Posted on September 18th, 2023 by SBS-ED
“I manage a diverse team in a very fast-paced environment in my role as an Engineering Manager,” shares Hugo van Zyl, from Kimberly-Clark in Cape Town. “I needed to sharpen up the key skills needed to help my team succeed in my role. From creating strategies to making sound financial decisions, right the way through to understanding how macro- and microeconomics impact the way we do business, I needed to improve my team and help us to achieve our objectives. This is what the Senior Management Development Programme provided for me. The SMDP is an extremely well-put-together programme and the level of information and literature presented by the competent subject-matter experts kept me eager to learn.”
After successfully completing his Senior Management Development Programme (SMDP), Hugo van Zyl continued his learning journey by enroling at the University of Lincoln. His successful completion of the SMDP meant that a substantial amount of credits would be recognised towards a graduate degree at Lincoln.
“My engineering degree needed to be coupled with a strong business degree as my future aspiration of growing into an executive role would require it. After completing the SMDP I felt more confident, however, I wanted more. The BA (Hons) Business Management Degree offered by the University of Lincoln as a direct rollover after the SMDP was perfect. It gave me an even deeper understanding of the subjects I was aiming for, whilst giving me the opportunity to become an alumnus on an international level.”
The University of Lincoln takes a Work Based Distance Learning approach (WBDL) to support part-time, distance learning. This creates a perfect recipe for full-time employed individuals to continue their learning and development journey while still being able to perform their daily duties as full-time employees. This is something that enhances the learning journey, as it affords real-time application of theory within the candidate’s work environment. “At first I had to adapt to the full distance-learning format and foster the self-discipline needed to complete all the subjects in time to the required level,” shared Hugo. “But the Lincoln team was always by my side, quick to support, respond and ensure I stay on course.”
“In the fast-paced world we live in, decisions need to be made on the fly and implemented accordingly,” concluded Hugo. “If you have an aspiration to obtain a degree in Business Management on an NQF level 8, then this is the perfect platform to do this and improve your skillset and qualification.”
Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development currently partners with the Univerisity of Lincoln in the United Kingdom. Through this partnership, participants who successfully complete their Senior Management Development Programme can use the credits from the SMDP to reduce the amount of time it will take them to meet one of the Univerisity of Lincoln‘s degree programmes.
To find out more about the partnership and to enrol, click here.
Posted in Career Development, Leadership, Talent Development |
Posted on September 6th, 2023 by SBS-ED
At Stellenbosch Business School Executive Education (SBS-ED), our commitment to nurturing continuous learning and development within organisations is paramount. We believe a robust learning culture stands as the bedrock of sustained growth and innovation. In pursuit of this mission, we recently hosted the second installment of our Learning and Development Community of Practice Workshops for 2023. The workshop was titled “Business Culture and Other Short Stories”. Our goal is clear: to equip individuals and organisations with the essential skills to succeed. We aim to help them thrive in our ever-evolving business landscape.
Under the theme “Embedding Learning into the Flow of Work and Culture,” our second event was held in Cape Town, South Africa. A diverse group of L&D professionals from varied sectors joined us in a crucial discourse. They discussed how to cultivate a thriving learning culture within their respective organisations. Guided by the expertise of Willem Fourie, an accomplished author, associate professor, and founder of the South African SDG Hub, this workshop provided an invaluable platform for L&D executives and managers to engage in insightful discussions and exchange ideas.
The Focus: Cultivating a Thriving Learning Culture
Central to the workshop’s narrative was the art of seamlessly infusing learning into an organisation’s cultural DNA. Attendees explored approaches and strategies to integrate learning into daily operations, fostering a proactive approach to growth.
The Significance: Why This Matters
In today’s economic landscape, the ability to swiftly adapt to change and innovation is imperative. By underscoring the fusion of learning into the current of work and culture, organisations empower their teams to embrace agility, growth, creativity, and an enhanced capacity to confront challenges head-on.
The Invitation: Join Us for the Next Workshop
We invite all SBS-ED alumni in the fields of L&D and Human Resources to join us at the next event, where we will discuss strategies that amplify the impact of your learning initiatives. The workshop is titled, “Return on Learning Debunked“, facilitated by Sana-Ullah Bray, Sanlam Group Executive: Human Capital and co-facilitated by Dr Chris van der Hoven, CEO of SBS-ED. The workshop takes place on 18 October in Cape Town. To secure your spot, please register at https://lu.ma/8wxop7wv.
