Catalyst and adventure have gone hand in hand the last few months, here’s some of what we’ve been up to recently

Strategy and Leadership Workshop

A few months ago Catalyst was approached to facilitate a Strategy and Leadership workshop for the Africa and Western Europe Division of a client in the Agribusiness sector; the cherry on the cake was that the client wanted to run the workshop in Istanbul, Turkey, this made it a no-brainer for Debbie and I and we were delighted to accept the opportunity for what would be an intense and challenging assignment.

The main challenge was the diversity of the leadership team that we had to deal with, many of whom were not native English speakers as we had representatives from Algeria, Iran, France, Mali, Mozambique and South Africa to name a few (French being the next predominant language to English). This also meant we had diversity in the level of leadership functioning and awareness, so keeping the entire group engaged was something we had to work on constantly throughout the 4 days of the workshop.

However, at the end of 4 days of hard work and lots of fun (we were treated to functions around Istanbul every evening) we received very positive feedback from the regional MD and participants.

Given that we were in Istanbul we tacked on week to do a whistle stop tour around the west coast of Turkey as well as a short trip Cappadocia. Turkey is a vibrant country rich in culture with warm and friendly people, there is so much to see and do that a week just doesn’t do it justice.

We were also given a great reminder of the mind-sets we adopt to get by in South Africa; on our final day we ended our tour in the coastal city of Izmir (Turkey’s 3rd biggest city). We had hired a car in Bodrum that we had used for a few days as we drove north with the plan to drop the car at Izmir airport, however the rental company does not operate with onsite offices as we are so used to, so on our arrival at domestic departures we were dismayed to find no representative to collect the car, after waiting nearly half an hour with many phone calls to the company we were getting desperate as we needed to check luggage in and board our flight back to Istanbul (Turkish Airways runs very well and we only experienced one flight delay).

We made one final call to enquire about the whereabouts of the company rep who was supposed to be on his way to collect the car, to be told he was still on his way, we informed them that we really had to check in and were told, no problem, just leave the keys in the ignition and the car at departures, would you ever consider leaving a car unlocked with the key in the ignition at departures at any of our local airports? All the way through check-in we kept looking at the car outside with total disbelief about what we’d been asked to do. The car was still there as we passed through security for boarding and we haven’t heard anything since so I guess it ended up back where it belonged. Debbie and I had a good chuckle about it as we winged our way back to Istanbul.

Be Extra-ordinary: The Everest Base Camp Journey

After the success of I am Talent across over 100 people in Brandhouse, we were invited to assist Brandhouse bring depth and meaning to their annual functional conferences in a way that would engage and energise their teams after another VUCA year of high change. We themed the conferences: Reinvent & reignite yourself and others for success using the analogy of an Everest Base Camp Trek to achieve the extra-ordinary.

The Key Objectives included:

  • Engage self: Create awareness of extraordinary possibilities, change readiness and mind-sets for growing self
  • Engage others: Engage meaningfully with others to achieve positive results, including giving and receiving feed-forward.
  • Engage your team: Contribute purposefully to your team to create a great place to work

The day involves setting the scene through an inspirational talk, rhythm activity and team challenge. Teams are then encouraged to adopt extra-ordinary thinking and behaviours to get them successfully through a number of tasks and an Amazing Race type challenge successfully whilst fully engaging themselves and their teams in the journey…. AND balancing their awareness, energy and focus throughout the day.

Between August and October we ran 5 conferences with over 650 people in Cape Town Jo’burg and KZN. Our largest conference was with 450 people at the Wild Coast Sun. That was a really interesting exercise with 7 venues, 14 facilitators, 49 teams and an Amazing Race set up requiring 49 clues!

Thankfully we received great feedback: “a resounding success”, “so different to anything we’ve done before”, “really useful tools to continue to work with”, “amazing passionate facilitators”, a highly energising, engaging day” etc.

Chief Learning Officer’s Conference and Accelerated Learning Pre-workshop

We had great fun introducing our Accelerated Learning Workshop to 22 delegates on 21 November as the pre-conference workshop to the CLO Conference. The workshop is designed as accelerated learning workshop with teams collaborating together to find, explore, engage and learn with each other, through subject matter experts in the room, and through a rabbit-hole of on-line and hard copy resources provided. The workshop is also gamified with a leader-board where individuals can score points for their teams for a variety of activities including learning, collaborating, sharing, contributing and for novel ideas. This motivates the team to keep progressing at a fast pace and ensure key learnings are shared and captured. Delegates leave with their own unique accelerated learning program plan for a project of their choice. Visual charts are used throughout and colourful summaries of learning end the day. Great fun was had by all. Thanks Kerryn, Darryn and Natalie for all your hard work and great facilitation.

We also played a role in Day 1 of the Chief Learning Officer’s Conference by bringing an engagement and gamification strategy to the day. This was to demonstrate the importance and effectiveness (and risks) of encouraging greater connection, engagement and collaboration both on and off-line throughout the day. Teams were established, specific behaviours were encouraged (such as networking, sharing insights and resources, tweeting, competing mini-surveys and taking team selfies) with great prizes up for grabs. Thanks Kerryn, Darryn and Tuppy for being an awesome team.

The day ended on a high with the Chief Learning Officer of the Year Award going to Alwyn Klein from MTN. the 2 runners up were Tracy Potgieter from Coca Cola Sabco and Heidi Volschenk from KPMG! Congrats to you all!. We also had our first special CLO book launch. We are pleased to say that over 50 copies were sold on the first 2 days after printing.

Breakthrough Business Breakfast

We hosted a Breakthrough Business Breakfast Session in June with the following topics:

  • WISE Decision Making: Explore your personal Decision Making Profile – including how your personality, brain dominance, decision making style (intuitive vs exhaustive) and neuroscience motivational SCARF profile affects our decision making effectiveness. Leave with a one page DM profile
  • Mindfulness: Build an awareness of how mindfulness impacts the 7 aspects of your life identity, focus, energy, engagement, power, purpose and wisdom. Leave with a one page Mindfulness Map to improve your effectiveness.

Look out for Debbie at the IPM Conference in November at Sun City where she will be talking about Paradigm shifts for Accelerated Learning

KZN Update

We have been busy in KZN and had great successes with our clients in Durban. We are enjoying expanding our footprint as we help organisations develop capability and confidence through transformational leadership and learning. Projects that we have been working on have included

  • John Gatherer and Jean Kilner were Guest Speakers at the KZN IPM Breakfast session
  • Various Executive Leadership Coaching sessions
  • A Turnaround Strategy, which has included a full sales review, that is proving to be highly successful
  • Jean Kilner was the Guest Speaker for an International Travel Management company
  • We have recently started working with a leader in the petroleum sector, and have successfully run programmes for both the Graduate Development Program and their CSI initiatives
  • We have been building on the I am Talent workshop for schools and have now run incredibly successful workshops for the leadership teams and post graduate teams at two of KZN’s leading Boys High Schools

We are currently negotiating with other organisations within KZN and look forward to busy final quarter of 2014 and early 2015.