NZIM : Managing the Tough Times

NZIM had good year in 2008, notwithstanding the year’s economic turbulence. It was year of solid achievement with good, across-the-board take-up of management programmes and courses in all three NZIM regions – Northern, Central and Southern.
The prognosis for the New Zealand economy in 2009 however, looks decidedly more grim. Predictions of more major investment losses, continuing credit crunch, company collapses, wide-ranging spending cut-backs and the spectre of job losses abound.
The new National Government has warned that public sector spending and staffing will be closely scrutinised. The prospect of job losses in many government departments is surely reality.
And when it comes to downsizing, middle managers are historically an easy target for the cost-cutting axe. Recruitment companies already report the private sector paring back layers of managers. The same slicing and pruning will catch on in the public sector.
While on the one hand the action to reduce is numbers game, on the other it means sacrificing investments made in future leaders and the loss of often valuable corporate knowledge. Many organisations took years to recover from their cut-back in middle management after the crash of the late ’80s early ’90s.
Without in any way dismissing the significance of the current economic crisis, I happen to believe there is plenty of opportunity for the energetic and enterprising who consider options other than slash and burn.
And NZIM is well positioned to provide support both to individuals who want to get on with their personal development and to organisations that need help to restructure and reposition themselves for the upturn which will inevitably follow the recession.
When times get tough, smart leaders boost rather than cut back on training. They realise that they will never have better opportunity to work on their personal development plans.
There are currently number of personal assessment processes available:
• The management development model on the NZIM website at www.nzte.govt.nz.
NZIM is, even in these difficult times, committed to its own programme of change and development around processes and systems. Top of the list is major initiative to integrate our various regional and national websites. The work is well advanced and will be completed by June 2009, bringing with it much sharper focus on member benefits and customer service.
To deal with the exigencies of 2009 and beyond, NZIM will focus particularly on researching leading management trends, ensuring managers are better informed, skilled and capable, and will continue with its programme to build its internal capacity to deliver on managers’ future needs.
NZIM will continue to develop niche market programmes including work-based practical qualifications for managers in construction, engineering, contract management and supply chain management. It will also continue to deliver specialist qualifications for the health sector, contact centre managers and the armed forces.
In 2009 NZIM will again play lead role in Management Focus – the private sector/public sector collaborative established to work on building management and business capability throughout the New Zealand economy. colloquium of the lead players from around New Zealand is planned for late February. It will set up the programme outcomes for 2009. The key objectives are to get managers and business owners started on their personal development journey; to provide the tools and to foster commitment from the partners to encourage people to keep enhancing their organisations.
Other NZIM 2008 activities included collaboration on visiting international management speakers and the promotion of the NZIM Business Challenge computer game which attracted some 90 teams and was won by team from Trustpower – Tauranga. The other finalists were AMI Insurance – Christchurch, Independent Technology – New Plymouth, Sue Sheldon Advisory – Christchurch and Bridgestone – Auckland. These events will be held again in 2009.
The 2008 NZIM/Eagle Technology Executive of the Year was Jono Brent. The other finalists were Jason Attewell and Mark Callander. This event will again be held this year.
The NZIM Foundation, which last year sponsored group of four managers on an eight-day programme to San Diego California, will sponsor another overseas scholarship programme in 2009.
Other highlights of 2008 that have set NZIM up to deliver in what could well be difficult 2009 include:
• The appointment of Vanessa Delegat to the role of quality assurance manager to ensure NZIM is working towards the new auditing processes required by NZQA, including feedback, moderation and review procedures as well as appropriate national systems of resourcing, recording and certification.
• move to registry and customer relationship database which allows for greater range of data applications and security features across NZIM.
• An enhanced financial reporting system, and more transparent management reporting structure.
• The approval of changes to the Diploma in Frontline Management, as well as the approval of the following new qualifications: Diploma of Managerial Excellence in Engineering and Construction; Diploma in Competitive Manufacturing Management; and the development of new qualification for practising managers in the health sector.
• The development of an Education Plan which will set the academic agenda for NZIM.
NZIM is primed for 2009 to undertake research that will enable it to deliver relevant products and services, develop an enhanced value proposition for members, develop an integrated and aligned website as catalyst to deliver on national strategy and work to ensure that the NZIM brand is synonymous with quality in every aspect of our business – tough market conditions notwithstanding. M

David Chapman is national chief executive of the New Zealand Institute of Management.

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