Join us in crafting a future of growth and innovation. We have the power to reshape industries, careers, and lives, together.
Posted in Leadership, Talent Development |
Posted on September 1st, 2023 by SBS-ED
After completing his Senior Management Development Programme (SMDP), Sunil Singh, Production Manager at Novus Print Gauteng, had a sense of excitement, fulfillment, and achievement. “The SMDP offered me a platform to pursue and obtain a formal, internationally recognised honours qualification. Taking my studies further with the progression route into the University of Lincoln was a definite yes for me, and the results I’ve achieved in hindsight have certainly paid off.” he shared.
“During the degree programme, I thoroughly enjoyed the content of the different modules and working with the highly supportive lecturers from the University of Lincoln. The professional growth that I experienced, in terms of career promotion and broader knowledge gained from the degree programme has been invaluable, and it happened so effectively and efficiently.”
“I must make note of the Integrating Leadership and Management Experiences module, as it was critical in understanding management styles versus reflective experiences, and aided me in my current position,” Sunil shared. This is something that distance learning through University of Lincoln is known for – as degrees are structured around the participants’ current roles and responsibilities meaning that a distance learning degree allows one to apply their learning in real-time to relevant projects. Degree programmes are designed to interface with existing roles, enhance work-based projects and can be completed part-time from anywhere in the world within 18-24 months.
Furthermore, within the Distance Learning facilities at the University of Lincoln, there is no final examination. Rather, assessment is continuous throughout the course of study. Each programme has specific learning outcomes, that assist participants to understand what they are expected to know and do to achieve academic success.
Lincoln International Business School offers a progression route to the final year of an undergraduate degree for Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development (SBS-ED) alumni who have completed the Senior Management Development Programme (SMDP).
SBS-ED alumni have the opportunity to enrol on the following courses from the University of Lincoln in the UK:
BA (Hons) Business Management
BSc (Hons) Engineering Management
BSc (Hons) Human Resource Management
BSc (Hons) Logistics Management
Through this partnership with SBS-ED, participants who successfully complete their SMDP can use the credits to reduce the amount of time it will take them to meet one of the University of Lincoln‘s degree programmes.
To find out more about the partnership and to enrol, click here.
Posted in Career Development, Talent Development |
Posted on June 14th, 2023 by SBS-ED
We are delighted to announce that Stellenbosch Business School Executive Developement (SBS-ED), a leading provider of executive development programmes across Africa, is expanding its reach by welcoming three new regions into our network: Ghana, Zambia, and Kenya.
This expansion represents a significant milestone in our mission to empower organisations to reach their true potential by delivering cutting-edge programmes to talented professionals across Africa.
Through these partnerships, we aim to provide the knowledge, skills, and insights necessary for organisations to thrive in an ever-changing business landscape. We believe that by investing in the development of the continent’s human capital, we can continue to unleash Africa’s true potential and fuel its inclusive growth as it stands alongside its peers on the global economic stage.
As such, we welcome the following in-country representatives to the SBS-ED team:
- Muchona Moonze from Zambia
Now operating in Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Stellenbosch Business School Executive Education continues to nurture leaders who facilitate lasting impact throughout our continent.
Are you interested in finding out more about the programmes on offer for your teams? Contact us for further information here.
Posted in Leadership, News |
Posted on May 12th, 2023 by SBS-ED
Robin De Cauwer completed the Young Minds Programme in 2016. He has since gone on to become the founder of Homedoc, an online supplier of high-quality, easy-to-use, innovative medical testing products; DNX Medical (Pty) Ltd, which forms part of a group of companies that utilise state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Cape Town to produce and distribute diagnostics specialising in Urinalysis Test Strips – positively impacting the health of people in South-Africa; and Wolwehoek, a private reserve in Montague.
Robin shared that before starting the programme, “I felt quite nervous because I really didn’t know where I was heading with my life. I had heard from a lot of people that the Young Minds Programme is a really cool programme, which was why I was really excited about doing it – but I didn’t know what to expect.” He enjoyed that all the information that was presented was based on first-hand experience. “All our lecturers work for big companies themselves, they consult, and they’re masters within their field. You can really relate to everything that they say.” He further found that through the year, his mindset shifted. “During this year, my mindset changed to work harder on everything and to excel in everything. I have become more innovative, I think differently about my business and how to react to certain situations.”
