Five years ago our educational facility was in the dumps. Seriously. It got so bad that the institute was facing wrack and ruin due to a lack of customers, loss of face with the community and bad internal decision making processes. And all this was topped off by a lack of leadership in the highest office.
Enter our current CEO - Dr Pim Borren. Mr Borren made a number of sweeping changes and was able to bring some really common sense approaches to old problems that the previous management couldn't see. Basically the old management was so stuck in their ways of doing business that they couldn't see any real way forward.
There were some classic management 101 changes made straight off the bat. Here are a few examples:
1. Reduce unnecessary overhead costs. Cut the number of business units (faculties).
2. Restructure the levels of management and remove as many middle managers without decision making powers as allowable.
3. Sack the previous management team (bar two) and hire new people who are both professional and capable.
4. Give the power to make decisions back to the business units.
5. Rejuvenate the marketing department with professionals who had tried and true skills and ability.
7. Be open and accessible to the people.
8. Work with the unions - not against them.
9. Give credit to the people who deserve it.
And it worked. Since 2007 we have had significant growth and have managed to achieve fantastic results both in graduating students as well as changing the demographics.
So here we are now in 2011. Is it still working?
Yes. Graduating student numbers this year were through the roof! Building development programs are under way and last year we had our biggest ever financial surplus.
And no. Let’s be honest - we don't have it all together. There are heaps of changes that we the workers would like to have made. But we're not boss. So we get on with getting on. And to be honest we have a lot of fun along the way too.
The last five or so years of Mr Borrens term as CEO of Waiariki Institute of Technology haven't been without the odd bit of controversy. But at the same time there have been plenty of obstacles that we have had to overcome. The wins far outweigh the controversies by far.
Leadership and management can be tough. And at the same time it takes a strong person take a $27m business up to a $50m business in 5 years.
This post is my small way of acknowledging the work that Mr Borren (also known as Pim) has achieved at such a rapid pace and in such a small amount of time.
Love him or loathe him - the results speak for themselves.