Adrian Gore is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Discovery Group.
He launched Discovery in 1992, with a simple and core purpose of making people healthier and enhancing and protecting their lives. Discovery has since evolved into a diversified and multinational financial services group. Discovery is widely acknowledged as a global thought leader in wellness behavioural change and its integration with health, life and short-term insurance.
Discovery listed on the JSE in 1997, and under Adrian’s leadership, has expanded its international reach to the United Kingdom, United States and China. Discovery generates total income flows in excess of R50 billion and has over 8 000 employees globally serving six million customers world-wide.
My Definition Of Success | I think external success is when you have made a difference to society and the people around you. Internally, I think you’re only successful if you’re happy with your lot. I think chasing money is a counterfeit route to success and will ultimately lead to unhappiness. A friend of mine retired at 35 and raised his children. He said: “There’s nothing I need.” I definitely believe that you have true wealth when you’re content with what you have.
I Am Driven By | Creating change inspires me. I’m motivated by the slope of the curve, not the height of it. It is when I am building something of scale which positively impacts society that I feel the greatest sense of achievement.
I’m not sure I know much more now than I did when I started. I’ve learnt more about strategy and I have a lot of faith in young people to innovate and shake the system. That excites me.
My Highlights | The whole journey has been a highlight. When you’ve had the honour and good fortune to build an organisation from the start, every development feels brand new. I can’t think of one, specific highlight. It’s all been a constant rush of growth – both corporate and personal.
Performing At My Peak | I am kept excited by the rate of change and opportunity we are faced with. Discovery has a unique approach to insurance – wellness-linked insurance – where
Vitality is integrated into health and life insurance. It is a model we pioneered in South Africa and are now exporting globally. This means that we are continuously faced with exciting growth points in the business, for example launching in a new market, or launching a next generation integrated product in an existing market. I find the process of manifesting this growth very challenging and exciting, as opposed to reveling in the reflective glory of success. It inspires me.
Lessons I Have Learnt |
- Do whatever it takes to recruit smart people. I handpicked every employee carefully. I started out by recruiting Barry Swartzberg – it took me three months.
- Have a purpose for your business beyond making money. I have always wanted to make a difference in a positive way, even if I didn’t know right from the start what I wanted to do at a granular level.
- Keep innovating. Innovation is an ethos for Discovery. We’re a big organisation today with legacy systems and processes and we’re innovating at a faster pace than ever before. There is a relentless focus on progress.