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We hold events for our alumni, friends, and the general public for people to connect with the important conversations in leadership.

Subject matter experts and prominent New Zealand leaders share their knowledge and engage with the audience, sparking new ideas and innovation as minds from different backgrounds converge and focus their energy on a salient issue or theme.

Our Economy

by David Hall, Infrastructure Reliability Manager, Auckland Airport, Auckland

So, the cohort has turned a corner, improved the level of trust amongst itself and started down the track of questioning in a respectful manner and being prepared for conflict.

Entering into this session was a general feeling of lack of knowledge resulting in a lack of interest in the topic. Flowing through to questioning ourselves as to whether we are actually engaged in the Programme; do the day-to-day activities in our busy lives detract from allowing ourselves to benefit from what we are doing in these sessions?; are there benefits in what we are undertaking?

This session was held at the outstanding venue of Caccia Birch which offered restfulness along with a feeling of historical rural New Zealand. A powhiri was given to us by Downer NZ with the usual waiata offered in return.

The opening session brought the cohort together nicely when given the question “How engaged are we?” The thoughts that were shared prompted people to understand that they shared a number of views with others and that this did not make those views right or wrong, they just ‘were.’ This was a highly engaging session to keep the theme going!

Following on from this was the introduction to tools around the values model and Emotional Intelligence. We reflected on our time allocation exercise, carried out after the previous session, which was an eye-opener around our espoused values and our lived values. We considered the Biosphere model of wellbeing versus the “Balanced” model and reflected on our intent for ourselves. Notice was given on what exactly that afternoon’s “secret” activity would be. The announcement resulted in immediate murmuring throughout the group!

With forewarning from the previous session and no surprise, we moved into our redesigned syndicates. As we had our personality profiles completed at the previous session conspiracy theories abounded as to how the groups were constructed. I just think it is a mixing up of people who haven’t been in common syndicates or triads previously. The bus trip to Waikanae gave an opportunity for the new syndicates to gel, our group taking the opportunity to discuss our economic topic of The Meat Industry. No goodbyes to the previous syndicate as this is an enhancement to the group dynamics, rather than an end to previously built relationships.

The key learning from our secret activity was around instant feedback on the communication medium of body language. The exercise resulted in huge amounts of mirth and an understanding of our default approaches when dealing with stubborn beings! This activity then morphed into social interaction followed by My Lifes. I was fortunate to deliver my interpretation of my life to the group. This was a very emotional experience for me on a number of levels, not least was the support and encouragement received from my colleagues. For this, I thank them all very much for allowing me to indulge myself and the acknowledgements they freely shared. Thank you.

An outstanding dinner ensued followed by the bus trip home which went by quickly; either by sleeping all the way home or involvement in conversations which chewed up the time.

The next morning brought us together to present our various topics. This was a mix of factual data and strong opinion. Either way, the information set us up well for conversations based on “Our Economy.”

The first speaker was Mavis Mullins, an outstanding lady who is a director of a shearing team (Paewai Mullins Shearing Ltd), chair of various agribusinesses including Atihau Whanganui Incorporation and has a governance role with Maori Spectrum which culminated in establishing 2◦. I loved her approach to business planning, having a focus on delivering for mokopuna, which results in 100-year business plans. This is a lesson appropriate to numerous New Zealand businesses.

The afternoon session took a panel approach with Sarah von Dadelszen, owner of an 1150ha farm in Central Hawkes Bay; Professor Danny Donaghy, professor of Dairy Production Systems at Massey University and Richard and Jean Kibblewhite from Splashzone fisheries. The key messages here were:

  • Agriculture is more than work; it is their life;
  • Focus is on quality to deliver superior products to the international high-end market;
  • Sustainability is critical for resource longevity; and,
  • Resource usage and efficiency can always be improved.

The questions from the cohort were searching of the panel and were delivered in a respectful manner. This resulted in some robust discussion which could have continued well into the night but there were planes to catch! To change things up even more, upon closure of the session, our caring facilitators announced that the triads would be next to be amended, so we all left in an anxious state but loving the challenge presented to us on this journey.

Roll on the next session in Christchurch!