Alumni News 2018

Entrepreneurship and the Red Queen Effect

Alumnet

Entrepreneurship and the Red Queen Effect

  •  Daniel Strauss
  • AUG 23 2018
  • Tags Alumni, Entrepreneurship

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Article written by Daniel Strauss, MBA alumnus and lecturer at USB

If you look at the growth forecasts of the five largest competitors in any market, it is certain that all of them would be planning to increase their market share in the short or medium term by being better than they are today. However, it is impossible for all players in a relatively finite market to gain market share simultaneously and these top executives should know that, right?

It would seem that all of them are under the impression that they have the skills to stay ahead or at least keep up with the Red Queen Effect (if you do not move you fall behind). So, what separates the ones that try to get ahead from the ones that actually do?

After doing a Full-time MBA in 2007 at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), I went into the job market at the height of the financial crisis and soon realised that entrepreneurship is risky, but not nearly as risky as being employed by someone else. So, armed with my MBA and an Industrial Engineering degree, I was confronted with the challenge of learning how to “get ahead” by being an entrepreneur, rather than an employee.

“I went into the job market at the height of the financial crisis and soon realised that entrepreneurship is risky, but not nearly as risky as being employed by someone else.”
– Daniel Strauss, USB alumnus and director of Stocks and Strauss (Pty) Ltd

I am extremely grateful to have met wonderful mentors who showed me the bigger picture of building a business and raising funds as an entrepreneur. We started our private equity and venture capital firm in August 2013 with a very small pool of our own capital and today we are providing permanent employment to more than 130 people including CAs, lawyers, engineers, creatives, programmers and factory workers in our portfolio companies.

We have also grown the capital base of our investment company with more than 4200% since inception by applying an established set of methods and concepts on a daily basis. Even though we started very small due to an initial lack of capital, the guidance from various mentors enabled us to achieve significant growth in a relatively short period of time, enabling us to surpass the value that we would have been able to create as employees.

It is therefore a great privilege to be able to provide MBA students at the USB with a glimpse of these methods and concepts as a guest lecturer. Teaching current students about certain aspects of entrepreneurship that I wish I had learnt during my MBA in 2007.

They say that maximum growth occurs at the border of support and challenge. Entrepreneurs and executives leaning too far towards the “challenge” side of the spectrum may run the risk of significant financial and emotional strain or even burn-out, while those hiding on the “support” side of the spectrum run the risk of stagnation and falling so far behind that it becomes almost impossible to keep up with our fast-changing society. In my experience the executives and entrepreneurs who experience the most rapid and sustainable growth are those who aim for accelerated growth under the guiding hand of a mentor or mentors, pushing the boundaries while knowing they will be guided and reinforced by a strong support system before overextending themselves.

For anything to succeed it requires a strong foundation, only once the foundation is rock solid will the creative side be able to complement the foundation and thereby lead to the emergence of true value. So, while some may focus on hyping up their companies with clever structures, mergers and acquisitions they are bound to fail at some stage due to a deficient foundation. While others may be too risk-averse to take the leap and thereby overlooking the fact that avoiding new opportunities are sometimes even more risky than taking a well-considered risk on that new technology or development in your industry.

My challenge to you is to find that sweet spot where you are pushing your own boundaries while making sure that your support system will be able to guide you before pushing yourself too far. Face the brutal truth of your current situation while reaching for the stars and you may just pass that Red Queen sooner than you ever thought possible.

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Alumnus Simon Meyer on the incubator project at Steel Best Manufacturing in PE

Alumnet

Alumnus Simon Meyer on the incubator project at Steel Best Manufacturing in PE

  • Simon Meyer
  • AUG 23 2018
  • Tags Alumni, Business, News

Steel Best Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd is a company that marches to a different tune. The engineering manufacturing sector is a tough environment to gain a foothold in. In the almost three years of their existence, Steel Best Manufacturing has placed the development of people first. As a company Steel Best understands that with Industry 4.0 now banging on our collective doors, the differentiator will ultimately be the people driving the sector.

In one of its most ambitious projects to date, Steel Best Manufacturing has spearheaded the establishment of the Steel Best Manufacturing Tooling and Design Engineering Incubator. This incubator is unique in the sense that it seeks to provide SMME’s and individuals with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the engineering manufacturing sector. Needless to say, as a company, we have had our own share of challenges gaining a foothold in this competitive sector, and we wanted to provide a leg-up to aspiring mechanical engineering designers and innovators. It is the intention of the company to increase the number of entrants in this sector and in so doing build a community of design engineering and manufacturing excellence.

Many large Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s) such as Volkswagen South Africa, Toyota and Nissan look to design expertise almost exclusively outside of South Africa. The incubator wants to drive the development of a design capability that will rival International capabilities and drive OEM’s to assign design projects to South African and specifically Eastern Cape design companies.

Steel Best posits that the outputs from a single designer has the potential to create at least 12 additional engineering manufacturing jobs further down the value chain. It is this multiplier effect that Steel Best wants to build on in its job creation efforts. Additionally, with more local design coupled with local standards and materials comes a greater potential for locally based steel mills and engineering companies to increase their production.

The incubator is managed by Simon Meyer, one of the USB Alumni who had back in 2007 completed the Executive Development Programme. Simon joined Steel Best Manufacturing, initially heading its sales and marketing team. But once the incubator project was conceived, Simon grabbed the opportunity to manage the incubator. With the Steel Best Manufacturing Chief Operations Officer, Clyde Erasmus, they were able to unlock funding with the Department of Small Business Development to start up the incubator.

