Clive Chitungo: “It's always me versus me.”

Written by: Leigh Schaller

Clive Chitungo, national operations reporting manager of Komatsu South Africa, shared with the CFOClub Podcast his journey marked by resilience and self-accountability. 

Clive Chitungo is the national operations reporting manager of Komatsu South Africa. The company supplies equipment to the mining and construction sector and employs over 1400 people. However, Chitungo’s journey to senior leadership has been gruelling. 

“We used to walk for long distances going to school. Those are some of the attributes that contributed to me being mentally resilient.”

His upbringing also sparked Clive’s interest in commerce. 

“We used to sell roasted peanuts, you know, just to have some pocket money. So yeah, I think that contributed to me having the like or the interest in business.”

Clive went on to study, first accounting at the University of Johannesburg and later an MBA through GIBS. 

Holding yourself accountable

Clive has had to rely on his own attributes to get him to where he is today. “I’m always chasing myself. I think I’m very hard on myself because I always have to think, ‘who was I yesterday’ and ‘who do I want to be tomorrow?’ If I see I’m in the same position or mental state, it’s frustrating.”

The child who commuted to school by foot and sold peanuts for extra money has grown into a leader who arrives at work an hour earlier and who reads as much for pleasure as for self-improvement. 

“I use myself to push myself. It’s always me versus me. If I achieve a certain thing, I don’t let it stroke my ego or anything. I always keep my head down to keep getting better.”

The value of failures 

If there is a piece of advice Clive could give his younger self, it’s to learn from failures. “You know, we always look at it as a negative thing, but we should use it as a positive thing, use it as a stepping stone to go to the next level.”

He references an article from the Harvard Business Review regarding learning from failure. “It looks at strategies for using failure in your business or company. Those attributes of persistence and learning, checking the root causes of those issues, why something happened and having preventative measures going forward. It can also be used on a personal level. You are your own company. . had I known that earlier, maybe I would have been at a better state. 

“But I’m still grateful for where I am currently.”


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