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Leader: know thyself

Leader: know thyself

CFO Summit speaker Sir Ron Carter says leaders need to know, and play to, their strengths.

What difference can leadership make?

Good leadership is a major component in delivering business results. It’s important to play to your strengths; know what you’re really good at and build on it.

So what are your strong and weak points?

One of my weaknesses is I don’t know how to say no. People ask me to help them and I feel gratified they think I can do that, which motivates me to look forward to success. I have always been very aware that as an individual I can't succeed on my own. I need a large team to deliver an end result. I have a growing passion in the development of teams. Leadership is something I have always admired. When I look at other successful organisations they are almost always characterised by a leader from the front.

How are you helping Beca’s Christchurch office?

Beca has more than 200 staff in Christchurch who have been assured that their pay would continue as usual. However, it’s not just jobs that matter but how we can support them to carry on their lives.

What are the key reasons Beca has come through the recession so well?

I think a lot of the reasons Beca has been successful is due to the way we motivate staff through becoming part owners of the business. Our staff really believe in the firm and in the contribution they make.

What would you say to companies wanting to expand overseas?

What we did at Beca was try to find a demand in the market for one of the skills we had. When we moved into overseas markets we tried to pursue one or two main areas and become really good at them. In China we did industrial complexes based on our experience in New Zealand. In Singapore we worked on helping to design high rise buildings and in Indonesia it was about adding project management strength to what was being done there.

When you open an office you'll only have a few people there so you can't be experts at everything. Make sure you put people in that understand a facet of what you do and ensure it’s something that specific country needs.

Sir Ron Carter is the opening keynote speaker at the CFO Summit, being held on 24 March at Skycity Convention Centre in Auckland. His presentation is titled ‘Steadying the ship: Positioning the business for sustainable recovery and disciplined growth after the recession.’

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