Friday, October 5, 2007

Growth point initiative

Since the beginning of September I have been involved in an enterprise development programme targeting operating small to medium enterprises (SMEs). The Growth point initiative is collaboration between Investec Group of Properties and The Business Place. It is an initiative aimed at maximizing the growth prospects of existing SMEs through providing essential business skills and business opportunities. This generally involves a combination of demand-side actions in which technical support is directly to SMEs and supply-side measures relating to SME support structures such awarding of long term corporate tenders. My role in this project is to provide technical support which involves assisting selected enterprises prepare business profiles and services proposals.

180 Academy - Positive Deviance Module

The pinnacle of my internship was being selected to participate in Positive Deviance programme which is a collaborative initiative between The Business Place and 180 Academy (Denmark). In this programme we hosted exchange students from 180 Academy in Denmark. As The Business Place staff I join 180 Academy students in a training module on Positive Deviance.

Positive deviance is a development approach that is based on the premises that solutions to community problems already exist within the community. The positive deviance approach thus differs from traditional ‘needs based approach’ or problem solving approaches in that it does not focus primarily on the identification of needs and external inputs necessary to meet those needs or solve problems. Instead it seeks to identify and optimize existing resources and solutions within the community to solve community problems.

The objectives of the training were to identify positive deviance and non positive deviance clients of the Business place and conduct interviews. In these interviews we identified positive business practices among successful client and also negative business practices among the non positive deviance clients. We then as a group designed an action plan based on the findings during the week on how to assist non positive deviance clients who are finding the going difficult in there business.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Transforming the economy through Small to Medium Enterprises

The past month I have been working closely with emerging small to medium enterprises (SMME’s). In doing so, I have developed a strong appreciation of the role of SMME’s in fostering accelerated economic growth and economic transformation. I believe the SMME sector is critical to achieve the key national development objectives of economic growth, employment creation and equity.

The importance of the SMME economy for economic development and job creation cannot be undermined. Several important set of issues are being highlighted by entrepreneurs in terms of the key existing obstacles to improved business performance. The most clusters of issues relates to the growing competition from large companies, weakened by the lack of skills and capital.

As a result emerging small business enterprises in South Africa have a high mortality rate and usually fail to grow into larger businesses. I strongly endorse the perception that it is through growing the SME sector that sustainable growth can be achieved. While the large corporates are important to the country’s economy, they tend to be capital-intensive in nature. Clearly, it is through supporting Small to Medium Enterprises, which are labour-intensive and owner-driven businesses where trickledown economics can really make a difference.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Small Business; Big Possibilities

This week we successfully hosted two network sessions for our clients mainly in the small to medium enterprises (SME). Plascon Advisory services facilitated a network session which targeted those in construction industry. The network session focused on how entrepreneurs can become fully accredited Plascon Applicators. Whilst the City of Johannesburg presented the second network forum, informing entrepreneurs on how to get registered on the City of Johannesburg Supplier Database so as to be eligible for quoting tenders and contracts.

The impacts of such network sessions go a long way in helping small businesses become more competitive and grow. It is through sharing knowledge that we can grow as individuals, and as nation. The networking session are providing turnaround support, which includes developing market linkages and transference of skills to the emerging entrepreneurs.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Quote for the week

“The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a creative mind to spot wrongs questions” Anthony Jay

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Business place: A creative collaboration

Business place, a national networking forum, is creating many entrepreneurial opportunities for people from marginalised communities that would not have had access to such prospects. Business Place is a national network of youth-friendly entrepreneurial centres. Its services are clustered under one roof with information centre at the core. The organisation enables entrepreneurs to explore ideas and their potential, encouraging the implementation of such ideas within an unprejudiced environment.

The organisation endeavours on planting seeds of entrepreneurship, stimulating local business and enabling people to become sustainable in their communities, in so doing reducing community dependence on the government. Business place is an ideal delivery platform for other networking initiatives that are targeted towards entrepreneurial objectives.

