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Leadership and management issues critical to NZ's business

Leadership and management issues critical to New Zealand’s business future

October 31, 2013

A University of Canterbury (UC) business expert says issues relating to leadership and management are critical to New Zealand’s business future.

Director of UC’s executive development programmes, Tony Mortensen, says information that has been coming out around New Zealand’s productivity has sparked his interest.

``We are in a good space at the moment, but some of that space is being driven predominantly from the $40 billion that is going to float back into Canterbury. That is going to help New Zealand’s prosperity. We have got some positive net immigration issues in Auckland that are certainly helping too.

``But we have to think about New Zealand’s economy has a whole and how we can develop. A problem I see is that we are currently facing a long stemmed issue of being one of the hardest working countries in the OECD but we are becoming less productive. We have to ask the question what are we doing wrong or not doing as well as we could be doing/’’

Mortensen will give a public lecture on campus next week (November 6). See a preview video interview here:

He says the future of New Zealand business and productivity goes back to leadership.

``It’s a critical component at the top of organisations. Leaders provide strategic leadership vision and inspiration. We have some great leaders in our society at that strategic level.

``Then we have the bureaucratic, planning, implementing and controlling level and we are actually really good at that which is important in managing cost. But where we are lacking is in that middle space, or that level of management that has to implement the vision while still being constrained by controls that are put in place.

``We have an opportunity in New Zealand’s business environment to look at how we develop that space. If we squash too hard on the compliance and control we end up stifling innovation and companies become unproductive and we lose efficiencies.

``The last decade has seen an exponential increase in the number of courses offered in the area of organisational leadership, with almost every major business school worldwide now offering specialised training in this area.

``Do organisations truly understand the key difference between leadership and management? Do they understand what is needed in their organisation to achieve efficiency, profitability and sustainable growth?

``If we employ skilled people to undertake the different tasks in an organisation do we really need to manage those people or are we better off allowing them to do what we employed them to do. The flip side of this is that if we do not manage these people effectively then the organisation runs the risk of becoming less efficient and effective at providing society with the desired outcomes.’’

For details about the lecture, see:


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