities within the current economic conditions, then your company will enjoy grow! But if you’re going to sit around and wait for conditions to be conducive, I can guarantee you that your business won’t be around for long. There are no good times, no bad times, just the conditions that are prevailing now. As a business, you have the responsibility to say, “How am I going to grow the company in these conditions?” We don’t know if conditions will ever improve, so make the best of what you currently have.”