NZIM Challenges & Change – Tony Hassed’s three decades at the helm

How do you feel about stepping down after so many years of involvement with NZIM?
The grieving process is under way as I gradually hand things over to my successor, Robin Dunlop. I realise all the aspects of NZIM I have so enjoyed will not be part of my life any more. But change is essential. I’ve had my turn at the tiller and I know Robin will do great job.

What originally encouraged you to become involved?
I was working for IBM in 1974 and the company’s CEO, Basil Logan, introduced me. I saw it as way to complement the great management training IBM offered in those days.

What did you think NZIM could do for you when you became involved?
Firstly, I wanted some management training and second, the opportunity to network and build management community in Wellington.

When did you first offer your services to the board and why?
In 1977 and again at the instigation of Bas Logan. He was national president and suggested I might like to join what was then the National Council with responsibility for the finances. I spent couple of years as national treasurer, moved on to vice president, and then national president in 1985/86. I was also elected to the Wellington (now Central) council in 1977 and spent the next 26 years on the council and its board successor.

What, on reflection, do you feel you got personally from your time with NZIM?
That’s huge question. I’ve met some wonderful people and established some great relationships. I’ve heard speakers of every calibre and capability, met and worked with managers from first line to CEO, discussed issues with politicians and their advisers, and built rich storehouse of experience and knowledge which I wouldn’t have obtained if I hadn’t been involved.

And how has the organisation changed?
A bit over seven years ago the council was disbanded and the national board established. The council was representative body and mostly involved itself in managerial issues. The board was established with the intention that members elected it, thus changing from representative governance model to an elective model. The transition recognised that the board was there to govern.
With the board’s focus squarely on governance, issues which previously were not given any airtime are now under review. The national board is, for example, aware that NZIM has been labelled with ‘fuddy duddy’ image and is determined to change that and ensure the Institute’s relevance into the future. There is similar awareness at the boards of NZIM’s four operational societies. We don’t have all the answers yet, but recognition is 90 percent of the way to solution.
I’ve been hugely impressed with the outcomes the Auckland society has achieved over the past couple of years. The relevance of their programme offerings and their awareness of the requirements of the market are tribute to the work Auckland’s board, CEO and team have put in.

How do you feel the discipline of management has changed in the time you have been involved?
The question takes me back to the days when the management mantra was ‘ploc’ – planning, leading, organising and controlling. The old mantra was all left-brain stuff. Today’s emphasis is changing to re-cognise the importance of the right-brain contribution. We are in transition, little bit unaware of how to unlearn some of the historical left-brain, process-oriented management techniques and, equally uncertain how to successfully implement the empathetic techniques of the right brain.

Do you find the changes and evolution of management exciting?
I love it, which contributes to my sense of sadness at not being so intimately involved in future. I’m currently reading The world is flat by Thomas Friedman, and Three billion new capitalists by Clyde Prestowitz. These exciting and stimulating books highlight the turbulence of the world today. They evoke the constant question: what do we need to do as managers to respond to this turbulence? Tomorrow’s NZIM has some radical challenges ahead and it would be exciting to be part of the team responding to those challenges.

What do you see as the greatest challenges for managers and how must they change and adapt?
It’s combination of the responses to the above two points – achieving the transition from purely left brain to balance between left and right, and concurrently identifying and responding to turbulent post 9/11 world. Regardless of where they are in the management chain, today’s managers can’t afford to be ignorant of the implications of what either Friedman or Prestowitz or other like commentators are saying.

And what about NZIM, how do see it changing or evolving in the next five to 10 years?
NZIM must continue to work with government officials highlighting the implications for management of the issues. It must also start leading managers through the solutions. NZIM must be attuned to the changes and be sensitive in the way in which it introduces tools and techniques to help members and course attendees.

Are you happy with where your chairmanship has taken the organisation?
After 30 years you would think I should know how difficult it is to instigate change. Asking if I am happy assumes we could have achieved the changes I would like to have seen. We’re not there yet, but there is both recognition of, and desire to develop an organisation which is flexible, vibrant, relevant and stable, influence decision makers, and be guiding force to tomorrow’s managers.

What specific thing would you have liked to achieve and that you feel you accomplished?
It is difficult for the national board to significantly influence the operational societies, although I think David Chapman, our national CEO, does great job working with the society CEOs. My accomplishments are limited to the national board and I think it is united in its views and has worked extremely well by looking at the bigger picture and the future of management.

What specific thing would you have liked to achieve but feel you did not accomplish?
My time is at an end so I can, perhaps, tread on few eggshells. Since at least 1985 we have tried to create more united organisation. Five independent, legally constituted societies is, as many not-for-profits have discovered, barrier to having one voice in the marketplace. Charles Handy, in his book The Elephant and the Flea, advances compelling case for successful federal structures. But try as we might, the federal structure has not, in my view, delivered NZIM’s true potential.

Where to now for Tony Hassed? Does new career await?
NZIM hasn’t really been career so much as passion. I’m interested in helping young people transition through the challenges life throws at them. I have, and still do mentor young people starting up businesses and management careers. I have recently been elected to the board of the Greater Wellington YMCA and am looking forward to discovering ways we can positively influence young people before they embark on their business journeys.

Visited 3 times, 1 visit(s) today

Business benefits of privacy

Privacy Week (13-17 May) is a great time to consider the importance of privacy and to help ensure you and your company have good privacy practices in place, writes Privacy

Read More »
Close Search Window