During the course of the Senior Management Development Programme of USB Executive Development (USB-ED), participants are required to work on a group assignment. The focus of this assignment is for participants, as part of their syndicate group, to design a strategy for an NGO of their choice that is in need of improving its performance.
The objective of this assignment is twofold: firstly, it is about assisting senior managers to gain awareness and understanding of the environmental reality within which their organisation operates. The success of their organisation is ultimately dependent on the sustainability of the environment and social system of which the organisation is part. Secondly, the objective is to give the participants the opportunity to apply the knowledge and understanding they have gained during the study schools in a situation outside their comfort zone.
“This assignment not only adds to the participants’ learning experience but also provides an opportunity for an NGO to receive input and advice from experienced senior business managers who can assist the NGO’s management team to deal with strategic challenges it may be facing,” says Willemien Law, managing executive: Open Enrolment Programmes at USB-ED.
At a more personal level, this assignment has resulted in long-lasting relationships being forged between participants of the SMDP and the NGOs with which they worked. Davin Giles, Marko Faes, Morne Brits, Eben Kannemeyer and Mabutho Zwane worked with the Worcester House of Hope during 2011 and were proud to report back, in May this year, that they managed to help the Home launch its website as a means of raising awareness for its cause.
Indeed, USB-ED regularly receives words of acknowledgement and gratitude for the value that SMDP participants add to the NGOs with which they work. Here are some of the comments that have been received:
“Dear Davin and the Lefties
We do not have words to describe our gratitude for all you've done for us. You are so good to us. Thank you very, very much!"
Erena, Worcester House of Hope
“We would like to express our gratitude to the whole team of “THE STRATEGISTS” and to USB for encouraging its students to engage in making a difference in this way. Please present our sincere appreciation to all concerned."
Paul Hooper, Western Cape Street Children’s Forum
“Dear Super 6 team
I thought you might like an update from Pebbles following your Business Driven Action Learning (BDAL) project last year. The BDAL project had a major impact on Pebbles and we have followed a number of your suggestions … We attended a week-long Leadership Course at USB this year, which was brilliant and combined with the advice and guidance that you all gave us, I really feel we are moving forwards in the right direction. Thank you all again for your support."
Sophia, Pebbles Project Trust