New Zealand has never been better positioned - geographically, economically and politically - for success on the global stage, according to KPMG's leader in performance consulting.
New Zealand has never been better positioned - geographically, economically and politically - for success on the global stage, according to KPMG's leader in performance consulting, Simon Hunter.
Geographically, he cites the country's proximity to the centres of economic growth and its isolation from many areas of social and political chaos. Economically and politically, "we are stable, growing, and financially sound as a country with the right policy and regulatory frameworks," Hunter says.
"The next five years are pivotal for Aotearoa. I can imagine that future generations will look back at 2015-2020 and say, 'That's when Aoteroa switched on the prosperity after-burners - that's when we released the handbrake and hit the button for pace and value'."
Hunter says that "button" is turning on the power of enterprises and creating an environment of competitive advantage. He believes more organisations need the Enterprise DNA - eight prime qualities identified by KPMG as the drivers of successful businesses - to succeed over the long term and bring value back to New Zealand.
As well as Greenlea and Vista, profiled earlier in this series, KPMG includes Craggy Range, Air New Zealand, Mainfreight, Tru-Test, Fisher & Paykel, Comvita and Fonterra's Food Service Business among the country's high performers.
"These businesses have a common Enterprise DNA," Hunter says. "They also prove very clearly that New Zealand business can succeed on the global stage.
"However, he warns, "The list is long but not long enough to make that dream a reality.
"While New Zealand is highly ranked for political freedom, lack of corruption, peace, business-friendliness, prosperity, and global innovation and competitiveness, there are some concerns.
"The first is that New Zealand has yet to really build a sustainable solution for driving prosperity - a lot of the gain has come off price and commodity volumes. The second is related to the sharing of that prosperity - New Zealand ranked 54 in the Geni Income Equality index," Hunter points out.
It's not necessarily the Government's role, he says. "To some extent the Government has done its part".
The maths for shared prosperity are quite simple. "At the top, use the insight and inspirations from the 10 per cent of high-performing enterprises to flick the switch for another 10 percent, taking these from no or low growth to high growth.
"At the bottom, take the Government's ideas for investing in welfare and systematically move into investing in prosperity, so there are real opportunities for our least privileged to become the wealth creators of tomorrow.
"There's a business theory of evolution, too. "One point that troubles me is that we must find ways of eliminating the dinosaurs in the system," Hunter says.
"New Zealand does have a dead weight of enterprises that will never grow, and often they simply don't care.
"We do need an environment that systematically finds ways of replacing this dead wood by ensuring our capital markets and financial institutions are aware that Enterprise DNA fosters drives financial performance, and Government ensures that its policies don't prop up the dead wood.
"I'm all in favour of some radical pruning and am sorry this did not happen in the meat industry this year.
"Key to Hunter's formula for "shared growth" is the straightforward proposition: "Understand high performers and share this in a trusted environment."
He offers a case study, the Te Hono Movement, which started in 2012 as the New Zealand Primary Sector Bootcamp, a gathering of 23 chief executives from primary sector companies, the then-Minister for Primary Industries, David Carter and Trade & Enterprise CEO Peter Chrisp.
Business-led, Government-partnered and deeply focussed on aspirations for New Zealand, Te Hono Movement now has an alumni of more than 130 influential leaders representing 80 per cent of the New Zealand primary sector who have built a strong foundation of trust, respect and knowledge.
"Every year this group of leaders from across the agribusiness sector engage in a one-week boot camp in Stanford. This cohort of leaders takes off their enterprise hats and puts on an Aotearoa hat and learns how they can improve enterprises".
"The Te Hono Movement is uniquely Aotearoa. There is an extremely strong cultural element and committed engagement from Maori enterprise, which ensures the whole group thinks 'Aoteroa Inc' and owns their responsibility for future generations. This group has conversations that matter and brings energy to an ecosystem where there are no hands-out, just a hand-up.
"In this forum, things happen and they happen fast," Hunter says. "Business knowledge leapfrogs organisations, speeding the pace of change, leaders act with confidence, deals are made, alliances are formed, markets are opened together, value chains are transformed. This is a MSH (make stuff happen) environment."
Hunter stresses that people underpin both the high-performing enterprises and the Te Hono ecosystem - "pivotal leaders with ambition for the enterprise and Aotearoa. New Zealand does not have a growth, productivity or prosperity problem, but we do have a people problem".
"There are not enough of these pivotal leaders with access to the positive ecosystem. Today's businesspeople have a responsibility to address this," Hunter says.
"The next generation should admire the way Aotearoa grasped this opportunity, and took responsibility for growing its future."
Orginally published in the NZ Herald