The interest from partner organisations has been overwhelming. From local academic institutions such as TVET colleges and the University to government and private companies, Steel Best Manufacturing has found a very keen interest in the Incubator. In as much as the incubator will provide services within the Automotive Sector initially, they have not excluded the potential to engage other sectors such as Aerospace and Maritime.

As an SMME Steel Best Manufacturing is punching well above its weight to create opportunities for South Africans. What will your company do?

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consulting club

USB Consulting Club invites alumni to partner

Alumnet

USB Consulting Club invites alumni to partner

consulting club news

  • Chris ZaidyChris Zaidy, Club Chair
  • JUN 28 2018
  • Tags Alumni, Business, News

The USB Consulting Club currently has 117 members that are either students or alumni of the USB scattered across South Africa and beyond – to Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The Club seeks to partner with key consulting experts to ensure that we produce the best consultants across Africa. These partnerships allow members to network with consultancies and, in addition, provide our members with key skills to apply during case studies and during the interviews process at consulting firms. For example, our Cape Town branch recently hosted a superb “crack-the-case” event with Accenture which focussed on applying ‘design thinking’ methodology.

The Club sees itself expanding into Johannesburg this year and will host at least one networking event and one “crack the case” event before 2019. We look forward to building partnerships and leveraging with consultancies in Johannesburg.

As they say – Change is a Constant! The Club is currently looking to extend the footprint into Namibia. This is an exciting chapter and I believe a way to bridge Club members to consulting firms could be through the alumni network.

I am extending an invitation to any students or alumni who are connected with any interested management consultancies in Namibia to contact the club as soon as possible via the Club’s email (usbconsultingclub@usb.ac.za or on twitter (@USBConsulting).

We are excited to be hosting another “crack-the-case” event in August. Our final event for this year will be our AGM – our flagship event where we will host an exciting panel discussion. The Consulting Club falls under USB’s Careers Services Office. With oversight provided by an Advisory Board, the Club is run by eight executive members, namely:

consulting club members

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Themdi Xaba

USB Alumnus appointed as CEO of Deciduous Fruit Development Chamber

Alumnet

USB Alumnus appointed as CEO of Deciduous Fruit Development Chamber

Themdi Xaba

  • Themdi XabaThembi Xaba
  • JUN 28 2018
  • Tags Alumni, Business, News

USB Alumnus Thembi Xaba was appointed as the new CEO of Deciduous Fruit Development Chamber (DFDC-SA) last month. She is also busy with her PhD on performance evaluation of agricultural cooperatives in Mpumalanga. Here she shares her journey:

I have completed a Project Management course, followed by the Senior Management Development Programme (SMDP) offered by USB-ED. The SMDP served as a mini MBA programme and it was during that period when I thought I would pursue the full MBA programme. Then I had a conflicting choice between the MBA and the MPhil in Development Finance (MDevF), which I then opted to do the latter, and take the Business Management Administration at a PhD level.

I enrolled for the MDevF to strengthen my focus within the development space, as I was employed by government entrusted with funding agricultural projects. USB as the institution where I should study was a no brainer! Apart from the fact that the programme is internationally accredited, it also provided relevant modules to me, which elevated my strategic thinking.

Learnings and highlights

The key learning is that development finance has a global focus or agenda, and its relevance cuts across industry sectors. The class was a diverse group and it was amazing how a programme of this nature could attract people from various industries, from economist, lawyers, bankers, to IT specialists (and yes, different countries as well). The group work was also balanced in a sense that it will have representation of the various industries, which somehow made people to see development in a different context.

Career path

My career progression has been over the years attributed to both me being on the ground (as a public servant) and empowering myself academically. At the period when I did my MDevF I was already entrusted with heading a directorate. The MDevF helped in the broader context of not only focusing on the numbers, but also the socio economic impact of government programmes. Coupled with that the governance module enabled one to reflect, and calibrate my leadership style.

Leaders who inspire

I celebrate those leaders who don’t make it to the cover magazine, those who lead within our communities without being given the recognition of the role they play. I believe everyone in their corners is entrusted with a leadership role, be it in our homes, our communities, and circles. And for that I would like to say I look up to all (women in particular) who make a meaningful contribution to their networks.

Balancing work and studies

There is a never a balance! Family is everything to me and my son gives me the energy to refocus and deliver on whatever assignment I have at hand. Prioritising is very important and at this stage it means that I don’t really have a social life – I will have to catch up on that later!

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Overcoming corporate challenges in Vietnam with an MPhil in Futures Studies

Alumnet

Overcoming corporate challenges in Vietnam with an MPhil in Futures Studies

  • Louis Nguyen
  • JUN 28 2018
  • Tags Alumni, Business, News

“Never, never, never give up.”

This is a quote by Winston Churchill that made me thrive and grow into a strong, confident and determined being. Throughout the 38 years of my life, I overcame many challenges and also had failure knocking on my door several times, and after each time I had opportunities to stand up stronger than before.

You may never know about the life in a communist country like Vietnam. Yes, it was not bad until the day you realise that your degree might have no value at all. It is not because of the degree or the university; it was about the social system, one where you were not connected to the world. In 2004 I completed a Master’s degree in ICT from an Institute in France. It was really good to have this degree in my portfolio.

