EDITOR’S LETTER Staying Power

Times of transition are serious business. Handled well, they provide an opportunity for organisations to stop the clock, examine what has gone before and assess what is appropriate and best for the future. That’s why the recent death of Pope John Paul 11 and the appointment of his successor Pope Benedict XV1 have made such compelling news over the past few weeks. The pope is arguably CEO of one of the world’s largest organisations, with 1.1 billion “employees” worldwide and corporate heritage stretching back more than two millennia. No wonder, then, that the issue of succession is big business.
Pope John Paul 11 ran the Catholic Church through an odd mixture of conservatism and transformational leadership, holding fast against much opposition to traditional core values when it came to abortion, contraception and infidelity, for example, while embracing aspects of local culture – rather than imposing traditional western ones – in places such as Africa and Latin America. Inhouse, his leadership style was reputedly strong, direct and unbending. Externally, he embraced change, carried charisma and pushed the rules. He’ll be hard act to follow and as with all well-established businesses the Catholic Church is mindful of the signals it emits about its future.
Future thinking and times of transition are also the subject of this month’s cover story, which picks up on the recent Hui Taumata in Wellington at which leading thinkers from Moridom examined their journey over the past 20 years and challenged each other to establish greater economic pathways into the future.
For many Mori, economic visions must stretch way into the future, encompassing thoughts, dreams and options for the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of tomorrow. As Vicki Jayne notes in her article starting on page 22, for Ngi Tahu the strategic timeframe isn’t five or 10 years – but 100. And its actions today must be seen in the light of giving future generations “the ability to make decisions that are right for them in the environment that they are in”, as Ngi Tahu Holdings chief executive Robin Pratt says.
In fact Ngi Tahu’s 100-year vision was source of inspiration for Andy Pearce, CEO of Crown Research Institute Landcare Research, whose opinions form part of our article starting on page 32 on the unique set of skills needed to manage some of our nation’s top scientific brains. Thirteen years after the birth of our CRIs and as several CEOs – including Pearce – hand over the reins to the next generation of managers, we thought it time to check out how far the CRIs have moved in their efforts to instil commercially oriented cultures at the research end of the business. Plus, last month marked the 50th anniversary of Albert Einstein – one of the world’s greatest ever scientists.
And finally, when you’ve finished reading this month’s Management, flip it over and start on The Director.

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