Editor’s Letter

How does the saying go? Never expect and you can’t be disappointed. That at least is the gist of it. Our concern at Management magazine is that this mode of thinking is becoming all too pervasive in our attitudes toward managing, education and, heaven forbid, even in some of our previously outstanding sporting endeavours. Things do not improve simply by wanting them to or even by talking them up. At some point improvement, achievement and yes, excellence, requires commitment and hard work.
This month our cover story is dedicated to explaining the relevance of the New Zealand Business Excellence Awards. They are an important, but often ignored, component in the process of becoming “world class”. “World class” needs to replace “she’ll be right” as our national mantra. Too few organisations are prepared to commit themselves to the scrutiny the awards programme offers. By doing so they exclude themselves from the enormous benefits the process offers. It is too convenient to lay our failure to excel at the door of the tall poppy syndrome.
There are some outstanding individuals and some pretty clever enterprise teams still poking up from the general rubble of New Zealand’s commercial playing field. But you have to admit they are few and far between. This magazine is convinced that our falling performance in most fields of endeavour is attributable to negative state of mind and apathetic leadership. Too few leaders see either themselves or their organisations as “world class”. And yet we know that those who try can make it. Perhaps they look at NZ Post, which successfully benchmarks itself against the best in world, and note the public attempts to tear it down. Perhaps they just can’t be bothered because life in New Zealand is “pretty cruisy”. Whatever the root cause, we look increasingly like losers unwilling to fight back. The answer is all in the mind – not in the strategic policies of our politicians.
And on the subject of leadership, on page 30 regular contributor Denise McNabb talks with recruitment expert who spells out how important it is to make the right choice. Organisations pay high price for selecting executives who simply don’t fit. If you want to know what 21st century leaders might look, think and act like, turn to page 37.
Before leaving the subject of excellence, Management magazine was finalist in the 2001 MPA New Zealand Magazine Awards announced in Auckland last month. We’ve won more than our share of awards over the years but we’ll be back there looking for greater honours again next year. Our sister publications, Marketing Magazine and AdMedia, were also finalists in other award categories and Adele Gautier, was named best Business Journalist/Writer of the year for her contributions to Marketing Magazine.

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