However, it was regarded as a “programmatic” Master’s degree. Some employers did not recognise it or even some considered it as a fake degree! But then I decided to start a new journey; the journey of accreditation.

I kept my eyes open and decided to dedicate myself more as I did not have enough time to make a mistake again and I had to find a balance between work and life. For a few times, I thought that I should give up studying and use the money to afford my kid’s study instead.
But don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life. The University Stellenbosch Business School and the MPhil in Futures Studies came to me as a gift from God.

“With the tools equipped during the MPhil in Futures Studies, it is easier for me to deal with complexities in the fast changing environment and therefore to enhance efficiency.”

This time I didn’t make any mistake with my decision. Stellenbosch University was on the top of 400 universities of Financial Times in 2009, and the business school was accredited by AMBA and EQUIS (and more recently also AACSB). It makes me proud to be a Matie with a “Triple Crown”.

To be honest, I was not a good student. I failed in a couple of modules and it took me three years to accomplish the programme (instead of the normal two years). But the value of this additional one year was to gain more meaning of what the quality level of a top business school in the world entail, and what it means to enter the job market as a professional. I usually share with my friends, my relatives, and even to my child that the university which you graduate from is more important than the level of education.

Indeed, beside professional skills, top universities like USB makes you feel more confident to deal with business partners or customers. In my case, the knowledge gained from Futures Studies helped me to work better in identifying the trends of the world’s supply chain as well as emerging issues in the region.

With the tools equipped during the MPhil, it is easier for me to deal with complexities in the fast changing environment and therefore, to enhance efficiency. As a result, I was promoted to be senior manager after one and a half years at Walmart, following several projects as well as initiatives that I accomplished together with my team.

Today, you can imagine that when I walk out into the world, I have two feet with me: the right one is USB and the left one is Walmart in Vietnam. I am more exposed to the world and feel full of confidence. I can speak to the public as a Walmart representative, but from deep inside, it is a Matie who does so. Together with Walmart, I had opportunities to contribute further to the education in Vietnam through scholarship programmes and to the community through anti-human trafficking projects. If I had to choose again, the University of Stellenbosch Business School would be my best option.

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A Distinct and Differentiated vision of business and political leadership in UAE

Alumnet

A Distinct and Differentiated vision of business and political leadership in UAE

  • Prof Steyn Heckroodt
  • JUN 28 2018
  • Tags Alumni, Business, News

I recently had the opportunity of visiting the Abu Dhabi Louvre Museum. This is part of the Louvre in Paris and a joint project between the Abu Dhabi Emirate, Capital of the UAE, and Paris, France. The aim was to extend the collection of art held by the Louvre in Paris and at the same time, influence the way we view art through the introduction of an Islamic perspective of the world.

It made for a fascinating experience and by all means represents the merging of cultures from across the globe in the most tangible and insightful manner that I have ever observed and experienced.

It begs the question: what is it like to work as a manager or leader in this melting pot of cultures? A world which is home to no less than 218 different nationalities, a plethora of religious and traditional backgrounds and values with the seemingly only common denominator that of wanting a “better” life?

To be honest – at times exciting and awarding, new, different, learning and fresh and at times, frustrating, difficult and hugely challenging.

“This focus on the future, on achievement, on extended and ambitious goals makes for a driven but also exceptionally tolerant working environment.”

If I had to put what I have learnt during the past four years on a balanced scale, I would probably say that the knowledge and experience I gained, far outweighs that which I have brought to this part of the world. Hard to believe, considering that I have, before relocating to Dubai, spent more than 20 years in 17 different countries doing pretty much what I am doing now. So why then the exponential difference in learning acquired and experience gained versus what I already had?

If I can pinpoint one fundamental difference in the current landscape contextualising the world of work that I find myself in versus those from before, it is the vision of the business and political leadership that distinguishes and differentiates them from others.

The country and region focuses almost solely on the future, even in the glorious display of merging worlds through the pathway of arts and history cemented and displayed through the Louvre initiative, understanding history is there to shape the future and not to dabble in the past.

This focus on the future, on achievement, on extended and ambitious goals makes for a driven but also exceptionally tolerant working environment.

To achieve what the country and region is aiming for requires a skills pool from all walks of life, whether it is South Korean engineers building a nuclear power plant, British financial planners setting up banking protocols, Indian Universities prospering here and/or Pilipino and Bangladeshi workers serving the hotel and catering industry, everyone works together, treat one another with respect and focus on achieving the ideal future visualised and communicated by the region’s leaders – business and political.

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Making Impact: Dr Shaun Vorster shares progress on EXPO 2020 Dubai

Alumnet

Making Impact: Dr Shaun Vorster shares progress on EXPO 2020 Dubai

  • Dr Shaun Vorster
  • JUN 28 2018
  • Tags Alumni, Business, News, Expo 2020 Dubai

Dubai won the bid to host Expo 2020 in November 2013. From that day, we embarked on the journey towards hosting an exceptional Expo, creating a global collaborative platform that leaves a lasting legacy for the UAE and participants, says Dr Shaun Vorster, USB MBA alumnus and Vice President-Business Integration and Activations, EXPO 2020 Dubai.

With less than 850 days to go until Expo 2020 Dubai, preparations to deliver the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region are well on track.

Between 20 October 2020 and 10 April 2021, Expo 2020 Dubai expects to attract 25 million visits from domestic and international tourists, students, business leaders and government delegations. The theme of Expo 2020 is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ and its three key subthemes are Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.

