All posts by Mmadibaga Mahlatji

Expressing Gratitude

We have not attended the lecture yet but as I am reflecting on the module, reviving my notes I see that a lot has been learnt, a lot that I can apply even as I grow…

The activities have really been steller – Bingo! 10 Nails and Nail, Knot or Not, the Decisions activity. We have moved from doing check-ins to literally wake people up to one that we’re truly relevant…

The presentations have improved week on week – it was a special highlight for me when Roz said our group’s presentation was the best one yet (nevermind that the teams after us improved more so:-)).

I appreciate 5he lessons gained this semester – I am still a while away from finishing my Wits journey but this course will certainly be counted among the highlights of this journey.

Thank you Ros, thank you Telfer.

Facilitating Decisions

“What makes a decision great is not that it has a great outcome.”
Annie Duke

This week’s workshop was effective – for me. I enjoyed the check-in because it truly helped me ‘check in’. I lost a colleague who was being buried on Saturday and my mind was not in the moment – arriving at class was a struggle this week. But that dissipated for briefly because the exercise involved motion and I appreciated the inability to multi-task because it meant I would be fully present.

The activities were well-researched and planned out. The knot-or-not game revealed an interesting element of problem solving, I realized that there can be mental blocks as you try to solve a problem. In that moment I remained in my seat but during the feedback session someone highlighted that a change in perspective was necessary and led to them changing their initial stance. This is something we often speak of – changing perspective – but rarely practice. And so many of our preconceived beliefs, especially about people, may actually change if we change our view point.

Roslyn proceeded to speak about collective trauma – this triggered an unexpected reaction in me – my mind wondered back to the funeral and I was surprised by how deeply I felt the loss of a colleague who was barely an acquaintance but around whom I had spent many hours. For a moment I regretted coming to class, thinking it would have been better to have attended the funeral but that was a lesson in and of itself. A nugget which was shared toward the end of class was the concept of Resulting, from the book Think in Bets by Annie Duke. Dukes explains that our judgement of the quality of our decisions should not be based in the outcome of those decisions. She elaborates that we sometimes make good decisions which have a bad outcome. This was one such decision for me – attending the lecture was a good decision – in spite of my mini-(private)-meltdown.

Thank you Team FD and Roslyn.

Building Relationships

First time late. Hopefully the last. I experienced “personal mastery fatigue” today. Did not look forward to class, was late, but learned the importance of being on time – I was lost during the final activities of this syndicate group… What I learned out of the short time I participated in the lesson was the importance of self management… MC was domineering! I need to be self-aware and allow others to shine in all group efforts. The feedback was positive, however, so I clearly caught the tail-end of the session.

We went on to participate in a group activity on precisely this – building relationships. We were broken up into 3 companies with 3 plants each. The companies were each tasked with building a bridge with each plant being responsible for a section of the bridge. Fun exercise. We learned the importance of communication, relationship building, the balcony and the dance analogy, team work…. This simple excercise brought all those elements together…

It’s was a good day…

Story Telling

The most profound lesson gained from this lesson was the importance of creating and maintaining traditions.

The workshop on was not what I expected – after the syndicate presentation, we held group discussions on rituals performed within our culture at birth, coming of age, marriage and death. I have not considered rituals to be important. There are too many demands in life as it is and culture is fluid and constantly changing – this is what I told myself. Roslyn, whom I now consider a Sage (with all the wisdom and unconventional perspectives she shares) inspired in me a different way of thinking about traditions and rituals. Rituals connect you to your past and foster community – yes! Yes!

Honoring Difference

Our team was on the receiving end of feedback today, what an experience. It was exciting to be rated the best workshop to date – our team work very hard on the presentation, considering how best to ensure the audience guided the session but ensuring we remain on track with the topic and accurately highlight key lessons.

We had strong personalities in the group, adults who are at Wits for various reasons and who weren’t particularly interested in group work on day one. In the weeks prior, however, we had done an exercise on highlighting aspects of a person in the group that made them great, and what could make them even greater in our eyes. It was key to bringing the group together as people appreciated that people saw in them qualities which resonated with them.

Our team further aimed to highlight stereotypes while ensuring that we did so in a manner that elevated, rather than denigrated any marginalized groups. We focused on gender stereotypes and the class fully participated.

