by Shaughnnessa Govender
The International module for a customised Senior Leadership Development Programme kicked off on Sunday, 12th March with one group of senior managers departing OR Tambo International Airport at around 11pm. The second group departed 13th March and both groups joined together in Sao Paulo at 4pm on Monday 13th March. From that moment, it was literally a breath-taking journey – the group were welcomed to Brazil and given an overview of what it is like to conduct business in the country by the Consul General for South Africa, Mr Malose Mogale. As this customised programme had been developed for a client in the renewable water resource management sector, key company visits with some of the big privatised water companies in Brazil such as SANASA in Sao Paulo and Aguas do Brasil in Rio were included.
The group learned of the successful pioneering and sound operational success in areas that management has been discussing strategically and in some cases entering, for the past few years. It was an important learning for them to study the business models that have been pursued as well as the internal capacity development and close links with Universities and research institutions. It was interesting to note that the learning organisation approach is also aligned to SLDP delegates’ company approaches. The tour of the favelas in Rio resonated particularly with the delegates as the history of rapid urban development, including many poor areas and an aging infrastructure was something the delegates have been grappling with.
The leadership aspect of the course was underlined by the manner in which these companies assess spaces they are considering entering, and the way often complex transformations are managed, in both the operational and human capacity sense. This was very insightful for the delegates.