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Smart organisations seek purposeful interventions


11th Mar 2009 08:13 am

As economies across the world plummet, Forbes.com's Layoff Tracker reports that there have been 486 639 layoffs at America's 500 largest listed companies since November 2008. According to BBC News, workers across the world face job losses as large corporations announce more than 70 000 lay-offs in one day. In South Africa, Minister of Finance Trevor Manual alerts the mining industry that it needs to have proposals in place to ensure that people remain in employment.

Judging by the attendance at the launch of WorldsView Consulting's Purposeful Teams intervention in Cape Town and Durban during February 2008, organisations in South Africa are looking beyond layoffs to purposeful interventions that will deal more effectively with what seasoned leaders see as a ‘long haul' downturn in the economy.

Organisations such as Legend Lodges Hotels and Resorts, Nedbank, the Plastics Federation of South Africa, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Sappi-SAICCOR, Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World, who were well represented at the Durban launch of WorldsView Consulting's Purposeful Teams intervention on 26 February, recognise that people are their most valuable resource.

Comments from the participants, who represented the engineering, financial, retail, tourism and training sectors, supported the view expressed on Businessweek.com in October 2008 that economic downturns can have positive effects: they can force companies to increase their efficiency...and strive to do things in smarter ways.

Participants at the Durban launch confirmed that the Purposeful Teams intervention highlights the importance of using available resources to effect sustainable change. The intervention was seen as a fresh approach with one of the key facets being the alignment of values and knowledge with actions. Another view was that, while strategic goals differ in organisations, the Purposeful Teams intervention provides the foundation for developing effective executive management teams. Several of the participants saw the potential for the intervention to benefit an entire organisation and they identified specifically their maintenance, guest relations, line and supervisory management, and operational and sales teams.

The participants noted that, particularly in the current economic climate, organisations need effective leadership, a compelling vision and strategic direction, the alignment of values, role clarification for individuals and teams, appropriate planning and processes, and market knowledge. They identified that key aspects to be addressed relate to working in ‘silos', internal politics and the need for individuals and team members to align with the organisation's strategic goals, be accountable, and take ownership and responsibility for purposeful, high performance.

Meaningful conversations combined with fast-acting and powerful interventions are needed to grow businesses and people to cope with rapid change. WorldsView Consulting's Nine Conversations in Leadership and Purposeful Teams interventions work in the realms of knowing, being and doing - all of which address the challenges identified by the launch participants.


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