Expo 2020 continues to make progress in six key areas:

  1. International participation

To date, 170 countries have either publicly or privately confirmed their participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, including Italy, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Greece, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, Chile, Nigeria, Germany and Ireland.

  1. Commercial partnerships

Expo 2020 Dubai has announced 10 Premier Partners and three Official Partners to date:

Premier partners

  • Accenture – Official Digital Services Partner (jointly with Etisalat)
  • Cisco – Official Digital Network Partner
  • DP World – Official Global Trade Partner
  • Emirates Airline – Official Airline Partner
  • Emirates NBD – Official Banking Services Partner
  • Etisalat – Official Telecommunications Partner and Official Digital Services Partner (jointly with Accenture)
  • Nissan – Official Automotive Partner
  • PepsiCo –Official Beverages and Snack Partner
  • SAP – Official Innovative Enterprise Software Partner
  • Siemens – Official Intelligent Infrastructure & Operations Partner

Official partners

  • DEWA – Official Sustainable Energy Partner
  • ENOC – Official Integrated Energy Partner
  • UPS – Official Logistics Partner

Commercial partners are playing a vital role in delivering Expo 2020 Dubai and supporting its legacy.

  1. The home of Expo 2020 in Dubai

Three theme districts – Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability – form the core of Expo’s 4.38 sqkm site. The foundations are already complete and the construction is changing daily into recognisable buildings. All the major design elements are complete, including the iconic Al Wasl Plaza, a central hub that will feature a massive steel trellis dome with a diameter of 130 metres.

More than 30 million work hours have been completed on the Expo 2020 site, with 6,100 cubic metres of concrete being laid every week and 85 kilometres of pipe already laid.

Details of the Sustainability Pavilion, which was designed by Grimshaw Architects, were made public in January 2017. This pavilion explores the potential of self-sustaining water and energy buildings by using innovative combinations of technologies to harvest solar power and water from the air. Construction is well underway and the pavilion is due to be completed by October 2019.

  1. Economic impact

In 2017, Expo awarded AED 10.8 billion in construction contracts and AED 411 million in non-construction contracts.

Expo 2020 Dubai has awarded 3,093 contracts to date, with SMEs continuing to lead the way by gaining 1,717 of these contracts. The Expo team will continue to identify and promote opportunities for SMEs, including licensed merchandise and a potential AED 2 billion in food and beverage sales during the event.

Companies wishing to bid for Expo contracts can register here: https://esource.expo2020dubai.ae/esop/uae-e20-host/public/web/login.jst

  1. Social impact

Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, is creating opportunities for people to connect with one another from every corner of the world.

Expo Live, Expo 2020’s global social impact programme, has allocated USD 100 million to back projects offering creative solutions that improve people’s lives or to help to preserve our world – or both.

During the first three cycles of Expo Live’s flagship Innovation Impact Grant Programme, a total of 70 Global Innovators from 42 countries were selected to receive grants of up to USD 100,000, as well as business guidance and promotion to help them reach their full potential. Expo Live’s University Innovation Programme is encouraging and supporting university students in the UAE to work together to find creative solutions for some of the most pressing challenges facing the world.

World Expos have always been about innovation and through Expo Live, Expo 2020 Dubai is taking this tradition to the next level by stimulating the creation and development of ideas that will inspire millions of visitors and improve the lives of people around the world. To find more about Expo Live, visit: https://www.expo2020dubai.com/en/expo-live/expo-live

Expo 2020 Dubai’s Youth Connect team also continues to engage in exciting programmes with schools and educators across the UAE. Youth Connect has already reached more than 36,300 students from 620 schools in all seven Emirates, and plans to expand its reach throughout the journey to 2020.

Expo 2020 has also launched its search for at least 30,000 volunteers to become the ‘face’ of the next World Expo. To register your interest in becoming an Expo 2020 Volunteer, visit: https://www.volunteers.ae/expomain.aspx

The Expo 2020 Dubai apprenticeship programme is another example of the World Expo’s contribution to training and placing competent and highly skilled young professionals into the UAE’s workforce.

  1. Legacy

Beyond 2021, Expo 2020 Dubai’s spirit and accomplishments will continue to have a lasting and tangible impact on future generations.

In September 2017, Expo 2020 announced its exciting legacy plans, which will see the Expo site live on long after the six months of the event as District 2020 – a new urban experience that will showcase the latest trends of modern living, blending work and recreation.

District 2020 will include 65,000 sqm of residential space and 135,000 sqm of commercial space in a location that will be home to world-class innovation, educational, cultural and entertainment facilities, as well as a Conference and Exhibition Centre.

Two of Expo 2020’s Premier Partners, Accenture and Siemens, have already committed to the legacy of Expo 2020, and will have a permanent presence in District 2020. Siemens will establish its global headquarters for airports, cargo and ports logistics at the site, while Accenture will open a digital hub in District 2020.

Click here to read the Briefing and Factsheet Expo Dubai 2020

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alumni association

A Focus On The USB Alumni Association Middle East - Dubai Chapter Committee

AlumNet

A Focus On The USB Alumni Association Middle East – Dubai Chapter Committee

  • JUN 27 2018
  • Tags Alumni Committee, Middle East

The Middle East Dubai chapter of the USB Alumni Association has nominated a new committee in 2017. Under the leadership of Anneke Heckroodt this new chapter has already represented the USB alumni at a series of events. They represent alumni in the Middle East and plans exciting and innovative actions for the future.

