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Connections tackles critical thinking for sport leaders

11 April 2016

Over 160 sport and recreation leaders will gather in Wellington over the next two days for Sport New Zealand’s Connections 2016 conference, which focuses on the challenge of leading in a complex and changing world.

Sport NZ Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin says in our changing world, the sport sector will face a significant challenge to sustain both the number of Kiwis participating in sport, and the number winning on the world stage.

“We have a world-leading sport system which supports high levels of participation and produces more than our share of world champions. However we know the world is changing and we must change with it,” he said.

“There is a growing appreciation and understanding that businesses in any sector do not exist in isolation, but are part of multi-dimensional systems, and that a better understanding of that system leads to better results.

“Our system doesn’t just involve sport and recreation groups. It also includes schools, parents, volunteers, churches, marae, local and central government and many others who are all essential partners in delivering sport in their communities. Everything is interconnected and a small change in one area can now have a huge impact on another part of this multifaceted system.

“We face a global trend towards inactivity and many other challenges to keeping sport relevant for future generations. This year’s conference will focus on empowering our leaders to find solutions to these challenges in an increasingly complex environment,” he said.

Workforce consultant Geoff Pearman, the Managing Director of Partners in Change, and prominent lawyer and thought leader Mai Chen are among the speakers. Geoff Pearman will highlight the opportunity and a risk for the sporting sector from an ageing workforce, while Mai Chen will suggest ways to help leaders navigate the challenges and opportunities that New Zealand’s ‘superdiversity’ presents as one of the world’s rapidly changing and ethnically diverse nations.

Hamish Wilson and Andy Clayton from Deloitte’s NZ will also reveal the latest findings from the annual Deloitte Global Human Capital survey, including insights on the future of work in New Zealand and world-wide.

The two-day conference also features a keynote presentation from investigative journalist and world-leading expert on sports corruption, Declan Hill, who will talk about the motivations, mechanisms and methods of modern match-fixing and its impact on sport.

Other conference highlights include a discussion by social sector entrepreneur Dame Diane Robertson, who will discuss ways to utilise the potential of a data-driven approach to create greater economic and social value for New Zealand. Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating will also explain the complex system with which the New Zealand Defence Force operates. He is responsible for leading around 14,000 employees across three separate operation units and will pass on his leadership team’s approach to complexity and what the sport sector might be able to learn from this.

The Minister for Sport and Recreation, Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, will also outline the Government’s view of the current challenges faced in keeping sport relevant for future generations.

“Today’s sports leaders are presented with a rapidly-changing landscape. Connections 2016 will provide further insight into that landscape and enable our leaders to support and influence their own partners and providers, so that New Zealand sport meets the needs of participants now and in the future,” Miskimmin said.

The conference also features the New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards which take place this evening at the InterContinental Hotel. The Awards recognise excellence and achievement in sport and recreation. The evening will culminate with the announcement of the winner of the prestigious CK Doig Leadership Award.

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