For the past few weeks, Bain’s been sharing a whole lot of learnings with us after completing Unit I of the 53rd Owner President Programme (“OPM53”). It’s been awesome and in a way, it’s almost made our team feel like we were there too (wishful thinking!)

Among the many insights Bain gained through this adventure, was a sense of how lucky we are to do business in this part of the world; the scale of opportunities globally and the realisation that Kiwi companies can do anything they set their sights on.

So. some closing thoughts about doing business in NZ from a global context…

  1. Market size relativity

When you’re in Boston immersed amongst global business leaders it becomes clear just how small NZ is.  The NZ entire population fits comfortably in a single US medium sized city – not to mention the large global centres throughout the rest of the world, where many of the OPM colleagues come from. By necessity, domestically in NZ we need to do more with less. Less capital, smaller markets, less governance.  We have a number 8 wire mentally, we are lean and mean and we’re pretty good at rolling our sleeves up and finding ways to get things done.  It raises the question about how we can gear ourselves to compete globally …..

  1. Building and managing businesses for scale

Most of the OPM colleagues who are running companies at scale, spend proportionally more time focusing on higher order management disciplines.  By that I mean strategic planning, organisational structures, building high performance senior leadership teams, leadership development and management training, etc.  These serve to strengthen the senior parts of their organisations and prepare/enable them to capitalise on the steeper growth opportunities in their market.  For example, a professional services companies may grow quickly through 500+ staff in these markets – in a similar manner to how our kiwi businesses grow through 50 staff.  Structures and processes which help get companies ready to operate at this scale are baked in to their DNA early on.

  1. Be Kiwi, be global

So what is the take out from this?  NZ is magnificently positioned with our affable, open business culture, long term political stability and our relatively young, fresh identity – which increasingly builds and celebrates our indigenous people.  We’ve got a great time zone, but we’re geographically isolated. Fortunately, the world has never been smaller or more globally connected than it is now.  We’ve always got up early, worked hard and been creative.  It seems that mixing our fundamentally Kiwi attributes with a global market mind-set presents an opportunity for NZ Inc. to participate more internationally.  We don’t need to boil the ocean to make a meaningful contribution – the global pie is enormous – it’s a matter of finding the niches that work for us.  Yes there’s flights and road warrior work; but it seems we would be well received playing to our strengths.

  1. Strength in NZ brand, identity and culture

During introductions to OPM colleagues, I received an almost identical response every time; “I hear New Zealand is beautiful. I’d love to visit one day.”  There’s obviously many more dimensions to New Zealand and what we can do; but it is a great starting point to have a strong and positive global brand.  People around the world want to talk with us. There’s a curiosity and a willingness to engage that we could easily take for granted.  Let’s grab it, own it and start the conversation about cool things we can design/build/deliver from New Zealand.  Go kiwis!