The organisation is a unique net work forum that is flexible, replicable and adapt to local economic realities and requirements. The network forum has demonstrated success in mobilisation of local participation and ownership through the pooling of resources from different clusters such as the business, government and non-governmental organisations. The overall benefit of such a forum is realised in the elimination of cost of instigating a comparable enterprise.

Monday, July 16, 2007


My first day at Business Place was a remarkable one, firstly I was taken to my working station, where there was a desktop computer and an office desk already set out for me. Buli showed around and introduced to some staff members. This was followed by a brief induction on the operations of the organization by my mentor.

I was so thrilled to have secured an internship position with Business Place. The idea of moving from humanities to finance is fascinating. As a B.A graduate, moving into the business environment is a shift that will expose me to a world of finance and entrepreneurial ship.

My mentor, Tracy, graceful gave me a guideline of what was expected of me on my first day. She then urged me to work with tenacity. The first assignment was to assist in organizing two upcoming workshops. This involved creating a database and making calls inviting all prospective clients who would be interested in attending the respective workshops. Each step in this internship is going to take me closer to the ultimate goal of developing a thorough understanding of the fundamental principles of business management and entrepreneurship.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tracking the missing link: Why should you distinguish yourself?

“Being part of the commodity crowd erodes your value.” Rajesh Setty

Last week I had the opportunity of attending an interview with an upcoming media firm. However without divulging much of it, I learnt some valuable lesson that I thought are worthy blogging about.

The world of work is endowed with a constant pressure to give more, be more effective, be more efficient and be more productive. In such a demanding and competitive environment one needs to think differently and be different. It is with that in mind that I set on a pursuit to distinguish myself and move above the commodity crowd of graduates.

In order to distinguish oneself it is important to embark on a continuous expedition of self improvement. This involves working on short term skills that provides short term results as well as developing competency in technical skills which are necessary for success in the competitive world of work.

One thing I have learnt on my present-day journey to success is “sometimes you win and sometimes you lose”. However what determines whether you are one of the statistics or stand out above the commodity crowd is not the failing down but how fast you recover from a failure and start marching on.

There are many limitations in life nevertheless in order to live our dreams we do not have to extend these limitations to our imagination. We need to be creative and innovative so as to live our dreams. Setting the right expectations is of paramount of importance. The application of the philosophy ‘under promise and over deliver’, of customer relation management to setting realistic expectations is of value in minimizing dissatisfaction.

In the quest for personal growth and success one has to seek ways of improving relationships with friends, family and also work on how to get or keep a dream job. In order to do so, certain personality factors which are sometimes technically referred to as ‘Likeability factors’ are indispensable.

In his book titled “How to boost your L factor and achieve your life’s dreams”, Tim Sanders highlighted four critical factors of individual personality that should be boosted.

•Friendliness: your ability to communicate liking and openness to others
•Relevance: your capacity to connect with others' interests, wants, and needs
•Empathy: your ability to recognize, acknowledge, and experience other people's feelings
•Realness: the integrity that stands behind your likeability and guarantees its authenticity

The improvement of these areas goes beyond boosting your likeability factor, to bring out the best in others and give a hand in surviving the life’s challenges whilst enabling you to outperform your daily responsibilities.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Creativity and Innovation at work

The world of Work training was a skill development process that stimulated the break through thinking and innovation. The programme brought into play a range of learning methods including exercises, writing, presentations and groups discussions. I cherished the practical sessions on corporate creativity, stress management, mind mapping and conflict management. These sessions were essential in developing skills in thinking, imagination, intuition and insight.

I was able to explore how to use creativity and innovation to align myself with opportunities for a successful career in the world of work. Among other imperatives the diverse composition of the participants and guest presenters such as Kuseni Dhlamini, Professor Lovemore Mbigi and Roy Blumenthal to mention a few, generated an enriched understanding of factors that influence corporate context, culture and climate. Such a programme provides an optimal leverage that is indispensable in the transitions from a learner environment into the challenging spheres of employment.

