Author: Navigator

We congratulate our partner, Michael Marr – finalist in Entrepreneur of the Year.

The 16 finalists competing for the Entrepreneur of the Year title were announced in Auckland on 23 July.

“We congratulate all finalists but in particular we congratulate Navigator Director and Partner, Michael Marr” said Navigator Limited Chairman Shaun Coffey.

Mike is Founder and CEO of TPT Group of Companies which has been a strong performer across a number of industries.
In addition to his company responsibilities, Mike is also on a number of Boards including our management consulting company.

“I heard the Awards Director said on the night that successful entrepreneurs have an extraordinary passion, self-belief and drive that keeps them going when others might give up.  Mike certainly has that and brings it to everything he does. He has brought that sense of doing the right thing and ensuring good quality work is enduring to his work with Navigator.  We wish our fellow Navigator all the best for the competition” Mr Coffey added.

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Wanted: people to connect with purpose

Karyn Tattersfield:

As a growing cohort of skilled professionals demand more ownership over working hours and conditions, Navigator sets out to build a talented workforce of independent contractors connected to a sense of purpose.

Here are 10 reasons you may want to consider being part of the Navigator team or experienced professionals and consultants:

  1. Utilise your skills to their full potential
    New Zealand organisations have as many issues to solve as New Zealand has skilled and experienced people to solve them – we’re all about matching these up.
  2. Create change
    The sense that things can be done better is alive in all corners of business and industry today.  Navigator offers not only a vision for a better way – but a operational approach to getting there.
  3. Tap into a new way of working
    Partnership and collaboration are a wonderful way to do more with less, get better outcomes and enjoy yourself more along the way. Human beings are designed for it.
  4. Be creative and productive
    We enable people to be effective and contribute positively to their organisations – it’s one of our values and we want to enable our people and our clients’ people alike.
  5. Create outcomes for whole communities
    It doesn’t get much better than knowing an entire community is more connected, productive, engaged  and getting better outcomes because of your work.
  6. Be part of a new way of making things work
    We at Navigator are strongly committed to our purpose of making organisations work better for people and we believe partnerships, done right, are good for humanity. If you feel the same way, you’ll be right at home.
  7. Deliver outcomes in your own community
    We believe organisations can function better for people, profit, planet and the economy by building and drawing on local knowledge, skills and resources.  We will always value local people and resources highly.
  8. Be your whole person
    Work. Life. Work.  Life.  It doesn’t need to be exclusive.  We believe consistency between community and organisational values delivers healthy people, healthy whānau and families, healthy communities and healthy organisations. If you think you’re aligned to Navigator’s values (you’re still reading this so chances are good that they are) – then register with us today.
  9. Tell us how you want to work – be supported and part of a community
    As a Navigator consultant, you tell us your availability and hours and make your life work for you. We’ll support you to do good work and provide you with a well connected network.
  10. Connect with real purpose
    Navigator is about creating ‘fit for purpose’ solutions. That means our projects will always hold the ultimate purpose for our clients at heart. It will be meaningful work, leading to stronger organisations and better outcomes.

Are you interested in becoming part of our virtual team of consultants?  We’d love to hear from you and we encourage you to register your interest today.

Now – let’s get stuck into enabling stronger organisations and better outcomes.

Image courtesy of Pakorn/


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5 institutional models for successful housing options in Asia

Aman Mehta:

The number of innovative and successful interventions to address housing issues in the Asia Pacific is encouraging – but these efforts must be galvanised, as the Asia and the Pacific is still home to 505.5 million slum-dwellers.

More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas and Asia Pacific is home to about 1.76 billion (UN 2010) of these urban dwellers. Rural migrants contribute to an increasing proportion and absence of adequate housing has led to these migrants choosing the informal housing market, often manifested as slums. Slums, one of the most rampant responses to housing shortage currently account for about 30 per cent of the total urban population in Asia and the Pacific, which is about 505 million (UN-Habitat).

The high incidence of slums in the Asia-Pacific region poses a daunting challenge to urban planners attempting to deliver proper housing to millions of urban poor. Asian countries have attempted to address the housing problem through five main institutional models.

