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What's wrong with us?Edit

A few months ago, Tony Alexander, BNZ Chief Economist, released an insightful paper titled - Our Deficiencies Summarised , as Tony describes;

"This paper summarises the factors which we have identified as contributing to NZ’s economic under-performance and explains how each factor is relevant."

Read the full paper here .  It is truly enlightening.

A bunch of us, including Tony, thought it would be a good idea to use these observations particularly around our cultural deficiencies to put together a bit of a handbook. A guide on how to not be so damn kiwi and to win. Read here for why we thought this wiki would be a good idea.

Here are 12 things that hold us back, and hopefully some insight on how we turn these traits around. Your input is needed. Please share your stories and observations on how we can overcome these barriers to our success.

  1. We are individualistic, like to keep control, don’t like relying on others for success.
  2. Our Tall Poppy Syndrome leads to Distrust of leadership, distrust of experts and “book-learning”, preferring those who’s achievements are practical, lack of workplace and business emotion.
  3. We focus on the short term rather than the long term. We prefer rules and regulations to relationships
  4. Don’t like giving or receiving feedback .
  5. Like to avoid failure.
  6. NZ centric – we believe the rest of the world is like us.
  7. Highly satisficing, enoughism – we work for leisure, not wealth.
  8. Low assertiveness.
  9. Avoid uncertainty.
  10. Undervalue our time.
  11. Action oriented – when a problem is identified we are eager for action to fix it.
  12. We prefer hands-on activities and devote our attention to ideas aimed at driving down production costs rather than adding value.

The upshot of our culture is that because our focus is on invention we tend not to patent what we develop and not to think about how to commercialise it, therefore we miss profitable growth opportunities.

How We Are Viewed Offshore Edit

These comments from offshore businesspeople captured in an NZ Trade and Enterprise study help elucidate the way in which our culture tends to retard our export growth and therefore productivity improvements.

  • Naïve, complacent, not very world-wise
  • Low in business acumen.
  • Unemotive and lacking hunger.
  • Not spending enough time outside New Zealand.
  • Unsophisticated with a short-term focus.
  • Too focussed on rules and regulations rather than relationship
  • Because we tend not to show emotion – including enthusiasm – we can be misunderstood and mistrusted by foreign potential partners such as Americans.
  • Because we tend to take a laid back and short-term focus potential offshore partners in a more dynamic environment will not tend naturally to seek us out to complement their activities.
  • Because we focus on rules and regulations rather than relationships we can suffer similar negative assessment from Asian cultures which value relationships and a long term focus.

How do you want us to be viewed?  What do we need to change?  Contribute to each of the points above.  It's a wiki.


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How the world sees us

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