Further to this, Roslyn taught about the Johari Window model – a tool through which we give and receive feedback about ourselves and others. I have begun applying the tool, as with most lessons gained from this course, my experimental space is office my workplace. I have tried to self-disclose as much as is appropriate in an effort to assist others in understand my view point and similarly seek to understand that other people’s behavior may not be motivated by only what I observe in the moment. The feedback sessions I have with our apprentices are richer as a result.

Learning from Life

AKA Balancing Life. I enjoyed the skit enacted by this team – I could personally relate as a mother, student, employee, intentional Christian/disciple, daughter, friend, etc… Today’s lesson showed the importance of prioritizing. The team shared how in order to have a perfectly balanced life, once needed to allocate approximate 40 minutes to activities which mattered to them after work, travel and sleep had taken their share. An obviously unrealistic target, the ultimate lesson was, as I encapsulate it, that we should seek harmony – in some seasons, some areas of life will demand more from you that in other – it is important to give attention to what is necessary when it is necessary.

This, I have learnt, requires discipline, being comfortable with being unpopular and giving weight to the things that matter… This is a tough lesson for me as embedded within my personality is pleasing people and gaining their approval. It has led to much dissatisfaction as I often pursue the aims of others or allow war to wage within me from forces external to me – be bother by things which are not truly MY priority. I hope to gain confidence in this, especially as I work toward the end of my first academic qualification. I need to find that harmony that resonates with ME.

Arg…. reflective lesson this one… more so than Personal Reflection, lol *hides*

Personal Reflection

This class was too somber for me. The feedback which was ultimately accepted was that it was more reflective than it was somber – to each his own. Alas, I believe there is something to be learnt in every experience.

The mirror was a good tool, while we may look into mirrors daily, I personally tend to take a quick glance as I prepare for the day and do not actually reflect. I do, however, practice spiritual reflections through a daily devotional time. I was intrigued that I was prepared to do that and “look into my soul” but blush at the thought of seeing my own reflection. So that tool unearthed a layer of a lack of confidence, something I am still grappling with.

For that, I thank the team for deliberately taking an unconventional approach to their workshop – well done…

Working in Teams

I LOVED today’s lesson. I arrived at class ready to tick it off my long to-do list for the day but the welcome (assignment of tables by colour and lollies) brought me back into the moment and I was ‘present’. The check-in also worked in getting me there (to the moment).

The lesson was great, the team showed good teamwork so they put their topic into practice. The activity could have been better but experience is the best teacher I suppose – as inexperienced facilitators, very few, if any of us could have anticipated the game would get out of control. A key take-away is to think around how we will maintain or regain control of the massive group during our facilitation week.

The stories we read helped me gain perspective on leading/mentoring people; specifically the following stories: The Bent Backs of Chang Dong, The Watermelon Eaters and A Story of Vision, Leadership and Commitment. I learned that imparting wisdom or seeking to change the lives of others for the better should not take place through imposition. You will gain the confidence and trust of others much more when you have authentic expression, put yourself in their shoes and seek to understand life from their perspective. This is something I intend to implement with the Learners I am training at work and the girls and ladies in my discipleship group. It is less about what head knowledge (and even experience) I have – if they cannot see my genuine care for them and how what we discuss could help them – it becomes wasted breath.

The “pearls of wisdom” gained from Facilitation this week are too many but a final notable mention will remain an unforgettable lesson, albeit a bitter pill to swallow. We should judge others based on their intentions and ourselves based on our behaviour. A lot has been sacrificed to improve my marks at school, especially in the first semester. I would like to find a better balance between school, work and family so my babies don’t grow to resent the sacrifices I believe I am making in their best interest

Thank you Team #WorkingInTeams and you Ros and Telfer – the heartwork continues…

First Class

This was such an exciting class! I am looking forward to the quarter! This year has truly been a journey of unlearning and learning anew – I look forward to what will become unearthed through the course.

I previously held to the belief that I was shy, that evolved to me believing I was reserved – I am now content in saying I am introverted but as I grow, I find that none of these molds don’t fit well enough, and I am excited by that! Class began with an exercise of finding someone who was the same gender and age as you – approximately. Interestingly, I was drawn to someone a decade older – I wonder what it says of my self-perception… We ended the exercise with what are now our syndicate groups and our topic is Honoring Difference – A topic that interest me.

Interestingly, having been at Wits since 2014, I have not been able to understand what this class was about – no one could give a clear answer… Let’s see how it will go, I’m excited!