We know that we live in changing and challenging times. As a small organisation we have little impact on the macro environmental changes in our country, and indeed the world. But we do have control over our internal structure, and how we respond to these shifts and changes in the world.
A very dear friend of mine who works in organisational development offered FunDza the opportunity have free consulting with a group of trainee OD practitioners from around the world. The iGOLD Program (International Gestalt Organisation and Leadership Development Program) is aimed at senior organisational consultants and leaders who receive training in the Gestalt approach to working with one’s self and others in complex environments.
Consultants typically include people from both the private and public sector and the levels of executive, manager and consultant in the fields of leadership and organisational development, strategy, HR, financial services, legal services and communications.
We were offered two afternoon sessions in late January with a group of six consultants. All we had to do was pick a problem that we, as an organisation, wanted to focus on.
We decided that we wanted to look at organisational resilience and think about how we could work smarter in order to achieve greater impacts in our work.
We had two amazing and heart-warming afternoon sessions with consultants Christina, Holly, Sharilyn, Sukari, Deon and Mauro who came from Canada, Israel, USA, Italy and South Africa.
The timing of the sessions was particularly good. It was towards the start of the year. Everyone was rejuvenated from the holidays and focused for the year ahead. The sessions helped us to articulate the gaps, and also interrogate our internal resources, particularly those that were currently under-utilised, to see how they could be used to better effect.
The iGOLD consultants were blown away by the passion and dedication that they witnessed in our organisation. According to their feedback: “We discovered instantly how passionate and energetic the organisation is! The dedication to improving and changing the lives of the youth was loudly sang by all. And incredibly inspiring! We heard the team talking about trust, common purpose, and a curiosity to learn and grow.”
Their keywords of our strengths included: awareness, passion, dedication, commitment, humour, fun, family, innovation, team work, extensive reach, inspiration, empowerment, creativity, energy, technical knowledge (despite limited technical resources), adaptability and flexibility.
On the final afternoon we selected a number of priority areas for attention, and different staff members volunteered to be champions of each area. These included:
- Self-care, so that no one burns out (Champion: Ndibulele)
- Getting out to our beneficiaries to witness impact (Champion: Nandi)
- Understudying each other’s roles and passing on knowledge (Champion: Ros)
- Activations at schools to promote the mobi site (Champion: Shelley, with Refilwehape and Lukhanyo)
- Capitalising on the groups we currently reach (Champion: Alonzo, with Nandi)
- Sharing knowledge around projects and proposals in the pipeline (Champion: Dawn)
Perhaps for me, the highlight of the sessions was the team-building aspect. On the first afternoon we broke into two smaller groups. Our group had the opportunity to speak openly about our own strengths, as well as the strengths and capacities of others in the team. I loved hearing about the respect that different staff members had for one another, and learning how individuals were role models for one another or helped each other in small but significant ways.
I was so proud of all the FunDza people, and of the goodwill that is evident within our organisation. I truly believe that with the right people and the right heart one can do incredible things.
Take a look at Sukari Pinnock’s blog post on LinkedIn about her visit to FunDza here.