EDITOR’S LETTER Far Horizons

Nowhere is the need for long-term view more vital than in our schools. For today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders. So it is perhaps not surprising that debate should rage fiercely over how our nation establishes, measures, rewards and upholds educational standards. In recent years that ferocity has flared up notch as the New Zealand Qualifications Authority has come under increasing fire for what many critics see as flawed thinking and rigid and inflexible approach.
Last month, the New Zealand Institute of Management weighed in to the debate with comprehensive briefing paper outlining its concerns and which it presented to “the incoming government”. This is the subject of our cover story this month in which, right at the end, the Authority’s founding chief executive David Hood very sensibly points out that the process of reform will never change. For each solution is response to problems of the past.
Tell that to Peter Drucker, who no-one could accuse of not having long-term view. Now 95 years old and still one of the world’s most respected thinkers on management and society, he shares his thoughts and lifetime of wisdom in candid interview starting on page 42 of this issue. Pragmatic and to the point, Drucker’s blunt views on management practice, business schools and high-charisma leaders are as challenging as ever. We’re following up with more thoughts from Drucker in the November issue too.
Similarly, the need to keep an eye on not just the past but also the future, is recurring theme in the life of Rob Fenwick – the subject of this month’s Management interview. Current chair and founding member of the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development – and with swathe of other responsibilities to his name – Fenwick talks about the need for “keepers of the long view” who will consciously work to balance today’s realities with tomorrow’s needs.
If we are to develop strong leaders for the future, he argues, we need to nurture in them the classic characteristics of leaders which he lists as “humility, respect and trustworthiness, mixed with passion and optimism”. Now that sounds like good starting point for our schools.

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