DRG - KZN Leaders Forum


The KZN Leaders’ Forum, convened by DRG Human Capital and co-sponsored by Standard Bank and KZN Top Business took place at Butlers Restaurant in Hillcrest, KZN. The theme centred upon sustainable enterprise growth through effective leadership practices with the intention for the forum to be the forerunner of regular events geared towards leveraging the KZN economy. Participants were senior enterprise leaders and government representatives.

The Aim of this Forum: The master of ceremonies role was kindly accepted by Karabo Che Mokoape who did a sterling job of introducing speakers, providing continuity between them and ensuring the efficient execution of proceedings.

The keynote speaker role was taken up by Cathie Lewis, group company secretary for Grindrod Limited who framed her talk around sustainability as a business leader priority. She pointed out that, whilst sustainability has a diversity of meanings, her preference was for that of the Brundtland Commission (Our Common Future), namely, “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Cathie referred to the three domains of sustainability as being economically productive, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable with the challenge being finding balance and managing trade-offs.

She introduced the ‘Net Positive Approach’ i.e. putting more back into society, the environment and the global economy (an organisation’s handprint) than what is taken out (an organisation’s footprint). Cathie closed with the observation that organisations should test their impact according to their ‘Why’, namely: Why, do you as an organisation exist? Why would it matter if your organisation doesn’t exist and the test question: “What is your net positive impact in your three realms of economic, social and environmental performance?

The first industry expert speaker was Charles Henzi, director at DRG Human Capital who spoke on employee engagement. He described it as a critical leadership responsibility in fulfilling the principle of stakeholder engagement, from the perspective that employees, as stakeholders in their own right, leveraged meeting the expectations of other stakeholders such as shareholders, customers and society to grow and sustain the enterprises which they depend upon. He noted that the start-point of sound leadership practice is self-awareness as it impacts upon leadership style.

The next speaker was Cheryl Mackinnon, principal partner, KZN PDA International, which specialises in behavioural profiling. Such profiling helps leaders to recognise and define their style in influencing the behaviour of others. In so doing it helps them to adjust their style to ensure productive and sustainable relationships. The profiling process also helps teams to operate efficiently.

The final contributor, Rajes Govender CA(SA) who, through her consultancy FD Vedanta, guides enterprises in the implementation of financial management and corporate governance bestpractice. Governing bodies of organisations need to set policies and have oversight of compliance with policies as part of building sustainability. There is a need for mindsets in the boardroom to shift from a management mindset to a governance mindset to drive the right actions and entrench governance processes within organisations.

The conclusion drawn from this meeting was that it represented a good start for an ongoing process for dialogue between business leaders in discovering initiatives driving enterprise sustainability in support of growing the KZN economy. 

For more information contact, David White, david@drg.co.za