David White and Charles Henzi - DRG Outsourcing - A Guide For Leaders


As owners and directors of DRG Outsourcing, we have entered into a collaboration with the Top Leaders Portfolio in launching a leadership development initiative by way of a short book authored by us.

The book, Authentic Leadership … Inspiring Purpose, breaks no new ground in the field of leading businesses (so much material: courses, books, dissertations and articles, is already available to anyone wishing to make a study of the subject) but rather, proposes a common-sense and systematic approach; one of ‘back to basics’.

The book is aimed at anyone in an organisation whose role involves the achievement of results through others. It serves to stimulate interest and then invite readers to join the development process.

For leaders and aspirant leaders, it remains vitally important to expose yourselves to material on the subject of leadership in building your personal ‘database’ of principles and creative best-practice; this to draw upon in dealing with situations requiring particular leadership skills.

However, authentic leadership skill cannot be acquired purely through reading or attending courses, much like one cannot acquire the skill to operate a motor vehicle or aeroplane successfully from a handbook alone; it needs expert guidance and practice.

Employee engagement has become a fashionable topic in the field of leadership but, in achieving engagement, where people will behave as ‘business owners’ or, entrepreneurially; common sense tells us that an enabling environment needs to be established and we propose that it is purposeful work which encourages such engagement. We will return to the theme of purposeful work shortly.

The title of this article includes ‘Growing Enterprises’. We hold that no enterprise pursues a strategy of no growth, sometimes referred to as ‘consolidation’, which in itself implies gearing for further growth. In our book we make reference to the ‘S-Curve’, a simple model illustrating the evolution of a business and well known to all. Suffice it to say that we would explain the decline of business growth curve at the ‘top of the S’ as the result of increasing complexity, for instance, new market entrants, obsolescence, and, number of team members which extends leaders’ span of control. Enterprises become at risk of losing their way and vitality; people lose purpose.

Back to Purpose: The book provides a quick review on how the world of work has evolved with people in their endeavour to survive, once selfsufficient, have had their sense of purpose diluted. We hold that it is a fundamental leadership responsibility to instil a sense of purpose in those who they depend upon to deliver results.

The purpose theme incorporates two elements:
  1. Resolving ‘demotivators’ as referred to by Herzberg, namely, any aspect of the workplace experience which serves to distract people (background noise) from pursuing the goals set for them, for example:
  2. Perceptions of unfairness – pay, access to skills development, promotional opportunities, etc.
  3. Workplace conditions – comfort, safety, equipment, etc.
  4. Leadership style – inconsistency, indifference, uninspiring
  5. Perceptions of purposeless work
As a starting point we suggest conducting a perception study amongst team members to discover the extent and intensity of such demotivators, making findings known and crafting remedial action, which includes a review of leadership style!

In parallel with the perception study we propose that leaders enter into a self-discovery exercise, which would reveal your behavioural tendencies and, especially your ‘default’ position when under stress (discovery of disempowering behaviour or, bad leadership habits).

Experience gained from a diversity of interventions conducted within a diverse client base has taught us that the performance management system typically does not work; it soon devolves into yet another corporate ritual. We advocate that people in organisations are empowered to understand ‘the business of their business’ so as to discover, identify with and embrace their roles’ particular ‘Zone of Influence’. This provides an effective foundation for leaders to coach and mentor their people and for them to hold themselves accountable for required outcomes.

We strongly advocate leaders engaging with a professional coach/ mentor in mastering an effective leadership practice and style to the point where leadership behaviour becomes authentic and where team members become self-directed (engaged in purposeful work) in achieving required outcomes.

Our book makes reference to a workbook which outlines the ‘How’ of implementation. This ‘Workbook’, for those who are keen to enter into the development process, is actually a link to a website giving access to further reading, videos, templates, and introductions to expert resources within DRG Outsourcing.

The Top Leaders Portfolio is establishing a leadership network which will provide opportunities for the leadership development programme to network with each other (to share what works and doesn’t), be exposed to thought leaders in the leadership space.

By the way, the process starts with the buy-in of the CEO and senior team to successfully embed a culture of authentic enterprise leadership within the enterprise.

The process is also designed to fast-track emerging leaders who have successfully acquired appropriate technical expertise but needing the mobilising of human capital element in rounding them off.

If the foregoing has piqued your interest, we invite you to request the e-version of our book at no cost and look forward to welcoming you as a participant in our Leadership Development Programme. 

If you would like to receive the e-book, please contact Iviwe Mtebele: iviwe@drg.co.za