On the 9th November 2017, the 10th Eduniversal Palmes of Excellence Ceremony and Awards Gala dinner was held in Dubai. Following a survey completed by Deans and Directors of higher education institutions globally, their vote for academic peers identified the top three schools in all the geographic regions. The USB was identified as one of 3 on the African continent to receive this prestigious award. Prof Steyn Heckroodt and his wife, Chairperson Anneke Heckroodt received the award on behalf of the USB at the Gala Dinner.

The committee promotes USB programme information sessions and deliver testimonials when these events are hosted in Dubai and where new students were recruited. On 19 May 2017 the committee hosted an USB exhibition stall at the USB MBA World Tour in Dubai with USB’s Prof Daniel Malan.

The chairperson calls on all alumni residing and working in the Middle East to contact her with their new contact details as they are valuable partners in the network and the committee wish to include everyone in the network activities.

Anneke Heckroodt, Managing Consultant, LTS Health ME FZ-LLC.Email: annekeheckroodt@gmail.com Tel: +971 568296933

The Chairperson, Anneke Heckroodt is currently working for LTS Health in Dubai as a managing consultant. LTS is a specialist consultancy in laboratory performance improvement and a trusted ally to laboratories across the globe. She joined the company in 2017 after moving to Dubai with her husband, Prof Steyn Heckroodt. Anneke graduated from USB in 2000 with a MBA in Strategic Marketing.

She subsequently started a boutique consulting business, Lateral Dimensions (Pty) Ltd, of which she has been the Managing Director since inception. She consulted for many corporate South African companies in projects that involved business strategy, market development, loyalty and rewards program development, SME development and Customer Insight Creation.

She served as Executive and Non-Executive director on various boards of private, non-profit and NGO organisations during the last 25 years.

Anneke acted as virtual faculty member for USB-ED from 2004 to 2016, facilitating programmes in marketing, retail relations, digital marketing. She is also a virtual faculty member for Westford School of Management in Sharjah, and the University of Jumeirah in Dubai.

“Embracing a life change, that also involves a career change later in your life, has been an interesting journey that no business school or academic institution prepares you for. But once you’ve left the safe shores of your home country, the world falls open with vast opportunities. My USB involvement over the years has kept me on my toes, proud of my heritage and training and very enthused to spread my experience where I am currently situated here in the UAE.”

Dr Shaun Vorster was the top MBA student at USB in 2012 and still holds the record for the highest average in the history of the Business School. He was also the recipient of the prestigious CGW Schumann medal for top post graduate student in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. He is still associated with the USB as pro bono Extraordinary Professor.

He joined the Expo 2020 Dubai team in early 2015, and he is currently the Vice President for Business Integration and Activations. This department is responsible for creating enabling conditions for SMEs to capture a 20% share of the direct and indirect procurement spend for this multi-billion dollar project, to facilitate B2B2G value creation, to execute all brand activations and to render protocol and event management services.
He describes the Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ as his major inspiration – an opportunity to contribute to a better world. Living in one of the most progressive cities in the world, home to more than 200 nationalities, and working in an organisation where visionary leadership and organisational practices are based on the deeply embedded values of Integrity, Respect, Cooperation, Humility and Excellence, is something he regards as a rare privilege and learning opportunity.

 

 

Prof Steyn Heckroodt is currently Dean of The Business College at the University of Modern Science in Dubai. Previously Steyn held positions as the Dean of Jumeirah University, Director of Academic Affairs, Learning and Development at Jumeirah University, Dean of Westford School of Management in Sharjah, UAE. Steyn is also a moderator for Harvard Business Publishing in the Middle East. Steyn has published two books and a number of articles and is an active blogger for industry publications in the field of strategy, supply chain and systems thinking.

He regularly conducts workshops on behalf of international business schools in the Middle East in these subjects. Steyn graduated with a PhD in Strategy, Business Management Administration from Stellenbosch University in 2012.

His current and previous work commitments include:

• University of Modern Science, Dubai. Dean and Professor of the Business College
• Moderator: Harvard Business School Publishing
• Senior virtual faculty – Leoron Development Institute
• Jumeirah University, College of Business (Strategic Leadership) -Dean and Professor
• Westford Education Group (Team Dynamics and Personal Mastery) – Dean
• Stellenbosch Business School – MBA (International Management and Leadership)
• University of Wolverhampton – MBA (Leadership and Management Dynamics)
• Dutch Sudanese Management Centre along with Netherlands Business School (High-Performance Team Leadership and Coaching)

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alumni committee

Meet the Ghana Alumni Committee

AlumNet

Meet the Ghana Alumni Committee

alumni committee

  • APR 27
  • Tags Alumni Committee

Doctor Geraldine Gina Abaidoo – Chairperson

Dr. Geraldine Gina Abaidoo is the Lead Consultant for  FINNET Solutions Limited; a financial consulting firm set up to provide consulting services and deployment of best business solutions to create synergy and business growth for companies within the HODA Holdings.  Dr. Geraldine Abaidoo is a Member of Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), UK, an Associate Member of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), UK, and Chartered Insurer.  He has over 12 years’ experience in the insurance industry of the financial sector.

 

 

Clement Bandoh – Communications

Clement Fynn Bandoh (CFB) is a Council Member of GLG a consulting firm that provides consulting services, professional learning, and development platform for individuals and corporate organizations, establishing alignment between top professionals and their council members.  Clement has about twenty nine years experience in Supply Chain Management and B2B Management processes, which involves effective communication systems, negotiation, planning, and leadership acumen.

