Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  14 Aug 2009

Business: Making Good Business Sense


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Kent was speaking to an international audience at the summit, and as South Africans, there is a message in his words for us in the tough economic times we face. Without a basis for sustaining the leadership we have already demonstrated, we will soon see that a sustainable future will be in question.

This particularly holds true for business, where leadership development is not always first on the list of company must-dos. It should, however, be right up there with looking after the bottom line. It is for this reason that leadership development programmes are so important in the business world, specifically programmes that focus on developing leaders holistically.

One of the key aspects of doing so is also providing participants in such programmes with the opportunity to not only increase their theoretical knowledge, but also to experience practical application of this knowledge.

The 2009 Vodacom Business Leading Male CEO Council - Indigo Bay, and the accompanying 2009 Mentorship Skills for Leadership Programme, pioneered by Alison Gregg of Alison Gregg Public Relations, and presented by Wits Business School, are therefore part of a unique initiative that is set to revolutionise the way business looks at sustainable leadership development.

The concept started out as an annual dinner debate between leading CEOs from various industries, but it quickly became apparent that this was simply not enough - a platform for sharing leadership philosophies and practices needed to be created, and young leaders also needed to be included.

This year's event, therefore, is the first of its kind. Twenty hand-selected, experienced CEOs will each choose a mentee to accompany them to Indigo Bay, Mozambique, for a weekend of coaching, learning and debate - and a bit of sporting fun, of course! The weekend, however, is just the beginning. Upon their return, both mentors and mentees will attend the 2009 Mentorship Skills for Leadership Programme - a monthly full-day workshop at Wits Business School, Leadership Partner to the initiative, which will cover various aspects of leadership, such as Strategic Thinking, Assessment, Negotiation Skills and Self-Development, amongst others.

The workshops will provide the mentors with the opportunity to meet with specially selected coaches from Wits Business School, and discuss with them their challenges and successes in mentoring their chosen mentee, as well provide the mentees with a structured learning experience. Both mentor and mentee will participate in a monthly reporting and feedback exercise that will allow the coaches to track their progress, while identifying possible challenge areas, as well as opportunities for further learning.

However, coursework knowledge alone won’t make leaders effective in the complex sphere of modern business. Capabilities such as leadership, communication, presentation skills, networking and teamwork are be critical to leadership development, and it is with this in mind that Wits Business School has added an Action Learning Project (ALP) component to the Programme. The purpose of the ALP is to extend the learning from the Programme back into the workplace - it allows young leaders to learn to take action in the world of business and society, and to learn from taking that action.

The combination of both the practical and the theoretical approach, as well as the duration of the Programme, are what set it apart from other leadership development programmes aimed at young leaders. The fact that it kicks off at an island think tank in Mozambique makes it even more unique, and the organisers and partners are keen to see the fruits of their labours next year this time. They are bound to be promising.


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