Friday, May 11, 2007

AIDS Policy: A Business Imperative

The session on AIDS impact on business, presented by Christine Randall, highlighted the significance of having a running AIDS programme within an organisation. In her profound presentation, she critically pointed out problems a company can expect from the scourge of AIDS and more importantly solutions that have proved effective remedies. The first challenge of developing an AIDS policy is to get management to appreciate the relevance of the programme and its potential to address their organizational needs.

However, I strongly suppose that AIDS prevention and care activities by businesses can maintain and sometimes even increase productivity and profitability. AIDS goes beyond causing illness and death for employees and severe economic and emotional disruption for their families. It also increases the cost of doing business.

Some of the costs of AIDS to business are:

  • Increased health care expenses
  • Increased retirement, pension and death benefit claims
  • Decreased productivity as worker absenteeism rises owing to personal illness or absence from work to care for sick relatives
  • Increased recruitment, labour turnover and training costs from the loss of experienced workers.

Theses costs makes it imperative to establishing an HIV/AIDS programme and policy in the workplace as a cost effective solution which will help reduce the future spread and impact of the disease. Even so, the establishment of a comprehensive and sustained HIV/AIDS programme with appropriate policies depends on the foundation of genuine management commitment to the endeavor.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Emotional Intelligence: The edge for success in life and business

The session on emotional intelligence, presented by Shameen Naidu, turned out to be a self assessment encounter. We had the opportunity to do individual emotional intelligence and self awareness tests. The interpretation of the scores from these tests provided me with some important checks and balances on my emotional standing. I learnt a valuable lesson that learning to develop my emotional intelligence as well as skills is vital in building a successful career especially in a service oriented corporate environment.

In today’s intensely competitive and highly demanding business environment, the ability to manage emotions effectively is indispensable. Emotion states such as happiness facilitates happiness are instrumental in facilitating innovativeness and creativity. Ability to manage emotion in oneself and others by moderating negative emotions and enhancing pleasant ones, fosters an enabling environment for establishing good relationships and team work initiatives.

According to Goleman, many people with very high intellectual intelligence do poorly in work and relationships because they have low emotional intelligence. In life a person needs to be effective both alone and as a team player.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Rise and shine: the 24:7 Society

The speed of change in the times we are living is rapid. We are now living in an age were tomorrow in not soon enough. Our mind set is now centered on the notion of time management. The cornerstones of personal effectiveness are anchored on making the very most of our opportunities. In her presentation on time management, Janet Askew, gave us important hinds on planning and prioritizing. In her exposition she used an Action Priority Matrix perspective, which is a simple diagramming technique that helps in choosing which activities to priorities and which one to drop if we are to make the most of our opportunities. In this perspective priorities are ranged in order of importance, starting with the non negotiable urgent tasks up to the insignificant things. By choosing our activities intelligently we can improve our personal effectiveness.

Monday, May 7, 2007

What makes you unique makes you successful

The World of Work Training has made me realize that each individual being is a personal services brand. Whatever we master increases the value of our personal brands. In life greatness and success are never accidental. The acquisition of self-improvement techniques is a deliberate process that needs commitment and determination. This was affirmed through the presentation we had today on writing and presentation skills presented by Elspeth Kempe and Des Patel respectively.

In the presentations, it came out strongly that, what separates people is never genetics, good breeding or some social advantage. Instead, what separates people is their level of commitment to self improvement and excellence. We had the opportunity to do prompt presentations on topics of choice with an imaginary audience. As luck favours the prepared mind, it was really a challenging learning encounter that required practice and preparation.

The following site has useful personal marketing presentation statements, perhaps you may have a look at it.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Conflict Resolution

The resolution of conflicts in any organisation is very vital in maintaining solidarity and bringing together efforts to try and meet the organisational goals. In any organisation workers come from different backgrounds, which automatically implies conflicting ideas, attitudes, perspectives, norms and values. This ultimately leads to conflicting ways of achieving the goals of the organisation. The more diverse, the more conflict. Therefore conflict resolution plays an important part in encouraging tolerance among employees and employers. Resolving conflict involves naturing a culture of respecting other people’s views in any circumstance, which ultimately leads to a solid working environment.