 

 

 

Richard Agbettoh – Deputy Chairperson

Richard Agbettoh is the Security and Safety Assurance Manager at the Ghana International School which is a 60 year old academic institution that offers a broad academic curriculum that nurtures its students to become muliti-diversed global citizens. Richard has a broad knowledge and expertise in security and brings his fifteen years of experience to the fore to instil best practices as regards campus safety to create and enabling secure environment to foster effective and efficient learning. He formulates, enforce and maintain policies to ensure physical safety of all property and assets owned by the organisation.

 

 

Bernard Ewusie-Mensah – Logistics
Bernard holds a Postgraduate Degree in Strategic Information Systems Management and BSc (Hons) Computing-Information System from the University of Wolverhampton (UK). He also holds a Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Insurance and has completed a Business Management Program from the University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town, South Africa. Bernard is a Certified of Information Systems Auditor (CISA). He is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Insurance (CII) UK and a member of Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA).

 

 

Marindame Kombate – Sponsorships
Marindame Kombate currently holds the position of Manager, Energy Projects in West Africa at Camco Clean Energy. He has provided training, coaching and guidance for the development of sustainable business plans to social entrepreneurs in the impact investment space in East and West African sub-regions over the past 8 years. He holds a degree in Business Administration (First Class Honours) from the University of Ghana Business School, Ghana and a Master of Development Finance from the University of Stellenbosch Business School, South Africa.

 

 

Vanessa Harding – Treasury
Vanessa Harding works with Enterprise Life Assurance Company, a subsidiary of Enterprise Group Limited. She is currently the Head of Underwriting and Reinsurance. As part of her duties, she provides technical assistance in risk assessment of individual Life and Group policies, product development & management and reinsurance placement. She has been working for Enterprise Life for the past 13 years. She holds a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Management from the University of Cape Coast, Masters in Business Administration Marketing Option from Ghana Institute of Management & Public Administration and a Business Management programme from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.

 

Ralph Nordjo 
Ralph Essem Nordjo is a Development Analyst. He holds a B.A. Social Science degree from the University of Cape Coast – Ghana. He further pursued a Master Degree in Development and International Relations at the Aalborg University in Denmark and a second Master Degree in Development Finance at the University of Stellenbosch Business School where he completed in 2012. Ralph has passion for private sector development having worked with the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, Improving Business Practice (IBP) and also worked for the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) as a Consultant on a number of projects. Ralph is the C.E.O. of GlobalView Consult. He is currently pursuing a PhD programme in Development Finance at the University of Stellenbosch Business School and his research areas are focused on Impact Evaluation and Agricultural Financing.

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Neuro-linguistic Programming Series: Using Logical Levels of Change as a coaching tool

AlumNet

Neuro-linguistic Programming Series: Using Logical Levels of Change as a coaching tool

  • Janine (Oosthuizen) Truter
  • DEC 16 2017
  • Tags Technology, Business, News, University

Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) in a nutshell can be described as an approach to communication and personal development and was created in the 1970s by Richard Bandler and John Grinder (Tosey & Mathison, 2007; Kyriacou, 2009).  It further embodies the discourse of self-improvement and attends to healthy functioning instead of pathology.

 

NLP writing and practice was influenced from a wide array of fields such as gestalt therapy, person-centered counselling, transformational grammar, behavioural psychology, cybernetics, Palo Alto School of brief therapy, Eriksonian hypnotherapy and cybernetic epistemology of Gregory Bateson (Tosey, Mathison & Mitchelli, 2005 & Kyriacou, 2009).  Carl Rogers, Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir were also inspirational to both Bandler and Grinder (founders and principal authors of NLP), due to their reputation for excellence (Tosey, Mathison & Mitchelli, 2005 & Kyriacou, 2009).  Today NLP is not viewed as a uniform field, as Grinder has turned his focus towards the “new code NLP”.

 

The relationship between NLP and academia has been tenuous and somewhat strained, in part as a result of the anti-theoretical stance of its founders stating that, “We have no idea about the ‘real’ nature of things, and we’re not particularly interested in what’s ‘true’. The function of modeling is to arrive at descriptions which are useful,” (Bandler & Grinder, 1979, p.7).

“NLP assumes that people act according to the way they understand and represent the world, not according to the way the world is.”

According to Tosey, Mathison and Mitchelli (2005), NLP’s content may appear highly eclectic, but it will not be fruitful to attempt to reconcile the contents of its models and frameworks.  It rather presents as a methodology as opposed to a research method and offers a more specific analysis of subjective experience than is available from other phenomenological methods.  NLP assumes that people act according to the way they understand and represent the world, not according to the way the world is, which is aptly recapitulated in Korzybski’s(1958) dictum, “the map is not the territory”.  As such, it supports the constructivist principle that people create their own reality – focusing on form rather than content.The purpose of this article is to explore one of the models offered by NLP, namely the Logical Levels of Change, proposed by Robert Dilts.  According to Dilts, his model is based on Bateson’s five orders of learning.  He recaps them as follows (Bateson, 1972):

  • Zero learning is characterised by specificity of response, which, right or wrong, is not subject to correction;
  • Learning I is change in specificity of response by correction of errors of choice within a set of alternatives;
  • Learning II is change in the process of Learning I, e.g., a corrective change in the set of alternatives from which choice is made, or it is a change in how the sequence of experiences is punctuated;
  • Learning III is change in the process of Learning II, e.g., a corrective change in the system of sets of alternatives from which choice is made; and
  • Learning IV would be change in Learning III, but probably does not occur in any adult living organism.

