m Newspiece BOTY 2005 and 2006
l Terry Volkwyn crowned Boss of the Year 2006
Amid fierce competition from five equally impressive finalists, Primedia Broadcasting CEO Terry Volkwyn received the 2006 Boss of the Year award and trophy at a banquet lunch earlier this week at The Castle Kyalami. Selected from a total of 291 nominations received nationwide, the five other finalists were: Dennis Lupambo, director, Self-service Banking, Standard Bank; David Collen Noko, MD, De Beers Consolidated Mines; Brian Riley - senior general manager, Motor Division, Wesbank; Thabo Seopa, MD, TDS Directory Operations and Eugene Wait, Head of CashPlan, Alexander Forbes Financial Services.
Organised by Career Success (published by Dictum Publishers), this Award celebrates its 17th anniversary this year and aims to identify, recognise and reward bosses throughout South Africa both for their attention to the needs of their workforce, and their impressive leadership skills.
Members of the judging panel were Bheki Sibiya, Chairman Brait SA; Tony Dixon, executive director, Institute of Directors, Eunice Maluleke, Head Transnet Foundation; Ornella Trinco, Publisher, Dictum Publishers; Prof Annekie Brink, UNISA; Theo Garrun, editor, The Star Workplace; Tina Thomson, CEO, Business Women's Association; and Dr John Tibane, CEO Tibane Consulting.
At the same event, Jules Newton, CEO Avovision, received the award for 'Emerging Leader of the Year' from Unisa's Centre for Business Management.
According to the organisers, it is particularly interesting that both Award winners are women this year, which reveals the talent that is coming to the fore from women in places of power and authority - and augurs well for women aspiring to break still existing glass ceilings.
Sponsors of the Boss of the Year Award are: Transnet Foundation as patron and main sponsor, Stabilo as founder sponsor, Aramis and Designer Fragrances, Connex Travel, Kunshuis Clanwilliam, National Alamo Car Rental, Sheaffer, Microsoft SA, Party Design, Thompson Tours, Southern Sun Hotels, The Castle Kyalami and Unisa's Centre for Business Management. The Award is also a member of the 'Proudly South African' campaign.
l Boss of the Year Ismail Dockrat at a formidable change agent
Since 2005 Boss of the Year Ismail Dockrat was brought in as CEO and change manager at the trade and promotion agency for the Western Cape (Wesgro) in August 2003, the agency has consistently exceeded expectations and raised R1, 536bn in foreign direct investment, exceeding its 2004 financial target of R700m.
Prior to his appointment, the organisation had consistently underperformed and was in danger of being shut down, but Dockrat took on the challenge of changing the agency around with great enthusiasm, energy and passion. He even went as far as making a commitment to attract R5bn of investment by 2007 – an ambitious target considering the Agency’s past.
“The core of our business is to facilitate a process of investment, to work with investors, to help them overcome any obstacles they may be facing, give them access to decision makers, and ultimately, to raise the levels of investment: there is a direct relationship between investment and employment creation and economic growth. The more investment we secure, the more jobs we create – something I feel very passionate about.”
Though, historically, European countries have been SA’s trading partners and they still have significant interest in the country, Wesgro also focuses on emerging markets. “We see a lot of interest coming out of India, China and some Middle-Eastern countries. From an outward investment point of view, we are placing a particular focus on Africa, West Africa in particular because naturally linking our economy from the Cape to countries such as Angola and Nigeria is the longer-term strategic vision.”
Dockrat believes the most gratifying thing he has done for the people at Wesgro, was to create an enabling environment “where they can grow and realise their true potential by instilling a new value system and culture focused on delivery and service to clients, creating an environment where people are motivated and inspired and treated fairly, democratising the workplace, investing in training and development, and providing a proper human resource framework. These factors were all important prerequisites to ensure the necessary transformation of the organisation,” explains Dockrat.
This he achieved with flying colours, all 38 Wesgro staff members agree. Moreover, they applaud his remarkable ‘people skills’.
"Our boss also believes that the key to successful relationship building lies in respecting the culture of your colleagues and clients. He places people first in the organisation, and in the interest of ensuring greater synergy with his clients and staff, he is sensitive to their different cultural needs. “Great emphasis is placed on celebrating positive achievements by individual staff members and these are communicated to the entire organisation. Any conflict or critical concerns of staff are always dealt with promptly and fairly,” says communications officer Zeenat Parker.
Dockrat says that in the past two years he has learnt to be very honest with himself so as to be able to reflect on his own leadership style and to admit to mistakes and deal with criticism as effectively as possible. “It might seem strange, but somewhere inside me there is a nervous person who doesn’t really have the confidence other people perceive, and I believe I need to work on that.”
Dockrat believes good leadership and good mastership go hand in hand. “In my mind, a good boss is about mind and body, while leadership is about heart and soul. All of these elements need to work together if you want to be a good boss and leader.
“As a leader you need to be extremely adaptable if you want to encourage others to change and transform. My tenure at Wesgro the past two years has been the most significant and fulfilling in terms of movement, progress and transformation.”
As far a balance between his work, family and leisure is concerned, Cape Town does, in a sense, provide the ideal environment for a balanced lifestyle, but his wife of a year as well as regular yoga sessions also contribute greatly to a healthy lifestyle.
Leadership words of wisdom
The great leaders are like the best conductors - they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players