06 November 2019

Craig Symon, Tim Douglas |
Phillip Roth, Advisory Partner |

The recent Global Connections conference, hosted by the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Export NZ, brought together New Zealand’s premier exporters and logistics specialists to discuss the big issues facing the sector. BDO Christchurch was proud to sponsor the conference which provided crucial insight into the state of the global economy and the ways to make your business future-ready.

Learning from Global Connections '19

The focus of the 2019 conference was to share the successes and risks faced by the nation’s leading businesses in keeping pace with international competition. This included identifying the main challenges facing New Zealand organisations today - some of which may come as a surprise.

100% Pure… a problem?

The power of national reputation when trading on the world stage was a hot topic at the conference. Tourism NZ’s ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ campaign has undoubtedly been a draw card for many businesses across the globe to purchase natural produce and other consumer goods.

However, associating New Zealand as a purely agricultural environment can be detrimental in driving innovation in other sectors. $8 billion of New Zealand’s $11 billion technology sector came from services exports by the end of 2018, according to the Government’s NZ Story news source. They uncovered that tech organisations will have more success portraying a global image rather than a ‘New Zealand’ one so it pays to research your market and decide how best to position your business within that.

Old problems, new solutions

The world is changing every day in significant ways and new challenges such as emissions targets and a focus on sustainability are becoming more and more prevalent.  In order to achieve long term success, an agile organisation that can be flexible in how it responds to such challenges will be key.

Instead of viewing these changes in the global marketplace as problems, the best organisations are flipping the situation and using this as an opportunity to improve their businesses. Many businesses, for example, are now leveraging ‘zero emissions’ as a selling point over competitors who have yet to adapt to a greener way of doing business. This has proven to be a very successful strategy.

Looking for future-ready leaders

The most effective leadership teams run towards these challenges, not away from them. They will recognise, analyse and deal with change, adapting and evolving in the face of disruption.

Defining and applying good leadership

Based on what we learnt from the conference, and our extensive expertise in the sector, it’s easy to pinpoint the decisive leadership qualities that are the hallmark of future-ready enterprises:

  • Leading by example. The best walk the talk and demonstrate how to implement successful strategies, as well as having the technical know how to back this up.
  • Inclusive management. Accomodating a range of viewpoints, opinions and technical backgrounds in decision making is crucial to more rounded and collaborative leadership.
  • Quality recruitment. No business will get every single hire right the first time but the best managers focus on building an engaged team that promotes a culture of ideas sharing.
  • Playing to strengths. Future-ready leaders can identify and own their weaknesses, and seek support from their team to plug these gaps.
  • Adaptable to challenges. Ability to move an organisation forward in the face of disruption and keep your people at the centre of that.

Becoming a future-ready business

The first step to becoming a future-ready business is to develop a plan for implementing change. Often it’s how you roll out this change, and the team charged with managing it that has the biggest impact on your organisation, rather than the content of the plan.

Analysing the issues disrupting your industry at regional, national and international levels is core to future-proofing your business. Once you have established how you will respond to these challenges, applying flexible, inclusive and empowering leadership will help you thrive.

Check out BDO’s top tips for export success or contact one of our sector specialists who will take the time to understand your unique challenges and opportunities, helping us to tailor our services to your needs.

Phillip Roth

Andrew Grace

Colin Gower Tim Douglas

Business Advisory Partner

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