  1. Public housing
  2. Public private partnership
  3. Private sector housing delivery
  4. Rental housing
  5. Civil society

1. Public housing
Singapore, the Republic of Korea, and Hong Kong, China, have implemented public housing projects as part of government housing policies and their vigorous pursuit of slum-free cities. In Singapore, for example, such efforts have resulted in a private/public housing ratio of about 20 to 80.
In 1970s the Republic of Korea government promoted and provided new housing in order to counter the upward pressure on prices caused by short supply. This led to the development of apartments within tenements blocks that now account for 53 per cent of the housing stock in the country.

2. Public-private partnerships
Several Asian cities have established partnerships with private developers to stimulate affordable housing construction for the poor. In most cases, commercial development rights on plots were granted to private sector enterprises that would in return build affordable housing on a specified percentage of the total land under development. Examples include:

  • Ashraya Nidhi (‘shelter fund’) programme in Madhya Pradesh, India
  • Revitalization of the rivers Fu and Nan in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China
  • Private developers build a minimum of three middle-class houses and six basic or very basic ones for every high-cost house, National Housing Policy, Indonesia
  • Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) in Mumbai

Land sharing has emerged as a successful alternative to compulsory acquisition. Under land sharing arrangement, the landowner (public or private) and the occupiers (squatters) reach an agreement whereby the landowners retain the economically more attractive parts of the land parcel and the dwellers are allowed to build houses on the other part, usually with full tenure rights. The slums dwellers benefit by getting security of tenure and proper housing while the private landowners gets waiver on development controls allowing for intensive exploitation of commercial part of land.

4. Private sector housing delivery
Many Asian governments have “enabled” the private sector to provide housing for the low earning segments of the population. However, formal private sector housing tends to favour the rich while disregarding the poor. This problem is partly caused by the relatively finite and therefore ‘inelastic’ supply of serviced land, which makes it difficult for real-estate developers to meet demand and causes an overall rise in property prices.

4. Rental housing
The overall share of rentals in Asian cities is estimated at between 20-30 per cent of the housing market. Although a significant proportion of urban dwellers are tenants, the number of governments giving effective support to rental housing development is small. When privately owned, the bulk of rental housing accommodates low-income households through informal, flexible lease arrangements, which entail lower rents but weaker security of tenure and probably lower quality public amenities.

Some cities, like Bangkok, have seen innovative rental housing where low-income communities have evolved practical arrangements with landowners to enable them to live within reasonable distance from their place of work. Under this scheme the poor look out for owners who keep land plots vacant as they wait for these further to gain in value before developing them. The poor offer the landowners rent for lease. Landowners find this arrangement works well as a defence against third party invasion.

5. Civil society
Asia has pioneered the people-led process of housing provision as spearheaded by dedicated civil society groups. It is a testament to the fact that while the private sector is able to meet the housing requirements of the rich, the ‘people sector’ has been able to cater to the poor. As seen in Thailand, when government and civil society come together, a large number of people can improve their own living conditions.
Civil society has promoted community-led housing development in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

This blog is based on studies undertaken by the author with reference to publications from United Nations and other multilateral agencies. The photo, also, is taken by the author.

Communications – every company needs a Tom Hagen

Peter Fa’afiu:

I sat down the other day and treated myself to watching The Godfather …again! I must admit, I am a fan of the mob movies, but this one in particular.  It remains a masterpiece in storytelling. Whilst the Corleone characters have always interested me, it is the character of Tom Hagan – the consigliere – that intrigues me.

It got me thinking about how in many ways the communications (external and internal) and corporate affairs confidante is also a consigliere to the CEO and Board.   Someone who is a seller of concepts and a finder of solutions.  I jotted down a few ‘Tom Hagen’ attributes from my own years of experience as a former diplomat and communications advocate.  Tell me what you think.

