Finance Indaba 2016: WorldsView Academy prepares organisations for success

"We offer a comprehensive and holistic set of services to facilitate how finance organisations or departments provide value to their constituency and come together to deliver this value well," says Christo van Staden, head of interventions at WorldsView Academy, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

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In the coming weeks and months, we will be chatting to all the Indaba partners, asking them why they are joining the event and what their most important message for finance professionals is.

Do you want to hear more about WorldsView Academy's organisational development interventions? Do you want to be informed about the latest and greatest in finance? Then don't miss the Finance Indaba Africa 2016.

Why will you be present at the Finance Indaba?
"We are certain that the Organisation Development profession can make a significant contribution towards the ability of finance organisations, whether internal functions or fully-fledged independent firms, to shape and often reshape themselves for success in rapidly-evolving, complex business environments. Over the past few years we have engaged very frequently with organisations in the financial industry (from the parastatal to the private sector), and we wish to extend this experience and make a larger and more ambitious contribution to the growth and sustainability of this industry. We will be present at the Indaba to:

  1. Explore and come to a deeper understanding of the challenges this industry and profession are facing.
  2. Engage with the financial community around OD as a powerful approach to make sense of and resolve some of the most vexing issues you are facing.
  3. Make some strides towards fulfilling our mission to help organisations to become more effective, in a healthy way, by engaging in conversations, listening and learning, and sharing insights, knowledge and possibilities from our profession.
  4. Build relationships with CFO SA and members, to ensure that we continue to deliver relevant and quality services that supports you towards becoming the organisations and leaders you strive to become."

What will you be talking about?
"We will engage with our audiences about the business challenges they are facing, and how organisation development perspectives and approaches may help them to accelerate the effective resolution of these challenges. These include -

  • Using Organisation Development principles to close the gap between strategy and execution, and between plan and action, by integrating abstract organisational structures and concrete human agency. More simply stated: How do we find optimal balance between the way a system prescribes action and the extent to which people in that system are empowered to and do use their initiative.
  • Identifying incongruence and creating more congruence in how we lead the organisation, making sure that the way we set up the organisational system supports and encourages the human behaviours required to effectively execute strategy.
  • Building strategic Organisation Development capability internally by equipping strategic stakeholders, from leadership to internal business partners (e.g. HR, OD, IT), with a philosophy, approach and tools to lead and support the coherent development of the organisation."

What are the challenges you can help finance professionals/firms with in 2016?

  1. As organisations accelerate the transition towards customer-centricity specifically, and more agile and flexible approaches to strategy and execution in general, in order to survive and thrive in the complexity of contemporary markets, so the relationship of the internal finance departments of organisations are also shifting. Are you moving towards a Centre of Excellence model? Does the relationship between the finance department and operations change significantly? Is the CFO required to make a different kind of contribution to the strategic conversation?
  2. Finance firms experience the full force of disruptive innovation in the financial and technology industries, and need to bolster their capability to adapt fast enough to changes in the business environment. These firms may be large and complex, or medium to small and focused on a smaller niche, yet all require to successfully position or reposition themselves in the market, set themselves up for effective performance by developing the right structure, capabilities, systems and routines, and execute - all while all the parts are moving.
  3. Moving to an innovative 'mind-set' is not an easy task. For years we avoided failure and strived for perfection, but to innovate we have to invite failure and allow for experimentation in order to come up with new ideas, which can have a massive impact on the organisation's culture.

"These are complex challenges, and as an OD firm, we offer a comprehensive and holistic set of services to facilitate how finance organisations or departments provide value to their constituency and come together to deliver this value well. These services include:

  1. Strategy and Organisational Design consulting, providing a powerful integrative methodology based on rigorous philosophical principles for making sense of the transformation of organisations in a complex, changing world, as well as the expertise to give advice on and facilitate strategy development, organisational design, and other aspects of organisation development.
  2. Leadership development, to enable the leadership of the organisation to lead a high-performance culture that continues to deliver value to its clients, but also in finance departments to play a business leadership role through quality internal business partnership.
  3. Management development, to ensure a healthy leadership pipeline, by helping financial professionals to make the transition from expert to manager and elicit great performance from teams and individuals.
  4. Team and workgroup development, to cascade changes in the organisational culture, resolve group performance issues and build cohesive and inspired teams and groups that achieve targets, deliver great service, and offer a great place to work.
  5. Skills development, including change management skills, communication skills, internal business partnering skills, and much more as required for successfully leading and managing in the organisation."

What are some of your insights into achieving employee happiness?

"There is no question by now that improvements in employee engagement (with employee happiness as a key indicator) lead to significant gains in performance and sustainability. Employee happiness may come across as a nebulous idea with different meanings for different people, but we can say for certain that it entails -

  • A sense of doing meaningful work, and knowing how well you are doing it.
  • A sense of belonging, where you are welcomed as you are, and of working together to fulfil a shared mission.
  • The right level of challenge, or optimal stress, so that achievement is within reach, but dependent on learning and growth.
  • A healthy and sustainable pace, so that the requirements of your work doesn't overwhelm your other roles in society and remains a pleasure.
  • A sense of moving forward, both as an organisation or a team, and as an individual.

"Our task as leaders and as Organisational Development practitioners is to shape the world of the organisation in such a way that these objectives are achieved. Leaders, at all levels, have the first responsibility - they set the tone, show the way, and create the conditions for their people to flourish. This may be as hard and business-like as ensuring that everyone has a clear sense of their roles, tasks, and goals within the context of the larger strategy, as strategic as understanding and delivering a compelling employee value proposition, and as "soft" as ensuring a humane workplace based on universal human values such as respect, integrity and care. OD practitioners support leaders in creating happy and productive workplaces by providing structural organisation development assistance (e.g. strategy development, organisation design, and so on), and by facilitating team and group development and coaching and facilitating leaders to show up in ways that lead to happier and more productive workplaces. We are required to help leaders bring this culture alive by exploring the real-life stories of what is happening, what they would want to happen (a picture of the 'new' culture) and how to get there by walking the talk."

How does the academy's work tie into Vision 2030 and the National Development Plan?
"We consider effective and healthy organisations to be at the heart of an effective society. Organisations need to be effectively created, they need to survive and take those survival lessons, as well as an open mind, into the next stage of their evolution, and they sometimes also need to be dissolved, redistributing their assets (including relationships, knowledge, capabilities) to the rest of the economy. Organisation Development is a discipline fundamentally concerned with the formation, growth, and evolution of organisations, and aims to facilitate the way we set up our organisations, we show up towards each other, so that these forces can shape and organise each other in more effective and healthy ways.

"Presently, we largely deliver to the public and corporate market, although we also have working relationships with a number of small and medium enterprises embarking on strategic transformation. South Africa is our home market, and we are also active across the rest of Africa and in the UK, Europe, India and Australia through our international network.

"We believe that it is critical to strengthen the parastatal, government and large corporate sectors, given their importance to the South African and regional economy; working with these large institutions, we also get to learn much about better serving their industry. Making this knowledge of how OD can support organisational performance in large organisations available in a relevant way to emerging organisations, will create more congruence in the industry as well as the economy, thereby making growth more sustainable.

"We have strong capability in developing scalable, rapidly-deployable organisation development interventions, and our next step is to ensure that the value of our interventions toolkit becomes available to the entrepreneurial sector as well as economies across Africa. We are currently partnering with other providers in the OD profession, as well as an NGO involved in the enterprise development sector, to deliver enterprise development support based on our solid academic foundation and extensive practical experience, to facilitate the birth and growth of emerging and small businesses so that they can survive and thrive, thus making a longer and larger contribution to their communities."

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