EDITOR’S LETTER : It’s about execution!

As we speed into yet another year with resolutions for better things streaming behind us like the impressive tail of the comet currently gracing our twilight skies, the subject of execution – our sad inability to ‘just do it’ – seems worth good ponder.
The intentions to exercise more, eat less, read heftier literature, be kinder or more loving will probably have faded by the time McNaught’s comet leaves us later this month – and the future written across our skies will be the poorer for it. Because our failure to execute is not just personally self-defeating, it’s economically and socially destructive.
That we already have solutions to all the major problems facing and largely created by the population of this remote and precious planet is reality pointed out by James Martin in The Meaning of the 21st Century (reviewed p24). That we are not then putting these into practice seems dangerously insane.
All we lack is the collective political will to just do it.
It seems similar problem afflicts New Zealanders when it comes to creating healthier, more vibrant export economy. As David Skilling puts it in our cover story on Export Year: “It’s not that we don’t understand the problem or even have reasonable sense of where the solutions lie as much as having let ourselves down bit around execution…”
Is it failure of nerve, failure of imagination – or not quite taking ourselves seriously enough in terms of what we could achieve?
When NZ Management asked bunch of our leading business folk to imagine New Zealand’s future place in the world for this issue (p44), one of the themes to emerge was that of ‘confidence’. There’s sense that we don’t get excited enough about our own potential.
Why not recognise and capitalise on what makes us different – imagine we can be “a place the world looks to to be re-inspired” or that NZ-made means “origination from country that leads the world in environmental, social and cultural best practice”.
Creating more exciting future will involve some inspirational leadership – and as is becoming increasingly evident in the articles we have run in this and previous issues – transformation starts with the individual. It’s not matter of waiting for someone else to prompt us to action.
As Export Year champion Ken Stevens says of building export markets – “you have to make your own way, get out there and get on with it”.

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