The Human Resources department in any organisation has a role of maintaining a conducive environment for its employees and it has a greater impact when it has policies that helps maintain this. Conflicts are best solved if the department is effective and this will help keep the work of the organisation to standards.

Conflict is seen in different dimensions, that is, among workers (sexes, races, religion, and gender), between employees and employers and the trade unions. Sexual harassment is one of the many problems that arise in many organisations and especially when it involves the top management and subordinates. Employees infected by HIV/AIDS have also been stigmatised and most have ended up loosing their jobs. When such problems are not addressed and dealt with in an organisation they are bound to cause distraction in the work and aim of the organisation.

In conclusion, I recommend that for all organizations to achieve their goals there is need for a strong and effective Human Resources or board that aims to resolve all kinds of conflicts that may arise in the organization. Engaging employees and employers in workshops of conflict resolution is a very important step in nurturing a community of tolerance in the organization.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Unleashing my creativity

The presentation on corporate creativity by Roy Blumenthal, provided practical ways on how to cultivate a spirit of creativity. In order to unleash a creative spirit there is need to break mental barriers and open up new pathways of perceptions. The session on creativity opened up an imaginative space for the free fall of thoughts whilst aligning the ideas to solve the problem at hand.

Creativity is a life tool that I am going to take with me into the world of work as it stretches my imagination. The session seemed more childish but at the same time it helped us stretch our minds and create new things out of imagination like what children do. It needed some brain storming and a lot of imaginery ideas to come up with a totally new invention. This is really what sustainable development requires, coming up with new and creative ways to sustain our economies and societies.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The reflective value of networking

In the past week, I have learnt that everyone is a potential lead to business and opportunity. All the speakers we had during our World of Work training provided us with important leads. The initiative of being open and communicative with everyone I meet is producing incredible results. I had an opportunity to chat with one of our guest speakers, he was open and friendly. As a result of such a great attitude doors are opening in the unlikeliest places. The guest speakers we have are so passionate about their goals, they are giving off a rare air of optimism and determination.

Friday, April 27, 2007

My resume online

Maxwell Tonderai Nyamajiwa

Mobile: 076 014 3905 Tel: (011) 8864720,,

Career Objective

I look forward pursuing a career in a service oriented corporate environment and use my administrative and human relations skills. I intend to work in an organization that strives for excellence in productivity and the growth of its people.

Career summary

My BA Honours (Sociology) and also Bachelor of Social Sciences majoring in Psychology and Sociology, have exposed me to a diverse range of work situations that have developed my analytical and communication skills. These skills have made it possible for me to be innovative in carrying out administrative tasks, plan and implement programmes and projects.

As a Customer Service agent, I have developed strength in areas of customer liaison, public relations, character and conflict management. The position also enhanced my awareness on the corporate environment and organizational culture.

The Lecturing experience greatly improved my planning, prioritization and communication skills. I developed skills in mentoring, training individuals and facilitating personal growth.

Through working as a Survey Research Assistant, I manage to think creatively and present my ideas professionally. I also developed synthesizing skills through transforming unrelated ideas and concepts into a coherent unity of information.

Professional Experience

Edgars Consolidated Stores Limited (Edcon) Nov 2005- To Date

Edgars - Randburg (Part-Time)

Service Centre Operator

Credit application processing

Development of customer relationships

Marketing financial services & Sales Promotions

Receiving and accounting for cash received, balancing daily

Enrollment of policies and administering of claims

Central College of Business Studies, Johannesburg, Jan 2007 To April 2007


Provision of academic support to students

Preparation of study materials

Courses :

Business communication



University Of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg -Aug 2005- Nov 2005

