Leaving a legacy

Dean Davey,Corporate Academy Leader at SizweNtsalubaGobodo
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A new brand of legacy leadership is required to create sense of purpose for the continent.

Reflecting on the calibre of local leadership within both public and private organisations, Dean Davey,Corporate Academy Leader at SizweNtsalubaGobodo, southern Africa’s largest black-owned accounting firm, believes that nationally organisations need to develop a new brand of legacy leadership that has the capacity to transform not only South Africa but the continent.

“There is a crisis of leadership in South Africa. The result is ongoing unemployment and continued poverty for millions of men, women and children. The causes of this crisis are numerous. But high among them is the fact that South Africa lacks a broadly shared vision of where we as a country are going, the type of leadership required to get us moving in the right direction, and the necessary strategies and policies required to ensure we as a country mobilise in our efforts to achieve a shared vision,” he comments.

Davey says that as a firm, SizweNtsalubaGobodo has embarked on a journey with a shared purpose of creating economic transformation, using leadership as a lever. “Our leaders are driven by this all encompassing purpose one which we believe will ultimately transcend not only other organisations that we have come into contact with but also communities, and families.

“Essentially leadership is and leaders do. Our aim is to instil and inculcate the essence of this leadership model amongst all our staff. We will adopt the same leadership model traits at home (within the firm) and with clients, thereby channelling and taking our leadership traits to market,” he explains.

On defining the SizweNtsalubaGobodo leadership brand, Davey says that it comprises four key components. “First and foremost our leadership brand embraces the notion of servant leadership. Here the focus is on developing other leaders and letting go of advancement for personal gain. In this scenario leaders have enough certainty and confidence in their ability to assist in developing others that may well make them replaceable or obsolete,” he comments.

Another key leadership component for Davey is creating a culture of learning where individuals and teams are not scared to fail in order to succeed. “This involves adopting a mindset where every opportunity is seen as a learning opportunity. This promotes an environment where there is a complete lack of fear as there is no such thing as failure.

“Generally when individuals and teams are confident that their leaders support them it ultimately leads to increased innovation. However, this does not imply that there is a lack of accountability and consequences as discipline execution remains a crucial component of our leadership brand,” he comments.

Last on Davey’s legacy leadership traits list is sharing and collaboration. “Leadership transformation involves a collaborative approach, one which does not come across as an outsider criticising but rather as a contemporary offering guidance and assistance.

“It is essential that co-creation occur across service lines and divisions. Both our directors and managers participated in devising the firm’s 2014 – 2016 strategy which is unheard of in most organisations. However, creating a legacy leadership culture begins with establishing collective buy-in and changing the hearts and mindsets of people,” he adds.

Within the parameters of the firm’s new purpose, Davey believes SizweNtsalubaGobodo employees have the opportunity to be part of something special, something authentic and something successful. “We ultimately want our firm to represent South Africa and be a role model firm, a firm of excellence and an authentically African firm. As an authentically African firm we are uniquely entrepreneurial in our approach in that we have had to build our own home-grown processes.

“While this is challenging it is also exciting as individuals have the opportunity to create their own path of excellence. Through their own hard work and dedication they have the ability to fast-track their careers and achieve unprecedented success within the profession as well as outstanding business leaders in the broader context,” he concludes.

Sandy Greaves Campbell & Craig Atherfold


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