by Steph Bester, CEO of The Unlimited

There has been speculation about the transformational workshops Gateway and Genesis that we ask our employees to do as part of their introduction into our environment.

Let’s look at the workshops in context. Our approach to business is definitely outside the norm and is thus viewed by many as unconventional. We are proudly different and we realise this may not sit well with people who prefer to play it safe. We are okay with this.

We are okay with it because we have a vision that will change South Africa’s future. As a business we have true purpose and this necessitates stretching goals. We know that we will only be able to fulfil these goals if we have people who are empowered, who have the ability to tap into their potential, who are prepared to unlock their very best for both themselves and for others.

We believe that business today has a greater responsibility than just being profitable. Business has to use all its resources to make a meaningful difference in society in areas such as education, employment, health and much more – whilst ensuring that they maintain favourable returns for their shareholders.

Imagine working for a business that believes that part of their purpose is to shift the lives of South Africans in a meaningful way.

Well that company is The Unlimited.

To achieve this we need to build strong, courageous, visionary leaders who are willing to create a better future; leaders who are able to stay the course when things get tough. We know that in business – as in many other areas in life – very little happens without leadership and before you can lead others, you first have to understand yourself.

The transformational work done at Gateway and Genesis is only the start to this journey of self-discovery. How do you see yourself? Why do you believe what you believe? How do you respond to people and how do people respond to you?

The workshops are tough and intense and are purposely designed this way. Being a leader who impacts in a meaningful way requires that you are tough. Life is not a picnic and to be a leader, you have to be strong and courageous.

We often get asked whether there are not better ways to achieve this outcome. There are different approaches, but nothing that we have investigated comes close to being as effective or impactful in such a short space of time.

In the process of rolling out the transformational workshops over the past 8 years, we have made mistakes on our journey. Some have been painful (for both The Unlimited and certain individuals) and we carry the scars, taking the learnings as a constant reminder that we don’t always get it right.

We choose to work with people who are committed to continuous learning, who are willing to step far outside of what they know, who want to grow and develop whilst sharing our vision to create a great South Africa.