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CHANGE the way you think and you can change the world.
This is the underlying philosophy of the new Full Colour Thinking positioning of the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business (GSB) and the platform for a short course, which is designed to shake up leadership, create inspiring leaders and boostinnovation.
The course is the brainchild of the GSB director, Professor Walter Baets, who believes business schools need to teach much more than the fundamentals of business and management.
"Leaders globally are today often criticised as being inadequate and we need only look at the recession to see that this argument has merit. The truth is that just teaching the fundamentals is just not enough," he says.
According to Baets, the fundamentals are only a small part of the equation these days. The rest, for a business school, is about creating the conditions where students and managers get to shake up their world view and see themselves and others in a whole new light.
And this is exactly what the GSB is embarking on through its new positioning, which will touch its core programmes such as the MBA and beyond through courses such as Full Colour Thinking. The short course is the ideal platform for managers to get a breath of fresh air in the midst of what has been a troubling 18 months for many economies, Baets says.
He describes his course, which is offered by the GSB executive education unit, as avant-garde in nature and at the very cutting edge of management theory and practice - pushing beyond the status quo and introducing new approaches to leadership.
"The aim is to teach managers to adjust their view so that they see more about themselves, their world, their stakeholders and their challenges. Once they have achieved this, they can use the tools to go on to create more innovative solutions," Baets explains.
This requires an additional set of skills and attributes, from using one's intuition and lateral thinking, to resilience and a humility where one does not claim to have all the answers, he says.
"It is about enabling managers to shift to another level. It allows them to become much more humanly fulfilling managers. It is an opportunity to learn from the richness of other scientific fields about organisations, behaviour, innovation and creativity. Ultimately, it is about personal transformation and creating more meaningful leadership," Baets says.
He adds that the Full Colour Thinking philosophy is one that resonates with much of what the school already does.
Since the launch of the Executive MBA 10 years ago, the GSB has been among a handful of schools internationally that recognised that business programmes need to develop "transformative leaders", who are capable of great things through the way they think about the world and the way that they influence positive change.
Baets says it takes a pedagogical shift to advance this, but that what he is suggesting is not about substituting existing programmes' content and theory. Students and executives have to be given new material to work with, new ways to look at problems and themselves as managers.
The trick lies in providing enough diversity in the theory and practice so that they start to recognise that no one model or theory is the repository of truth. And in the process, they are given a raft of tools to test ideas against.
In the context of South Africa, and Africa at large, with a high level of complexity, the ability to think rigorously in this way is invaluable as is the ability to pull on multiple sources to develop ideas.
This is what he will be endeavouring to do over the three-day course and that the people attending will leave with an action plan to enrich their own leadership and that of their organisations too, says Baets.
"We are not saying to students and managers 'here are all the answers', but rather 'here's how you can look at your world in new ways and innovate' - it is a process that creates in leaders the ability to be continuously creative, use diversity to their advantage and tap into unlimited potential."
The course runs from September 1 to 3 at the GSB. To attend or for further information, please e-mail Alison.email@example.com or SMS 'Colour' to 31497.