He recently spoke to the 2023 intake class of the Young Minds Programme, highlighting five tips from his journey as an entrepreneur:
1. Start with what you have.
When you start, you don’t have access to funding, you don’t have the infrastructure, and you have to do everything yourself. But you can design a website yourself, you find a free online programme that you can design it yourself. You bring in a few products and see how they’re doing. You do your research and find out if there’s a market for them. Then you can do some simple marketing, like spending R10 daily on Google ads. It’s a trial-and-error process, and you’re always learning. When we set up our medical company, it took us years to get the company off the ground, because we’re up against massive companies with millions. So how can you do it? You find resources that are low-cost or free to start. When we began, we were watching YouTube videos about how to build the things that we needed, and we didn’t know what we were doing, or if we were doing it the right way, but we were doing it and continually learning from it. Free software such as Canva, Wix and Shopify are readily available online to get you going.
2. Push yourself to think differently.
We did a market day as part of the Young Minds Programme when I was busy with it, and everyone was making beautiful products to sell at their stands. Our group looked at it differently. We thought to ourselves, “How do we scale this? How do we make the most profit from this opportunity?” We racked our brains and instead, we rented out stands at the market to external vendors that we found on Gumtree, which was far more profitable. As an entrepreneur, you have to push yourself out of the box and think differently, more creatively. You have to spot the opportunities that are around us all the time.
3. Don’t give up – adapt.
When we were working on the medical company, my business partner came to me and asked me what we were doing. The business wasn’t making any money. But I wasn’t prepared to give up the years of effort that we had put in, so I had to rethink what we were doing – and that’s how we came up with our current business model. Remember that you can always come up with the perfect plan for something, and it doesn’t always go according to that plan. So if something isn’t working, rethink it. Don’t give up.
4. Remember that life is like a video game.
In life, you’re the main character in the video game. Remember that it comes with challenges, with ups and downs. You sometimes feel like you’re winning, and sometimes you feel like you’re losing. As you face the challenges and learn from them, you’ll move ahead in life, you’ll move through the different levels of the video game.
5. Take care of yourself.
Focus on yourself. Take care of yourself, then only can you take care of others. Make sure that you keep yourself healthy – as this is true wealth. Surround yourself with the right people, those who support you and have your back. Remember that money won’t make you happy, only you can make yourself happy. And most of all, enjoy the ride, no one else can do that for you!
In closing, Robin shared, “Young Minds Programme is all about personal development, not only about the business subjects. You also get to develop yourself as a person. You get to know what you’re good at and, even better, what you’re not good at. I’d recommend this programme to others because it changed my life, and I’m really excited about life now.”
To learn more about the programme, click here: Young Minds Programme
Posted in Career Development, Leadership |
Posted on April 25th, 2023 by SBS-ED
Straight after finishing his Masters in Civil Engineering at Stellenbosch University, and starting a new job, Rain Carstens had the opportunity to enrol in the Future Managers Development Programme. Read on as he shares his experience of the programme and how it has enhanced his learning and development journey.
I was fresh out of university, with minimal experience. I had a brand new job, I had just started out with my career, and I thought to myself, “Do I need to get involved in something else as well?” In the end, I just went for it. I didn’t know when, or if, I’d ever have this opportunity again. Looking back on it, being able to really think about my future and where I want to be in my career was far more valuable at that point than I realised.
The first phase of the FMDP considered the idea of Self Leadership and it got me thinking, “Woah! If I’m going to serve and lead anyone else, I first need to know myself!” It taught me that I need to be really solid, really organised, and certain within myself before I can be of real use to society. It pushed me to think about some really important, sometimes challenging, questions. I explored the kind of person I am becoming – professionally, personally, spiritually, and mentally – and how my mindset needed to shift.
The biggest shift was when I realised that you can’t get what you want if you don’t know what you want. You see, I am an engineer, and I am also a dreamer. I have big aspirations. In the civil engineering industry, as with any industry, you can contribute in thousand-and-one different ways. While it’s great to have grand goals, you need to have a plan of how you’re going to get there. It takes quite a bit of careful pondering and consideration before you really know, firstly what you want to contribute, and then, secondly, how you’ll actually contribute and then what actions you’ll take towards it.
