Vivian Reddy - You can't buy staff and they need to know that they are not just numbers in an organisation


Founder of the Edison Power Group

Vivian Reddy, founder of the Edison Power Group, is an astute businessman with the drive to achieve perfection in all that he does.

Reddy said, "I strive to be the best in every aspect of my professional life, whether that is in property, the power industry or in construction. I make sure that I am number one and always go the extra mile."

Reddy added, "My core strength is my focus in everything that I do." He said that he has always dreamt big, has had a vision for what he aims to achieve and is passionate about the projects he embarks on.

One example is Oceans Umhlanga, a mixed use development, which has been described as the most outstanding project in South Africa. The development sold 93% of its units within four hours of being put on the market - a South African record. Reddy said, "Oceans Umhlanga has the wow factor. It has been developed as something that people will aspire to own. We have created an appetite for something exceptional." Testimony to this is his personal and direct involvement in the design development of the Oceans project incorporating the feel of Dubai into this awe-inspiring edifice. The just rewards for this personal involvement panned out in the shape of the International Award for the Best Architecture for a Mixed-Use Development in Africa.

Another example is the Newcastle Mall, which won the South African Council of Shopping Centre's (SACSC) Retail Development and Design Awards (RDDA), Spectrum Award for the best overall development in 2013.

Reddy says that as a leader you must decide what you want and do everything that it takes to achieve this." He added, "You need to think about the small things in your business and put in the extra effort." However, he said that you are only as good as the people you employ and he expected his employees to perform at their best. Edison Power Group has a philosophy of CANEI - Constant and Never Ending Improvement. "You can always do things better than yesterday," said Reddy.

But, he added that you need to look after your employees as valuable gold assets and reward their performance. "You can't buy staff and they need to know that they are not just numbers in an organisation," said Reddy.

Over the years, the Edison Power Group has continually provided service excellence and put in the extra effort to achieve results. Reddy commented that building relationships in business is essential. He said, "We still have the same clients as we had 35 years ago, too many people fail because they don't value clients. I started off my business, Reddy Electrical, in the apartheid regime and answered the telephone as 'Mr Edison'. As I was a perfectionist, I soon got lots of work and was recognised by the quality of my work; not by the colour of my skin."

From these small beginnings, the Edison Power Group grew into the largest and the most diversified electrical contractor in Africa - turning adversity into significant advantage. Reddy added that one needs to diversify in order to ensure constant growth.

For South African businesses to grow, he believes that they should be bolder. He said, "South African business has billions in cash resources. Companies need to invest more and create more employment opportunities to succeed. When people are marginalised and are hungry, it is to the detriment of the business environment."

Reddy is the youngest of nine children. He said that the values of integrity and trustworthiness that he learnt from his school teacher father have got him to where he is today. From an early age, he would spend weekends pushing bricks in a wheel barrow to assist in building classrooms.

The Edison Power Group has now adopted schools with a zero pass rate and assists with tutoring, monitoring progress and provides incentives for learners to achieve better results. He further commented that social investment projects are an important aspect of business. Companies need to question how they can use their assets more productivity.

Reddy has a big family with five children. He emphasized that the life that you have at home is the most important thing that you have in providing peace and serenity. He added that you are in control of your time and you need to make time for family and do the things that matter. He concluded, "You have to make family count and communicate and talk with each other."

Vivian Reddy - Achieving perfection

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