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Growing leaders the New Zealand way

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New Zealand is studying how to turn its scientists into business leaders who can take their innovations to international markets. In interviews with 31 business leaders, a government sponsored study found these transition points in the path of a leader:
  • The switch from ignorance (“I don’t know how”) to competence (“Here’s how”) and self-confidence in young adulthood.
  • Taking the first risk of your career. That requires feeling a sense of ownership, showing responsibility (rather than “It’s not my fault”), and opting against staying in a low-level, secure job.
  • Building business by example and through crisis, avoiding the cop-out, “I can’t do everything.” Here’s where you steadily grow and learn.
Example:  “Serial entrepreneurs” extend their expertise by developing more than one venture and can compare situations across time.
  • Taking the second risk of your career. Again, you have to opt against a secure position, even at a high level. Instead, keep enlarging your aspirations. Example: Companies often shy away from entering the export business. The second risk breaks through into international markets.
  • Giving back. Both alone and as part of a group, you can encourage, motivate and inspire budding leaders to reach their potential by helping them across each juncture.

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