Natache Nolte, Regional Operations Manager of the Eastern Cape for Woolworths East Coast Division, recently completed USB-ED’s Senior Management Development Programme (SMDP).
Naturally a results-driven person, Natache shared with USB-ED that she experienced some hesitation before starting the course. She felt a little daunted and intimidated going into the orientation week – as she was aware that she could become extremely focused on being the best that she is able to be. However, upon meeting her facilitator, everything changed. She understood that she had a need to take on a more holistic world-view perspective. Noticing she didn’t necessarily carve out time to reflect, she realised that up until then, everything had been about “doing” and obtaining results for her. “This is where I made the decision that SMDP will not just be about the results I achieve for each assignment – it would also be about how I reflect on this world view, myself, the type of leader I am and need to become, and also where my family fit in all of this,” she shared.
One of the most valuable components of the course was being exposed to systems thinking. She was able to integrate what this meant to her, how it impacted her life and her own personal journey as a manager: “The short answer for me was that I had to take my whole personal and individual system, and improve it. I did this through being open, honest and direct with myself. This is where I started embarking on my purpose – and all the ‘why’s’ just kept popping up. For some of the ‘why’s’ I had answers, for some I did not, and I am still on this journey of finding my purpose through reflecting continuously.”
Learning that one of her biggest fears was around failure, Natache discovered how much of a toll it takes in her life. From impacting her management skills, to her work life balance, to her family, this realisation was a turning point for her in the program. “One of the key learnings on my journey is that when you fail, it does not mean that you are a failure. It just means that you needed to fail, and you needed to make mistakes to learn and to grow. Through that, you can become a better version of yourself” she shares. It helped her to reflect on how she treated people, and how she left them feeling – especially after they’ve made mistakes. For her, “It became about giving back, no matter how small. And it was also about me and my own self-care. It made me look at how I care for myself and give myself the time I need to think and reflect, without thinking that I am wasting time.”
“SMDP forced me to zoom in and out on me as a person. I looked closely at who I am, what I stand for, and what is my purpose. I believe that throughout this process I am reinventing myself, I am starting to understand the real me, and I’m learning the invaluable lesson of just how important humbleness and continued self-reflection is.”
As a cutting-edge senior management course, the Senior Management Development Programme aims to broaden managers’ worldviews, with empowering resilience in a dynamic business environment. Equipping participants with a design mindset, the course explores strategic management concepts around innovation, collaboration, organisational change and business agility in a complex world. Best suited for senior managers from any industry who are interested in developing a strategic leadership mindset, the SMDP helps managers to acquire the ability to sense and respond to new business models – a highly sought out skill in today’s uncertain times. In a rapidly changing environment, organisations are being exposed to a completely new way of working. Over the course of 6 months, this senior management training empowers participants with the tools to:
- Develop leadership thinking
- Explore strategic concepts and integrative strategy
- Evaluate new frameworks and tools to support sustainable business
- Interpret the challenges of globalisation and its effect on business
- Assess and report on the financial viability of organisations
- Develop foresight and navigate shifts in organisational forms
- Determine the importance of changing business models
- Formulate strategies for customer value creation using design thinking
- Apply project management tools and techniques to plan and execute projects efficiently and effectively
- Interpret and demonstrate the relationship between various strategic, operational and leadership themes