I am on a plane coming back from New Zealand. New Zealand is not a country that has the natural advantages that Australia has. There are not rich mineral deposits, it is a relatively small population of a little over 4 million people and they have had some real challenges in recent years such as the tragic Christchurch earthquakes that have impacted significantly. Despite this, they have a thriving economy driven by what appears to be a very competent government, strong private sector investment and confidence in the economy which is palatable.
In terms of BRS, we have been working with our New Zealand clients for more than three years. I am continually impressed with their principles around business, life and the manner in which they treat each other. Some of our best clients to work with in terms of how well they run a business balancing culture and commercial outcomes are from New Zealand.
This particular blog focuses on their drive to think global but always acting locally. Their companies such as Fonterra, Xero, Pumpkin Patch, Lion and other great New Zealand companies have a strong base locally but globally do very well in their particular markets. They are success stories in every sense of the word.
In terms of thinking globally but acting locally as a key principle, this is one of their secrets to success. Every person that you work with in New Zealand has a strong connection locally to their industry, people, clients and communities. This strong connection ensures that there is a collective responsibility to ensure that local procurement is a priority through ongoing support and services are maintained, enhanced and developed. A good example of this is with local procurement of professional services on large projects. Government clients recognise that they are part of the industry, that they need to not just evaluate on price and that this is balanced with making sure local capability is available long term. This also works the other way in terms of service providers putting front and centre local clients and ensuring they deliver outstanding services.
The other side of the think global act local principle, is the global mindset. All businesses that I work with in New Zealand realise that they cannot survive long term if they do not think about global markets, new innovation, online services and technology. They continually challenge themselves to invest in building new markets overseas and new services to reduce the dependency on just local work.
This is really important as a mindset but this is balanced with being very open to what other countries and companies can bring to them when they don’t have the skills locally. A good example is the tunnel that is being built under Auckland which has representation from many international companies and individuals with tunnelling expertise. The New Zealand infrastructure industry is very open to new ways of doing things which is the other side of thinking globally i.e. we can learn from others internationally so we need to be bringing in this expertise when we need it.
Thinking globally and acting locally. Every business regardless of size needs to adopt this mantra. No matter how large or small your local market is, you need to take a long term view. Learn from our friends from over the ditch who do it to survive and ultimately thrive!