Business Talk – In conversation with GIBS director Dr Roze Phillips

Dr Roze Phillips is the Executive Director of Value Creation at the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), with over 25 years of business and management consulting experience.

She is an African futurist dedicated to ‘unleashing the abundance of Africa to the world’, with degrees in Medicine and Business Administration.

Phillips is the founder of [email protected] and speaks and consults regularly on topics related to the future of work and the workforce of the future.

Prior to joining GIBS, she served on the Absa Group Executive Committee and Absa Board Social and Ethics and Remuneration committees spearheading the human capital and culture transformation agenda across the group.

Before joining Absa, she worked with Accenture as a strategic advisory lead and a member of the Accenture Africa Regional Council and the Accenture South Africa Board of Directors – and in 2019 was appointed by the country’s Minister of Higher Education to serve on the board of the Banking Sector Education and Training Authority.

Dr Phillips holds a Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery (MBChB), a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Cape Town, and a postgrad Diploma in Futures Studies from Stellenbosch University Business School.

Making digital work

In this episode of Business Talk, presented by EY, Dr Phillips talks to host Michael Avery about how businesses and workforces can use advanced education to enhance responsible business thinking in the context of a growing digital and post-pandemic world.

According to Dr Phillips, while many companies used the Covid-19 pandemic to advance digital goals and flatten organisational structures, something that has not been done is working to improve the ‘technical savviness’ of leaders within organisations.

This is something that needs to be focused on, “so we can get sustainability in the changes we are making, and that digital works for us – not against us,” she said.

Recent research conducted among 4,400 business leaders in 120 countries showed that a vast majority of managers and executives – some 82% – believe that tech-savviness and understanding are fundamental to building their company’s future.

However, only 12% of these companies said they actually have the skillset among leadership.

“Leadership matters,” Dr Phillips says, “they are the captains of their ships. They are the ones that make the decisions: who to hire, who to fire, who to promote. They decide where the money goes. So it’s very important that the focus on leadership should be there.”

When it comes to digital and technology shifts, there are leaders and there are laggards, Dr Phillips says, and the research shows that there is a massive gap between them – in terms of both revenue growth and margin and profitability.

“There is definitely a business case, a growth case, an innovation case – a business success case – to be made for why you should be doing this,” she says.

The full interview is embedded below. You can find all the Business Talk with Michael Avery interviews here.

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Business Talk – In conversation with GIBS director Dr Roze Phillips