Tutor: Sociology Of Third World -3rd Years

Provision of academic support to third year Sociology students

Preparation of discussions materials

Africa University, School Of Health Sciences - Oct 2004-Jan 2005

Research Survey Assistant –Orphans and Vulnerable Children (Ovc’s)

Designing questionnaires,

field-testing of survey tools

Data analysis & report writing

Planning & implementing projects


University Of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg Jun 2005- To Jun 2006

Bachelor Of Arts Honors (B A)(Sociology)

Africa University, Mutare Aug 2001- May 2004

Bachelor Of Social Sciences (B Soc sc)

Majors: Psychology & Sociology

Course work includes: Personnel (HR) & Consumer Psychology, Advanced Research

Service Centre Operator Certificate (Tool Box) (Edcon) Sept 2005

Customer service

Sales and merchandising

Balancing & Maintaining cash float

Special Achievements and Honors

Project Coordinator for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (Ovcs) survey research (2004)

Chairperson for Fellowship of Christian Students Unions - Africa University (2003)

President of Africa University Association of Catholic Students (2004)

Transferable Skills

Planning, implementation of programmes and projects

Ability to multitask, plan and prioritize

Administrative skills and financial management

Tutoring and education support

Facilitation, consulting and strategic management

Interpersonal skills, team work abilities

Knowledge of current Labor Legislation, policies and procedures

Advanced computer literacy, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Power Point, and Excel

Referees: Available on request

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sustainable development: A Business imperative

In South Africa more companies are adopting the concept and notion of sustainability. Nowadays, many companies are being called to contribute to the sustainable development of the societies they operate in. Mr. Kuseni Dlamini, the Executive chairman of Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT), in his exposition on Globalization, notably pointed out that the core context is to integrate and reconcile economic with the environmental and social concerns.

In the discussion on the corporate role in sustainable development it came out that, in the recent years, major corporations are giving prime emphasis on ‘sustainability’ as a business imperative. Such sustainability is created through strategic partnerships with stakeholders among these being the government, private enterprises and communities. The business and Social Sector Partnerships are fundamentally essential in creating corporate images and value for companies. However this requires deep-seated changes in corporate philosophy and marketing strategies.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More than just a cup of coffee

Many are the times we leave the comfort of our homes to have a cup of coffee a in the company of a beloved one in an up-market coffee shop. The essence behind this usually goes beyond just a cup of coffee but to have a shared experience. As Aki Kaliatakis delightfully pointed out in his profound exposition on customer care, it is not the product that matters most but the experience one has with the product. Such an experience entails the ability to reach out and make a difference.

In my past work as a customer service agent, I learnt that, it is when customers experience frustrations and aggravation that I also have and incredible golden opportunity to create loyal relationships. Loyal relationships are created by means of acknowledging and giving customers a special treatment that makes them feel unique through seeking their opinion. However it requires some element of humility and assertiveness to generate a sense of family among valuable customers.

Friday, April 20, 2007

My reflections on Johannesburg housing Company developments initiatives

The work being done the Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC) is remarkable. The Development manager, Anton Gollub, gave us an exposition on social housing development and the regeneration of the Johannesburg inner city. The social housing programmes are playing a pivotal role of addressing the deeply intertwined extraction of social and physical decay that had envisaged Central Johannesburg. Community development and social sustainability are key components in the organisation’s mission. Above responding to the housing needs, the organisation facilitates social support services such as after school homework programmes, inter building sports games, community crèches, cultural events, HIV and AIDS among other initiatives.

As someone who is passionate about issues relating to Corporate Social Responsibility, I learnt some important insights. I got to realise that the concept of social capital parallels that of financial capital. In such a context the concepts social capital incorporates not only the provision of financial and physical assets but also a whole range human and social resources that enables people to bring to bear some control over their own lives by enabling them to finding solutions to the problems they encounter and be able to participate fully in the larger society in meaningful and effective ways.

