“The only sustainable element of long-term competitive advantage is the degree of commitment and motivation of the people in the enterprise”
– part of the Vision statement of one of my favoured companies Air Products , number 3 globally but very much up and coming in the business of production and distribution of nitrogen, oxygen, etc; and growing quantities of hydrogen.
One of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake casualties was the Canterbury Brewery – this site now dominated by cranes building what will be the Metro Sports Centre.
A feature we students marveled at back in the day was the bar, at which brewery workers were allowed to drink at lunchtimes. We were too young and too dumb to consider the health, and safety, aspects of drinking Wards or Canterbury Draft beer at lunchtime, including consequences on a large site with production machinery and forklifts etc etc coming together with good blokes. (some had an afternoon nap too).
These days most would agree drinking alcohol on site is not a good thing; as impairment is unsafe and lowers productivity.
In our forthcoming General Election referendum we are asked to choose support – or not – for legalisation of impairment, low productivity, more costly drug testing and more random unavailability of workers, via the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill. Given the long residence time of the active ingredient of marijuana THC in the body, this legislation is bad for anyone who depends on savvy non-impaired workers.
This is in fact all of us: not just because we drive, fly and work depending on safe machinery operators but we also depend on productive businesses for national wealth creation.
A significant recent event for NZ is Rio Tinto’s announcement of the “last chance” to do a deal or else the Bluff smelter will close. This being the operation that produces uncommonly high purity aluminium using renewable electricity resources. In a different context this is what Rio Tinto Group CEO J-S Jacques said to sharemarket analysts just a few months ago:
“For consumers – are you willing to pay a premium for services and products that are greener and to support developing nations? Are you willing to consume less?
For governments – are you willing to sacrifice economic growth and associated jobs to deliver climate goals?
And for shareholders – are you willing to see a reduction in shareholder returns to finance climate action … are you willing to cap your growth in the short term?”
Without authentic leadership at Bluff from this asset owner, it is all too easy to default to a position of blaming everyone else, in in pursuit of looking after the shareholders.
Welcome to 2020, plenty ahead to get excited about!
“Do not get so distracted on the things around you; that you cannot focus on the things in front of you”
– Joetta Clark Diggs (1962-), New Jersey born Olympic middle distance runner and more latterly author, speaker and sports administrator