Robert Dilts’ (Dilts & Epstein, 1995), model of neurological levels indicates a useful methodology in changing world views.  However, Dilts purports that the model is based on systemic theory – which in itself is a fundamental flaw.  The flaw resides in the name “logical” and the structure – that there are different levels involved.  To clarify this point further it should be noted that in systems theory, a system (Ackoff, 1994, pp. 18-25) is a whole that cannot be divided into independent parts, because every part of a system has properties that it loses when separated from the system, and every system has some properties that none of its parts do.

Ackoff (1994) further expands on this definition, stating that a system is a set of two or more elements that satisfies the following three conditions:

  1. ​The behaviour of each element has an effect on the behavior of the whole;
  2. The behaviour of the elements and their effects on the whole are interdependent; and
  3. However, subgroups of the elements are formed, each has an effect on the behavior of the whole and none has an independent effect on it.

The environment of a system consists of those things that can affect the properties and performance of that system, but over which it has no control. In systems theory information flows back and forth across the boundary between the system and its environment. Dilts’ logical levels model places parts of the system in a control or dominator hierarchy. This is anti-systemic.  Furthermore, Dilts’ placement of the environment in his hierarchy makes no sense in terms of systems theory (Woodsmall, 2009).

 

Nonetheless, that being said, Dilts’ model presents as a useful organising principle or a list of factors to consider in a change context.  It provides a convenient diagram and set of alternatives for intervention.  It is simple and seemingly straight forward and is associated with a set of questions that makes it easy to recognise (Woodsmall, 2009). It invokes Bateson and gives an ostensible impression of being both scientific and cybernetic.

Herewith a brief introduction and explanation of Dilts’ six levels model (Kyriacou, 2009):

  1. Environment
  2. Behaviour
  3. Capability
  4. Belief
  5. Identity
  6. Spirit

The model is presented as a hierarchical network and denotes that change at a higher level has more far-reaching consequences for the person in that it is likely to affect an increasingly wide range of beliefs, capabilities and behaviours (Tosey, Mathison & Mitchelli, 2005; Kyriacou, 2009).

NLP suggests that significant change to one’s map of the world may be new views of cause and meaning, which suggests that the individual re-configures the causal relationships between the parts of their map.  As such, it is consistent with transformative learning (change of understanding about the world) and also corresponds to the belief level in Dilts’ model (Dilts & Epstein, 1995).

The following is an illustration of the logical levels:

Dilts presents the model as a pyramid; each level is a category or set containing the level directly below.  In addition a higher level cannot develop without the immediate level below and a change at any level will impact on those above and below.  However, a higher level change tends to have more effect on the lower levels than vice versa.  When all the levels are supported by the level above, this means the levels are aligned (Woodsmall, 2009).

From the psychological point of view there seems to be five levels that one works with most often:

 

  1. The basic level is your environment, your external constraints.
  2. You operate in that environment through your behavior.
  3. Your behavior is guided by your mental maps and your strategies, which define your capabilities.
  4. These capabilities are organised by belief systems.
  5. Beliefs are organised by identity (Dilts, 1990).​

As such, when coaching a person who is experiencing a challenge, you may explore whether the difficulty is coming from the external context, or perhaps the individual doesn’t have the required sort of behaviour, alternatively the person may lack the belief or have a conflicting belief that acts as an obstacle to the outcome.  Finally, is there interference at the level of identity?  These become very important distinctions for anyone working in the areas of learning, communication or change (Dilts, 1990).  Think of an example like postponing a specific task, because you believe you are not capable of doing it.  This example can be viewed as being on the behaviour level – What does the person do (behaviour)? and the intervention can be aimed at the capability level – What skills, abilities and competencies does the person require to do the task?  Alternatively, the intervention can be pitched on the belief level – What is important to the individual?; How do they see themselves?; What would facilitate the accomplishment of their ultimate goal in life?  The latter being the most challenging intervention from the perspective of the coach.

Change becomes more difficult and requires more skill and time as the logical level increases.  From an efficiency point of view it is best to solve the problem at the lowest level possible, which requires the easiest intervention.  If the required progress is not achieved, one would shift one level higher and address the problem at that level and evaluate whether the desired change has occurred (Kyriacou, 2009).

It is also important to take note that a higher level of change may be necessary in order to effect a lower level change, but it does not automatically create the change.  One of the most powerful uses of the logical levels model is in seeking solutions to problems.  “Einstein’s notion that a problem cannot be solved on the level in which it was created” is a key driver of Dilts’ model (Cheal, 2007).

The following paragraphs provide a guideline to identify the logical levels (Cheal, 2007; Kyriacou, 2009; Dilts & De Lozier, 2000):

Spirituality – Whom do I serve and for what purpose?

The spirituality level connects you with the ‘bigger picture’ – where you question your own purpose, ethics, mission or meaning in life.  It focuses on the questions about existence and purpose.  This level tends to run everything that lies below and is left fairly open to interpretation.  It relates to how the individual experiences it on a personal level.

 

Identity – Who am I and do I reflect that in the way I live?