The under world of crime

Over the past week as I was going through some journals, it came to my attention that there is a general rise of white collar crimes. These are crimes which involves the penetration of business transactions by corruption, involving kickbacks, fraud and extortion in the developed and developing world. It is an endemic problem, which is believed to be costing countries of billions, with countries in the Sub- Sahara Africa being by and large immensely affected. However in South Africa although crimes of that nature do not receive the focus accorded to violent, interpersonal street crimes for various reasons. The recent developments in both private and public institutions highlight the need to declare serious economic offenses as priority crime.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My career profile

Career objectives

I look forward pursue a career path that demonstrates growth and challenge in my chosen field of specialization. I intend to work in a corporate environment that strives for excellence in productivity and the growth of its people.

Career summary

My BA honours (Sociology) and also Bachelor of Social Sciences majoring in Psychology and Sociology, have exposed me to a diverse range of work situations that have developed my analytical and communication skills. These skills have made it possible for me to be innovative in carrying out administrative tasks, plan and implement programmes and projects.

As a Customer Service agent , I have developed strength in areas of customer liaison, public relations, character and conflict management. The position also enhanced my awareness on the corporate environment and organisational culture.

The Lecturing experience greatly improved my planning, prioritisation and communication skills. I developed skills in mentoring, training individuals and facilitating personal growth.

Through working as a Survey Research Assistant, I manage to think creatively and present my ideas professionally. I also developed synthesizing skills through transforming unrelated ideas and concepts into a coherent unity information.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Walking the talk in the Corporate world

In my quest for conceptualizing the notion of Corporate Social Responsibility in the South African context, there is a realization that stakeholders need to walk the talk. The notion of corporate social responsibility has been a subject of criticism. Many critics postulate it as a form of lip services in which there are more words than action. South Africa is characterized by a strong modern, skilled and well capitalized production economy that is co-existing with informally, unskilled and marginalized sub economies. There is a great need to incorporate these two economies into a formidable force. This requires the bringing of people from the informal sector into the mainstream economy. Such a notion can be realized by initiating the concept of Enterprise development, which aims at encouraging sustainable economic development through provisions of access to information, advice and support. It is however necessary to foster a community environment that is supportive to entrepreneurship initiatives. The enterprise facilitator concept is a bottom up approach to development that recognizes the potential of individuals’ ideas and develops them into self-supporting enterprises. The private sector in partnership with the government can provide a nurturing environment in which promising entrepreneurship initiatives can thrive.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Community of Practice

A community of practice is very vital in coming up with solutions after a strong and effective mind mapping. The mind mapping session conveyed the notion that every nugget of information counts and where two or more people are sharing ideas criticism is bound to be there and it is very effective in coming up with perfect solutions. The opportunity of working in teams helped to bring up different schools of thought and this helped coming up with an ultimate rich table of ideas. Team members made it a point that no stone was left unturned when we were carrying out the team activity. There was no competition per se but there were actually different hands contributing alternative ways of killing a cat.

Corporate Social responsibility

I am passionate about sustainable development and corporate issues. I do believe that the corporate sector has an enormous role to play in sustainable development. Sustainable development is basically the ability to meet the present demands without compromising the ability of meeting future needs. This however, focuses on achieving integration of economic, environmental and social imperatives. Corporate Social Responsibility considers the interest of employers, employees, shareholders, customers and the public at large. In the South African context an organization should consider aspects relating to skills development, equity, HIV/AIDS, and the sustainable development of especially marginalized communities to mention just a few.

A Navigation of New Horizons

The training programme is exceptionally stimulating and informative. It is providing an indispensable platform for the transition from academic circles into the realistic world of work. The introduction to the world of blogging places oneself on the line, where every little bit counts. It is a process that translates thinking into action. All inherent thoughts are put down to paper in a chronological order. As diary on line, a blog provides me with a personal space, which is a stamp of identity, that is imperative in strategic personal marketing.

After the completion of my profile

After completing the personal profile, I felt that the process initiates some degree of creativity, openness and flexibility.

My first experience in Blogging

The blogging process although difficult at first, it initiates creativity. The creation of a personal profile provided a reality check and an enlightenment encounter.