Strategy & Leadership

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Recent articles

March 26, 2024
Strategy & Leadership

Cut with a scalpel, not a Chainsaw: Strategic cost management and investment beyond the economic cycle

We've all seen the headlines in recent weeks with a number of public and private businesses across New Zealand announcing staff reductions. It's a familiar pattern – economic contraction leads to reduced consumer spending, which then necessitates cuts to operating expenditures. Then, when consumer confidence rebounds, it becomes an all-out scramble to capitalise on the upswing. This cycle seems logical on the surface. But is it truly optimal? Do we really need an economic downturn for us to focus on cost efficiency? Conversely, do we need economic growth to even consider strategies for expanding market share?
March 18, 2024
Strategy & Leadership

(Why) should we return to the office?

It’s a consistent theme we’re hearing right now - “it’s time to get people back into the office”. But is it? Are we prepared to erode all of the gains we’ve made in new ways of working over the pandemic and post-pandemic years? Employees have been empowered to work with new levels of trust and freedom, and have incorporated work into their life routines. What should we do next? Nick Mackeson-Smith shares his thoughts and observations.

Gaining traction at the executive table

Stepping into a new executive or senior leadership role is both exhilarating and daunting. Whether you’re moving to a different organisation or taking on your first senior-level position, the initial six months are critical. Challenges include managing energy, aligning stakeholder expectations, overcoming imposter syndrome, and crafting an effective transition plan. Sally Schmall discusses how by addressing these challenges, new executives can set themselves up for success and positively impact their teams and organisations.
February 15, 2024
Strategy & Leadership

Navigating the Emotional and Mental Challenges of Right-Sizing

Right-sizing is an emotionally and mentally taxing process, yet with the right approach, it is possible to navigate these challenges with integrity and care. By prioritising dignity, transparency, safety, and care, and leveraging the support of experts like Five NZ, organisations can not only manage the immediate impacts of right-sizing but also build a stronger, more resilient foundation for the future. In the face of change, the true measure of leadership is the ability to lead with humanity, ensuring that every decision, no matter how difficult, is made with a profound respect for the individuals who contribute to our collective success.
February 13, 2024
Strategy & Leadership

Ditch the Decks, Unleash the Dragons: Why Strategy Isn't a Game trapped in spreadsheets and PowerPoint

Step into a world where strategy is not confined to boardrooms but thrives in the chaos and creativity of real-world challenges. This post explores how today's leaders are ditching traditional, rigid planning for a dynamic, design-led approach. Discover how embracing uncertainty, fostering a culture of experimentation, and engaging directly with the market through rapid prototyping and iterative testing can lead to spectacular successes.
February 5, 2024
Strategy & Leadership

Creating an inclusive environment for LGBTQI+ and MVPFAFF+ communities

Explore the importance of LGBTQI+ and MVPFAFF+ inclusion in the workplace. Pride month is the perfect time for organisations to reconsider the need for comprehensive policies, allyship, and education to combat discrimination. Learn how you can take steps to create a supportive environment in your organisation, ensuring equal opportunities and respect for all, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
January 15, 2024
Strategy & Leadership

A more Human Centred Approach to Strategy

Traditional strategy making has long been the domain of Corporate Strategy Teams, Executives and Consultants. For most employees in an organisation the first time they see or hear about any changes to strategy is when a new poster goes on the wall or their manager ‘informs’ them what the new strategy is.
September 5, 2020
Strategy & Leadership

Case study: The Warehouse Group’s digital agile bootcamp - Success through sustained grit, teamwork, and innovation

Something special happened this week. In New Zealand, a large retailer ran a fully virtual 2-day agile transformation event. That in itself would be a massive achievement, given the complexities of designing, planning, and executing such an event - let alone maintaining the attention of 1000 people, keeping it fun, educating them, and building a great sense of momentum in launching a new way of working. What made it all the more challenging was that this entire event had to be rebuilt from the ground up, with only 2 weeks notice, and whilst dealing with Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Original plans were for an arena-event, with a whole range of tactile interactive exercises, and lots and lots of close contact and relationship building. All of that had to go out the window. Grit was needed...

How To Lead Your Team Well When Working Remotely

I’ve been working with leaders for almost two decades now, and throughout this time I’ve found that the very best leaders share a common set of behaviours and mindsets. These leaders create engagement, excitement, clarity, purpose, and drive exceptional performance. Many leaders I have spoken to throughout this crisis have felt paralysed by the magnitude of the change we’re all collectively facing, yet others have demonstrated how they can set themselves up to thrive and in turn help others to succeed. Why did these leaders have such different responses? What’s the secret sauce?
December 17, 2019
Strategy & Leadership

Leading brilliantly through change

Change can be tough. It can be hugely unsettling for people who are going through it, and overwhelmingly stressful for those leading it too. It also can be exciting, exhilarating, and an amazing ride. Regardless - being a great leader through change means putting people first.
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