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M&D Construction Group, a leading South African Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment infrastructure specialist, continues to focus on recruiting and developing the leaders it needs to ensure future sustainability.

Importantly, these leaders have to be able to navigate an increasingly complex economic environment, including an industry that has been in a state of decline for more than a decade.

                      Azim Jamal, Corporate Sufi.

This can be attributed to underspending on infrastructure by government on the back of a significant decline in investment into property development by the private sector due to, among other factors, general economic malaise.

“The focus is on developing the ‘captains’ we need to steer the proverbial ‘ship’ through troubled water and into new growth areas. This requires the ability to identify the many opportunities that have presented for a middle tier of mostly black-owned businesses out of the demise of the older and larger groups,” M&D Construction Group’s Yolanda Sedibe says.

As human resources’ director, Sedibe oversees succession planning within the group, as well the many initiatives geared at developing leaders who will be able to take M&D Construction Group to new heights.

This focus on developing leadership capability within the group spans top-level management at corporate head-office through to those individuals who lead the various divisions, including Building, Civil Engineering, Pipe Laying, Plant Hire as well as Oil and Gas.

The latest such initiative is M&D Construction Group’s partnership with Corporate Sufi, a provider of state-of-the-art business mentorship and training programmes to “captains of industry”, among them leaders of billion dollar global corporations.

It was founded by Azim Jamal, who is known for his powerful message of creating synergy between “Business, Balance & Beyond” to achieve “material success combined with purpose, passion and happiness” – a dynamic and thought-provoking message that has been heard live by more than a million people in 26 countries.

Jamal is also the author of the popular The Corporate Sufi and Business, Balance & Beyond and co-author of The Power of Giving which, notably, won the Nautilus Gold Award in 2009 for books that change lives.

He will personally coach M&D Construction Group’s leaders, who will also benefit from the insights of successful personalities, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, Richard Branson and Tim Cook as part of the coaching programme.

“The mentorship programme will focus on developing our leaders’ abilities to identify goals and strengths; obstacles and challenges, as well as weaknesses and ‘blind spots’. Importantly, just as much credence is given to constantly identifying areas for improvement and adapting and thriving through change, both fundamental pillars of M&D Construction Group’s rapid growth and diversification,” Sedibe says.

She adds that the programme has been very successful in enhancing focus and accountability, while developing engaging, empowered and invigorated leadership, who are able to assist in building a business with trust and connection.

Rukesh Raghubir, chief-executive officer of M&D Construction Group, says that the one of the group’s strengths has always been its people, who are being led by resilient leaders who have always found strength in adversity.

“It has been an extremely challenging period for the South African construction industry, which is only expected to grow by just more than a percent this year. However, survival is dependent upon leaders who are focused on the positive and finding opportunity for future growth by breaking traditional mind-sets,” he concludes.

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Crown Publications, one of South Africa’s largest business-to-business publishing houses, came into existence in 1986. Since then, the company has grown from producing a single magazine, Electricity SA (renamed Electricity+Control), to publishing six monthly magazines, three quarterlies, and a number of engineering handbooks.