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CEO series delves into the ‘new organic’ of leadership

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

It’s not unusual for some of New Zealand’s CEOs to find themselves in the media for all the wrong reasons - criticised for their high salaries and scrutinised over performance - but a locally made online video series, Up-close-and-personal with NZ’s leading, visionary CEOs by Auckland Inspiration and Communications Agency, Real-TV, is discovering a body of leaders who are genuinely intent on making the world a better place, starting at home.

Since February, Real-TV has conducted interviews with Mike Bennetts, CEO Z Energy, Nick Astwick, CEO Southern Cross Health Society, Vic Crone, CEO, Callaghan Innovation, Sam Stubbs, Managing Director Simplicity and Marc England, CEO Genesis Energy amongst others

Real-tv director and the person fronting the ‘informal’ video interviews with some of New Zealand’s leading CEOs, Kim Goodhart, said she was delighted to find a body of leaders who are self-aware, who care about doing something that is good and who are led by a vision to build something that makes a positive difference.

"Everybody makes mistakes and experiences failure, but a common theme from the CEOs we have interviewed, is that it is easier to keep these risks in perspective when they have a solid ‘why’ - a meaningful vision and purpose that they are trying to achieve," Goodhart said.

"We’re seeing a new generation of leaders who want to create, to build and to achieve something that makes the world a better place, such as finding solutions to carbon emissions, dairy farming and housing shortages - some of the very real challenges confronting New Zealand."

For example, Genesis Energy CEO, Marc England, wants to change the way consumers interact with energy, by paying more attention to how they use and manage their own energy consumption. Southern Cross Health Society CEO, Nick Astwick, wants to build an organisation that is focused on health assurance, rather than insurance - with more emphasis on daily health and wellbeing rather than just being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

As preparation for the video series, Goodhart asked more than 4,500 people what they admired in a CEO. A common theme that came out of the research was that people respond more positively to a CEO based on how they behave outside of work.

"If a CEO is good with his or her family, has a good work/life balance and was supportive of their people achieving the same balance, they were more likely to be respected and liked by their people. Those CEOs who work hard to create something that really benefits customers were also most likely to inspire their people.

"The CEOs themselves are most aware of the changing world we’re living in and none of them - so far - believe that the old dictatorial style of leadership is relevant in today’s world; not when a company is trying to come up with new solutions to current challenges," Goodhart said.

CEOs and managers today have to make it their priority to bring out the best in people, where work is more closely experienced as personal development rather than just work.

"The old mechanistic model of leadership was more about alpha males stomping around the organisation and telling people what to do. A new breed of CEO is following a more organic model that is inclusive and takes greater advantage of workplace diversity," Goodhart said.

The video series, Up-close-and-personal with NZ’s leading, visionary CEOs featuring informal interviews with leading New Zealand CEOs is expected to continue for between two and three years to capture real insights into how leadership is evolving in New Zealand.

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