Chris Quin is the Chief Executive of Foodstuffs North Island – the 4th largest company in NZ – and bigger than Air New Zealand and Spark, where Chris was previously a senior executive.
Foodstuffs covers New Zealand’s most iconic and loved grocery brands, including New World, Pak n Save, Four Square and Liquorland. He is also Chairman of business strategy company, The Icehouse.
Chris is speaking at the 2017 Nurture Change Business Retreat in Fiji. He will share his great learnings for how you can take the best of what large companies do and apply them to your own medium to small business.
Here he shares some other tips.
Q. Who is a leader that you learnt something incredibly valuable from and what was the lesson?
A. In my last three years at Spark, Simon Moutter had a strong influence on my thinking. The strongest take out was that both a commercial business strategy and strong culture are needed to get an emotional and rational commitment from people for true engagement.
Q. What lesson in business do you try to pass on to others?
A. You have to understand why your customers are doing what they do, and not rely solely at looking at what they do. Customers drive more transformation than any technology ever will.
Q. What has been your biggest learning in business to date and why?
A. Generally, time is not going to fix the problem. Short-term performance is almost always an indication of long term outcomes – sort it now!
Q. What do you think are the top 3 qualities that every business owner needs?
A. Connection, which is the ability to connect to their team, customers and community in a genuine, authentic way. Clarity, the ability to make a decision, to give direction at the right pace and then go after it confidently. Action, the ability to generate action and have teams follow and make things happen
Q. Do you have any tips on how you can future-proof your business?
A. Build flexible infrastructure, constantly listen to customer insights and act as if your most threatening potential competitor were here now. (And what do they know about customers that you don’t?)
Q. Who do you think is a great innovator and why?
A. In working with The Icehouse I’ve seen several great Kiwi start-up innovators. What I like most about them is that they keep trying in a determined New Zealand style, and they don’t let failure stop them – rather they move quickly onto what’s next. In our business I see store owners innovate every day; something goes out on shelf and either succeeds or fails, then they go ‘large’ or they start over.
Q. What do you think is the most important innovation of your lifetime so far and why?
A. The smartphone and the power that’s now in my hand to organise my world and engage widely.
Q. How do you look after your health and wellbeing?
A. Like everybody it’s a challenge, but it’s about regular physical and mental time out. For me, mountain biking and motor sport give me both of those.
Q. What are you most excited about in attending the Nurture Change Business Retreat in Fiji?
A. Being provoked by others, who are in really different situations, to think faster and generate change as a leader.
Nurture Change Business Retreat is the ultimate ‘bizcation’, a business and wellness crossover that can change your business and your life. It’s a break from your 9-5 grind that gets you thinking ‘on’ your business, not ‘in’ your business. Aimed at business owners, senior managers and entrepreneurs looking for new ideas, space to think on their business, inspiration, relaxation and meaningful connection with like minded people. Our world-class speaker line up will stimulate and reinvigorate your mind and inspire you to live a better life and run a better business. November 8 to 12 at the 5-star InterContinental Fiji. Details online at www.nurturechange.com
Nurture Change and Fairfax are giving away four scholarships worth around $5,000 each. Each scholarship covers airfares for one person, four nights accommodation, including breakfast, lunch & dinner (excluding drinks), access to the speakers, health and wellness and morning fitness sessions and question and answer sessions with business leaders. We have one scholarship in each of the following four categories: under 25s (as at November 1, 2017), innovation, emerging business (a business less than 3 years old) and established business (a business more than 3 years old). To enter applicants need to email firstname.lastname@example.org explaining in 250 words why they deserve to be awarded a scholarship. Entries close Midday, Monday, July 24, 2017. Only one entry per person. Winners must be available to depart New Zealand from either Auckland or Christchurch on November 8, 2017 and return on November 12, 2017. For full terms and conditions go to Stuff.co.nz and search for “Nurture Change 2017”.
As published in the Sunday Star Times and on Stuff.co.nz on July 23, 2017