In this series, we ask the same set of questions to a number of leaders who are making an impact through their leadership and vision. Next in the series is two-time Olympian and current Chief Executive of Sport New Zealand, Peter Miskimmin.
What has shaped your leadership the most?
The person I am today – my beliefs, values and leadership philosophy – have been shaped by both my childhood upbringing and my sporting experiences.
My parents were two amazingly supportive people who encouraged us to follow our passions and dreams. We were encouraged, and it was expected, that we would always strive to be the best we could be - to play hard but by the rules, to take accountability for our actions, always respect others, and give back.
The other area that has had a profound influence in my life, and shaped my leadership, has been my sporting experiences. From my club mates, past and present, through to my Olympic experiences, I learnt that team culture trumps strategy every time and that training and continuous development always pay off.
What are the 4 or 5 key principles that define your leadership and why are they important to you?
1. Bring passion and purpose - to everything, every day.
2. He Tangata He Tangata – it is all about the people
3. Build and invest in your network – develop relationships both horizontally and vertically
4. Start with open - stay curious and seek diversity of thought and ideas
5. There is always room to grow - and you are never too old to learn
Do you think these remain relevant for the future, given the rapid changes and disruptions that we continue to face?
Absolutely. I think each of these are values that will stand the test of time.
Which of the many global trends, interest and concern you the most and why?
I’m equally interested and concerned about the downward trend, here and overseas, in participation in sport and active recreation. I grew up with an acute sense of the value of sport, and I’m privileged to lead an organisation that’s working hard to maximising its reach. We are focused on improving and supporting the play, active recreation and sport sector to ensure more New Zealanders, particularly our Tamariki (Children 5-11 years) and Rangatahi (Young people 12-18 years), are active and reaping all the associated benefits (happy and healthier kiwis, better connected communities and a stronger New Zealand).
How do you keep focused on what is critical for success as things change/are disrupted around you?
Maybe it’s the high-performance athlete still in me, but I get excited and energised about the future – the challenges ahead and the opportunities that change brings. If you’re not willing to embrace change then you’re going to struggle to lead effectively, and leadership requires an understanding that it is not a static thing. You need flexibility and a constant growth mindset.
I also get enormously energised and motivated by the passionate, creative and innovative people we have here at Sport New Zealand. It’s a privilege working with them and to see the amazing work they do. As leader my job is the create the right environment to allow them all to flourish and grow, and to realise their potential and dreams. I get a lot of reward from this.
If there is one piece of advice you would give yourself at the beginning of your leadership career, what would it be?
Learn to lead from the front, and to lead from behind. To do this well you need the wisdom to figure out which is the most appropriate to use when. Also, over the past two years I’ve invested time and energy in learning Te Reo and Tikanga. I wish I’d done this much earlier.