David Molapo, President, I Can 4 IR

From humble beginnings to raising leaders and impacting nations, Dr David Molapo’s journey is driven by the desire to create value, make a difference, and find a deeper sense of meaning in all his endeavors. David, an iconic figure in the executive leadership development industry in Africa, is the founder of the I Can Leadership Institute Africa and CEO at I CAN 4IR. As the first Black pioneer in the South African space, his transformative impact in this industry, coupled with his commitment to excellence, has earned him a prominent place in the business world. David has carved his path and embraced risk and resilience to pave the way for his ascent to the summit of success. Today, as a gifted speaker, he has the ability to impact corporates, government, and community leaders through his experiences, actions, and, most notably, his speeches.

Let’s dive deep into David’s journey and witness how he is leading the charge toward shaping leadership futures and driving economic business success.

Humble Beginnings

David was born in KwaThema, a township south-west of Springs, South Africa. Growing up, his family faced financial hardships, and therefore, opportunities seemed scarce. At the tender age of 13, he was a customer of the police with free accommodation in jail for political activism. During such turbulent times, someone shared a text with him from the Bible Philippians 4:13 that changed his life forever. “It evoked a world of possibility, and I began to visualize, verbalize, and materialize about my dreams and future. Today, my dreams have become a reality,” shares David.

Despite facing numerous setbacks, David was determined to break this cycle and make a positive impact on his motherland and the world. Education became his beacon of hope, and as an academically bright student, he embraced every chance to learn, grow, and explore new horizons. “I realized that education – formal and informal- was the ultimate key to my total freedom,” assets David. Before leaving South Africa, he was already a Maths and Science Teacher and a staunch promoter of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM). Based on merit, he was given an opportunity to leave South Africa and study in the USA through the United Nations Educational Programme for South Africans.

However, upon his return from the USA, a move inspired by Dr. Nelson Mandela, loaded with a Bachelor of Science in Education, a master’s degree in leadership, a Doctorate in Leadership focusing on Comparative Religion, and a Ph.D. in Leadership & Management, David could not find a job. This led him to visit local high schools to encourage, enable, empower, and equip young people with marketing, work readiness, sales, entrepreneurial, and leadership skills. He later discovered what motivational speaking was all about and how much it had the power to bring out the best in people.

I Can 4 IR: A Reliable Partner for Leadership Journey to Excellence

When David became the first Black director of Dimension Data Holdings, he was given an opportunity to interact with CEOs and top executives across the world. He soon realized that there was a massive leadership bankruptcy in the Corporates, Government, and Community space. Taking ownership of his own career path, he started developing himself in this area and established I CAN 4IR, an inspirational speaking, coaching, and mentoring consulting company in 2018. Since then, the company has been guided by its core values of personal empowerment, innovation, tolerance, integrity, and quality service.

“At I CAN 4 IR, our commitment to excellence in leadership development and support is reflected in the satisfaction of completing 2000+ projects and more than 9500 happy customers. We take pride in being a trusted partner in shaping leadership futures and driving economic business success,” proudly states David. Presently, ICAN inspirational sessions are touching millions of lives across the world. This year, David and his team are hosting the 24th ICAN Global Leadership Summit in South Africa.

Premium Service Offerings

I Can 4 IR is a professional leadership consulting company, providing coaching and workshops for businesses, individuals, organisations, and teams to improve performance. Whether clients need assistance with leadership styles, effective communication strategies, decision-making techniques, or team management, I Can 4 IR offers contextually relevant answers and suggestions. The company takes pride in providing guidance with personalized coaching or mentoring from experienced professionals to ensure a comprehensive and tailored approach to leadership development.

Moreover, I Can 4 IR also develops workshops and mentoring programs that support its client’s ability to deliver on their own learning goals. These workshops focus on using client’s strengths and supporting their growth & development through ongoing self-awareness, positive mental attitude, and practical applications.

Tailoring Services to Meet the Unique Needs of Each Client

According to David, things don’t end wrong, they start wrong. Therefore, starting right by establishing a relationship with the client is “KEY”. He also considers listening carefully and assessing the challenges/problems to be the next crucial step. Likewise, getting the buy-in of all stakeholders and co-developing the solutions is a must. This is followed by implementing customized, proposed solutions, and evaluating the effectiveness of programs. Last but not least, ensuring that there is ownership after the customized process is important.

Navigating the Challenges of the Modern Business Landscape

From a seasoned leader’s perspective, David shares that it is a challenge for many leaders to break from the traditional mold of leadership and follow new practices. To make matters difficult, the modern business landscape is shifting gradually with or without the leader’s consent. Therefore, leaders at all levels must now review their strategies and methodologies and take a tough stance to remove those that are obsolete while at the same time, setting new models that are more enabling and suitable for the present times.

