NZIM: LEADERSHIP Why NZIM tackled the Leadership Summit

The catalyst for staging this month’s NZIM/AAMO International Leadership Summit in Auckland was the 2002 election of then NZIM National chairman, Doug Matheson, to the presidency of the Asian Association of Management Organisations. His three-year term as president of this increasingly influential eight-nation body allowed NZIM to take lead role in the affairs of AAMO at critical time in its evolution.
AAMO is non-political body that includes member countries India, Malaysia, Australia, Macau, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. The organisation exists primarily to promote the principles of sound management in the region by initiating and sponsoring management research, education, training and development.
New Zealand’s involvement with AAMO was both timely and fortuitous because of the importance the New Zealand government enterprise now places on the Asian market and the need for us as nation to forge closer economic relationships with the AAMO member countries. The potential for NZIM and New Zealand to influence change is significant and this, in itself, had as its genesis the success of the Colombo Plan in the 1960s and ’70s when we provided education support for many young potential managers from number of Asian countries. These young managers are now senior and influential leaders who still harbour strong positive feelings about New Zealand and New Zealanders.
Doug Matheson’s presidency of AAMO provided New Zealand with the opportunity to host an Asia Pacific management conference and NZIM seized on this, deciding that the most compelling regional, or for that matter global topic, demanding our attention right now was leadership. Leadership is increasingly and essentially the cornerstone of business and organisational performance. We are, it seems to us at NZIM, living through the most challenging and changing world economy of not just our lifetime, but of the past 150-plus years or since the initial thrust of the Industrial Revolution.
Organisations now must embrace raft of rapidly changing issues including different emerging personal values, transforming technologies and the ascendancy of knowledge as essential elements that must be understood and effectively managed if business or organisations are to succeed. Leaders must, therefore, constantly update their own understanding and knowledge, acquire new expertise and continually broaden their international perspectives.
In planning the summit, we understood the importance of, and need to identify the world’s best leadership thinkers and to engage them in programme which would offer unique learning, networking and ideas sharing opportunity for chairmen, directors, chief executives and senior managers from both New Zealand and the Asia Pacific area. What has surprised us, however, has been the willing interaction and synergy between the speakers themselves, their interest and excitement at being associated with other leadership thinkers and eagerness to hear what they have to say.
We have ended up with an outstanding group of both local and international speakers. Individuals who think outside the square, who are exploring what it is to be leader in today’s and even tomorrow’s world, and who are constantly charting and interpreting the changing priorities and issues arising from globalisation in particular. They have thoughts and experiences to offer on issues like understanding the importance of talented people, dealing with global terrorism and leading in ways that help people find reward and balance in their lives, beyond the simply material.
The summit has been designed to provide participants with the opportunity to not only hear distinguished leaders from around the world sharing their views, experiences and expertise, but also to be involved in workshops that examine key aspects of future leadership. The approach provides participants with the opportunity to connect and network with international speakers and others attending the summit.
One of the exciting outcomes for NZIM from our involvement in creating world-class forum, is the fit and relevance of our recent management research work, and particularly the Management Capability Index (MCI) which measures the capability of New Zealand management and is now starting to chart trends and, hopefully, track improvement in performance. The results of this research will, we believe, help organisations benchmark themselves against other New Zealand organisations and, in time, against other countries. Summit chairman Doug Matheson will present the latest findings of our fieldwork undertaken in August of this year at his workshop at the Summit.
NZIM has always been proactive in offering range of varied leadership short courses. These are constantly reviewed and led by imminent teachers such as Australian-based leadership thinker, Wilf Jarvis who regularly teaches his four-quadrant leadership programme in New Zealand. We expect, however, that the Summit will identify many of the issues that NZIM will explore next year as part of our commitment to help the Government with its programme for lifting our management game and bring organisations together to deliver higher organisational and economic performance in future.
Leadership of the most successful organisations comes from strong and compelling common vision, commitment, interaction, interrelationship, and the effective combination of the roles of the chairman, directors, chief executives and the top management team. Each of these contributes in different ways to the visionary leadership of the organisation and everyone in it. The majority of successful organisations, private or public sector organisations or not-for-profits, are led by strong and effective chairman and board, and strong and effective CEO and management team.
Continuing development of the CEO is essential to the continuing development and performance improvement of the organisation. Future chief executives must participate in ongoing development to achieve their potential and lead and manage the organisation to achieve its potential in an ever-changing external and internal environment. Succession planning for potential future chief executives and their ongoing development, is also an essential aspect of the leadership challenge.
Knowledge, and the people in which it resides, is now an organisation’s most valuable resource. Knowledge processes have become critical processes. Knowledge assets are intellectual property and are greater percentage of the value of the organisation. Knowledge is central to improved organisational performance. And all of these issues will be discussed and aired by our imminent speakers.
Finally, we invited futurist Ed Barlow, dynamic speaker from New York, to come and talk about emerging trends on the international landscape that will impact on leaders and leadership. To complement his address we invited one of our own leaders, Rick Christie, to chair panel of distinguished managers all with different perspective on the future.
We expect this summit to be watershed, turning point in leadership thinking in New Zealand. We have created unique two-day opportunity for chairmen, directors, chief executives and senior management from New Zealand and the Asian region to step back from the daily demands of their jobs, to learn about and discuss the leadership challenges they face and, perhaps, to see things from different perspective. I hope I will see you there. M

David Chapman FNZIM is national chief executive of NZIM.

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