MUT continues to ring in changes as the University prepares for the future

The first group of management that attended the workshop. Dr Charles Cotter is first on the right. The second group will attend next week.

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) is undergoing a transformation, one that will not just make the university better, but it will also make it even more effective. The next half a decade will see MUT morph into a new version of itself.

The Senior Director of Human Resources and Development, Dharamraj Brijlal, said a battery of changes would be introduced to the University to effect the changes that are necessary to take the university forward. Some of these are the Performance Management System, which is already being piloted at the highest level of management, and the Culture Change, which is yet to be introduced. To maximise the success of the plan, the Department of Human Resources and Development organised a workshop for extended MUT management.

Bathabile Wella, Organisational Development Specialist in the Human Resources Development department, said these line managers “are the primary agents and ambassadors of this change”.

Brijlal said the staff members, who met off-campus from 20 to 22 February 2023, were being prepared for the coming changes through Change Management Training because they are the ones that will take the lead when the changes are implemented.

Dr Charles Cotter, a facilitator, with 22 years of experience in Change Management and People and Talent Management arena, said change is a “complex” thing.  Dr Cotter said every organisation needed to change to adapt to the present circumstances and prepare for the future in mind. Dr Cotter said, “the rate of change is dynamic. Therefore, organisations need to keep pace with the changing world, especially in higher education.”

Dr Cotter said that the Change Management lessons would support the introduction and implementation of the Performance Management System at the University.

The change management process at the University is expected to take place over three years. Dr Cotter said that change generally took place as determined by the scope of work. This depended on multiple factors, he said. At MUT the time frame will be 2023-2025. Dr Cotter said this time “is reasonable and fair”.

Most of the workshop attendees mentioned that an analysis on the calm waters of change was mind-altering. These were in reference to The Calm Water Metaphor which according to Dr Cotter, “The ship’s captain and crew know exactly where they are going because they have made the trip many times before. Change comes in the form of an occasional storm, a brief distracting in an otherwise calm and predictable trip.” On the other hand, Dr Cotter also spoke about the White-Water Rapids Metaphor where “Aboard the raft are half-a-dozen people who have never worked together before, who are totally unfamiliar with the river, who are unsure of their eventual destination, and who, as if things weren’t bad enough, are travelling at night. Change is an expected and natural state, and managing change is a continual process.”