The FMDP really challenged and inspired me to look at what kind of leader I want to be. I learned that it’s the things that I’m doing right now that are the steps towards becoming the leader that I see myself as in the future. In order to turn my dreams into reality, I need to build partnerships and relationships. I need to get more and more experience. I need to know what I’m talking about. I can’t just be a dreamer.
Even though I was walking into my career with a masters degree under my belt, I also needed to know my place. The FMDP really gave me perspective in that regard. I am working with brilliant minds – some of the top minds in South Africa – solving big problems for the whole of the country, but I had to know when to put on my humble hat and when to put on my feisty, excited, motivated leadership hat. I realised on the FMDP that I could learn so much from those in more senior roles to me. As a result, interactions with my managers and colleagues became more meaningful, because those with more knowledge, experience, and understanding will (generally) only teach you things when you are humble and in the learner’s seat. Since making that internal shift, I’ve noticed that I am given more responsibility. I am exposed to much more precious knowledge that I wouldn’t have had access to if I didn’t know how to effectively play this role that I’m in right now.
It’s also important to know that if you want to be a leader, the skills that you develop at university won’t be enough. You need to understand how things are in the current corporate world, and you need to attune and refine your goals so that you’re aligning with that world. The FMDP taught us balanced, futuristic-focused business skills – business skills unlike I’ve ever seen before. It is unlike anything that I’d learned in university. It’s really premium learning. The programme coordinators and faculty didn’t lecture us. Rather, they held space for us to ask questions. There was so much space for discussion and interaction, which I really enjoyed.
You needed to engage with the ideas and grapple with them, and this was where the FMDP faculty helped – just asking the right questions prompted excellent investigation and insights. It meant that the result is that your learning is actually up to you, which was exceptionally empowering. It gets you thinking about some really pertinent things; such as how to prepare yourself, in the best possible ways, to be a rock star in your field. I love the fact that I can log back into the learning portal website and I can go back to my assignments. I can reflect on my FMDP learnings as I make my way through my professional journey when I come across situations that speak to what we covered in the programme.
While you’re doing the programme, it’s almost like being a toddler playing with crayons. You draw, scribble, and learn as you go because you’re doing something new for the first time. But years later you come back to it, and you realise now you can actually draw something beautiful. This developmental journey has been somewhat similar for me. During the programme, I didn’t have the time to dive as deeply as I could have into every single section. Having the ability to go back to it, again and again, has helped me to continue my learning, even after completing the programme. We don’t stop learning just because we’re out of a learning environment, we carry it through with us.
The FMDP instilled in me that you have to generate your own motivation. Your mentors are not going to guide you along, holding your hand each step of the way. That’s not the job of a mentor. They’re there to help and guide you, but you need to do the work for yourself. Even if you’re doing the most amazing work in the world, you can become unmotivated, your priorities start to go elsewhere, and you start to do the bare minimum. What’s concerning for me is that I see this happen to quite a few graduates. They’ll come out of university and approach their jobs a bit like they’re still at university. They only do the minimum because that’s all they really need to do. That was something that concerned me about myself because I realised what that was communicating to those around me – what it was saying about my personal values. On the FMDP, I realise that if you are not defining some sort of target for yourself, outlining the person you want to be and what you want to do, you can’t be a badass. So for someone like a graduate, the FMDP is super useful as it helps you to cultivate your own self-driven motivation. As you get into the working world, no one is going to cheerlead you along. It’s not going to be done for you. While you may have company goals or a business focus, you need to set your own goals both personally and professionally. It’s so important to find a way to motivate yourself – because if you can do that, you can do anything. If you have something that excites and motivates and uplifts you, you can do anything – and you’re also there for yourself.
Through the FMDP, I realised that I needed to first look within myself and see where my insecurities lie, what’s blocking me, what my strengths are, and what I love to do, and then be creative in what kind of person I want to become, because that won’t ever end. It’s an evolving process. It’s an iterative process. It’s a creative process. Your external world continually evolves based on the evolution of your inner world. And that’s something that never ends. If you can make that practical for yourself, the transformation and the evolution just continues into more brilliant states which is what I’ve experienced since finishing the FMDP.
