“Good Guys Don’t Win” …….A Tale About NZ CEO’s

Last week Psychologist and Leadership expert Dave Winsborough of Winsborough Ltd (Link Here) spoke here in Christchurch about some of his research relating to NZ CEO’s. Some highlights;

  • NZ business does not scale well.
  • Few NZ Companies go on to be global players.
  • NZ does not grow as fast (GDP) as many in the rest of the world.
  • NZ workers pull long hours but have low productivity compared to other like nations.
  • A good CEO makes a difference of 15% to the bottom line.
  • It is very hard for a CEO to replicate a similar success in another company.
  • NZ CEO’s are highly competitive, don’t do hierarchy and build soft, non competitive cultures.
  • CEO’s around the world are more cooperative than NZ CEO’s.
  • By nature our CEO’s take thing more seriously than their global peers meaning they don’t have as much fun.
  • There is a culture of the 3 B’s. Once a NZ business owner gets a bach, a boat and a BMW there is a culture of “relax”.

Some interesting points were made and backed by some good science, data and research. In fact with 26 CEO’s in the room none disagreed. So what is going on? Whilst some of the comments were deliberately provocative it can’t be denied that most NZ Companies do not become global players. We do seem to be a nation of SME’s, family businesses. In my experience NZ does indeed seem to be a little more relaxed when it comes to thinking big.

My experience (having supported CEO’s and businesses in NZ and oversees) is that we do not invest in the ongoing training of our people, leaders and future CEO’s. Our governance is often ineffective and little more than an extension of the management of the business. Certainly there are challenges for family businesses in terms of growth, leadership, governance and succession. Our cultures are indeed soft and where we like to create a place people love to work (nothing wrong with that) we will often not expect excellence from our employees and leaders in the business.

I’m committed to changing this over time so that NZ does punch above its weight and starts to take excellent NZ brands and products into the global arena.Image

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