If values are viewed as policies for the self, the identity level is your evaluation of your ability to implement such policies.  One may have pre-installed filters that may become a network of filters, providing a way to prove over and over, how the specific self-belief is true.

The rest of the NLP levels, besides the value level, are all about choosing your behaviour and suggests a separation between the person and the actions.  The work within the coaching context for example, is situated around synchronising the individual’s behaviour with his/her values.  This facilitates a new programme or network for success, which replaces the old programme or map that was not supporting optimal performance, initially.

 

Values & Beliefs – Why do I make these changes?

Values can be thought of as important to us, almost fundamental policies for the self that define who we are.  Things become important to us when we believe they can facilitate the accomplishment of our ultimate goal in life.  Being individualistic, values cannot be affected by applying a one size fits all approach.  Values describe what you expect of yourself and how you describe yourself as a person, while your behaviour is what you do.  As such, values and beliefs drive us and influence or lower levels of capability, behaviour and provide us with the internal permission to change.

When an individual’s values are in conflict, internal challenges may emerge.  As such, guilt kicks in when our core values are challenged or even entirely absorbed by our destructive patterns.  Instead of then viewing guilt as an indictment of character, it should rather be viewed as a testimony of character. For example, when addressing or challenging feelings of guilt (which are linked with values), one can ask the coachee to mention five things they feel guilty about and in turn translate this into five good things about themselves (their values).  Guilt generally presents as an indication that a person is breaking their own rules, or not living up to their standards of conduct.  As with physical pain, guilt, tells you when you are moving in the wrong direction and as such may be viewed as a form of pain that tells you when your behaviour is out of sync with your values.

Beliefs are included at this level as you believe in your values and you value your beliefs.  Furthermore, beliefs are present at all levels.  One has beliefs about the environment, your behaviour, your values, beliefs about beliefs, about identity and about spirituality.  As such, beliefs have an impact on all the logical levels.  Beliefs may be unhealthy or irrational and limiting to us, but we may still be unable to let go of them.  Possibly because limiting beliefs existed since we were very young and continued to strengthen over the course of our lives due to self-reinforcing experiences.

 

Capabilities & Skills – How do I make these changes?

This level refers to the skills and abilities that we currently possess to achieve the changes we want.  The required skills that we have not yet learned must also be considered at this level, in order to make the needed changes.  The requirement is that we practice these skills repetitively in order to gain competence and mastery with them.

 

Behaviour – What do I need to change?

This level refers to what you think about, as well as your actions.  We often have a deeply ingrained problem network such as depression or anxiety and that may be the phenomenon we spend the most time thinking about – every time the problem network is activated.  As such, we will have to install, learn and practice solution-oriented behaviours and attitudes.

 

Environment – Where do I need change?

The environment is where we are surrounded by people, places and things that support our behaviour and habits.  We have built these external networks and / triggers, which can often keep us stuck in our problems and may need to be removed or altered if individuals wish to change some aspect of themselves or their lives.

 

If an individual is faced with a specific problem/challenge and the coach is able to establish the level where it is situated, a lasting solution will tend to be found a level or two above.  For example, if someone behaves inappropriately in a certain environment, one could change the environment, but the inappropriate behaviour remains.  One could suggest an alternative behaviour, but even there is a short term change and the behaviour is likely to return, if something hasn’t changed in the person’s capability. The individual has to have the knowledge of HOW to change, not merely WHAT to change.  Alternatively the individual can practice a skill without effect, but once the person begins to gain confidence and belief in themselves, the skill is more likely to become more lasting (Internet of the mind, 2008).

 

Although Dilts’ Logical Levels may be theoretically flawed –in stating its foundation in systemic theory – it can be viewed as a profoundly useful guide when addressing the change process in both humans and organisational systems.​

 

REFERENCES
Ackoff, Russell. (1994). The Democratic Corporation. Oxford University Press, New York.
Bateson, Gregory. (1972). Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Ballantine, New York, N.Y.
Bandler, R & Grinder, J, (1979). Frogs into Princes. Real People Press, Moab, Utah.
Cheal, Joe, (2007). Who is ‘I’? Who is ‘me’? Utilising and developing the logical levels Model. GWiz learning Partnership. Retrieved November, 20, 2009, from www.gwiztraining.com
Dilts, R, (1990). Changing Belief Systems with NLP. Meta Publications, Cupertino, California, 1990.
Dilts, R.B. & Epstein, T.A. (1995). Dynamic Learning, California: Meta Publications
Dilts, R & De Lozier, J, (2000). Encyclopedia of Systemic NLP and NLP New Coding. Meta Publications, Capitola, California.
Kyriacou, Jimmy, (2009). NLP Cutting Edge – NLP & Life Coaching Course.
Korzybski, A. (1973). Science and Sanity. Colonial Press, Clinton, Mass.
Internet-of-the-mind. NLP Logical Levels of Change. Retrieved November, 26, 2009 from www.internet-of-the-mind .com
Woodsmall, Marilyne and Woodsmall, Wyatt .(1998). People Pattern Power, Next Step Press, Vienna, Virginia, 1998.
Woodsmall, Wyatt. (2009) Fachartikel: So called Logical levels & Systemic NLP. Retrieved November 23, 2009, from www.cnlpa.de/presse/loglev.html
Tosey, Mathison, and Mitchelli . (2005). Mapping Transformative Learning: the Potential of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Journal of Transformative Education, 3, no. 2, April 2005, 140-167.​

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