A big thank you for everyone who joined us at the April WVA OD Café last week. It was the last Café in our Re(Organising) 2016 series that kicked off the cafés for the year. Once again, we had high quality conversations, challenging each other and ourselves to contribute more effectively as OD practitioners and leadership to our own organisations’ and our clients’ success in challenging and uncertain times.

Looking back, the big theme was that of leadership. What is it that we expect of “leadership” in our organisations? What kind of leadership is required to succeed in our world? What is the problem – why do we not have the leadership we require? And then, what can we do to make sure that our organisations develop the right leadership to ensure that they survive and thrive in conditions that are constantly providing new challenges and opportunities?

Leadership is responsible for three big fields of action:

  1. It must give strategic direction to the organisation. Strategy is not just about the big “bosberaad” where executives seclude themselves for a few days to come up with a blueprint for the future. In these volatile times, it is also about creating a framework for responsiveness (some talk about the “agile” organisation), and it is about making sure that day-to-day actions contribute to the organisation moving towards successful outcomes.
  2. It must give structure to enable organisational performance – it must design the organisation. This means not only the large-scale design of business divisions, matrixes, and so on, but also the design of structures that enable effective and healthy daily actions: meeting agendas, feedback cycles, and so on.
  3. Finally, it must “lead” how members of the organisation show up to their work. Leadership shapes attitude, behaviour, belief … It shapes what people consider to be “the right way”. It shapes leadership itself – how leaders show up today, will determine the kind of leadership we have tomorrow.

How can we help, as the OD profession, to develop the kind of leadership our organisations need?

At WVA, we have created a number of solutions to develop leadership capability in your company.

  • “Leadership” requires not only a single good leader, but the whole leadership group of your organisation to show up in a coherent and congruent way, speaking the same language, sharing the same values, showing the same direction, and practising the same leadership habits. Nine Conversations in Leadership gets your leaders together in a room to talk to each other about what it means to lead your organisation. It is quick and easy to deploy this programme, and it has been successfully deployed globally in the UK and Australia, and in South Africa in companies such as Sappi, Arcelor Mittal, the Western Cape Government and Tsogo Sun.
  • How do you get new managers up to speed quickly? The first leadership transition is probably the hardest to make, and many new managers remain stuck in the expert worker role, unable to step up to the new demands of managing a team of people. Our Conversations in Management, adapted and extended from Nine Conversations in Leadership, is a 12 module programme enabling new managers to come together and make sense of driving strategy execution, managing stakeholders and teams, and committing to a professional life of personal development to keep growing as a manager and leader. This programme has been used in South Africa by Business Connexion and Nedgroup.
  • Your leaders may have a good understanding of strategy and design, yet still need specific support when facing organisational challenges that require strategic rethinking and organisational design. Our Consulting division provides tailor-made engagements to help your leadership figure out the way forward, through specialist strategy consulting and organisational design consulting. Clients include PSG Konsult, Standard Bank, Nedbank, and a host of others.
  • Finally, the OD profession, both inside and outside the organisation, must provide leadership in guiding the organisation towards more effectiveness and help. To support the OD profession, we offer the Higher Certificate in Organisation Development and Change, consisting of 11 modules, to build critical capability for dealing with relentless change and uncertainty. These modules, as well as a module on Internal Business Partnering and a module on Organisational Design, are also offered as shorter programmes, tailored to the specific needs of your organisation. More than 50 students, across all sectors and industries, have already enrolled for the certificate course.

We need great leadership to succeed as organisations, and as a society. We need people and deeper and deeper levels of the organisation to show up as leaders, on a day to day basis, to allow us to be agile and to effectively respond to business challenges and opportunities.

WorldsView Academy was created to help with this challenge. Let us build great leadership, great organisations, and a great society together.