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Interviews
Laston Chilando - EDP 2016
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Laston is from Malawi and a specialist in human resources who recently moved into the position of general manager at First Merchant Bank (FMB) in Malawi. He shares his experience with us on the Executive Development Programme which he attended in 2016.

A friend told me about the EDP. He himself was a MBA student at USB and later the managing director at a bank in Malawi. I recently came from a functional leadership into a general management position and he told me the programme will give me good bridging in this regard.

I came with a mind-set that the programme is going to be very academic and which will help me with a theoretical understanding and business concepts.

Right from the first day with philosophy as a point of entry and systems thinking I realised that it is more about application and practical in nature. A lot of the time it was about discussions and more about pushing our boundaries of thinking and getting you into a robust debate.

It changed my perspective. It was fantastic to move away from the theory to the practical – it stretches your mind.

The first thing I became aware of, was that the quality of my thinking has shifted when encountering a problem. Before I had a single approach to a problem, but now I’ve learned that there is multiple perspectives. I should listen to everybody, there is more perspectives to a problem.

I’m no more of the thinking that because I’m accountable, I have to move in and suggest what needs to be done. The programme has taught me to sit down and listen, think and then work out what is the best option.

The programme has also taught me that a lot of planning needs to be done to solve problems. Before my thinking was more about taking action. Now it is about the quality of thinking that has to be applied, taking into account all the perspectives around the issue and then take action. 
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