The Future Managers Development Programme helps graduate interns, young talent, and other emerging leaders in an organisation to master the first step in their development: Management of self. It aims to help participants understand who they are within the broader business environment, make them more employable, and help them plan their careers. It also complements existing graduate trainee programmes which mostly focus on in-house company-related matters and practical exposure through job rotation. The programme is structured around modules that equip potential future managers with critical skills for performing in a new world of work. To find out more about the programme, click here.
Posted in Career Development, Leadership |
Posted on March 28th, 2023 by SBS-ED
After having successfully finished his Senior Management Development Programme (SMDP), Odwa Mtimkulu continued his learning journey by enrolling at the University of Lincoln in 2022. His successful completion of the SMDP meant that a substantial amount of credits would be recognised towards a graduate degree at Lincoln.
“My journey started with Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development when I enrolled in the Senior Management Development Programme. The SMDP was a very insightful programme and added immensely to my learning and development journey, which overflowed into my career. It helped me to grow within my role and its realisation thereto. Upon completion of the SMDP, I felt very empowered and encouraged to learn more – since I had learned so much from the insights on the programme, especially about the business management aspect of things. As a result of this, I was very interested in furthering my knowledge, especially in the arena of Business Management. When the opportunity came with the University of Lincoln, I didn’t need a second invitation.”
“I was very excited to seize the opportunity for international academic exposure, and my journey coincided with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This brought about its own set of challenges, but the format of the degree, the learning set-up, and the technology that the University of Lincoln was using proved to be well ahead of the game. It was still possible to proceed seamlessly with the tutorials and the course.”
“The University of Lincoln has a team of top-notch tutors, each of whom are well-versed in the knowledge that is presented in the respective modules. I must also acknowledge their approach to the degree and how the various modules were presented. The Finance for the Non-Finance Manager module and the Independent Research module has proven to be the most useful for me. They were both quite challenging at first, but in the end, my personal and professional skills grew in leaps and bounds from doing them.”
“If I were to recommend anyone who is considering enrolling at the University of Lincoln after their SMDP, my advice would be to go for it. If I had to give it a recommendation out of 10, it would be a straight 10, because of the attitude and knowledge of the staff, the tools in place, the excellent library, and the set-up in place that ensures that everyone is involved and aligned, at all times. I am truly thankful for the opportunity, starting with Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development and the University of Lincoln support staff, programme leaders, tutors and lecturers.”
Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development currently partners with the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom. Through this partnership, participants who successfully complete their Senior Management Development Programme can use the credits from the SMDP to reduce the amount of time it will take them to meet one of the Univerisity of Lincoln‘s degree programmes.
To find out more about the partnership and to enrol, click here.
BA (Hons) Business Management Flyer
Posted in Career Development, Leadership |
Posted on February 24th, 2023 by SBS-ED
As a precursor to the Senior Management Development Programme, Sally Boynton completed the Management Development Programme in 2021, for which she won a Top Achievers/Director’s Award. “The programme came to my attention when I heard that my line manager and a few colleagues at my company had completed it,” she says. Her initial goal was to develop her understanding of business, leadership and strategic thinking. “And the programme ended up being everything I anticipated and more!” “I wanted to develop a strong foundation and understanding of business from a global perspective while having the opportunity to work alongside colleagues from different fields in a team setting. I knew that I wanted exposure to business models, contemporary leadership thinking, marketing, economics and finance. I also wanted to gain further insight into an academic setting and have the opportunity to grow within that too,” she says. Sally highlights certain programme’s modules that she found to be of great interest. “I especially enjoyed the Environment of Business and the Finance sections. Within both of these modules, I found myself able to analyse a business, using a structured format, in ways that were new to me, while exposing myself to different means of analysis that I had never done before. We touched on economics too, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Up until that point, I had never gone through or understood the Financial Statements and Sustainability reports of my organisation or other organisations to the extent I did through this programme. It was very stimulating to do so, and now I can share that knowledge and understanding with my team. Overall, my biggest takeaway from the programme would have to be the added ability to see businesses through a more strategic lens.” “Upon my successful completion of this programme, I have been able to analyse our business from this perspective. As a manager, I feel I now have better scope and understanding of the bigger picture, where I fit in, and how I can be more effective in my approach towards my team.” This was especially relevant as, at the time, Sally filled a leadership role while working in a different location to her team. She highlighted learning more about the importance of communication, which the pandemic emphasised for everyone. “It reminded me how important it is to communicate with your team regularly – which was especially important as I used to work in Cape Town while the majority of my team was in the Garden Route. I now work less remotely, in the Northern Suburbs area that includes Canal Walk and the Waterfront, which enables me to visit my stores more regularly and keep in closer contact with my team. Nevertheless, establishing and maintaining good communication is among my top priorities.” “Overall, I believe I exceeded my expectations within this programme,” she ends off with, “Even though there’s always room for improvement, I would like to achieve a higher distinction in the future. I now feel more confident in my communication, my ability to present, and in the academic sphere. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I was capable of doing well academically, but since completing the programme, I feel more confident about it and look forward to taking on more challenges. I know I will relish the opportunity to do another programme with SBS Executive Development in the future!” The Management Development Programme empowers managers to reinforce their managerial skill sets and business acumen while facilitating integration across various business units. Strategic in nature, the programme is packed with material that focuses on broadening one’s self-awareness and leadership attributes, while enhancing the necessary managerial skills required in the ever-changing business environment. For further information about upcoming courses, click here
Posted in Career Development, Leadership |
Posted on February 27th, 2023 by SBS-ED
Digital proposal and design specialist, Michelle Wolfswinkel, explains the shift to mobile-first in online learning at Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development (SBS-ED).