10 Tom Hagen attributes

  1. Dispassionate objective counsel.
    Tom was a faithful confidante and mentor who offered indispensable advice to his ‘Family’.  In times of leadership change, particularly at the CEO-level, it is not surprising that many communications confidantes have found themselves working alongside the ‘Boss’.  It is the communications advocate who provides clarity to a leadership team.
  2. Creator of constructive tension.
    In a volatile business and public sector climate, it is the communications consigliere that creates healthy constructive tension amongst the senior leadership.  It is this ‘tension’ that enables good decision-making and sound business judgement.  Ideas spring from good honest conversations.  At the same time, it is the communications consigliere who delivers the final decision of the leadership team – good or bad.
  3. Protector of the brand and reputation.
    Whilst Tom was not an enforcer, he was certainly a fierce brand promoter.  It is the corporate affairs consigliere and his/her marketing team that protects the brand and reputation of the organisation.  At the same time, the consigliere has the ability to destroy the same brand and reputation, due to a lack of tight communications, poor marketing delivery or poor relationships with media and other external stakeholders.
  4. Ability to manage and leverage relationships.
    Not surprisingly the key moments in the film has Tom visiting people.  The consigliere manages the relationships on behalf of the Family.  It is the corporate affairs and communications consigliere who leverages the relationships with partners, particularly the government relations manager with Government and associated departments and councils.
  5. Instill common sense and loyalty.
    During times of significant change and a challenging business environment, it is the communications and corporate affairs confidante who instils the loyalty that is needed.  He or she undertakes this not through force or directness (not often anyway!) but rather diplomatically through the art of persuasion and listening to the concerns of front line staff and most importantly clients and customers.  It is the internal communications team that provides common sense during times of HR process focussed change management. As the story goes, it is the HR manager who reminds leaders that we need to ‘treat our people with respect and dignity during this change process’; it is the communications advisor who responds ‘really, did we not do so previously?’
  6.  Antidote to CEOs who lack self-awareness.
    It is not surprising that when CEOs depart a company for greener pastures, it is the communications consigliere that is ‘riding shotgun’ at the CEO’s next appointment.  The consigliere provides the tactical advice – knows which levers to pull and which buttons to push.  Knows the political and economic eco-system better than anyone else (even the CEO and CFO) and to that end makes the CEO a better leader.
  7. Part of the inner decision making circle.
    Tom was softly spoken but everyone listened.  People listened not only because of the position he held within the inner circle, but also because he was able to shine the torchlight on blindspots.  Consiglieres are part of the inner circle because they are able to ask the right questions, at the right time, in order to receive the necessary responses.
  8. Enhance trust through improved and tight communications.
    Massive business change strengthens the role of the communications teams.  Take NZ Post with its recent announcement of redundancies – I have no doubt that the communications teams (internal and external) would have prepared its frontline leaders for change.  In addition, decision makers at local government and business level would have received briefings well in advance.  Trust is gained through tightly managed and honest communication both internally and externally.  It is the Communications GM who holds that together.
  9. Conflict resolver.
    Whilst Tom was not a wartime consigliere, there are plenty of examples of where this rare breed is called upon.  The question for the CEO is when is the right time to let go of a Tom Hagen and bring in a bare knuckle brawler like Rahm Emmanuel or an Alistair Campbell?  But a word of caution – you need a resolver, not a starter!
  10. Prepare to bring in outside help when needed.
    Not every company has the type of relationship that Tom and Vito had.  So it is important that leadership teams understand that there are entities out there that are able to provide the expertise of a consigliere and execute on the plan.

So I leave you with a question: Who is your communications consigliere?

Let Navigator Partners answer that question for you.

Peter Fa’afiu is an experienced communications and stakeholder engagement general manager.  His views above are taken from his personal experiences over the years.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Tribal Leadership: Capability and capacity driven by culture

Nick Alexander:

Our Principal Partner pays tribute to Hans Boin, a man who was poised to play a leading role in Navigator before his tragic passing.

When I met Hans Boin two years ago while acting as Chief Executive of Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi Trust and seeking help with quality assurance, I found a man with a real heart for humanity and a deep seated commitment to making New Zealand a better place. In professional terms, a guy who gave you confidence that he would deliver you meaningful fit-for-purpose assurance in a way which would only serve to enhance our ability to deliver on the Kaupapa. While I didn’t use his services at the time – our friendship developed.
When Ministry of Economic Development (later absorbed into Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) raised the possibility a year ago of developing a toolkit and methodology for quickly and efficiently helping Iwi Post Settlement governance organisations establish their operations, I asked Hans to join my informal team of four.
Hans’ was a man with a methodical approach who ensured programmes were delivered to standard and on time and an as we continued the dialogue with what became MBIE around a possible partnership. Hans was also the first person I called when decided to develop Navigator. Enthusiastic about the initiative, Hans waxed and waned as he considered whether he was willing to take on one more big professional challenge in his life – he was 69.

