NZIM : A Strategy to Attract International Kiwi Managers; New Zealand Should Focus on Developing International Entrepreneurship and Management Skills, According to the New Zealand Institute's (NZI) Latest Discussion Paper Released at the End of Last Year

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Byline: Kevin Gaunt

Can New Zealand develop the depth of business and public sector management skill needed to deliver successful exporters and local businesses? The question is one of the top 10 issues identified by NZI that the country must address to successfully internationalise the nation's businesses, accelerate growth and lift prosperity.

The discussion paper, one in a series that NZI is releasing to propose policy directions to "plug the gap" (between potential and actuality) and lift our global performance, suggests New Zealand can become a small advanced economy by exporting high-value differentiated goods and services.

NZI identifies two key requirements that are pivotal to the implementation and execution of a successful international business strategy. They are:

* The increased availability of venture capital; and

* A focus on developing international entrepreneurship and management skills.

And while the paper mentions the role the New Zealand Institute of Directors (IoD) can play in increasing the required directorship skill, it does not mention the very obvious role the New Zealand Institute of Management can play in doing the same thing for managers. NZIM is unquestionably the managerial equivalent of IoD.

The paper recommends the establishment of an Entrepreneurship Institute through the University of Auckland Business School, primarily because it already has established activities in this area.

NZI's recommendation is probably based on the understanding that the majority of New Zealand management organisations focus on teaching the core concepts of management. They don't, however, offer specialities in the needed area of international management.

NZIM's management development niche, on the other hand, is based on providing experience-based training. That is not just delivering the theory, but rather of sharing the actuality of what happens in the real world of management practice and processes.

And because NZIM's approach to management development is flexible, it can provide programmes tailored to meet market and society needs as these change and evolve. It is, therefore, perfectly positioned to contribute to NZI's proposed strategy. NZIM could effectively partner with IoD and the Auckland Business School to develop and deliver high level programmes of the kind envisaged by NZI.

The key issue, however, rests in some understanding of the extent of the real, and not just assumed, shortage of management talent in New Zealand. This is the classic chicken and egg conundrum.

Because New Zealand is not the advanced economy NZI's discussion paper says we should aim to become, our more talented and motivated managers move offshore to expand their skills and their income-earning potential. They do this once they have equipped themselves with the basic training that our home-grown resources provide. It is an understandable phenomenon, but it is also problematic when it comes to discussing policy options.

The current situation leaves a vacuum which the Government attempts to fill through its immigration strategies.

Many immigrants, however, are attracted to New Zealand to tap its perceived lifestyle and quality of life offerings and, having reached a certain level of security, they ease back in order to enjoy the lifestyle they aspired to. …