Zurich: Breakfast Dialogue

21 Mar 2013

Embrace your dream and translate it into a collective dream;
a truly inspiring story about the mobilization of people in organizations

Leadership is more than skills and situational know-how: it is a moral contract between leaders and followers to bring out the best in each other for the good of the whole. However, dominant and target orientated Western leaders, with their focus on products and productivity, do not always endorse this principle. Ruling by control, fear and with force, this blocks the energy flow of any collective and employees feel frustrated in their need for identity, meaning and community. And the price is high: a lack of motivation, creativity and productivity.

The Kgotla Company stresses the importance of the social and cultural component of leadership. Revitalizing an organization culture means fully embracing the people who constitute it. Leaders of the future need to respect, acknowledge, empower and include their employees. This way, employees feel appreciated for their knowledge and creativity and – as a result gain motivation and commitment. Open dialogue is an effective tool to achieve this. The Kgotla Company works with tailor made paths, inspired by the open dialogue meetings (Kgotla’s) in Botswana, the oldest democratic country in the world. Open dialogue creates understanding, unity of purpose, harmony, and passion around a common goal or vision. These valued participants in on-going open dialogue sessions feel they are the creators of meaning; not the followers of meaning. That way, a workplace can become much more than a place where money can be earned. It can become what it should be: a place where we provide meaning to our lives and to our identities.

The Kgotla Company carefully guides the process of moving towards an open dialogue until the moment leaders share the decisions based on it. This process – called leKgotla process – is a conflict-free starting point for change, where a leader makes a well-considered decision, taking the general input into account. This conciliate approach ensures continuity, conflict avoidance, competence, obsolescence and a perceived lack of power. A LeKgotla process leads to a proactive team with improved project focus, positive energy between the team members, an improvement in staff satisfaction; an improvement in inter-department cooperation; improved communication between managers and a more open culture. It is the beginning of the process of unlocking individual leadership inside of a collective. This process not only strengthens the position of the leader, but also frees the leader to realize his or her full potential and to help the community itself to do the same.

Martijn de Liefde
founder of the The Kgotla Company in 2003, has led more than 35 complex leadership and transition programs at multinational corporations and organisations. One of these transformations was with a large coppermine of Rio Tinto in South Africa where he succefully faciliated the dialogue between 4000 miners and the executive board of the company. Prior to founding the Kgotla company, Martijn was with ABNAMRO as corporate director real estate, with AC Nielse as real estate director Europe and as marketing executive involved with brands like Levi’s and TNT.