Our Transformational workshops

By Andrew Wood, CEO of The Unlimited

There has been some discussion about the transformational workshops Turning Point and Joy Spring that we ask our employees to do as part of their immersion and introduction into our team. As many of you know, this forms part of our leadership development program and is part of our on-going efforts to systematically and sustainably create interventions that leave the world a better place than we found it. 

In fact, 2 articles were published in the Sunday Tribune newspaper and on Times Live (27 February 2022), in which our approach to leadership development, and some of the courses that we subscribe to as part of this process, were highlighted.

Our approach to business is definitely outside the norm and is sometimes viewed as unconventional. We are proudly different, and we realise this may not always sit well with people who prefer to play things far safer. We are okay with this. We make no excuses for our leadership program, which has produced over 1000 strong young leaders, many of whom today run their own successful businesses.

It starts with a very simple and deeply held belief. As a company, we have a vision that will change South Africa’s future – something we believe will require strong and courageous leadership. 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 are able to tap into their potential and who are prepared to unlock their very best for both themselves and for others. At the heart of this focus is growing leaders to grow our business.

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, leadership 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. For example, our leadership programme has directly resulted in The Unlimited Child getting over 1-million children school ready over the past 14-years – something that is completely unique in the world.

To achieve this, we have needed (and will continue to need) to build strong, courageous, visionary leaders who have been willing and driven to create a better future; leaders who have been able to stay the course when things have gotten 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 and lead yourself.

The transformational work done at Turning Point and Joy Spring is only the start to this journey of self-discovery. 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.

Naturally, we have been asked before whether there are better ways to achieve this outcome, and whilst there are different approaches, nothing that we have investigated has come 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 20 years, we have made mistakes on our journey. Some have been painful (for both The Unlimited as a company, and for certain individuals) and we carry these scars, taking the learnings as a constant reminder that we don’t always get it right.

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

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