Here comes the true role of I Can 4 IR. Under David’s leadership, the I Can 4 IR seasoned team assists the current and emerging leaders to intentionally make efforts to keep abreast of the evolving trends and develop a suitable strategy that will allow them to respond to uncertain situations. The team also coaches clients on servant leadership style. Likewise, they help clients embrace the code of ethics to become their leadership handbook so that they can promote personal accountability and build trust with those they lead. As a reliable partner for the leadership journey to excellence, I Can 4 IR enables and empowers leaders to be honorable, steadfast, and thoughtful in their decision-making, thus promoting the greater good for all.

The Need for True Leadership in the 4th Industrial Revolution Era

In David’s opinion, the education system in South Africa has been failing its youth due to a lack of quality education, trained educators, and modern infrastructure. He, therefore, feels that digital technologies have the potential to empower the youth and entrepreneurs with access to information, job opportunities, and services that will improve their standards of living. Digitalization also gives the next generation of leaders an advantage because they are innately tech-savvy, and they understand the digital world better. Furthermore, he highlights that digital entrepreneurship platforms do not require young people to have years’ worth of expensive education. Micro-courses can get leaders where they need to be in their entrepreneurial journey which is the key to their future. They are aware that their future is in utilizing digital solutions for employment and running their own businesses. Therefore, it is vital to encourage organizations to upskill, reskill, and cross-skill their employees.

Due to new technologies that are deployed and changing demands, David and his team at I Can 4 IR coach and mentor organizations to become more supportive of employees. The company also provides practical solutions, resulting in increased productivity, efficiency, and quality in processes, greater safety for workers, enhanced decision-making with data-based tools, and improved competitiveness. “We walk with them through the change management journey so that they can end up with a happy engaged workforce,” shares David.

In addition, David feels that the key to creating a successful start-up in the Fourth Industrial Revolution [4IR] era is about being willing and able to recognize, embrace, and utilize technological advantage as a part of their business model from the ground up. Thus, entrepreneurs who want to improve their start-ups, and become bolder and smarter must also invest in the professional advice of leading consulting companies such as I Can 4 IR which provide valuable tools for gaining knowledge and understanding required to stay relevant in today’s business landscape.

Tracking Project Progress for Success

When it comes to tracking the progress of a project, David along with the client uses KPIs and is open to inviting independent M&E companies to measure the effectiveness of their programs. In the case of rolling out the change management campaigns, financial literacy & wellness programs, and financial literacy awareness programs, David and his team use the engagement rate which tracks the percentage of their change agents/ambassadors involved in the various departments and communities.

Similarly, in community leaders, clients, management, organized labor, and unions feedback HOT (Honest, Open & Transparent) sessions, candid opinions, and feedback are welcome from the attendees on the effectiveness of I Can 4 IR’s programs as service providers. But, at times, it also happens statistically, through outside surveys and feedback generators.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

David plans to stay ahead of the curve through his personal development plan for leadership, based on key themes of self-acceptance, self-management, and self-development. He also plans to use tools, frameworks, and practices to help his expert team navigate workplace challenges, and further their abilities to lead, negotiate, and influence with impact. He also plans to motivate and encourage his team to focus on their unique leadership style and strengths. He also aims to tap into I Can 4 IR’s international connections to join a global network of like-minded professionals striving to drive gender balance in leadership positions.

David, while revealing this year’s plans, says, “This year we are already developing the ICAN 5IR and AI Curriculum that will impact Early Childhood Development Centers, the next generation of leaders, governments, non-profit organizations, and corporates.”

Lessons Learnt

Throughout his extensive career, David has imbibed some valuable lessons into his leadership role that make him a trailblazer in the executive leadership development industry. These lessons include talking less and listening more, accepting and responding to both positive and negative feedback, taking care of his team in all areas, learning to be adaptable and flexible, and growing from the upside of failure.

Personal Sources of Inspiration

As an insightful, driven, and astute leader, David finds inspiration from meeting incredible nation builders who are unsung heroes and heroines and seeking positive feedback from people and organizations that are succeeding due to the intervention processes. He also enjoys his work of enabling, empowering, and equipping people with skills, thereby giving hope to millions of people through I Can 4 IR’s “live sessions”, TV and media stints, and giving back to disadvantaged communities that they most effectively carry their faith into the world.

Roadmap to the Future

Going forward, David plans to foster intergenerational relationships and leadership and nurture future leaders. He also aspires to identify, develop, and deploy at least 500 000 dynamic leaders to impact Governments, Corporates, Entrepreneurs, and Non-profit organizations in 50 Countries. He also aims to maximize I Can 4 IR’s diversity and enrich its base with skills from many people.

Pearls of Wisdom

David recommends aspiring leaders learn to maximize today and enjoy the moment of the “now”. He also suggests they keep pride and arrogance in check, become early risk-takers, manage their time wisely, seek coaches, mentors, and therapists for their personal growth, be inventive and give back to their communities.

For More Info: http://www.ican4ir.com

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