With the boom in the digital arena and the increased demand for online learning and the consumption of online content over the last few years, business schools and learning providers have faced the challenge of rapidly transforming. They have also accelerated the migration of learning solutions to the virtual learning world.What does it mean to be “mobile-first”?
“Mobile-first” is essentially a technical term that describes the way in which online content is formatted to respond to the device that is accessing and engaging with it (i.e. desktop computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone). It is trending globally. Research reveals steadily increasing mobile phone penetration rates, higher demand for exclusively mobile learning content, and impressive mobile learner satisfaction and experience ratings. Being “mobile-first” is a direct driver of responsiveness.
At SBS-ED, digitally-enabled learning occurs in synchronous, remote sessions on Zoom or MS Teams. It also involves asynchronous self-paced online courses, or a combination of these in a blended/hybrid solution. All participants, regardless of the course or program, must access and engage online. They interact via our learner management system hosted on Moodle. As such, in the modality of online learning, mobile phone user interfaces are urged to be prioritised during the design, development, and deployment of online learning. Indeed, South Africa and other African countries are taking note that the online learning mobile-first race is actually being led by India, China, and Malaysia – all developing countries that may be considered less tech-savvy and less likely to need or want mobile, online learning.
Is Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development mobile-first?
Until recently, we assumed that we might not prioritize the mobile learning experience. We thought that participants primarily used desktop computers or laptops to engage with our online learning platform. However, testing revealed that more than 70% of all user interactions with our learning platform in 2022 occurred via a mobile device. Hence the need to prioritise being mobile first!
Embracing mobile, first!
SBS-ED embraces the mobile-first paradigm, with two major changes at the forefront.
1. Designing mobile content
Package learning content in shorter bits, remove tables and columns, and adapt figures and graphs. This ensures an easy, straightforward viewing/learning experience on mobile interfaces. Wordy learning content that requires deep scrolling and runs across various columns is simply not practical on mobile devices. Avoid embedding videos in course content, using expandable resources, and specific quiz formatting. Instead, implement changes such as mobile-friendly viewing in separate tabs and wider access options like downloads to cater to mobile users.
2. Mobile-friendly menu and navigation options
The learning platform benefits from a cleaner look and feel. Tiles that enable seamless mobile selection and navigation enhance the learning experience on mobile devices. Included in this are mobile-friendly hamburger menus, minimal horizontal scrolling, and prominent navigation buttons designed for easy tapping on a phone screen.
Cleaner, new look online learning platform on Moodle
The mobile experience varies from the desktop counterpart. Desktop interfaces usually provide more horizontal space for menu sidebars alongside learning content, featuring embedded navigation buttons.
Mobile user experience is paramount in online learning design and development for Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development. We look forward to implementing and improving these changes to optimise our online learning experience!
PS. Statistics indicate that you are most likely viewing this content on your mobile device.
Posted in Leadership |
Posted on November 7th, 2022 by SBS-ED
How to translate the ubuntu philosophy into the leadership space.
