NZIM Enterprise Learning Tony Hassed’s vision for NZIM

Why have you been so involved with NZIM for so long?
I attended an NZIM presentation in about 1974 which awoke some strong feelings about management. I wanted to know more about the art of managing. As soon as you show an interest in something, someone wants you on committee.

Do you have vision of what you would like to achieve in your term as chairman?
Two years isn’t long to achieve much change in federal organisation.

But, over the last 12 months, the National Board has put in place some much-needed long-term thinking on which to base the future. The key goal is to achieve global acceptance of our Management Capability Index which will allow New Zealand enterprise to assess the capability of its managers.

That should provide global indicator of our management skills when looking at international competitiveness.

There is, however, another more endemic issue to come to grips with. Arie de Geus, in his book The Living Company, points out the relatively short life expectancy of enterprises throughout the world.

He says, “Companies die because their managers focus on the economic activity of producing goods and services, and they forget that their organisation’s true nature is that of community of humans.”

The average life expectancy of multinational corporation – the Fortune 500 or its equivalent – is between 40 and 50 years.

New Zealand has not been insulated from the very factors which have applied elsewhere in the world.

When you think of the huge cost of such profligacy in human terms, it is clear that we need to look again at those with significant responsibility for the longevity or otherwise of our enterprises – our managers.

The majority of New Zealand employers, consciously or sub-consciously, leave the development of their managers up to the individual. One of the first items to get cut when we go on cost-cutting binge, is management development.

So my vision over the next two years is to foster the concept of “enterprise learning”. That’s not new or unique term, but I would like to see New Zealand employers, regardless of size or industry sector, move toward the implementation of core value which recognises the value of human capital, and the benefits of developing that capital.

What are the key areas of concern for management in New Zealand?
Individual responsibility for management development I mentioned before and international ownership.

Managers employed in organisations where the management development budget is effectively held offshore have expressed their frustration that this development is not seen as important. Many I have spoken to tell me that the offshore head office doesn’t see any increased profit accruing by paying for the development of their managers.

Again, it’s that lack of appreciation or recognition of the value of human capital.

Management as career is also an issue. Over the past year or two, some of our secondary schools have introduced the NZIM Certificate in Management (Enterprise option). But how many recognise that management is career, and that as such, it should be taught as part of the curriculum?

Many occupations require knowledge of management as component of that occupation. The medical profession, from doctors to nurses, is now expected to discharge ‘management’ responsibilities.

Employment stability is an issue. As the rate of global change has increased, so has the need for enterprise evolution. consequence of this evolution is reduced management tenure as employers frequently see restructuring as the solution to remaining competitive. If you perceive your tenure with an employer as less than five years, what incentive is there to improve your managerial skills?

How do you see NZIM playing role in addressing these issues?
Our role is to promote enterprise learning. Over the next few months, we will develop the imperatives for enterprise learning and start talking to managers about how we can implement them.

What is your position on the importance of good leadership in management?
Leadership is today’s hot topic and one more contribution to the bandwagon isn’t going to achieve the change in mind set that’s required. We have some excellent people working on that already and I would rather throw our weight behind the initiatives of people like ARC chief executive, Jo Brosnahan and her planned Leadership New Zealand programme.

I want to explore the applicability of followership. I was recently introduced to the concept by William Rosenbach, the Evans Professor of Eisenhower Leadership Studies and Professor of Management at Gettysburg College. How much do we know about the art of being an effective follower, and as such, what influence that might have on leadership?

Do you think there is lack of leadership culture in New Zealand?
There are couple of issues to consider when looking at leadership culture.

The first is that, to my knowledge, there is very little published research on the characteristics of women leaders. Almost all significant leadership material is based on male model.

Women bring very different focus to leadership and I would like to see more work done on the significance of that focus and what impact it will have on our leadership expectations.

And second, we are in rapidly changing environment which demands new leadership attributes. Again, do we know enough about such attributes to say with any degree of certainty that we lack an appropriate leadership culture?

I would say that we don’t have an encouraging endemic leadership culture, but maybe all the change we are going through means we must reconsider our views on what leadership actually means.

How important is the relationship between management and governance and how do you see this evolving?
This is huge topic. My experience of working with over 40 boards over the past three years says that this relationship is absolutely critical, but generally working inadequately.

The reasons are many and varied. The CEOs I have spoken to, for the most part, don’t feel comfortable with their board or council, and they in turn express reservations about the CEO.

In many cases it’s matter of the one party not being clear about the expectations, responsibilities and authorities of the other. It’s about being unprepared to bring the relationship into the light and seek constructive solutions.

Does NZIM have role to play? Most definitely. It might have difficulty being seen as credible in this area by some directors, but it certainly can play an effective role in guiding CEOs.

Are you generally optimistic about the state of management in New Zealand?
Over the past few years NZIM has conducted survey of managers that revealed the gap between managers expectations of themselves and their organisation. Their expectations averaged 87 out of 100, and their performance averaged 59.6. This sort of gap applied across all levels of management.

The survey points to some reasons for the significant gap, but over the years the gap has not reduced.

It gets back to my very first point, we don’t view learning as an enterprise responsibility and consequently there is little incentive to address the reasons for the gap.

Visited 3 times, 1 visit(s) today
Close Search Window