IN TOUCH : Letter • Less Talk: More Action

I enjoyed reading the September issue of NZ Management, but believe we have long way to go to achieve true knowledge economy.
Carl Davidson and Philip Voss alluded to it in their article “Think like Eeyore”, but their ideas are 20 years behind Scandinavian practice.
David Skilling demonstrated the result of the thinking and policies in Scandinavian (Nordic) countries in the article “Black-lining: does New Zealand’s economy need resuscitation?”. All five (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) are in the top 10 most productive countries in the world.
“The 2020 manager – success is all about people” (see the NZIM column on page 26 of the September issue) is worn-out cliché already. In 2020 the world will not be what it used to be, or even as we know it now. It is not people, but it is what people do and hence know, and whether that knowledge is useful and up to date.
The business of business is behaviour. There are two “behaviours” in business – leader behaviour and follower behaviour, and managers and leaders need to be measured on the behaviour of their followers.
The future belongs to those who understand behaviour and if manager doesn’t understand behaviours from scientific perspective, he or she can never realise the full potential of an organisation’s processes and policies.
A scientific perspective is based on the true measurement of behaviour and results, not on hunches or highly subjective opinions, which is often the case today in business when it comes to evaluating people. It should be directly linked to the individual.
The behaviour of the leader (manager) is not as important as the impact of his/her behaviour on the behaviour of the followers.
We also need to urgently review how we reward the people who actually add value to the organisation. Everyone employed knows that he or she will be paid providing he or she does not quite or actually get fired. So is there any incentive to perform above the “have-to-do” line? And if he or she ‘only’ does what he/she has to do, they get bonus. How long can we afford that?
New Zealand’s future lies in its leaders’ and managers’ ability to tap into people’s discretionary effort, and that can only be done by turning hard work into hard fun!
Let’s stop promoting fads and get down to reality. We need to develop profitable habits (behaviour) in New Zealand! Let’s end the talking and start the doing (behaviour)!

Stig Ehnbom, president,
NZ Scandinavia Business Association

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