Let’s be honest, many of our current organizational systems suck! Now isn’t the time for mediocre.

Right now we need the very best of people using the very best of systems. The time is fraught with opportunities.

How many times have we heard that the solution to organizational woes is replacing the deadwood, the people supposedly holding back the business; reshuffling the deckchairs. And how many times does this approach actually work? The best people in the world will struggle if the systems they have to work within are at best inadequate, at worst, destructive of people and innovation. Poor systems will ensure the fundamental organizational problems remain buried, or that you continue spending on consultants to continually recast your own story, without solving anything. Covid-19 has now accelerated the need to confront these issues and fix things.

In a recent article Grant Robertson talked about the breakdown between Central and Local Government.

Speaking at “Constructive” – the NZ Construction Industry Forum – he expressed surprise government officials couldn’t produce a list of upcoming local government infrastructure projects on their own after Covid-19 hit. “We need a much greater partnership between central and local government. “One of the most extraordinary things for me was the lack of information that central government had about what local government was doing in terms of what projects were coming through. “There was virtually no interaction there.”

This is a system breakdown. Ratepayers should be able to see the major initiatives their Councils are investing in and do so at the push of a button. Ministers, Central Government and core agencies, like Treasury, the same. This is just common-sense. If you are trying to deliver high cost, complex infrastructure projects and you don’t have this level of visibility then you, with the best will in the world, will fail in your endeavours. And the cost of failure will be bourne by ratepayers and taxpayers, communities and ultimately our mokopuna. That’s a terrible legacy, and one that is avoidable. This is fixable.

As a topical example, in the spirit of New Zealand’s 2020 Public Service Act, you’d assume that the successful delivery of sustainable and affordable housing would come from a highly charged collective of Central, Local and Private organizations all focused on enlightened and achievable strategies and supported by Living Plans. In other words, leveraging systems that work; that mold themselves around the business need for housing right throughout the country. This is just one example of many across all our social services, including health and education.

What we need is smart business systems that solve the problem of how we need to work as individuals, as organizations, and across multiple-organizations. Ultimately we need to be comfortable taking the concept of transparency to the degree that we generate data directly into public-facing websites, and in real-time. Worryingly, many senior management teams seem uncomfortable with this level of transparency. Why is that?

We need business solutions that apply a systems approach along these lines and we need them now – this week, this month – not in 5 years time. We need to implement business solutions that stop us building, or importing from offshore, outdated bureaucratic processes, tools and methodologies. We need to explore the idea that ‘paper has reached its limits’ for our organizations and celebrate data that supports great storytelling. We need systems that adapt to your journey rather than drive you the wrong way.

We need business solutions that apply a systems approach along these lines and we need them now – this week, this month – not in 5 years time.

The Buy-NZ Advert

For the last 5 years with the support of Callaghan Innovation we’ve been working on exactly this challenge under the banner of Legend for Business. This puts us, and potentially New Zealand, well ahead of the play. We can solve Grant Robertson’s problems of visibility and coordination now, out-of-the-box.

So here’s my plea on behalf of all homegrown NZ companies; the ones that have invested heavily in our collective future, for Buy-New-Zealand. Don’t just buy what we have to offer because ‘it’s good enough’. Buy what we offer because it’s the very best you’ll find anywhere in the world. Buy what we offer because we help solve intractable business problems no one has had the imagination or courage to take on. Buy what we offer because we, together, can lead the world.

Buy New Zealand and delight in systems that
no longer suck.

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