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Matsi Modise, national executive director of SABEF (the South African Black Entrepreneur’s Forum) doesn’t like easy. She loves a challenge, and this attitude has permeated the way she approaches business and manages her team.
“It’s just about finding a way to achieve your goals,” she says. “I’ve learnt that with most organisations and businesses the ingredients for success are all there, but they may not be working well together. If you expect your whole team to work together towards achieving one attainable goal, you need to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve. You have to pull those ingredients together, and that starts with having a clear vision, and being able to articulate it. And then of course you need the right team to execute it.”
Focusing on productivity
Modise is a firm believer in finding the right people for the job, and then letting them get on with it. Admittedly she’s known for being militant about her stance on getting things done, mainly because she’s incredibly tough on non-delivery.
“There’s always a time for play and rest within the work place, but there’s no excuse for non-performance and mediocrity,” she says. “We should always aim high.”
For Modise, the only real secret behind productivity is simply to avoid procrastination. “I’ve had to learn that I can’t do everything alone, and I encourage my team to embrace this philosophy as well. It’s important to build a team with various competencies that compliment your own and each others’, but it’s also important to encourage everyone to work together and help each other.
This only works if the team trusts each member to always pull their own weight though, which is where delivering on tasks by deadline becomes incredibly important.” Her advice? Find people you trust and you can direct them without micro-managing them.
“Passion and energy sells,” says Modise. “If you don’t believe in what you do, how will you convince anyone else to buy into your vision?” This is as true for clients as it is for staff members.
“My team needs to follow me, and to do that they need to respect me and understand my vision. Respect comes with consistency – I might be militant, but I’m also fair. My team always know what’s expected of them and where they stand with me. I also continuously share SABEF’s goals with them. This way, we all know what we’re contributing to, why, and which milestones we’ve reached. It’s an excellent way to ensure we are always working together.”