Ubuntu introduces the premise that good business can be achieved in parallel with doing good in the community, in the industry that businesses operate and within the country. Most importantly, we have to consider what we can take from Ubuntu in terms of how best to lead our people within our organisation – our community of employees. The final Leadership Foresight Webinar Series explored the magic of the authentically African, Ubuntu philosophy. We’re all in this together: how to translate the ubuntu philosophy into the leadership space was facilitated by Dr. Natasha Winkler-Titus, senior lecturer in organisational behaviour and leadership at Stellenbosch Business School. Conversationalists included Dr. Joy Ntetha, the Chief Visionary Officer and healer at the Nomanlanga Tribe, Simon Peters, Head of Community and Special Projects at Yebo Fresh, Yesthiel Singh, General Council and Company Secretary at IQ Business, South Africa.
Understanding Ubuntu is best expressed by saying, “I am because of who we all are.” Ubuntu, as a philosophy, is indigenous to the African people. Research towards this is diverse, covering all aspects, such as comparing different indigenous epistemologies, what we know about how indigenous perspectives as infused management theory, and also the influence of colonisation on current-day interactions. Ubuntu’s philosophy is at the centre of how organisations can evolve into more inclusive and purpose-driven corporations. Within this philosophy comes Ubuntu-driven leadership. Dr. Winkler-Titus reminded us that humans are social, multi-faceted beings – far more so than the Western, individualist approaches have traditionally portrayed. As such, it is our responsibility as Africans to operationalise the Ubuntu philosophy toward more responsible leadership and also how to conceptualise it in more positive social capitalism. Dr. Ntetha recounted, “I was one of those people, not too long ago, that was this global scholar from Africa that went out there to find the best leadership development practices and solutions. And, as Africans, there’s almost this conditioning that the first world will have these solutions. You go out there and that’s where you get these amazing solutions. But what I found was that there is a paradigm shift taking place. Ubuntu is at the forefront of this shift. It is talked about globally where business is moving away from a very individualistic paradigm as we see how volatile, uncertain and unpredictably complex the world is becoming.” “In 2016, I was in Edinborough, Scotland, and there was a discussion about this “post-heroic shift”, and I thought to myself that this sounds awfully familiar to the wisdom that I’ve heard at home around a leadership that is more collaborative, a leadership that is shared, a leadership that is distributed, that is also looking at the follower in the context. It’s about finding a way of interconnectedness. To connect to that form of responsible leadership is actually a combination of your personal self-leadership, which you shape and which is shaped by your context, together with the process of it collectively becoming something that multiple people come together for.” “Instead of looking outside of ourselves for solutions, we actually need to come back to the wisdom that is inherently from the soil of where we come from. That already sets a much more capacious tone in us talking about Ubuntu, not only as an exclusive exotic thing that is ours but as something that already is embedded in the direction of new business leadership and philosophy. We continuously look at the global north for answers and for guidance, and we forget that we are actually the founders of humanity right here.”
Simon expressed that he resonated with that too, as he said, “Coming from the cold north myself, I now find myself at the tip of Africa and feel wholly at home. Especially coming from an entrepreneurial background, I think that is typical that you need to grin and bear it, and get through the pain – because no one else is going to do it for you. But often that’s the journey to burnout and destruction. I believe that the concept of “I see you” is at the core of Ubuntu, because I’m not just seeing myself and what’s in it for me. You begin to think about how to help each other, what one another’s struggles are, what your own experience is and how you can come together with one another. That’s very freeing because it takes the weight off of me doing everything on my own, which is unsustainable. It also brings fullness and light to things. Although I may not have had previous experience in that area, I’ve learned as a creative thinker that my mind is broadened by seeing your perspective, your background and your lived experience. It opens up possibilities.” Yesthiel commented, “When we embrace our Africanism principles like Ubuntu and Thuma Mina effectively, they differentiate us from our international counterparts. This is something that is coming more and more to the forefront, especially post-COVID, where people were so focused on just profits before. We are now going back to the human element, back to the community element because we’ve had some time to do a lot of introspection. We realise that if we are to survive, it is through community and by supporting each other. As responsible leaders, we need to re-look at what our organisation’s values are, and if that aligns with our purpose? Are we a purpose-led organisation or are we a profit-led organisation? And how do we balance those?”