Tribal Leadership

Hans had become convinced of the relevance of what he called Tribal Leadership (referencing a book by that name by Dave Logan, John King and Hayley Fischer Wright). He said he felt my philosophy and approach to leadership was in line with the principles and practice of this ‘tribal leadership’. I was sceptical but picked up the book, read it and agreed that yes Stage 5 maturity Tribal Leadership represents a pretty good fit for my aspiration as to what ideal leadership, and by extension, organisational culture looks like.

Believe in and draw on creative capacity

The philosophy of the Tribal Leadership approach is simply to believe in, and draw on, the creative capacity of all of those within and around an organisation; to ensure that organisational values are the main vein which guide all decision making and practice. This enables a team culture which sees all employees and contractors united as owners in delivering on the organisational vision.
I’ve been privileged to lead a process driven by a group of 10 Navigator partners that has since delivered a set of organisational values very closely aligned with these principles of Tribal Leadership.
These values represent a formula for success in any organisation across any industry. We are not talking about culture for the sake of culture; we are talking about culture which is geared entirely to delivering on the organisations’ vision and target outcomes. A culture where the team is working as one with visibility of the vision values and target outcomes and an understanding of what their role is in delivering on those target outcomes: with mechanisms in place to support and bind ownership of specific accountabilities for outstanding execution in delivering on those target outcomes – and a culture where all that is peripheral or unproven to deliver on target outcomes is set aside.

Enable ownership for success

The evidence of successful organisations across all industries is that if you enable your people to take ownership of a strong vision and responsibility for outcomes by delivering their full creative potential as human beings; significant improvements in productivity and quality will occur.
We believe the same themes apply to partnership. Partnership is so important to ensuring optimal results with limited knowledge, financial and natural resources. So often it is approached as a transaction only where parties take a ‘tactical’ approach to matching resources to initiatives, with partners not taking the time to understand each other or, if they do, don’t necessarily feel they share any values with. Without alignment of the parties on a common set of values, both parties spend a lot more money and time than they need to in developing the partnership. They pay big money focussing on the detail of the transaction.

The push-me pull-me antidote

In the same way that people unaligned on values, vision and target outcomes within an organisation pull in all directions and gear away from the target outcomes, so too do parties to a partnership which has not been mediated and developed based on a common purpose and set of values and supported by trust-centred relationships between decision makers in both organisations. Both parties without this common purpose, gear toward their organisations target outcomes and almost inevitably pull the partnership apart.
Navigator has been developed to help organisations develop the cultures and systems they need to align their own organisation and ready themselves for partnerships based on a common purpose.

We do this via a team of partners and consultants who have significant real leadership experience across multiple sectors and industries. We view the organisation as a whole and deliver whole of organisation ‘fit for purpose’ solutions, versus piecemeal grand designs for parts of the organisation which will simply slow your organisation down. We look at and support partnerships in the same way. We aim to represent the whole partnership versus just one of the stakeholders. We have the experience (along with the credibility that comes with it) to understand and respect the values of both parties and to mediate common purpose partnerships around which both parties can unite and align. By extension we can deliver significant economies both in the development of the partnership and the ongoing operation. The natural flow is of course also that the partnerships are far more likely to deliver successfully on target outcomes and to stand the test of time.

A tribute to a passion

Hans was inspired about this vision but being the sort of guy that he was, wanted to make sure he could add real value. He formalised his commitment to Navigator two days before he died from a fall, close to his home. When we met to discuss our first project, he was clearly invigorated with the reality of having made the commitment to the vision.

Navigator is, in many ways, a tribute to Hans; a man of outstanding intelligence and integrity and one of life’s true gentlemen. His passion for ‘Tribal Leadership’ and his belief that all people are capable – the limits to their capability defined only by the enabling leadership and culture around them – has been an inspiration and is woven into every aspect of our organisation.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mary his wife and their many good friends.

Image courtesy of Paul Martin Eldridge /