When the City of Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) acquired the Metro Taxi Company and Facilities Management units that were fundamentally different from their portfolio of municipal properties (clinics, libraries, public toilets, zoo, sports and recreation areas, vacant land, municipal offices and staff housing etc.), MD Helen Botes commissioned Mindworx to develop a cohesive business strategy for the company. Until then, reliance was placed on the CFO’s budget as the company’s annual plan, an unhealthy situation on many levels, not least in the way it did not empower senior managers.
The need for a strategy
A business strategy was required to:
- Introduce formal planning, target-setting and performance management
- Optimise the processes in the business
- Ensure that people at the same level in the organisation were treated equally
- Empower senior managers while introducing a culture of accountability
Business objectives were set to enable senior managers to:
- Measure performance
- Review and correct processes
- Pro-actively participate in the running of the business
The Mindworx process
Initial meetings were held with the senior managers to explain the intervention process, ask for their cooperation and establish expectations.
Next, interviews were conducted with representatives from each business unit. To enable staff to speak freely, separate meetings were held with managers. Mindworx compared the answers as one set of findings, and identified problem areas as a second set of findings.
The final stage was to develop solutions to problems through workshops with staff and test them with the managers of each section for reasonability and ability to implement.
The first challenge Mindworx faced was to integrate the two new business units into JPC, mixing cultures, management styles and systems. Initially a strategy intervention, the Mindworx brief quickly became a simultaneous change management intervention.
As in all processes of change there was resistance, but ultimately the managers understood that change was required to meet the objectives of the organisation.
What was achieved
The strategy gave the CEO a tool for measuring the performance of the business unit heads and created a more inclusive environment where everyone had the opportunity to contribute to the success of the organisation.
Richard Combrink, Mindworx Project Lead: ‘The CEO understood that we reported honestly, and recognised that we developed a solution that pushed boundaries. She’s confident that the changes proposed will stand the organisation in good stead into the future.’
Helen Botes, MD, City of Johannesburg Property Company: ‘Mindworx offers superb service and is an excellent service provider when it comes to business strategy. The individual attention offered really made me feel valued, and they worked on the solution until we were 100% satisfied. I believe that the structure and strategy that they delivered will still be relevant in 10 years’ time.’