NZIM Charts Course for Leaders

NZIM’s national office used recommendations made at workshops held at last year’s Knowledge Wave conference to formulate questions to take to managerial focus groups held across the country in November and December. The results provide pointer to future strategies.
“The conference decided there was no reason why New Zealand could not be in the top 10 performing countries in the OECD,” says NZIM national chairman, Doug Matheson. “We’ve been asking the question: if that’s what New Zealand wants to do, if that’s what New Zealand has to do, then what capability do we need in management to get there?”
Distilling the deliberations from the NZIM focus groups, which involved input from practising managers from across the country, has identified six key requirements necessary for management in New Zealand to lift productivity and build true “knowledge based”, high performance organisation.
The following is Matheson’s depiction of what the required qualities are and what they entail:
1. Leadership Capability – “Managers must move beyond management, to leadership. This is the most important attribute or skill managers need to develop. From managing things to presenting clear vision for the organisation they are running. It means visionary leadership and ensuring that everyone in the organisation is committed to the vision. It also means businesses must think more strategically than they have in the past.”
2. Personal Skills – “The leader of tomorrow must be capable of personal growth. The individual who succeeds today, and the manager who is likely to succeed tomorrow, must not only be leader of the moment but also show that they can grow personally from where they currently are. They must develop different personal skills. They need ‘can-do’ attitude. In knowledge-based organisation people have the information, they build up the knowledge, and the manager is the catalyst for creating an environment for that process. How we are going to get New Zealand managers up there is another question. But that’s our job.”
3. Human Resource Skills – “This one speaks for itself. It’s about having adequate people skills and the ability to lead while bringing about boundaryless jobs and providing scope for people to grow.”
4. The Importance of Global or International Thinking – “Managers must think globally and internationally. To do so they need global perspective. International experience is one way to get it, exposure to global markets and global thinking is another. Attending seminars with speakers who have been there is yet another. It might mean spending time with an organisation that is doing business globally. But whatever the method, managers must be exposed to the international market.
5. Balancing Risk and Achievement – “Managers must stop hiding behind ‘risk’, and accept challenging goals. They must stretch and strive while managing the risk, breaking new ground, innovating and being creative. Managers cannot afford to be risk averse or attempt to avoid risk. They must accept that risk is part of the process and deal with it. New Zealand managers, for some reason, tend to be risk averse.”
6. Organisational Change – “This requires the ability to create boundaryless organisation – to get rid of hierarchical structures. It means having everyone working together across the organisation, rather than in silos or departments. Organisations must work together as one. Managers hide behind hierarchies. Our research tell us that managers think ‘yes they ought to practise empowerment’, but they don’t because they are too busy or something. Empowerment means allowing people to get on without having to constantly report back to management. It means giving people the freedom to grow and to act.”
“Our challenge is finding the vehicles to bring these changes about, to get it into the qualifications, and to develop the ability within the educational organisations to teach it and all this needs to happen sooner rather than later,” says Matheson summing up NZIM’s challenge for 2002.

Regional round-up
NZIM’s regional offices will implement and deliver the national office’s objectives and vision for management generally through courses and programmes for managers.
Most offices are in the middle of fulfilling three or five year strategies and are upbeat about the next 12 months. The benefit of the organisation’s soul searching of recent years has established clear objectives and strategic positioning.
For Alan McKeown, CEO of Otago NZIM, the cooperation between his Institute and Otago University plus new joint venture with Otago Polytechnic to create the Centre for Management Theory, provides the most exciting opportunities for the delivery of local courses. “We are now focusing on three key levels of service provision,” he says. “Level one is the provision and continued development of our live-in seminars for senior managers, while level two delivers the same objective for our short courses for middle and senior managers. In future these will largely be taken at the new Centre for Management Theory. And finally we are also moving to provide customer services based courses through our recently acquired franchise KiwiHost which is nationally recognised benchmarked service standard.”
The strong South Island economy is also driving healthy period of growth for NZIM’s Canterbury business. CEO Reg Garters says the financial year ending in December produced both record profit and record for the number of course attendees they had in the year.
Garters is, however, still concerned by the number of managers in the workforce who end up in leadership positions because they are good at ‘managing things’ but who are still not adequately equipped to lead their organisations. “Entrepreneurship and innovation come out when people are empowered. People are only empowered when they have leaders who ensure that they have the constructive energies and the deductive skills to do the job. Then the new ideas and innovation emerge. Leadership is critical factor, and that’s where our focus will be concentrated and directed.”
NZIM Central CEO, Ian Balfour, is equally upbeat about the next 12 months, though he is little weary of the potential impact of an election year on his business. “While we’ll be continuing to push for growth in our public courses we’ll also be aggressively marketing our popular Corporate In-House programmes, expanding our Cook Islands Management Development Programme into other pacific Islands such as Samoa and Fiji, and also consolidating and building on our successful ties with Malaysia, Indonesia and China,” he explains. Balfour also identifies the drive across the organisation to line up diploma and certificate qualifications with NZQA recognition.
In Auckland, newly appointed general manager, Stig Ehnbom says the organisation is planning some new courses in the coming 12 months including new leadership development programmes, marketing in action and customer relation selling programme and supply chain leadership programme.
“Learning to learn and transforming information into knowledge are areas where NZIM has key role to play,” he explains. “In the next 12 months we’ll be continuing to organise learning experiences for our members and course participants by inviting top speakers in to talk about cutting edge managerial topics. For us it’s about proactively taking management information to the market in bid to support and implement more effective and faster learning opportunities.”

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