Cover Story: NZ’s Most Reputable Organisations – Why good leaders matter

The criteria that count
Organisations selected in this year’s Hay Group/NZ Management magazine survey of Most Reputable Organisations were judged against the following criteria:
• Corporate social responsibility
• Financial performance
• Implementation of strategic objectives
• Innovation
• Operating model
• Organisational structure
• Quality of product or service
• Senior leadership
• Stakeholder relationships
• Vision for the future.

New Zealand’s Most Reputable Organisations
MOST REPUTABLE ORGANISATIONS – OVERALL
2012 Position

Air New Zealand1
Fonterra2
Beca 3

2011
Air New Zealand 2
Fonterra 3
Beca 1

2010
Air New Zealand 1
Fonterra 2
Beca 4

MOST REPUTABLE COMPANIES
2012 Position

Air New Zealand1
Beca2
Fonterra3
Fulton Hogan4

2011
Air New Zealand 2
Beca 1
Fonterra 3
Fulton Hogan –

2010
Air New Zealand 1
Beca 3
Fonterra 2
Fulton Hogan –

MOST REPUTABLE STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES
2012 Position

Kiwibank1
Mighty River Power2
Solid Energy3
Meridian Energy4
Genesis Energy5=
Landcorp Farming 5=

2011
Kiwibank 2
Mighty River Power 4=
Solid Energy 1
Meridian Energy 4=
Genesis Energy 6
Landcorp Farming –

2010
Kiwibank 1
Mighty River Power –
Solid Energy 5=
Meridian Energy 4
Genesis Energy 5=
Landcorp Farming –

MOST REPUTABLE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS
2012 Position

NZ Police1=
Department of Conservation1=
The Treasury3

2011
NZ Police 1
Department of Conservation 4=
The Treasury 3

2010
NZ Police 1
Department of Conservation 2
The Treasury 3

MOST REPUTABLE NOT FOR PROFIT ORGANISATIONS
2012 Position

Salvation Army1
NZ Red Cross2
St John Ambulance3

2011
Salvation Army 1
NZ Red Cross 2
St John Ambulance 3

2010
Salvation Army 1
NZ Red Cross –
St John Ambulance –

MOST REPUTABLE PROFESSIONAL SERVICES ORGANISATIONS
2012 Position

PricewaterhouseCoopers1
Beca 2
Deloitte3

2011
PricewaterhouseCoopers N/A
Beca N/A
Deloitte N/A

2010
PricewaterhouseCoopers N/A
Beca N/A
Deloitte N/A

How can some organisations weather economic storms better than others? How do some face up to challenges – even tragedies – and still have customers, staff and stakeholders stand loyal by their side? What does it take to be trusted by your peers? In short, what underpins good reputation?
Ask Air NZ CEO Rob Fyfe, Beca’s Greg Lowe and Fonterra’s Theo Spierings. Have word with Salvation Army commissioner Don Bell or Kiwibank CEO Paul Brock. For they, and select group of others, head what are considered to be some of New Zealand’s most solid organisations.
Their insights lie at the heart of this year’s Hay Group/NZ Management magazine Most Reputable Organisations (MRO) survey which year-by-year is building body of knowledge around reputational prowess in Kiwi context.
Reputation is complex blend of multiple parts: hard won and easily ruined. Yet, as our survey reveals, in the current climate three key attributes are underpinning reputation like never before. The organisations topping this year’s survey show superior senior leadership, vision for the future, and excellent product or service quality.
Internationally, Hay Group conducts global research on corporate reputation with Fortune magazine. In Australia it works with AFR BOSS magazine. Here in New Zealand since 2010 it has teamed up with NZ Management magazine asking C-suite executives and board directors to nominate the organisations they deem to be the most reputable and why.
Probing further into their thinking, each respondent is asked to rate the organisation they have selected against suite of 10 attributes. (See box “The criteria that count”.) The end-result is 3D picture of some of the best organisations in town.
Now in its third year here, the survey continues to gather pace with over 50 percent more responses than last year. More than 46 percent of this year’s respondents are board members, CEOs or senior executives. The remaining respondents are senior managers, managers or similar level leaders.
For the past two years, the MRO has been identifying reputable organisations across four categories: private sector companies, state-owned enterprises, government departments, and not-for-profit organisations.
Now for the first time, the pool has been expanded to also include professional services companies. It’s pool that this year brings to light the reputational achievements of PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte NZ, and highlights once more the firm foundations on which Beca stands.

Cracking the code
It would be fair to say that Beca, Fonterra and this year’s top performer, Air New Zealand, have cracked the code to corporate reputation.
As our chart shows, they have all been reliably in our top three rankings for the past three years. (See table “New Zealand’s Most Reputable Organisations”.) This time, Air New Zealand takes the top slot in the overall rankings, followed by Fonterra and then Beca. There are other stalwarts across the sectors. Kiwibank ranked first this year among most reputable state-owned enterprises after listing second the year before and first in our initial survey in 2010.
NZ Police reigns supreme as the number one government department three years in row: joined in equal top place this year by the Department of Conservation which has jumped from fourth place in 2011.
Similarly, the Salvation Army continues into third year as the most reputable not-for-profit organisation. NZ Red Cross sticks in second place and St John Ambulance in third. When it comes to the non-profit sector, it seems these three organisations have got more than decent rep.
That certain companies hover at the top of our tables year after year comes as no surprise. For building good name is long-term business.
That they can do it in within the constraints of the current economic climate is testament to their ability to focus on the stuff that matters to all their stakeholders.
This year’s survey respondents praised many aspects of Air New Zealand’s performance: its strong leadership, customer service orientation, innovation, brand and corporate values, and its role as strong ambassador for NZ.
“Its branding and image align to how Kiwis would like their values portrayed – innovative, reliable and fun – and how we perceive ourselves internationally as leaders in technology,” said one person.
“It’s an iconic Kiwi brand”, it “has set the benchmark for customer service and ethics” and makes “no compromise in service and values”, say others. Another respondent praised Air NZ’s fun culture and ability to embrace Kiwi diversity. Many comments focused on the airline’s innovative streak: “constantly developing the business” and an “innovative approach to everything they do”.
Air NZ’s ongoing success in tough marketplace is attributed to its “honest” and “strong” leadership from the top with leaders who “walk the talk and engage with their people”.
Deputy CEO Norm Thompson says he and CEO Rob Fyfe are very flattered the airline is recognised for its strong reputation. The organisation works hard to get loyalty and support from its people and its customers.
“We have 11,000 staff who live and breathe four key brand values that underpin the service we deliver to our customers, which has created high degree of loyalty to the airline,” he says. “This in turn allows us to deliver results to our shareholders.”
In Thompson’s view, people and innovation underpin Air NZ’s good name.
“Rob and the executive team have long employed strategy that people, rather than planes, are our greatest asset. Great people creating and delivering innovative product and fantastic service is what enables us to constantly surprise and delight our customers.”
Thompson says organisations can best sustai

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