By Gladys Muyepa
Exagris Africa Limited held a strategic planning workshop where heads of departments including farm managers with guidance from consultants Ian and Gareth Williams from Caplor Horizons (UK) met at Sol Farm in Lilongwe from the 19th – 23rd of October last year. During the workshop, the team strategized on the organizational policy, vision, mission statement and values for Exagris Africa Limited for the next 5 – 10 years.
Others subjects covered during the workshop include key actions for communication, points relevant to culture, a template to further develop divisional objectives, and emerging model for Exagris structure, a narrative about corporate strategic priorities and substantial learning about management and leadership.
It was stated at the workshop that the management team would like to see Exagris Africa double in scale whilst increasing efficiency, achieve the potential of its farming operations, increase attainment of triple bottom targets and demonstrate greater leadership in the sector.
The initial task after compiling the strategy was to disseminate the organisations vision, mission statement and values which in essence outline the purpose of the organisation. During the meeting, a two member task force comprising Gladys Muyepa and Linda Goodman was set up to manage the transition change as change agents.
Their main focus is on the effect of changing technologies, structures, and tasks on interpersonal and group relationships in the organization. They will focus on the people in the organization and their interactions and enable them to work effectively as they plan, implement and experience change which will increase people’s ability to manage change.
Following the workshop, 5 clear divisions have been defined with their own strap lines. The divisions are Farming services (Achieving our potential), Development services (Deepening our impact), Value adding services (Increasing the synergies), Investment services (widening our horizon) and Central services (strengthening our support).
Besides this, departmental objectives have been formulated together with their key performance indicators and critical success factors. This will encourage a spirit of ownership to the objectives which will in turn boost staff member’s morale. Structured meetings have also been set to ensure proper communication within the company.
The success of the revised strategy rests very much on the leadership to inspire team members and drive positive change. To achieve this, Exagris is committed to carrying out initiatives that will equip its leaders with the necessary skills such as on the job training, seminars and workshops. A closer look at Exagris reveals that the organisation is striving to have leaders who will be able to manage the change by bring positive energy.
Having a clear and consistent strategy may not seem like a differentiator but considering the environmental challenges in the farming industry like climate change, the economy of the country and beyond, the socio cultural influences of the communities that we operate in, the technological advancements and the competitive environment of the industry, it was imperative that Exagris undertakes this exercise here and now. Asking why a clear strategy is important to Exagris is similar to asking “what a hammer is to a carpenter.” It is of no use for business to operate without knowing where it is going and this is essentially what Exagris is seeking to address.