Company Directors conference 2010 – day 1

I’m lucky to be attending the Australian Institute of Company Directors 2010 conference DIRECTORSHIP:10 Ahead of the Curve in Christchurch this week.

Sessions today included:

  • Australia and New Zealand – performing in the global arena
  • Is the current system broken?
  • Challenges and opportunities in the global economy
  • March to modernity – Asia tomorrow and the rise of the global south

A recurrent theme is the issue of gender equity and boards. Every panel has women participating. Perhaps a valiant attempt to stave off quotas for Australian boards?

But there are some good initiatives in the area of gender equity. For example, a mentoring program for ‘board ready women’ by Chairmen of ASX200 companies.

David Hale gave a whirlwind tour of the global economy and outlook. This included some gems:

on current trends “we could by 2050 have a world in which there are more Australians than Canadians”

Spain next domino? “the problem in Spain is the economic leader is a total idiot”

“Greece has been an accident waiting to happen for a long time” – apparently poor tax collection is part of the problem

His general outlook was fairly gloomy for most of the world, especially UK, Europe and Japan. With emerging nations plus Australia/New Zealand as only

David’s key message was that governments really need to reduce debt and there is going to be a lot of pain associated with that process.

Avril Henry did some straight talking to the assembled (mostly Boomer) audience about the expectations of the GenX and GenY people their organisations need. She outlined how much the next generations expect technology as part of their life and work expectations.

She outlined issues of network amplification effects of social networks and their impact on business environment and culture. Avril’s points about how the forces of fear and command and control are driving away potential employees really resonated for me.

I really hope the leaders at this conference heed her call for greater focus on ‘soft’ skills in management for Australia’s sustainable economic advantage.

Loved how Avril called:

“generation Y – generation WHY? because they always ask this question”

Some good stuff here! Looking forward to tomorrow.