“There is a level of excitement when I see some of our ideas being transformed into tangible solutions,” Phina Nukeri shared. “It is a reminder that when people collaborate, it can give meaning to what we do.”
SBS-ED spoke exclusively with participants of SEAL team 7 from the Sanlam Business Management programme from 2019 about their experiences of this Sanlam customised programme. The group spoke into their highlights – going from individual transformations to the changes experienced as a group, right through to how it has affected the entire organisation and beyond.
“One of the greatest learnings was around personal mastery,” Phina Nukeri shares. “And recognising that personal mastery is not a destination but rather a journey. As we evolve, we get to learn, unlearn and relearn… Some of the most important lessons that I learned throughout the programme came from learning about myself, facing my fears head-on and being intentional about my actions and my thoughts. Having joined the Instructional Design team in the same year as undertaking this programme, she states that initially, she was not the type of person who would spend time deliberately reflecting on her actions or thoughts, but since doing the programme, she has found value in this practice. “Although I was always mindful of my strengths and weaknesses,” she shares, “I am now more committed to working on my weaknesses. I have found that after the programme I am thinking more about my thinking, challenging my thoughts and judgment. My view of the world is different.”
For Phina this growth has had far-reaching effects. Since doing the programme, she shares, “I was able to practically apply the design thinking process and bring a fresh perspective to how we deliver and transfer knowledge in the adviser space. Engaging with stakeholders and understanding their needs without any perceived ideas allowed me to be objective and identify clear gaps or recognise processes that were inefficient. I also uncovered my ability to leverage off each other’s skills, knowledge, and experiences.”
Tshepho Ledwaba found that the programme required him to take into account his work-life balance. He shares, “To complete the programmme, I had to find equilibrium between my day-to-day duties – which include a lot of travelling, family life, being a parent to toddler twins, committing to the programme, meeting deadlines and submitting assignments. It was easier to request to be removed from the programme, but I learned to persevere and finish what I started. The biggest lesson learned was that it’s always possible to achieve what you want.”
From these more internal, individual transformations, sprouted the achievements that were created by working together into a team, and the value that lies in collaboration.
“I believe the best opportunity was collaborating,” Darren Moodley says. “The team-based environment enabled me to learn from others, to accept and share ideas, to accept risks and rewards together – but most importantly and unconsciously – to build a solid business together. It forced me to think out of the box, to understand the dynamics of the organisation and to be a creative leader.” Karishma Singh shared a similar sentiment to him, saying that working in the group was a major highlight for her. Tshepho Ledwaba agreed, saying, “With the team, we’ve had so many breakthroughs.” Additionally, the Learning Process Facilitator for the programme, Dr. Jane Robertson, added in her comment: “I thoroughly enjoyed working with this team in my capability as a learning process facilitator. The team embodied the essence of action learning in terms of their ability to collaborate, contribute to the business in solving a real business challenge and reflect.”
Building on the foundations of internal transformations and collaborative learning, the resulting ripple of positive outcomes – reaching throughout the organisation. In light of collaboration, Clinton Wales shared, “I learned a lot about the bigger organisation and getting to work with people from business clusters that I did not even know existed.”
Tshepho Ledwaba took note of the positive effects too, sharing, “I’ve seen a great improvement with my relationships at a personal and professional sphere. I have a stronger relationship with my line manager and I provide more input in projects and developments around our team. My focus on creating opportunities for the group, as opposed to the business unit, has developed much more in that I am able to refer credible leads to other businesses in the group. As a candidate for the Senior Management Development Programme, I believe I will now add more to the organisation in the strategic thinking capacity as opposed to only operational excellence.”
Not only was this effect experienced within the organisation, Phina Nukeri outlines how it has even extended to the greater impact of the organisation, following conversations with stakeholders. She shares, “It is really great to look at our new group marketing strategies and how these have allowed the organisation to connect more with the ordinary man on the street.”
To those considering doing a programme with USB-ED, Karishma Singh is very encouraging. “Embrace the journey that the programme takes you through. There will be ups and downs but the end result is worth it. Almost two years later not only does our team have a strong bond but also through the networking of the program you have a greater understanding of the business which allows for collaboration.” To this, Cheri Nel adds, “Give it your everything! You won’t regret it!”
USB-ED partners with organisations to develop their leaders and managers, either with open programmes, or through customisable programmes that are specifically developed and tailored to the needs of the organisations. We can create an entirely new programme that meets your exact people development requirements. Alternatively, organisations can tailor existing knowledge and the delivery thereof according to their specific requirements. For more information about these in-house learning solutions, you can complete the contact form here.