“We are shifting towards a very human focus coming through from the corporate world. There is more focus on employees, the broader community, and creating ecosystems to support each other. If we can do that effectively from a community perspective, we all benefit. We will grow South Africa, we will grow Africa, and we will grow each other.” While we care for one another, we also hold each other accountable within Ubuntu. As we do good, we do so in a sustainable way so that we can take care of future generations. We need to fuse communalism with accountability. Yesthiel continued, “This is something that is seen within the BEE policies, and can be further integrated into organisation’s approaches. As an example, at my organisation, we have our formula for success, which is our values coupled with a set of behaviours that dictate everything we do. In there, we talk about the core behaviours and elements of focus, which not just leadership, but the entire business needs to take into consideration in the actions that they’re doing. This extends to the broader community, whether it’s with our partners, our employees and our duty of care to each other. This helps us to keep Ubuntu, community, respect and dignity at the forefront. We measured it in terms of the data and from an accountability perspective.”
Dr Ntetha added, “As interveners within corporations, we can offer guidance and standards for accountability going forward, while also shifting our own interventions towards Ubuntu. We don’t want them to only stay at the macro “tick box” level, we need to infuse belonging within these spaces. In this way, responsible leadership becomes further embodied at a very personal, mastery type of level. When we think about the Thuma Mina concept, it becomes so vast. But what we need to do is to go back to the individual. Look within your own sphere of influence and see how you can rehumanise your business.” This move from profit towards Ubuntu can be practical as a business model, added Simon. “The core of positioning of a for-profit business to attack key social issues is to have purpose and mission. In true business terms, you would want your vision and mission to be aligned with the whole of the business. That should interrogate every decision you make. It should set the culture for the business. With these, you’ve basically got a plum line for how we do things around here. That can be outward-looking, and that could be inward-looking. That’s how you treat your staff and that’s how you treat your customers. It’s how you make strategic decisions. If you haven’t thought about your vision and your mission as an organisation or recently made them more relevant, or disregard them then you lose track very easily. Within business, we all get distracted, but we all have choices to make. So when you have a good, solid, purpose-driven mission and vision that you can keep coming back to and directing employees to, then that’s a great step towards driving you in the right direction.”
Dr. Ntetha agreed, adding, “In the business world there is a contrast between the model that we are so used to within decision-making and Ubuntu. Conventionally, business is individualistic and fast-paced, yet Ubuntu urges us to slow down and make collective decisions. Sometimes the issue comes when you think that you are separate from the collective, or from what’s out there. In the past years, it has become clear that this is not the case. What’s happening in the outside world is also going to affect me, and I am going to affect what goes on out there.” “The revolution really starts internally. The human is always in context. For instance, in our parents’ generation, English names needed to be used to be more palatable for the corporate space. Now there’s a shift in acknowledging language and context and how to pronounce names. This is something that’s adopted even globally. When you look on LinkedIn now, it guides you with a prompt, “This is how you pronounce my name.” These evolutionary things that we infuse into the system contextually are also significant, and it can extend even into leadership enabling others to lead so that we start to lead together. Including other people in the leadership practice, means that you give people the resources and the power that’s needed to affect change and influence decisions within those spaces.” “We see this form of collaboration arise as competitors are supporting each other, sharing knowledge and experiences with each other to have better business and better business practices. This is something that involves leadership being brave, brave enough to sit with their competitor and say can we compete or team up and collaborate as a community within our particular industry. This takes a certain amount of vulnerability too. But leading through Ubuntu you end up having people who follow their leaders by choice, not because of title.” Responsible leadership promotes the idea that the influencing power of leadership should reach beyond a single organisation, toward improving society, and the world – highlighting people, profit and planet. It’s not one or the other, rather it is the combination of the three that brings about organisational success. Responsible leadership is deeper than just a role. It represents some form of agency that gives meaning to what is responsible, but also what is possible. Evolution happens by going back to our Ubuntu roots as leaders within the modern-day African context. And, as we return to our continent’s indigenous ways, we are going back to who we are as humanity too – infusing the philosophy of Ubuntu into our business and leadership practices.
The Leadership Foresight Webinar Series is presented by SBS Executive Development in collaboration with the Stellenbosch Business School Alumni Association. This free, live series takes place over the course of four events, facilitated by heavy-weight subject matter experts and consultants, with contributions from panels of subject matter experts and industry leaders. Guests from across the African continent and abroad speak about the past, present, and future focus of leadership in Africa. The recording of this final event, “We’re all in this Together”, facilitated by Dr. Natasha Winkler-Titus, is available here. The previous events can be viewed on YouTube here.
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