EDITORIAL Heat and Light

The energy debate that recently hit the headlines generated great deal more heat than light. Does New Zealand have looming energy crisis or not? The discussion has cooled little, so we thought we should try to provide managers with some insights into the issues and even, perhaps, make few suggestions about how they might react to the questions left hanging by the experts, energy companies and our politicians. Mark Story took up the challenge and his findings appear in this month’s cover story.
The story also holds interesting lessons for students of the marketplace, and particularly for those who blindly believe that when it comes to efficiently delivering products and services, the market is king. The market can be, and frequently is, subverted. And politicians are unquestionably adept at subversion. In the case of New Zealand’s energy industry, politicians with some theory-bound bureaucratic assistance, created climate that ensured the transition from state-controlled and centralised energy regime to competitive, private sector business could never work. And, surprise, surprise, it hasn’t.
Myriad strands of conflicting interest now threaten to make life increasingly difficult for all energy consumers and particularly for business. Managers in every enterprise, but particularly in the manufacturing sector, must become more familiar with the sorry state of New Zealand’s energy market if they wish to plan for the future. Energy, electricity to be specific, is now the pulsing heart of every management activity and the essential component of many critical manufacturing processes. This story is intended to generate more light than heat.
But the battle to get some order and forward thinking back into New Zealand’s energy regime does not, for most organisations, seem quite as pressing as the every day war they wage to find, recruit and develop talented executives. The war for talent becomes increasingly urgent as growing body of research shows that talented people on the payroll makes difference to the bottom line performance of business. Our Talent Attack story on page 64 provides some useful guidelines for finding, capturing and keeping the best people.
And on the topic of throwing more light on important issues, Management this month contains the first issue of The Director for the year. We will publish The Director three times in 2004, reflection of the growing interest in and evolving close working relationship between governance and management. To read The Director simply turn to the back cover, flip the magazine over and there you have it.

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