Highlights of the K&P Leadership Conference 2016

Our inaugural leadership conference was an opportunity for current and aspiring leaders in the New Zealand market to gather together, share ideas, and hear a range of different views on the topic of leadership. It was yet another example of Kerridge & Partners’ commitment to acting as a hub in the market, a place where key players from the business, not-for-profit and government sectors can come together and learn from one another.

The conference was held at Mantells in Mount Eden, Auckland, and was attended by around 60 people. The day got off to an incredible start with a presentation from Andrew Grant, a Kiwi who is a member of the McKinsey & Co global leadership team and who has spent a number of years heading up McKinsey’s China business. The topic of his presentation was ‘What does leadership mean in the 21st century?’ He believes that five trends will play a huge role in 21st century business – emerging markets, ageing populations, the digital age, digital scarcity, and the market state. These trends (or challenges) will provide a backdrop of ‘mountain weather’ scenarios that leaders will have to grapple with. Dealing with that mountain weather effectively will require a few key skills, one being the ability to see what is immediately in front of you and at the same time anticipating the long-term future. Andrew described this as having a microscope in one eye and a telescope in the other, and felt that this was a far more effective strategy than the tendency some businesses have of operating in the middle ground with 3-5 year strategies.

The second speaker was Richard Suhr, a Kiwi who is EY’s Global Digital Leader. Richard spoke on the steps businesses needed to take to prepare for the age of disruption, which included embracing risk and change, and forming strategic partnerships. Technology is moving at such a pace that it was fast becoming impractical for businesses to keep up. The way to deal with this was to partner with technology specialists who are better able to keep abreast of change, rather than making large capital investments and trying to do it yourself.

The next two keynote speakers provided different lenses on leadership. Scott Houston, the founder and CEO of Kiwi IT business GreenButton, gave an entertaining account of the challenges he faced in building up his business, taking it off-shore, and eventually having it acquired by Microsoft for a very large sum. Gill Greer, the CEO of Voluntary Services Abroad, spoke of leadership from the not-for-profit angle. Gill emphasised the need for collaboration across all three sectors of the economy, and made the point that the dialogue about growth that goes on in the marketplace should be broadened out to ensure that what we mean by growth is both sustainable and inclusive.

The conference was rounded out by some exciting voices of the future, four young and inspiring future leaders who were already making waves in start-up businesses, digital media and investing. They set out their vision for the future and along the way debunked some of the myths that have grown up around the millennial generation.

The conference was a fantastic day of insight, idea-sharing and networking. We hope to see you at next year’s event.

NZ Landscape