As I See It: Building on strengths

What are New Zealand’s major challenges for 2012?
I see number of current challenges that face the New Zealand business environment as many businesses are still working through recovery strategies from the recent global recession and Canterbury earthquakes. Although there are positive signs across industry of an increase in spending and the rebuild of the general workforce, organisations are still battling to keep their best and brightest from leaving New Zealand. This issue is not just about losing skilled workers to Australia, the UK and Europe, we are also saying goodbye to our emerging leadership talent and young managers who are being trained here but applying their skills and experience abroad. This is creating widening gap in the middle management landscape that will become more apparent once our senior managers and business owners start retiring over the next five to 10 years.

How well prepared are Kiwi business leaders to face these challenges?
The strength in Kiwis is that we can adapt, personally and professionally. Business leaders are recognising that major challenge is to retain staff at all levels and award and recognise achievement. My observation working with wide range of Kiwi businesses is the drive to protect their biggest people assets through providing an achievable and dedicated professional development pathway for emerging managers and aligning these ‘up and comers’ with experienced mentors. Kiwi business leaders are becoming more prepared in this area and acknowledging the valuable contribution Gens X and Y make to all businesses.

What more could we do as country to thrive in the current global economic climate?
We need to encourage wider business opportunities with the growing and diverse ethnic groups in New Zealand. The reality is we have broad range of cultures in New Zealand that Kiwi businesses need to embrace. Often we place the responsibility on these groups to create their own personal and professional networks and more often than not they remain working and living within their own created communities. If we are truly going to grow and develop as nation we need to be proactive in these connections, learn and understand these cultures and be more inviting to utilise the broad range of skills on offer. Surely as result we will see increased opportunities to communicate more effectively and do business in the home countries of our newest Kiwi citizens. M

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