GIBS executive education, leading organisational renewal

Nishan Pillay, executive director, Open Programmes at GIBS. (Photo: Wayne Mitchell)

Nishan Pillay, executive director, Open Programmes at GIBS. (Photo: Wayne Mitchell)

The sustainable success of any business involves change and managing change through the leadership competency of its senior managers. Today’s global environment demands the involvement of strategic leaders who are not only drivers of change, but are catalysts in driving dynamic business systems to a new level of renewal and business excellence.

South Africa is battling in a low-growth trap and the need to develop strong managers and leaders who are prepared to deal with complexities in this uncertain terrain has become urgent. The role of good leadership and management is a key ingredient for sustainable economic prosperity and growth in the country.

Executive education continues to play an integral role in helping leaders equip themselves with the skills and knowledge to empower and lead in the changing dynamics of today’s agile business environment. Leaders need to not only safeguard the future of organisations and drive business growth, they need to inspire and drive innovation within their organisations. Every business requires an in-depth understanding that South Africa’s destiny as an emerging market economy is linked to its leadership capabilities.

The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) continues to be committed to preparing current and future business leaders who are ready to make both a social and economic impact in the country and lead the country forward in the academic and executive education spaces.

The institute — recognised by international business accreditation body the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business for using inspiring innovation in its delivery of management education at their “Innovations That Inspire” initiative — continues to push the envelope, exploring new ways of delivering to executives.

Business schools across the world have realised that engaging executives at a knowledge level is no longer adequate: executives want actionable skills that allow them to be immediately more effective when they return to work.

It is not surprising therefore that the demand for executive education continues to grow, more so during tough economic times. War for talent within organisations and the highly competitive nature of the South African and African economies appear to be among the key drivers that are pushing the demand for management education across all sectors.  Executive education programmes go above and beyond imparting technical knowledge to include learning that requires a higher level of thinking, creativity, exchange of ideas and debate.

Nishan Pillay, executive director, Open Programmes at GIBS says: “There is a move away from purely academic knowledge to applied learning, which is immediately applicable to the workplace. This applied learning focuses on toolkits and implementable models to frame thinking and strategic initiatives.”

General management remains a popular trend, but a great deal of focus is on innovation and creative thinking, not just critical thinking. Because of the complexity of management and leadership and the major shifts in economies, management education has to ensure that it remains relevant to accommodate this.

Adds Pillay: “There is a shift from pure middle management development programmes, which focus largely on developing core talents, to investing heavily in identifying individuals, at all levels, who want to grow.”