To new beginnings and a fresh start

On December 7, 2017

To new beginnings and a fresh start

Thank you. Typically used to express gratitude, the use of the phrase has become a formality to many these days, without much thought other really than that it is appropriate and good manners in the context it is spoken. How many of us truly take the time to consider what we are saying thank you for and the important role gratitude plays in our lives?

I for one am facing a moment where I am able to reflect on what it means to say thank you. At the end of November, I will be leaving the Contribution Compass team to set sail for new horizons. Having joined the team soon after the launch of the tool, I have been involved and experienced its growth from a hopeful startup with a lot of promise, to a grounded young business with a growing team of professionals involved in its development, use and application.

Starting with the Contribution Compass around mid-2016, I came from the media space, specifically business-to-business writing, and while still active in my private capacity as a freelance journalist, was employed as Business Development Executive. The opportunity was exciting to me. I had a humanities background, exposure to the business world and its lingo, and saw many of the elements necessary to make the venture a success. There was proper market alignment catering to a relevant corporate need, a team of highly qualified and respected professionals and values that resonate with anyone wanting to drive positive change in the business world and beyond.

One thing however remained a fact: while I have written numerous features ranging from successful startups to famous and well established entrepreneurs, I had no clue what the actual experience of starting a business would entail. Co-founder Belinda Doveston had set up office in my home town, Grabouw, a quaint country community situated in the Elgin Valley known for its lush apple orchards and world class wines. I was all too pleased when I found the vacancy being advertised in one of our local school newsletters. Little did I know that it would turn out to be such a significant formative experience that I can today reflect on as a much more able and self-aware version of myself than when I started.

I fondly remember meeting Belinda over a cup of coffee at Peregrine Farmstall for our initial interview. I was thrilled. The position was a great opportunity and working from Belinda’s home office meant I would be saving a lot on travel expenses since I lived close by. After completing my Contribution Compass profile, an interview requirement, I found that I was in fact a Coach. Known for their love of people, a knack for understanding interpersonal dynamics and always looking on the bright side, I strongly resonated with my results.

The insights offered by the Contribution Compass is certainly something that I am immensely grateful for. Today I am not only much more self-aware about my behavior and preferences, but also understand how to manage my challenges in a more effective way. Whether it is the fact that I have learned about and improved on my personal boundaries, championed the art of the task list, or reminding myself to double check the fine print, having stepped up my functional understanding and capacity will be a gift that pays dividends going forward.

Soon after joining the team, my role at the company shifted from a sales position to partner coordinator which was more aligned to my Coach skills and preferences for working with people. Having been able to train and grow with our January facilitator team, I am also happy to say that I am now a qualified facilitator – yet another gift. While counting my blessings, I must certainly highlight our inaugural Contribution Compass Partner Conference. Held at Champagne Castle in the beautiful Drakensberg, it was an unforgettable experience which was further highlighted by the excitement of getting to meet so many of the partners and facilitators I have been dealing with online in person. Indeed, I am most grateful for the people I have met on this journey.

The Contribution Compass is affiliated with the larger Sirdar family. Being one of the leading corporate governance experts in Africa, I had the privilege to work with, quite intimately, some top minds in the industry. Belinda, who I spent most of my working days with; international businessman, mentor and author Carl Bates; the larger Sirdar and Contribution Compass team; and many of our partners and facilitators who I had the pleasure to engage with, represents a pool of knowledge and wisdom that I was exposed to on a regular basis. My utmost thanks for being able to learn and grow with you.

As I finish up my journey as part of the team, I remind myself that while it might be a bit sad to say to goodbye, ahead of me now are new beginnings and a fresh start. I am fortunate that I am able enter this new phase of my life coming from such an enriching developmental environment. Whatever the next step for me might hold, I feel a sense of serendipity knowing that what preceded it was called the Contribution Compass.

Michael Meiring

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