Nothing happens without leadership
27 November 2007 Media statement
Nothing happens without leadership
“Leadership is about having a vision, and inspiring and motivating others towards it,” Jim Anderton said today as he launched the Inspired Futures programme in Christchurch, as part of the Primary Industries 2007 Summit.
This mentoring scheme is to develop new leaders for the future of the primary sector. Fifteen emerging leaders, aged between 20-34, have been selected to be partnered with established senior managers. They were nominated by AGMARDT (the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust) or associated industry good bodies as outstanding leaders of their generation.
“Nothing happens without leadership,” Jim Anderton said. “The only way we change the world is through individuals taking responsibility for making things happen, imagining improvements and inspiring others to force a path forward.
“An economist whom I admire a lot, John Kenneth Galbraith, said all great leaders have had a single characteristic in common: “the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.
“Your challenge as leaders will be to confront the major issues in the development of our primary industries − to confront what Galbraith calls the ‘anxieties’ people in the primary sector have about its future.”
Jim Anderton said those challenges included how to grow the primary industries; how to meet competition from low cost countries; how to find the innovation, creativity and technological uniqueness to set New Zealand apart in global markets; and how to inspire more skilled New Zealanders to get engaged in the primary industries, where their talents are urgently needed.
He said the Inspired Futures programme is about fostering a new generation of leaders and about existing leaders in the industry passing on their expertise, insight, confidence and advice.
“I want to acknowledge everyone who has brought this programme to this day and to thank particularly those who are offering their time, their talent and their expertise to be the mentors of our future leaders,” Jim Anderton concluded.
With the sponsorship of AGMARDT, and the professional training of the New Zealand Mentoring Centre, the mentoring partners will continue to meet with the selected young leaders through to the middle of next year.
27 November 2007 Speech
Leadership is about having vision
Launch of the Inspired Futures programme, Christchurch Convention Centre
The object of this Inspired Futures mentoring scheme is to develop new leaders for the future.
Leadership is important. It makes all the difference in the world. And in our primary industries, leadership will make the difference between a vibrant and prosperous future for New Zealand, and disappointing also-ran status.
Most of the thinking about leadership is about it as a decision-making role. It’s true, leaders make a lot of decisions. Responsibility for making calls can be both a heavy burden and rewarding at the same time.
But leadership is fundamentally about much more. Leadership is about having a vision, and inspiring and motivating others towards it.
Nothing happens without leadership. The only way we change the world is through individuals taking responsibility for making things happen, imagining improvements and inspiring others to force a path forward.
An economist whom I admire a lot, John Kenneth Galbraith, wrote one of his many books about leadership. He said all great leaders have had a single characteristic in common: “the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”
I think this is
very important, because you have been identified as primary
sector leaders of tomorrow. Your challenge as leaders will
be to confront the major issues in the development of our
primary industries − to confront what Galbraith calls the
‘anxieties’people in the primary sector have about its
How will our primary sectors continue to grow and innovate?
How will they see off the challenge of rising competitors from low cost countries?
Where will we continue to find the innovation, creativity and technological uniqueness to set us apart in global markets?
How will we inspire more skilled New Zealanders to get engaged in our primary industries, where their talents are urgently needed?
How will we respond to the emerging challenge of climate change, which threatens both our ability to produce farmed products, and threatens our markets?
It takes leadership and vision to see the answer to these questions. It takes some vision and some persuading to convince people that they are even issues to which we need solutions.
When you go back into our modern history there are some inspirational stories about leaders who identified problems we faced in developing our primary sectors and who had the vision and drive to take on the anxieties that confronted New Zealand in their time.
A pioneer like William Saltau Davidson sent the first shipment of refrigerated meat to London at a time when most people said we would only ever export wool from New Zealand. We were too far away to export meat or dairy in any quantity, they thought. He proved them wrong, and transformed our economy as a result.
It’s especially relevant to this group of emerging young leaders that some of our most innovative and visionary New Zealanders set out in business in the primary sector at a young age.
Bill Gallagher was just 26 when he produced his first commercial electric fence, in 1937. His electric fence units are now used in over a hundred countries. They're used in all sorts of primary sectors, including the protection of Canadian beehives from bears.
William Goodfellow helped to shape
our dairy industry in the twentieth century. In 1909, at
the age of 29, he formed the Waikato Dairy Company.
William’s priorities throughout his career were to improve the quality of dairy production through testing and training. He sought to create economies of scale in the industry and ensure it controlled the marketing of its products. His vision was the consolidation of smaller, less efficient operations, which left a legacy of the powerful dairy industry sustaining our economy today.
Bill Hamilton was just twelve when he constructed his first water wheel, in 1911. The wheel drove a small generator, which lit the family homestead at Ashwick (near Fairlie) and operated a lathe. In the mid 1920s he was the first race driver in Australasia to exceed 100 miles per hour.
At the same time, he was starting to design earthmoving equipment for constructing farm dams, flood protection works and the like. Today the company bearing his name competes against companies like Rolls Royce for contracts for jetboat engines powering ferries around the world.
Another early achiever, whose name we see everyday on cans of beans through to sweet corn, was James Wattie. He was appointed manager of Hawkes Bay Fruitgrowers Limited in his mid twenties. He established his first canning factory at the age of 32, while New Zealand was still in the depths of the depression.
The drive and determination of these young achievers shaped our primary industries and our economy. This Mentoring Programme for the Primary Industries is about fostering a new generation of Bill Gallaghers and James Watties.
It’s about existing leaders in the industry passing on to you their expertise and insight, and their confidence and advice, so that you can achieve the success they know you’re capable of.
And through that
mentoring, you will probably achieve it faster, you are less
likely to run into roadblocks on the way and you will travel
further as a result.
That is a good result for New Zealand, because New Zealand depends on success in our primary sector.
I’ve spent much of the last ten years working to get other promising industries around New Zealand playing a greater role in our country’s growth. But realistically, for as long as we can see into the future, our exports will be dominated by our primary industries. They earn three out of every five export dollars today.
We have no automatic right that will ensure we continue to enjoy success in our primary industries. No markets are guaranteed anymore. The world is more competitive.
Only leadership and vision that sees a way to keep us ahead of our challenges will ensure our primary sectors continue to be successful. I’m talking about the kind of leadership that unleashes the power of our scientific advantage, our natural environment, and the skills of generations on our land.
Success in the primary sector is success for New Zealand. So I wish you well in developing your leadership. Over the next two days you will have the chance to hear some inspirational stories and thinking about the development of our primary industries.
I wish you every success in applying the information you pick up as you go on through this mentoring programme.
I want to acknowledge everyone who has brought this programme to this day and to thank particularly those who are offering their time, their talent and their expertise to be the mentors of our future leaders.