Are we confident enough?

8 November 2017

Do Kiwi businesses lack resilience?

Suncorp New Zealand’s research earlier this year showed that 25% of respondents think New Zealand businesses lack ambition.

But Jamie Ford of Foresight Learning says what Kiwis really lack is resilience and optimism.

Australians and Americans tell me that the negativity in New Zealand hits them like a wall when they get off the plane…. They see problems as just temporary things happening…

He says we bag Australians for being arrogant and Americans for being brash when in fact what we’re experiencing is a reaction to their confidence, optimism and resilience.

Things that we - as Kiwis – lack.

But is it better to 'buy' skill, or to 'make' it?

Or are we ambitious risk-takers?

In his recent blog, Sir Ray Avery disagreed that Kiwis lack confidence, stating that ‘daring to dream is the best kind of risk taking.’

At the launch of Suncorp’s Risk to Reward research this year, Sir Ray Avery commented that New Zealand has one of the largest numbers of start-up companies in the world.

He says we’re a nation that dares to dream, and we’re prepared to take a certain amount of risks to reach our ambitions.

“We don’t know what we don’t know so we ARE confident.  Fear is just a strange notion to me: it’s being afraid of something that might happen.  What’s the point of that?”

How can quiet self-belief lead to success?

The small business factsheet released by MBIE in June 2017 says that New Zealand’s small business are young and dynamic. Small business contributes almost $65 million to New Zealand’s GDP, and yet a third (33%) have only existed for five years or less.

That indicates that what we are doing, we do well.

The ‘wall of negativity’ that Ford talks about may come down to simply a different, more under-stated style to that of our Australian or American colleagues.

If Kiwi businesses have a sort of poise and self-belief that stems from self-awareness and confidence, how can we support them to realise the ambitions they have?

Perhaps it’s time we focused on the 61% of New Zealand companies (the majority of them SMEs) who say they are looking to grow, or the 75% who say we’re ambitious. 

We are keen to work together with these companies to ensure we improving our future.


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