Gauteng Business News

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Business:  Developing Tomorrow's Leaders, Today


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The concept is the brainchild of Alison Gregg, founder of Alison Gregg Public Relations, who has a passion for developing South Africa's next cadre of leaders. She believes that our current leaders have much value to impart in terms of lessons learned, but that the opportunities to do so in a meaningful and sustainable manner are limited.

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 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 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.

Mentees have been chosen according to specific criteria, to ensure that they receive the maximum benefit from the year-long programme. They are male, between the ages of 25 and 35, and must have already proven themselves in the area of leadership. They must have shown determination in getting to their current position and have a strong desire to continue learning to grow. A clear demonstration of passion for both their professional and personal development must be evident amongst these young leaders.

The 2009 Mentorship Skills for Leadership Programme aims to develop those who are unique, who show that they have what it takes to work hard for what they want to achieve, and above all, those who demonstrate a willingness to shift their mindset to encompass a new way of thinking.

Each mentor was required to complete an application form motivating why they believe their candidate would be a good contender for a position on the Programme. A panel of endorsers then reviewed the applications, and mentees were put through a selection process. Elements such as tertiary education or in which industry the mentee works in were not taken into account, although a matriculation exemption, as well as basic business skills, were entry-level candidate requirements.

The 2009 Vodacom Business Leading Male CEO Council - Indigo Bay looks set to deliver on its promise of sustainably developing young leaders, especially since this will continue to be an annual event. It is also the hope of the initiative organisers and partners that the attending CEOs will be inspired to further develop young leaders if they are not already doing so, and that the young leaders being developed will themselves see the need for passing on the baton to generations to come. In this way, we will see a legacy of credible, committed, visionary leaders developing in South Africa and beyond, for many years to come.

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